Keyboard Instruments: The Harpsichord, Piano, Pipe Organ, and Celesta

Here are a few ideas that you can use when discussing the orchestral keyboard instruments: The piano, celesta, harpsichord and pipe organ.

Show and talk about the different aspects and characteristics of the keyboard instruments. The keyboard instruments are related to each other in that they are controlled by a similarly laid-out key mechanism. Technically, however, they belong to different instrument families according to how they produce sound.

The harpsichord and the piano are string instruments (chordophones). The hammers on the piano strike the strings, while the harpsichord mechanism plucks the string.

The pipe organ is actually a series of wind instruments (aerophones). Some pipes operate like a flute, other pipes operate like a whistle or recorder, and yet other pipes operate like a reed instrument.

The keyboard on the celesta plays bells, just like the Glockenspiel, hence why it can be called a “bell piano”

Perhaps you might also discuss these things: the piano and the celesta have a single manual (row of keys), whereas some harpsichords and virtually all organs have multiple manuals. You might also notice the various ranges of the instruments – Organs and Pianos have an extremely wide range, while the range on the harpsichord and celesta are much more limited.

This is a tiny taste of the music lesson plans available from the fun music company.

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