Learning about the Orchestral Keyboard instruments in music class

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

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.

Both the piano and the harpsichord are really stringed instruments. The harpsichord mechanism plucks the strings while the piano mechanism strikes the strings. (In this respect the harpsichord is like a guitar and the piano is like a hammered dulcimer.)

The pipe organ really belongs in the wind family. Wind is blowed through the pipes, sometimes like a whistle, and sometimes through a reed like a woodwind 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. Pianos and organs have a very wide range while harpsichords and celestas have a more limited range.

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