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The Celesta: The Sound of the Sugar Plum Fairy

The celesta, an instrument invented in 1896, gets its name for its "celestial," tinkling sound. It provides the distinctive music that accompanies the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. NPR's Bob Edwards discusses the instrument with Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman, and Lambert Orkis of the National Symphony plays some celesta riffs.

Copyright 2003 NPR

Morning Edition music commentator Miles Hoffman is the author of The NPR Classical Music Companion, now in its tenth printing from the Houghton Mifflin Company. Before joining Morning Edition in 2002, Hoffman entertained and enlightened the nationwide audience of NPR's Performance Today every week for 13 years with his musical commentary, "Coming to Terms," a listener-friendly tour through the many foreign words and technical terms peculiar to the world of classical music.