The Musical Instruments Harp

The harp is one of the oldest musical instruments. It was widely used in ancient cultures all over the world.

The harp is triangular in shape with strings running down an angle from the crossbar to a resonating body. The strings are usually made of metal gut or nylon.


The wood musical instruments harp is a traditional instrument that features a triangular or square wooden frame with a soundbox at one end. The harp can be played by plucking or strumming strings to produce sound. The strings of the harp can be wire, hair or animal gut and are strung at different tensions in order to achieve a full range of pitch.

A harp can be made from a variety of woods, including spruce and walnut. The choice of wood can make a significant difference in the tone and appearance of the harp.

Many wood harps have a carved design along their triangular or square frames. These designs are often used as state symbols in different countries. For example, the harp was used as an emblem on official Irish state seals from 1922 until the present day and has been featured on national standards in the UK since 1603.

The harp can be made from any type of wood that is strong enough to withstand the string tension. The wood must be able to withstand the pressure of the strings, which can cause cracks and other damage to the harp over time if it is not properly built.

If a wood harp is made of plywood, it may not last very long because the glue that holds the layers together will break down. It also is likely to warp over time as the wood expands and contracts.

A solid spruce soundboard is much stronger and more durable than a plywood one. It takes a lot of care to make a good spruce soundboard and it is worth the effort because it will last longer.

In fact, a good spruce soundboard can last up to 100 years. It is a good idea to choose a solid piece of wood for your soundboard, and to have it made with care by a professional. This includes selecting fine grain spruce, resawing the pieces to slightly over 1/4″ thickness, gluing them together and tapering them to get the correct shape and size for your harp.

While spruce is the most popular wood for a harp, you can also use maple and cherry. These woods are less expensive than spruce, but they can also be more visually appealing and have a different acoustic sound than spruce.


Brass instruments, also called labrosones (Latin for ‘lip’ and’sound’) or labrophones, are musical instruments that produce sound when air vibrates in their tubular resonators. The body of these instruments consists of long pipes that widen at their ends into a bell-like shape, usually made from brass or a brass alloy such as aluminium.

These long pipes are attached to valves that open and close when a player presses down on them. The valves control the length of the pipe, which in turn creates different notes on the instrument.

There are a number of different types of valves on brass instruments. Some are rotary, like the Stolzel valve, while others are piston valves. Pneumatic piston valves have more control and allow the player to change the tone more easily than rotary valves.

Other kinds of valves include triggers or throws, which are operated by the thumb and used to adjust a range of notes on the instrument without using the first valve slide. Some brass instruments, especially the trumpet and trombone, use these triggers to make it easier to play complex notes, but they can be difficult for beginners to master.

The most common type of valve is a rotary valve, which opens when the musician presses down on it and closes when they release their pressure. These valves are more stable than piston valves and require less maintenance.

During the 19th century, a number of innovations in harp design were introduced by Parisian harp makers. In 1750 Georges Cousineau replaced the hooks with metal plates that gripped the strings while leaving them in plane, and in 1792 Sebastien Erard substituted rotating disks for the plates.

In 1810 Erard also devised a double action by adding a second set of disks controlled by the same pedals, virtually establishing the modern harp. In addition, he reduced the number of pedals from 14 to seven by incorporating pedals that could occupy three positions each, making it easier for beginners to learn the instrument.

The harp is one of the oldest and most widespread musical instruments known to man. It has been a staple of many cultures, fulfilling a variety of functions ranging from folk music to courtship.


Pedals are the seven levers that control the pitch of strings on a musical instruments harp. They are manipulated by a seated performer using both feet, the left foot manipulating three pedals and the right foot four.

Unlike pianos, the harp pedals raise and lower the basic pitch of the strings by one or two half steps (with the first two string sets) by means of a double-action mechanism. In the top position, no action takes place; when pressed in the second position, a pedal is arrested in a notch, and the mechanism raises the pitch by a half step.

There are a wide range of scales and chords that can be achieved by changing the pedal settings of the harp, and this is central to harp technique. Many chromatic passages in music, such as a d minor to d major chord or a Gb major to Bb minor chord, require a large number of pedal changes.

Composers can indicate the individual pedal change by writing between the staves, below the lower staff, or both. Some composers provide the initial pedal setting and then leave it to the performer to decide how each pedal change is written, as harpists have varying preferences for how they mark their pedals.

To make it easier for the harpist to keep track of pedal settings, composers usually use a pedal diagram or chart. These include the pedal setting and a small vertical line indicating whether the pedal is set flat, natural or sharp. The harpist will then set the pedal in the appropriate position, and then strum or pluck the string to play the notes on the harp.

When using pedal diagrams, the harpist can be more precise in her pedal changes. She can then set the pedal in the desired position quickly and easily without having to reread the chart.

Pedals are an essential part of harp technique, and the correct setup can make or break a performance. The proper pedal placement allows the harpist to produce sharps and flats, as well as melodies. The harpist can also play over segments of the string plane, a ‘glissando’ effect.


The harp is a stringed instrument with a belly or resonator that vibrates at a particular pitch. It is made of wood, metal, or skin (called a harp case). In arched, bow-shaped and angular harps the body and neck form an angle, while frame harps (mostly European) have a long column, or pillar, that braces against the tension of the strings.

Throughout the history of musical instruments harps have changed to adapt to musical styles. For instance, from the 17th century European harps were subject to efforts to give them the chromatic notes demanded by changing musical styles. The first step in this process was the introduction of hooks, which could alter a string’s pitch by raising its amplitude; this allowed harpists to play chromatic notes.

In the 18th century, the hooks were replaced by a link mechanism that connected them with pedals. These pedals could raise the pitch of a harp’s strings by half a step. This type of harp became known as the single-action pedal harp.

A double-action pedal harp is an improvement on the original design; it combines the basic structure of ancient harps with complex mechanisms that permit the harpist to play a full chromatic range. These harps vary in size and shape and often have more than one row of strings, each consisting of identical diatonic strings.

Each row of strings has a different color to help the harpist recognize them. The lowest eight of the 47 strings are wire wound; the rest are made from catgut or silk or nylon. The compass of an Erard double-action harp is 6 1/2 octaves, from C three octaves below middle C to three and a half octaves above G.

Some harps have gilded columns and bases, an aesthetic treatment that adds to their appearance and sound. To gild the columns and bases, the unfinished wooden parts are first sanded, then layers of gesso are applied and sanded again until they are smooth. Next, a thin layer of gold leaf is applied. This leaves a decorative gilded area that is 0.000004 inches thick.