The harp is a stringed musical instrument with a number of individual strings running at an angle to a soundboard. The strings are plucked with the fingers. Harps are generally triangular in shape, and are usually composed of wood. Modern harps have nylon or metal strings.
Harps vary greatly in terms of size. Smaller harps can be played in the lap. Larger, much heavier harps are designed to rest on the floor.
Harps are found all over the world–in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. They’re closely related to lyres, which have been popular in nearly all cultures.
Harps have been used as a political symbol of Ireland for centuries. Their likenesses have appeared on Irish coinage since the Middle Ages, including current Irish imprints of Euro coins.
More Harp Facts
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a harpist.
Notable harpists include Nancy Allen, John Roy “Jon” Anderson, Alice Chalifoux, Alice Coltrane, Vincent Fanelli, Sidonie Goossens, Marcel Grandjany, Alphonse Hasselmans, Juan Hidalgo, Ursula Holliger, Pierre Jamet, Camille Kitt, Kennerly Kitt, Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz, Marco Marazzoli, Harpo Marx, Loreena McKennitt, Joanna Newsom, Carlos Salzedo, Marcel Tournier, and Nicanor Zabaleta.
Retro Photographic Poster Print
Listen to the Harp
Played by Courtney Kania-Young
Harpist Courtney Kania-Young plays Led Zeppelin’s popular 1971 tune, Stairway to Heaven. Courtney is classically trained and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She loves playing rock, country, and Latino style music in addition to the classics.
We Love Harps
Looking for more harp facts? Here are a few of our favorite pages about harps for you to enjoy:
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Find a Harp Online
Roosebeck 12-String Birch Baby Harp
- Baby Harp with 12 strings
- Engraved rosewood frame with a birch soundboard
- Featuring 12 DuPont hard nylon strings
- Range from F above Middle C to High C
- No sharpening levers
- Tuning tool
- Extra string set
- Approximately 21 inches high
Rees Harps Natural Maple Harpsicle Harp
- 33 inches tall
- 26 strings
- Well designed and sturdily built
- Light and portable
- 3-1/2 octaves
- Can be played in the key of C and A minor, or tuned to any other scale
- Tuning wrench included
- Excellent selection for first time harpist
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Harp Deals Online
Keep an eye on this automatically updating gallery of harps and accessories available on eBay. Find deals on all kinds of string instruments including harps.