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.
Harpo Marx with Giant Harp
Retro Marx Brothers 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:
Best Gifts for Music Lovers
We’ve created more than 2,000 products for string instrument players and music lovers. Find a unique gift for your favorite harp player or enthusiast. Beware of inferior copycats! Our original designs are available here and in our String Kings Music Harp collection.
Find a Harp Online
Aklot 15-String Beginner Harp
- Mahogany body with a satin finish
- 15 nylon strings (spare strings not included)
- Blue and red strings help players recognize them
- Every string has a ball end and steel string post
- Harp stands approximately 22 inches high
- Tuning wrench
- Black carrying bag and strap
Harp Gift Ideas
If you need to find a gift for your favorite harp player, you’ve come to the right place. We’re always creating new products and sharing our favorites from other designers.
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Lyre Harp Carved from a Piece of Mahogany – 19 Steel Strings – Tuning Wrench – Picks – Carry BagLiyafy Set of 10 Replacement Strings for Lyre Harp – Durable Metal Strings with Ball EndDonner Lyre Harp – 16 Strings – Mahogany Body, Copper Saddle – Tuning Wrench – Spare Strings – Carry BagExquisitely Crafted Mini Harp Decorative Ornament – Nicely Detailed and Proportioned – Gift Box