History Of The Harp


The harp is among the oldest musical instruments in the universe. The ancient harps were designed from the hunting bow. In the ancient Egyptian tombs, there were paintings that resemble the modern harp were seen as early as 300 B.C. The first angle harp is believed to come from Asia to Egypt in around 1500 B.C. the harp was made up of a hollow sound box that was joined to a straight string-arm at an angle. The harp’s strings were made of hair fiber that were joined to the sound box at one end and then tied to the string of the arm at the other.

The harp, which was used during the middle ages, included offering support to the strings. Materials that are stiff such as brass and copper were employed for the instrument to make greater volume and clear tones. The paintings showing this harps are found in many early manuscripts. In addition to that, the ancient harps appear similar to the today’s harps.

The early had no technical instruments that could aid the player to produce varying keys. However, in the seventeenth century a row of metallic hooks was fixed at the left side of the instrument that was turned into each string at a time. The string, that was turned, raised the pitch at half step.

At around 1720 a method was formulated to meet the growing demands of harpists that made the pitch high. As a result, seven pedals were built at the base of the harp to raise the pitch by half a step. For example, when the harp was at C-flat, the pedal made it rise the C strings up to C natural.

As the music world evolved, it was important for the harp to maintain its modernity and popularity. As a result, instead of being limited to the five minor and eight major keys, the harp was improved up to the level of playing all keys. In connection to this, Sebastian Erard obtained a Double Action pedal harp by 1810. Now the harp was redesigned crotchets with rotating disks that were able to produce a natural, flat and sharp pitch depending on the pedal position.

In the 20th century, many people arrived to bring improvements and inventions that make the harp popular in the modern society. The 21st century music uses the harp as seen in myriad festivals and others.

In conclusion, the harp has moved from Medieval to modern, from Classical to Jazz, and finally Acoustic to Electric.


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