Beginner’s Guide to Types of Harps You Should Know

Perhaps one of the most overlooked instruments is the harp. The harp can actually be very beneficial to learn and produces a beautiful melody. It is a stringed instrument that dates back to 3000 B.C. It has grown and transitioned with the times, like all instruments, but it is still a staple for musicians in many fields.

Although taking on a new hobby can seem daunting at first, choosing a harp for a beginner will be relatively easy once you know what to look for. There are multiple types of harps, and all serve a slightly different purpose. Some will be harder for others depending on the individual’s training level and abilities, but this list of the top harps for beginners is sure to yield an option suitable for your needs.

  • Concert Harps

Although harps are one of the oldest instruments in the world, concert harps are a more contemporary variety to originate. Concert harps are also referred to as pedal harps and are among the most well-known types They are diatonic instruments, which essentially means that they are tuned to play one scale. However, they can be made to play different pitches by using their pedals. Their range reaches six and a half octaves and can be played solo or as part of an orchestra. They are quite heavy, weighing about eighty pounds each.

  • Multi-chorus Harps

Most harps only feature on row of strings, but multi-chorus harps feature two. Because of this, they are sometimes called double harps. “Triple harps” would have three rows, and so on. Other than this, their function is roughly the same as other standard harps.

  • Celtic/Folk Harps

Celtic and folk harps are usually made with nylon strings. They can also be pitched using by levers, because they are also diatonic. They are smaller than most, which means that they do not have any pedals. These harps are used to play more traditional music, as opposed to rock or pop songs.

  • Chromatic Harps

Chromatic means that an instrument covers all 12 semitones of an octave. This kind of harp is no exception. As a result, they can even be cross-strung like multi-chorus harps. If they are cross-strung, they can be played with both hands on the top or bottom, interchangeably. Although they are mainly used my more advanced harp players, they are really much more practical because they do not have any extra levers or pedals.

  • Electric Harps

These are not as common, but their electric sound is produced by converting its string vibration into an electronic tone. They can be solid or hollow bodied, although a hollow-bodied variety would be technically referred to as an electric-acoustic harp.

Hopefully, this list will shed some light on the subject of harps for those who are just starting out. Learning an instrument is always rewarding, no matter an individual’s level of training or expertise. If the world of music seems confusing, do not hesitate to consult with a professional or expert in the music industry. Harps can still be found at participating music companies and warehouses.