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The harp is one of the oldest musical instruments found in the world today. Early harps might have simply consisted of a single string.
Some harpists imagine that even a hunter's bow might have sounded out nicely when plucked and that the harp evolved from such a humble, but creative beginning. From there, the evolution can be seen throughout history.
As far back as 3000 BC, the harp is mentioned in Egypt and Mesopotamia. It is also mentioned in the Bible. Of particular note is the fact that King James was a harpist.
Folk versions for harpists have been found in Egyptian wall paintings and from early artwork around the world.
In addition, harps and harpists have been mentioned in the lore of numerous cultures, including Irish myths where a magical harp is mentioned.
With such a long history, there are obviously numerous types of harps. The lever harp allows for the harpist to change keys while playing. Larger instruments, known as concert harps, came into popularity in the 1700s. Add to this wire strung, multi-course, pedal, double, triple, and cross harps and you begin to get an idea of the diversity found within this one instrument.
Music is made with the harp by picking, plucking, and strumming the strings. Interestingly, the finger position of the harpist when picking will produce different tones. Plucking a string with middle of the first finger joint will create a warmer tone, while plucking nearer the end of the finger will create a louder, brighter sound.
With the exception of opera, harpists are not heard much in classical compositions, but with a renewed appreciation for the harp, more and more modern composers are finding a place for this amazing instrument in their scores. Can you find a place for it in your collection?
Harps are enchanting, melodic and harmonious. No wonder angels are often depicted playing a harp.
Amongst the oldest musical instruments known to man, the harp could be considered the grandfather of stringed instruments.
A harp is basically a wooden triangular frame with strings stretched across it. It lies on the ground and leans on the right shoulder of a harpist while their hands glide through the strings using the tips of the thumb and the first three fingers.
If you are serious about being a harpist, be prepared as harps normally cost a thousand dollars or more.
Materials used in the construction of a harp determine the quality of the sound. Spruce is the wood of choice for sounding boards, and unless you're a newbie harpist, nothing less is worth a second look.
Second in line is the feel of the harp strings. The tension of the strings should be very tight. Loose strings will provide duller and flatter tones. Moreover, they are best when evenly spaced.
Harp strings that are too far apart make it hard to play fast tunes while those that are too close together make it easy to commit mistakes when playing at higher tempos.
A small harp has fewer bass strings so it is important to buy a 36-string if you plan to be a serious harpist.
The next things to look at are the accessories. Levers allow harpists to play different keys without re-tuning and the more the better. The case should be sturdy and provide a padded shield to your precious investment. Lastly, if you bought a small one, it often comes with a small stool - make sure that the height is right.
Armed with all these nuggets of information, the only thing you need to do now is find a good harp store.
A Celtic harp is an antique, wing-shaped instrument that sounds so consoling, sober and heavenly that it can take you to a place of magic and mystery.
Celtic harps are also known as folk harp, lever harp, Irish harp and Clarsach harp. Now, Celtics are now in resurgence not only in the Celt areas of Brittany, Scotland, Ireland and Wales but also booming in England, France, Canada and the USA.
You can find wire, gut or nylon strung Celtics in a wide variety as tiny lap harp, portable lever harp and full-sized floor harp.
In lever harps, levers are used to change keys and to push against the strings thus make the string sharper and the harp becomes lighter and more portable.
Grammy Award-winner Alan Stivell is considered as "The Master of the Celtic (non-pedal) harp". In an interview he stated, "Celtic spirituality is something universal, where everything is together, with no lines or separation between people and things."
Like other pedal harps, Celtics also require a considerably large investment like an average cost for a Celtic may be about $4,000. So, before going to shop for one, contact the American Harp Society. They would help you to find out your local harp society, harp stores, manufacturers, retailers and harpists to get the best bargain.
Also, consider all varieties of Celtics for getting the style and sound that is most suitable to you. Many of these harps have removable legs so you can carry them in the back seat of a car using a foam-lined case. For long-distance or air travel, a hard-shelled, waterproof case having multiple locks would be safer for your Celtic.