Harp lessons near me

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Harp lessons near me

The harp is the oldest known stringed instrument and the word “harpa” or “harp” comes from Anglo-Saxon, Old German and Old Norse words meaning “to pluck”. By the 13th century the term was being applied specifically to the triangular harp as opposed to the lyre harp. Playing the harp goes back thousands of years with ancient civilizations playing simple, formative instruments including Africa, China, Ireland, the Middle East, South America and Mexico.


Today, we know the Gaelic harps as the Irish, Celtic, Folk, Scottish Clarsach or the modern lever harp. Most folk harps are strung with a combination of nylon, metal, gut and/or synthetic gut (carbon fibre) strings but brass wire strung harps continue in the Gaelic tradition.


One of the earliest musical instrument discoveries showed a harp-like instrument on rock paintings dating back to 15,000 BC in France. Harps were very popular in ancient Assyria and Mesopotamia.


Is the harp difficult to learn?


If a harp is going to be the first musical instrument you’ve ever played, you will find it to be very approachable. It is common for people to believe that it must be difficult to learn the harp. Surprisingly, the harp is considered one of the easiest to play while the guitar and violin are ranked among the most difficult.


Harps have endured because they are accessible and generous to even the most rudimentary of players. Through time and across civilizations people learned to play either by teaching themselves or from the village harper. As with most things, the more effort and commitment you give to the harp, the richer and more compelling the resulting music. The particular joy of the harp is that even a simple piece of music, played by a beginner, sounds just lovely. 


Does it help if you can play another instrument?


Pianists find the harp especially easy because they already read treble and bass clef and the fingering is fairly similar. Like the piano, the lead or melody line on a harp is played with the right hand and the chords and bass with the left hand. Also, like the piano, the harp is not handed, both left and right-handed people play the same instrument in the same way. 


What types of harps are there?


There are many, from all over the world but if you are looking for a western modern harp there are:

  • Celtic or Irish Folk/Lever Harp which is diatonic - tuned in one key with seven notes with single accidentals (an accidental is a note of a pitch (or pitch class) that is not a member of the scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature
  • Concert, Pedal or Classical Orchestral Harp. Chromatic – all 12 notes with no single accidentals
  • South American Harp. Diatonic – tuned in one key
  • Multi-course/row Harp. Double, triple or cross strung harps have all possibilities of tuning
  • Renaissance or Gothic harp, diatonic – tuned in one key or mode – no accidentals.


Naturally, you can discuss the best harp to choose with your online tutor.

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