The harp instrument has been around for centuries. It is one of the oldest instruments around. It is also produces of the most beautiful and soothing sounds around. No matter what type of music, a harp can bring a certain amount of elegance and class to any song. The history of the harp is one that goes back several hundreds of years.
The Ancient Harp
The ancient harp first appeared back in 1900 BC. It first came about in Mesopotamia. They were referred to as open harps. This is because they lack a fore pillar of wood that is after the long strings. This is here for frame support. Eventually these types of harps found their way over to Africa as well as Asia.
The Medieval Harp
The frame of this harp was made back in the middle ages. Harps came in three different types. There was the Irish harp that is actually very much like the Celtic harp. The Gothic harp contained a curved fore pillar. There was also a lighter harp that contained a shorter fore pillar. These were the predecessors to the modern concert harps that you see today.
Around the seventeenth century, polyphonic music began to get developed. This meant that instruments would need to be made that could lower and raise notes with ease. This is when an additional row of new strings was then added onto the harp. This is what helped to tune to notes to make them flat or sharp. They began to call it the double harp.
The Hook Harp
In the seventeenth century, the Germans made a harp that had hooks on it. The hooks moved and it would help to either lower or raise the pitch of the strings. This helped to make the harp lighter. The harp also needed much fewer strings with the hooks attached. The only downside to this harp was that the harpist had to have their hands free long enough so that they could adjust the hook.
In the eighteenth century, the harp makers in Bavaria and France made a harp with pedals that connected to the aforementioned hooks. This was so the harpist was able to keep their hands on the harp as their feet were able to change the overall string pitch.
The Modern Harp
The modern harps that are still used today still have pedals that are used. The difference is that today a harpist will pluck the strings that are located towards the middle as opposed to near the soundboards like they used to do with the older versions of harps. There are several different types of modern harps, some are lighter and some have more strings. Over the years, they have done what they could to make the harp easier to play as well as easier to travel.
The harp has come a long way since 1900 BC and it still continues to make changes and improvements. These beautiful and soothing instruments will continue to change and progress as the years go by.