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  • Learning to Play the Harp?
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Learning to Play the Harp: Things You Need To Know

Are you looking to learn how to play the harpCome on board as we take you through how and where you can learn to play this powerful musical instrument. The harp is one instrument that has been around for a very long time. This music instrument dates way back to even the lifetime of the biblical instrument and is a significant part of the Celtic music.

The harp is not complicated as it looks; so many persons have the wrong misconception about the musical instrument and feel that it is complicated to learn how to play the harp. What many (or most) people don’t realize is that the harp is the ancestor to the piano.

If you can play the piano, you can play folk or Celtic Harp!

Celtic Harp
Celtic Harp

The strings of the harp are set up just like the white keys of the piano, and they are even color-coded so you can tell where you are on the ‘springboard’ as opposed to the ‘keyboard.’ The C strings are red, and the F strings are blue; this makes for wonderful viewing of the strings because there are no ‘black keys’ for reference. What happened many, many years ago was that they laid a harp on its side and added a ‘plectrum,’ which plucks the strings and the ‘Harpsichord’ was born.  It then evolved into the piano by adding more strings and the hammers, with, of course, a sturdier frame to accommodate for the added pressure of more strings.

If you look inside a grand piano, you will notice the ‘harmonic curve,’ which is the same as the harmonic curve of the harp. It’s just quite a bit bigger, again to accommodate the increase in pressure. A medium sized Folk Harp will have approximately 1500 pounds of pressure on the soundboard from the tension of the strings. Can you imagine what the pounds of weight would be on a Grand Piano?

So, with this added information, you have a different idea now about the layout of the harp. If you are familiar with the keyboard of the piano, then learning the harp will be a straightforward task!  If you can visualize your hands in front of you playing the keyboard, just turn that keyboard to a practically vertical position that angles toward your right shoulder, and you have the ‘springboard’ of the harp. The left hand will still play the bass notes and the right side, the treble.

You will only use the first four fingers of each hand: the pinky is not used for it is too small and takes the hands out of a good position. Now imagine that you are caressing the strings and gently pulling those beautiful tones out of the harp. You are coaxing the music out of this beautiful instrument, and as you see one being played, it honestly looks as if the harpist is lovingly caressing the strings. It’s a very graceful movement and also, undeniably, a supple feeling. Playing the harp is such a beautiful and fulfilling instrument to play.