Multi-course harps can be double or triple-strung harps i.e., two or three rows of strings.
Additionally, multi-course harps may have parallel or cross-strung arrangements. Parallel strings mean the two rows of strings adjacent to each other, one on each side of the neck.
They usually have identical notes and may run close to each other towards the bottom end of the harp’s frame.
Cross-strung harps have two rows of strings that intersect without touching each other. Most double-strung harps have two rows tuned to the same note or in octaves for an extended range.
Multiple course harps are also capable of chromatic music without using mechanical devices like levers or pedals.
On a double harp, you can tune one row to the diatonic scale and the parallel row of strings to the chromatic scale. But you cannot switch the pitch while playing.
From its depiction as a hand harp played by troubadours and angels to the large, golden model in an orchestra – the harp is a lot of things.
Students start with a lever harp, moving on to a pedal harp. Pick your first harp in consultation with your teacher or based on your preference and needs.
We hope this article helped you decipher the types of harps based on size, style, and the number of strings.
We skipped some of the sub-types such as the electric harp, earth harp, aeolian harp, and harp lutes as they are unusual and less commonly used.
What is a 36-string harp called?
Generally, a 36-string harp is called a lever harp. It can be a Celtic harp as the larger varieties have 34 to 38 strings.
Some models of the Latin and Paraguayan hard also have 36 strings. However, they are sub-types of the instrument with different designs and applications in music.
How many strings does an ancient harp have?
The ancient harp, also known as the lyre or yoke lute, is an olden Greek hand harp used for accompaniment.
Generally, lyres from the Greek civilization had three or four strings. They were then doubled to create a six, seven, and eight-string ancient hand harp.
How many strings should a beginner harp have?
A 36-string harp is ideal for beginners who want to learn Western Classical music and appear for graded exams like ABRSM or Trinity.
But you can start with any harp with 29+ strings, including 31 and 34-string models. Fewer strings work if you play in a band or have a folk or Irish repertoire.
Still, you need a 26-string harp if you want to be versatile and improvise.
Is it difficult to learn the harp?
Contrary to popular belief, the harp is a relatively easy string instrument to learn and play.
Music teachers suggest it’s easier to learn compared to a violin or guitar, with a learning curve similar to the piano. Either way, there are many in-person and online resources to learn the harp.
What is a large harp called?
Large harps can be large lever harps or large pedal harps. These large harps are called floor harps.
That’s because they are placed on the floor as the player leans against them to play them. The other type of harp is a knee or lap harp, which is smaller in size and placed on the knee.
How many notes can a harp play?
Due to the design of a harp, a harp player can play eight notes simultaneously.
In other words, you can play two four-note chords – one four-note chord with each hand. Additionally, if you are using a concert or full-sized pedal harp, you can play all the notes and works written in any key.