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stringed musical instrument of ancient origin, the strings of which are plucked with the fingers. Harps were found in paintings from the 13th cent. B.C. at Thebes. In different forms it was played by peoples of nearly all lands throughout the ages. The harp was particularly popular with the Irish from the 9th cent. They adopted the small instrument still in use, called the Irish harp, as a national symbol. The larger instrument was well known on the Continent by the 12th cent. During the 15th cent. the harp came to be made in three parts, as it is today: sound box, neck, and pillar. The strings are stretched between the sound box and the neck; into the neck are fastened the tuning pegs. Chromatic harps, having a string for each tone of the chromatic scale, have appeared since the late 16th cent., but none has been as practical as the diatonic harp, made in the late 17th cent. in the Tyrol and equipped with hooks capable of altering the pitch of any string by a semitone. A pedal mechanism that shortened the strings was devised (c.1720) in Germany. The harp was perfected with Sébastien Érard's invention (c.1810) of the double-action pedals, which can shorten each string twice, raising the pitch by a semitone or a tone. The harp appeared occasionally in the orchestra in the 18th cent., but its regular inclusion there, as well as most of its solo literature, dates from the late 19th cent.


See R. Rensch, The Harp (1970) and Harps and Harpists (1989).

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A metal device fitted into the socket of a lamp that holds a lampshade.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


1. a large triangular plucked stringed instrument consisting of a soundboard connected to an upright pillar by means of a curved crossbar from which the strings extend downwards. The strings are tuned diatonically and may be raised in pitch either one or two semitones by the use of pedals (double-action harp). Basic key: B major; range: nearly seven octaves
2. an informal name (esp in pop music) for harmonica
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"I am deeply passionate about engaging more people in harp playing and listening to harp music, both through community engagement harp workshops, and though approachable performances," says Fairplay.
As recently as 1997, an official proclamation created the Conservatorio Nacional of Paraguay, which offers a degree in the Paraguayan harp among other traditional Paraguayan musical practices.
To learn more about the nonprofit Young at Harp, email Charlotte Murphy at charlottemurphy@youngatharp.org.
FHFA said that HARP volume accounted for 5 percent of all refinance volume in the fourth quarter of 2015.
On average, borrowers saw a reduction of about 140 basis points in their interest rate as a result of HARP refinancing.
"The Tao of Improv: The Basics of Healing Harp" will be held at the Angel Harp Academy, 145 Dillon Avenue, Suite A, Campbell, CA 95008.
A little over two years after HARP was introduced, fewer than one million borrowers had refinanced.
Continuing the countdown to summer, Harp is really going to bring your summer closer by giving you the chance to win a seven night holiday to sunny Spain.
If the name "Jew's harp" is right, then it probably reflects the fact that this was a poor man's instrument, a harp with just one string.
The harp studio of UO faculty member Laura Zaerr offers Harp Day, an all-day celebration of the instrument and its heritage.
Finch, who, at a young age of 20, served as the Royal Harpist to Prince of Wales from 2000 to 2004, is passionate about promoting the harp and classical music to a new and wider audience, including the UAE.
The Brandon native was first drawn to the harp in the third grade at the wedding reception of one of her teachers.