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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).


A metal device fitted into the socket of a lamp that holds a lampshade.


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
References in periodicals archive ?
Incoming Harper freshmen will be able to pick from one of six programs of study: DePauls Communication and Media, Information Technology or Business Administration; Roosevelts Criminal Justice or Educational Studies/Early Care and Education; or a still-to-be-announced program from NIU.
As a member of the new generation of Fil-Ams, Harper Jr.
Appealingly different from often tormented or overblown artistic biographies, wherein the road to excess seems to be the deliberate path to glory, Harper Ever After offers a dual portrait of camaraderie, love, and mutual devotion to the creative life.
Liam Smith tweeted: "Gutted to hear about such a lovely man passing, RIP Joe Harper, gentleman and a respected man in the boxing scene x".
After signing for Hull City, Harper will focus mainly on giving Steve Bruce plenty of options between the posts but the Easington-born stopper will also be on hand - as a "wise old head" in his own words - to provide advice for the newly promoted Tigers and their young squad.
Not every young phenom has lived up to this level of hype, but Harper has done more.
Bryan Harper, Bryce's older brother and a pitcher in the Nationals' minor league system, was close at hand throughout his sibling's power display.
Ron Harper was passionately involved with the Flexographic Technical Association, its Foundation, and its highly successful Technical Education Services Team (TEST).
Harper, with an address at Abercorn Park, Portadown, had always denied murdering his wife Suzanne who died from a single stab wound to the neck.
Harper, who was forced to withdraw from the third Test following criticisms from Indian players, said Dhoni should have been penalised for his comments on poor umpiring, adding that he was forced to break his silence following ICC's inaction.
Thanking the jury, Mrs Justice Julia Macur told them: "It is tragic, tragic for all; tragic for the Harper family and for Mr Harper, who stood before you.
The Dunfermline Athletic striker attacked Linda Harper at Green Oakhill Road, Glasgow, on September 13.