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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 ?
In Gentry, Harps has been working to convert a former Marvin's Food Store into a 24,000-SF store.
I started on the piano at age 3, then the violin, and I've been playing the harp since I was 7.
The triple harp, so called because it has three rows of strings, was once the main harp used by musicians but was taken over by the pedal harp and its use declined.
Workshops on harp repair and maintenance, harp ensemble performance and creative practice techniques will round off the weekend.
Garritan Harps features a variety of harps, including Salvi Pedal, Venus Concert Grand and Lyon & Healy.
All modern concert harps are based on his brilliant invention," said Elinor.
The formation of the movement was accompanied by the ubiquitous use of crowned and uncrowned harps on flags, guidons, medals, and other insignia.
Harp was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 13 April 1913, and had his first brush with anthropology as a sophomore at Harvard, finding it "exciting" and full of "adventure" When the Depression interrupted his academic training he took courses in engineering at the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland before returning to Harvard, where he graduated in anthropology in 1938.
Many of the harps she performs on abroad are provided by The Salvi Foundation, but not always.
Born in Philadelphia in 1916, Harps moved with his family to the small coastal town of Asbury Park, N.