Do You Know? - International Harp Museum



Do You Know? - International Harp Museum
D o You K now?
How much does an
orchestral harp weigh?
D id You K now?
concert grand pedal harp
can weigh over 90 pounds
D o You K now?
How many moving parts
does a pedal harp have?
D id You K now?
A pedal harp has approximately
1400 moving parts
Most of them are small and hidden
D o You K now?
What are harp strings made of?
D id You K now?
Harp strings can be made of nylon,
gut (sheep or cow), or wire
A pedal harp uses all three types
D o You K now?
How many strings
does a harp have?
D id You K now?
A concert grand pedal harp has 47
A semi-grand pedal harp has 46 strings
D id You K now?
Folk harps and lever
harps can have anywhere
from 22 – 38 strings
Lap harps can be even smaller
The strings on a full-size
pedal harp exert
approximately 2000
pounds of tension on the
Do you Know What Notes are The Red and Blue Strings in the Harp Red's are C Blue are F
D o You K now?
What wood is often used to make the
soundboard of a harp?
D id You K now?
The soundboard of a harp is
often made of sitka spruce
The body of a harp is
often made of maple
The bodies of some modern
harps are now made of
carbon fiber
These harps are much lighter than
wooden ones – this one is 57” tall
and weighs 10 pounds!
D o You K now?
How many pedals does
a pedal harp have?
D id You K now?
The pedal harp has 7 pedals, one for each note
of the scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
The pedals operate mechanisms
at the top of the harp by means of
seven metal rods that run inside
the column of the harp
ach pedal on the
pedal harp has three
positions: sharp,
natural and flat
The harp's origins
may lie in the sound
made by a hunter’s
plucked bow string
The modern pedal harp
was invented in about 1810
by Sébastien Érard
Érard’s innovation was the double
action harp, which allows each
string to be played at two additional
pitches, in addition to its ‘open’
here was an ancient
Chinese harp called the
he name is now used for a
modern Chinese instrument
which is being revived
arpists routinely edit
orchestral harp parts
because so many
composers do not
know how to write for
the harp
ou don’t use your pinkies to
play the harp
Judging by the harp parts he
wrote, Johannes Brahms
apparently didn’t know this…
t is quite common for harpists to name
their harps!
arps appearing today include Juliette, Lancelot,
Princess Louise and Harpo Junior
D o You K now?
How many harps made up the
largest harp ensemble ever to
have performed?
Hint: it’s more than 20!
D id You K now?
In the biggest ever harp
ensemble, 232 harpists
performed Alfredo Rolando
Ortiz’s piece Cumbia Verde
at the 10th World Harp Congress
in Amsterdam, Holland (2007)
: How long does a harp stay in tune?
: About 10 minutes, or until someone
opens the door.
hat’s a joke, but painfully close to the truth!
arpists spend half their time tuning
their harps
nd the other half playing out of tune
arps can range from plain
to highly decorated
The gold leaf used to
decorate some harps is
four to five millionths of
an inch in thickness
olk harps uses levers rather than
pedals to alter the pitch of the strings
Each lever has two
possible positions
ire-strung harps are played
with the fingernails
ost pedal and lever harps have strings
corresponding to the white notes on the
C, D, E, F, G, A, B
he pedals or levers allow you to play the black
ross-strung harps have two
sets of strings
ne set for the white notes on
the piano, and one set for
the black notes
riple-strung harps have
three sets of strings
he two outer sets for the
white notes on the piano,
and one inner set for the
black notes
he harp has been used as a political
symbol of Its
origin is from the time of Brian
Boru, a famous 'High King' of the
whole island of Ireland who
played the harp
n Celtic society every clan would have a
resident harp player who would write songs
in honor of the leader
hese songs were called planxties
D o You K now?
hat famous beer uses a harp as its logo?
D id You K now?
uinness beer uses a harp as its logo
o does Harp lager, also brewed by
arpo Marx was an
excellent harpist, and
was self-taught
arpo Marx had his own unique system of
tuning – because when he first was playing,
he tuned his harp incorrectly (not knowing
any better).
He used his own tuning for all his movie
arpo Marx played a
variety of things “as a
harp”, including the
frame of a grand piano
and a loom
udy Garland mimed playing a small
harp in the movie In the Good Old
And did it rather well!)
red Astaire mimed playing a pedal harp in
the movie Yolanda and the Thief
nd yes, this is the best
photo we could find
ary Grant mimed
playing a pedal harp
in the movie The
Bishop’s Wife
he harp is shown on one side of the
Irish 1 Euro coin
exico, Colombia, Venezuela
and Paraguay have strong harp
he harps used in these regions
were originally based on
Baroque harps brought from
arp types from Latin
America: Veracruz harp
(arpa jarocha), Jalisco
harp (Arpa Planeca or
Arpa Abajeno),
Paraguayan harp
here is evidence of harps in Ancient
Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece
and Cyprus
he Brian Boru harp
is one of the oldest
harps still in
existence, dating
back to the 15th or
16th century.
urlough O’Carolan was a very
famous harper in Ireland in the
late 1600s through his death in
1738. He was an excellent
composer, and was the last of
the Irish tradition of great
itinerant harper-composers
urlough O’Carolan came to the harp by
accident. Blinded by smallpox at the age of
18, he needed a profession. Music was one
of his few options at that time, so he was
apprenticed to a harper.

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