Harp History

The harp is one of the oldest instruments known to humankind.  Elaborate gold harps dating back as far as 3000 BC, and wall drawings of musicians with harps, have been found in the tombs and temples of ancient Egypt.  Healing and mystical powers have been associated with the instrument ever since.  During the middle ages, harpers were usually itinerant musicians who earned their living by moving from town to town.  Their small harps were used for self-accompanied storytelling and singing, or in small instrumental consorts.  Kings or chieftains had harpers in their employ, believing that the instrument possessed magical powers.  It was not unusual for a harper to remain unharmed during battle, respected by the enemy and considered immune from attack. 

There are many different kinds of modern harp in North America:  cross-strung, double and triple strung harps, metal-strung, South American, celtic or lever, concert pedal, and electric harps, just to name a few.  Harps play integral parts of the orchestra, in rock or celtic bands and other small ensembles, as solo instruments for any event or in concert, or as an accompaniment instrument to another soloist or singer.  For centuries, the harp has been used effectively in health care for the well-being of the patient and the care providers.  The harp is simply one of the world’s most beloved instruments.

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