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harp An ancient musical instrument, Harp remains have even been found in Egyptian tombs with records dating from biblical times.  Widely used in Ireland, the irish harp was adapted for orchestral operas.

The double action harp is most commonly used in orchestras and has a range of 6 1/2 octaves from C-flat to four octaves above G-flat tuned to a diatonic C-flat major scale. There are seven pedals for each set of notes which enable the player to raise a note by a tone or semitone.  The pedals are also used to create chords when playing glissando.

The instrument is played by plucking and strumming the strings which produces an elegant sweet sound.

harpBeginners would be wise to start with a small Harp as it can take a long time to develop a good technique being a complicated instrument requiring lots of practice in both playing and learning about the instrument.

The harp has many strings requiring precise tuning and the orchestral harp is large and bulky which makes it difficult to transport.

Popular in celtic, folk, jazz and pop music, the harp has many applications although the common use is in orchestral and classical music.

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String Applications

  • harp iconArto's String Calculator very comprehensive online program with full instructions for calculating where a string can be used by setting the diameter and more. Measures string tension and diameter for a number of instruments, in a variety of settings.

  • harp iconArto's String Diameter/Tension Drawer

  • harp iconBob's Handy String Tension Designer With this Netscape Javascript program, you can see how pitch, tension, string length, diameter and inharmonicity are related. First select an octave, then click on note to select, and enter values in the fields above the COMPUTE button. Select type of string. Click on COMPUTE to find out how much tension is required. This program does not work for wound strings.

  • harp iconJavaTuner This Java applet demonstrates various historical tunings and temperaments and allows one to experiment with them. It was developed to accompany a text on Understanding temperaments, and is complemented by a set of MIDI files demonstrating various tunings and temperaments, full instructions and a variety of modern and archaic tuning modes. Also provides selected intervals and a chord player.

  • harp iconString Gauge & Tension Calculator Check your string tensions based on pitch, guage and type of string, also does the inverse calculation when you type in other string parameters.

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