Musical instruments

How Many Strings Does A Harp Have? The Correct Answer Is Here!

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There’s no denying that the harp has grown in popularity over the years. Since this instrument was introduced into the orchestra in the 19th century, it has quickly become a favorite instrument.

Many questions are asked about this exciting instrument, and one common question is, “How many strings does a harp have?”

The harp comes in many variations, and the string number varies from one variation to another. Read to the end of our article to know how many strings each harp has!

How Many Strings Does A Harp Have?

Currently, the harp is known to have 47 strings with 7 pedals that can help lower or raise each string level.

Yet, the number of strings on the harp will depend on the type of harp you are referring to. We’ll list the types of harps to see how many strings each type has.

The Pedal Harp

We usually refer to this harp as a modern-day harp. This harp typically comes with 47 strings. Yet, you can find model numbers that feature 46 stings.

As their name suggests, the pedal harps come with several pedals on their bottom, which allows you to adjust the notes you prefer to play.

The Lever Harp

These harps’ name comes from levers on each string, which allows the harpist to use one string to play two notes separately.

When it comes to their strings, lever harps feature 34 strings, allowing this type to be one of the harps with the most strings.

If you want to play the harp, you will have to utilize both hands to touch around to levers that control its strings. But it is straightforward to go wrong when you are adjusting and playing the notes simultaneously with your hands.

The lever harps are helpful for a beginner who is just learning to play the harp.

The Celtic Harp

On average, Celtic harps have 30 strings. But the number of strings may vary depending on the type of Celtic harp. For example, several Celtic harps may come with 22 strings, while others come with 38 strings.

The tone range of Celtic harps is typically between 2 to 6 octaves. In addition, they feature many variations in their construction.

As for the names of these harps, experts suggest that their name was taken from the area that revived them.

Electric Harp

As their name suggests, electric harps are lever harps that have electric power sources.

But some recent models might follow the pedal harp’s structural framework. Whichever form, the electric harp always has a solid body, which is different from the acoustic version’s hollowed structure.

When it comes to string numbers, the electric harp usually has between 40 and 47 strings on its frame. It means the pedal harp is second in the number of wires, tally after the pedal harp.

Lap Harp

As their name indicates, the Lap harps can fit into your laps. The birth of the Lap harp falls between the late 9th and early 10th centuries.

Thanks to the relatively smaller size, the lap harp today typically has 18 strings. Some models have 15 strings, while others may come with 22 strings.

Multi-course Harp

Before we discuss the number of strings these harps have, let’s explore their unique features. Multi-course harps always have various string rows.

In some instances, these harps feature a double string row, while some models come with a triple string row. But double-course harps have a string row hanging down each side of their neck.

A multi-course harp typically has 46 strings. So if a multi-course harp features two string rows, one side of its neck should feature 23 strings, and the same goes for the other side. Each opposite string will have the same note.

Lyre Harp

In the ancient Mycenaean age, lyre harps began with four strings. After that, the string number increased to 8 and ultimately to 10. Nowadays, the lyre harps can feature up to 16 strings and usually more than seven strings.

This harp was one of the most loved instruments in ancient Rome and  Greece.

Comparison Table

Kind of HarpString MaterialString Number
Pedal HarpNylon, gut, wireFrom 46 to 47 Strings
Lever HarpNylon, gut, wireFrom 20 to 40 Strings
Multi-course HarpGut or nylon46 Strings
Celtic HarpSterling silver, metal alloysFrom 22 to 38 Strings, typically 34 Strings
Ancient harp (Greek)WireFrom 3 to 10 Strings
Concert HarpNylon, Concert gut47 Strings
Electric harpMetalFrom 40 to 47 Strings
Latin harpHair or NylonFrom 32 to 36 Strings
Paraguayan HarpNylonFrom 32 to 42 Strings, normally 36 Strings
Lyre harpsMetal or Nylon10 Strings

FAQs

Why Is The Harp Expensive?

The price of a harp may range from several thousand to around one hundred thousand dollars. The price of a lever harp will range from $1,000 to $5,000

The reason that harps cost so much is that they are mostly handcrafted with high-quality and durable materials.

The good craftsmanship of making a harp will cost a lot of money.

Is It Difficult to Learn the Harp?

Contrary to what many people think, it is easy to learn and play this stringed instrument.

Skilled music teachers believe it is easier to learn to play the harp than the guitar or violin, with a learning style similar to that of a piano. Either way, there are plenty of online and in-person resources for learning and practicing the harp.

How Many Strings Should Beginner Harps Have?

A harp with 36 strings is ideal for a beginner who prefers to learn Western Classical music and attend graded exams like Trinity or ABRSM.

But it is okay to start with a harp that has 29+ strings, such as 31 and 34 strings. Fewer strings work well if you have an Irish or folk repertoire or play in a band.

What Is the Ancient Harp Called?

As the ancient harp was developed in various civilizations, they had various names. It includes the South Asian yazh, the Persian chang, the Egyptian benet, and the ancient veena.

Who and When Invented This Instrument?

The fact is that no one can be recognized as the creator of this instrument.

Various civilizations developed this instrument from existing materials and tools, such as animal hair and intestines or hunter’s bow.

The evidence of the harp could be dated about 3000 BC in the  Middle East and the ancient Mediterranean.

The Bottom Line

As we all know, the string number will vary depending on the type and model.

After spending time on our article, we believe that now you know “How many strings does a harp have?”

Hopefully, you will enjoy the remarkable facts about the harps and their strings. 

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