TYPES OF HARPS
There are three different types of Harps for you to choose from. Read below to learn the different styles.
THE LEVER HARP
The lever harp is a mid-sized instrument consisting of 30-38 strings. The height of the harp ranges from 41-66 inches, weighing from 15-48 lbs. The “levers” are located along the neck of the harp and easily flip up and down. While in the down position the string will play a natural note. When the lever is flipped up the string will play a sharp note. Many new harpists begin learning on this harp. The lever harp is assessable and holds a beautiful sound, which makes it a great place to start!
THE LAP HARP
The lap harp usually consists of 22-26 strings and weighs from 5-10 lbs. The height of the harp ranges from 28-35 inches. It holds the basic original shape of traditional harps and may or may not have levers on one or more of the strings. The primary benefit of the lap harp is its portability. Many lap harps come with carrying bags or cases and some resemble “back packs” allowing for hands free transportation. Another important benefit of the lap harp is affordability. The lap harp is generally about one-third of the cost of the mid size lever harps. The price will vary depending on the number of levers. A lap harp can be useful as a practice harp while on vacation. Its portability makes it convenient to play at family reunions and for friends and family.
“Lap harp” is perhaps not the best name for this small harp as it is not always comfortable to play in ones lap and consequently other devises have been developed to facilitate ease of performance. One such devise is a lap bar which sits across both legs, stabilizing the harp. Another such devise is a strap much like a guitar strap. It attaches to the harp with the same type of buttons found on guitars and crosses your shoulder then stretches diagonally across your back.
Pratt has introduced a harp, which is called the Sprite, and was designed as a “therapy harp.” The harp comes standard with quick release lock buttons and a shoulder strap. The strap allows you to play while standing bed side or walking from bed to bed. It also stabilizes the harp while playing in a sitting position. An optional lap bar is also available.
THE PEDAL HARP
The pedal harp contains 7 pedals and 40-48 strings. The pedals have three notches that change the strings from sharp, natural and flat. This allows the advanced harpist to continue playing while the feet change to the key that is needed. The pedal harps have an exceptional sound and classic design.
There are smaller pedal harps such as the Clio or Semi-Grand with a height from 60-65 inches and weighing 55-65 lbs. This harp allows the performer the use of pedals while also providing an instrument with a manageable size and weight.
The Concert Grand is the standard harp most often seen in symphonies, concerts and weddings. This harp weighs from 74-80 lbs with a height of 77-86 inches. Most often containing hand carving on the column, this harp is catching to the eye, complimenting its extraordinary sound.
HARP CARE AND MAINTENANCE
The Right Environment for Your Harp:
Environmental conditions surrounding your harp are critical to its maintenance and lifespan. A harp needs to be kept in conditions of relative humidity between 45% and 75%. If kept at humidity levels below 45% for a prolonged period, the wood of the instrument may shrink and crack. Also, an extremely humid atmosphere will lead to swelling of the wood, which can compromise its structural integrity. A hygrometer is a device that measures humidity and should be kept in close proximity to your harp. Monitoring the humidity levels around the harp using a hygrometer will allow necessary action to be taken if the conditions fall outside of these guidelines. Hygrometers, as well as temperature conditions should be kept at an average of 70 degreed Fahrenheit
Exposure to temperatures above 130 degrees will cause the glues used in manufacturing to melt. Because the harp is a high-tension instrument, this could cause the harp to literally pull itself apart. Exposing your harp to extremes in cold temperatures can cause cracks in the wood. Do not allow your harp to enter conditions below freezing (0 degrees Fahrenheit).
Keep your harp away from all heating and air-conditioning vents and windows. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.