The Best Folk Music Harps

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The best folk music harps are those that are played with feeling and passion. Check out our list of the top 10 folk music harps to find the perfect one for you.

Celtic Harps

Folk music Harps come in all shapes and sizes. Celtic harps are one type of folk music harp that is increasing in popularity. Celtic harps are known for their beautiful sound and intricate designs. Celtic harps come in a variety of sizes and with different numbers of strings.

Irish Celtic Harps

Also known as the cláirseach in Ireland, the Celtic harp is a beautiful and evocative stringed instrument with a long history. Just looking at one of these instruments can transport you to another time and place. The music played on Celtic harps is just as emotive, and these instruments are often used in folk and traditional music.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Celtic harp, there are a few things you should know. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Irish Celtic harps, from their history to the different types of Celtic harps you can find on the market today.

Scottish Celtic Harps

The Scottish Highlands is home to one of the most distinct musical traditions in all of Europe. The harp has been an integral part of that tradition for centuries, and there are a number of different types of Celtic harps that originate from Scotland.

Scottish Celtic harps come in a few different varieties, but the most common is the two-rowed chromatic harp. This type of harp typically has between 26 and 34 strings, and it is tuned to a chromatic scale. This allows for a wider range of notes and greater flexibility in playing traditional Scottish music.

Another type of Scottish Celtic harp is the pedal harp, which is similar to the chromatic harp but has an additional row of pedals that can be used to change the pitch of certain strings. This type of harp is often used in classical music, and it has a wider range than the chromatic harp.

The last type of Scottish Celtic harp is the wire-strung harp, which is also similar to the chromatic harp but with metal strings instead of gut or nylon strings. This type of harp produces a brighter sound, and it is often used for solo pieces or for accompanying other instruments.

Paraguayan Harps

A Paraguayan harp is a type of harp used in Latin American countries such as Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. Paraguayan harps are known for their beautiful sound and are often used in folk music. Paraguayan harps come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and they are usually made out of wood.

History of the Paraguayan Harp

The Paraguayan harp is a traditional folk instrument of Paraguay. It is a member of the Latin American harp family, which includes the Brazilian, Colombian, Venezuelan, Guatemalan, and Mexican versions of the instrument. The Paraguayan harp is the national instrument of Paraguay, and it is also popular in parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.

The Paraguayan harp has a long and rich history. The earliest known mention of the instrument dates back to 1556, when Spanish chronicler Domingo Martínez de Irala described it as being played by indigenous people in present-day Paraguay. In the 18th century, Jesuit missionaries brought the Paraguayan harp to Europe, where it quickly became popular among the aristocracy. Mozart even composed a piece for the instrument, which he called “El Harpa Paraguaia” (“The Paraguayan Harp”).

Today, the Paraguayan harp is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It is often used in traditional folk music as well as in more contemporary styles such as jazz and rock. Many leading performers and composers have been inspired by the Paraguayan harp, including Astor Piazzolla, Nigel Kennedy, Sylvia Rossdale (of Bush), and Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam).

Playing the Paraguayan Harp

The Paraguayan harp is a concertina-type folk harp from Paraguay, South America. It is one of the national instruments of Paraguay and plays an important role in the music of that country. It is also known as the cavaquinho paraguayo, guitarra paraguaya, or simply harpa. The Paraguayan harp has up to 38 strings and a distinctive triangular shape. It is played with the fingernails and has a wide range of dynamics and pitch.

The Paraguayan harp originated in the 17th century in Spain. It was brought to South America by Jesuit missionaries and became popular among the indigenous people of Paraguay. The instrument was later adopted by the Gaucho people of Argentina and Uruguay. The Paraguayan harp is most commonly used for folk music, but it can also be used for classical and jazz repertoire.

The Paraguayan harp is typically played solo, but it can also be played in an ensemble setting. The instrument has a wide range of dynamics and can be used for both fast-paced songs and slow ballads. When playing ensemble pieces, the Paraguayan harp often takes on a lead role, providing the melody while other instruments provide accompaniment.

Chromatic Harps

Chromatic harps are among the most popular type of folk music harp. They are known for their beautiful sound and versatility. Chromatic harps can be played in any key, which makes them perfect for folk music. They are also relatively easy to learn how to play.

History of the Chromatic Harp

The chromatic harp is a type of folk music harp that has a Chromatic scale. It is also known as the Celtic harp, Irish harp, and Scottish harp. The chromatic harp has a long history, dating back to ancient times. The first recorded use of the chromatic harp was in Ireland during the 11th century.

The chromatic harp is believed to have originated in the Middle East. It is thought to have been brought to Europe by the Crusaders during the 12th century. The first documented use of the chromatic harp in Europe was in Spain during the 13th century. During the 14th century, the chromatic harp spread to Italy and France. By the 15th century, the chromatic harp was being used throughout Europe.

The earliest known reference to the chromatic harp in America was in 1784, when a Massachusetts minister named Ichabod Wiswall wrote about hearing a Chromatic Harp played by African Americans in Virginia.

Thechromatic harps were introduced to Hawaii by Mexican and Peruvian sailors during the 19th century. Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last monarch, was an accomplished player of the chromatic instrument.

Playing the Chromatic Harp

Learning to play the chromatic harp can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s definitely worth it! The chromatic harp is a type of folk music harp that has a unique sound and can be played in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for an instrument that is versatile and fun to play, the chromatic harp is definitely for you.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

– Start by learning the basics. The chromatic harp is played by pressing the buttons with your left hand and plucking the strings with your right hand. You can use either index finger or middle finger to pluck the strings.

– Practice moving up and down the scale. The chromatic harp is tuned in such a way that you can play any scale just by pressing the appropriate button with your left hand and plucking the correct string with your right hand. As you become more proficient, you’ll be able to move up and down the scale more quickly.

– Experiment with different sounds. The chromatic harp can produce a variety of sounds, depending on how you play it. For example, you can create a “bouncy” sound by playing two notes quickly in succession, or a “dragging” sound by holding down a button while plucking the string. Be creative and see what kinds of sounds you can make!

With a little practice, you’ll be playing the chromatic harp like a pro in no time!

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