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Minoan/Cretan Harp[edit]

Can anyone tell what sort of harp this is? from a mural in Ancient Crete [2700 to 1450 BC] [1] [2] (talk) 23:44, 10 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lever and folk harps[edit]

I edited the section on folk and lever harps to clarify a few things. The folk/lever harp, while used quite a lot for folk and traditional music, is also a harp played by people who may have no or little interest in folk music. Musicians who cannot afford a pedal harp, those who prefer the smaller sizes and different timbres, and so on. (Such as myself. I do actually happen to know a fair amount about Celtic history and music, I simply prefer to play classical music on my Celtic-butt lever harp. Musicology studied at university, great personal interest, etc etc.) It is wise to acknowledge in a public article discussing modern harping that the small harp is not "just" for folk/traditional/Celtic music. Many people do not realise that they don't have to have a pedal harp to play non-folk music, and often get the impression that the small harp is not a "real" harp.

The language has been tidied up also. A few shorter paragraphs make for clearer reading, especially on this here internet. --Cantrixargenta

Electric harp[edit]

Edited electric harp references and added links to the electric harp article stub (which I started). Precedence is for having electric harp as a separate article as per electric violin, electric guitar, etc. Also edited/clarified some bits about lever harps and added internal links for terms such as sharp and flat. --Cantrixargenta


Replaced the BMP image with a JPEG. The original BMP is here: media:new harp-thumbnail.bmp

Changed the caption on the Webster's dictionary harp illustration. That's definitely a medieval (Romanesque style, too) harp on the left, not what we harpers/harpists today would generally call a folk harp. The pedal harp in the pic isn't particularly modern one either, nor is it a good illustration, honestly. I'll see if I can find a better one. --Cantrixargenta

I've changed a long-standing reference to it as a "string-percussion instrument" to just "string instrument". I can imagine a piano or a hammered dulcimer, for example, being described as a "string-percussion" instrument (though I don't think I've ever seen it done), because their strings are hammered. But with the harp, they're just plucked, so it doesn't seem to make much sense. --Camembert

I've always thought of a harp as a string-percussion instrument just because it is plucked. It is a stringed instrument, but it's not in the "string" family (with violins and basses and things). To me, plucking is a percussive movement: pulling the string and releasing it to create a sound. I've heard pianos described as "string-percussion", too, since they have strings and are hammered (similar to plucking). Other than "string-percussion", I don't know how to classify the harp/piano family, and that term doesn't seem to be widely spread. --Dreamyshade

You're right that trying to classify instruments is a troublesome thing - it has been the central subject of a number of books. "percussion instruments", however, are usually defined as "something which makes noise by being struck", and plucked instruments are not usually put in that class. "String instrument" is an awkward term, because classical musicians sometimes use it to mean only orchestral strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass), but it's also used to mean any instrument which makes sound through vibrating strings, so it's the term we should use here, I think. --Camembert

I wonder if we should just call the harp a chordophone. It's stringed and somewhat percussive, but neither orchestra strings nor percussion. When it has to be classified (in instrument books and things), I've seen it as "strings", but never "percussion". If we called it a chordophone, we could put "(string instrument)" in there next to it. This way, I think it would clarify that the harp isn't with the "orchestral strings", but that it's a stringed instrument. --Dreamyshade

Yes, I think that's a good idea. I'll make the change. --Camembert

Many harp makers do electric harps. Did Lyon and Healy develop the first one? If so we should probably note that. If not we really should mention the other folks. --EEMalinoski

Camembert: Perhaps a look at a symphony orchestra is in order. The harp is a member of the percussion family according to their classifications. EEMalinoski: I'm not sure about a Lyon and Healy electric harp, but Camac in France has been making them since at least 1997 if not earlier. Do you have a date for a Lyon and Healy electric harp? Also, Rather than a single line, I've written up a paragraph for the Wire Strung Harp. I am a wire strung harper, myself. --brichard

In a symphony orchestra, the harp is all by itself. Dreamyshade 05:14, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

As the old song says, "*STRIKE* the harp in tones of joy". It never was "plucked". Plucking a harp in fact is bad for your fingers, you still want to strike it, even if you call it plucking. Definitely a "string-percussion" instrument before it got degraded to a glissando machine in the modern orchestra. (actually, I guess "glissando machine" would also count as "percussion".) In the orchestra it is most often grouped with percussion and other odd instruments such as the Celesta. (my 2 cents.) Asni (of (Btw "chordophone" is just Greek for "String Instrument". :-) ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:11, 20 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm reverting the article back to my 16 Dec revision because Purple Arrow's 17 Dec revert doesn't make sense to me. An-gabhar, I moved the early-European information in the Origins section to the Political Symbol section. It was misleading - there isn't one "European" harp - and the information about Irish coinage belonged in the Political Symbol section. Dreamyshade 05:51, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The harp as we know it today most definitely has it's origins in ancient Ireland where there was a great tradition of harping well over 1000 years ago. We just cannot airbrush these origins away and refer to mere political symbols. An-gabhar

Harps date from 5000 years ago, though. The Irish/Celtic harps certainly originated in ancient Ireland, and that's probably where the European harp tradition started. How about a second Origins paragraph like:

The harp probably developed independently in many places. The European harp tradition seems to have originated in ancient Ireland over a thousand years ago.

Later, somebody could add information on the origins of harps in different places. Dreamyshade 22:06, 20 Dec 2004 (UTC)

In this article, the celtic harp is strongly overrepresented. The harp definitely did not originate in Ireland (maybe the European harp did). There are pictures of harps from old Egypt. Harps are widespread in Africa (it is necessary to include more of that in the article). The title of Kubik, Gerhard Zum Verstehen afrikanischer Musik, Aufsätze, Reihe: Ethnologie: Forschung und Wissenschaft, Bd. 7, 2., aktualisierte und ergänzte Auflage, 2004, 448 S., ISBN 3-8258-7800-7 shows a picture with a harp player from the Tassili mountains in the Sahara. This picture has been dated to about 800 - 700 b.C. I don't know if the harp is of Asian or African origin, but it is definitely not a European invention. In Africa, one finds a possible line of development starting with hunting bows used as Musical bows and continuing with Musical bows with resonators (like the Berimbau of Brazil) to bow harps, so the harp might well be of African origin. It might also have been invented in Asia and spread into Africa via Egypt. Nannus 19:50, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Does anyone know of the types of harps that have little or no metal (like copper) on them? I am allergic to Nickel or mixed metals with nickel on them and I wanted to learn how to play the Harp ( had to change my guitar strings because of this and as far as me tuning my own piano: out of the question.) Thanks!

sorry sorry sorry that ended up in the wrong section! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 20 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Krozo 18:53, 12 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Historical fact[edit]

I think this article will clear up a few things about the Irish or Scottish harp origins, Its a historical fact that the Gaels came to Scotland from Ireland in the 4th centuary after the Romans left Britain and both Irish and Scottish cultures (pretty much the same culture if you ask me) have influenced each other, even today. But there were other celtic peopels in present day Scotland too, one of these being the Picts.

In Scotland, the images of triangular harps appeared first about the 9th century, on the east coast, in Pictish stone carvings. Later carvings are found further west, and show a gradual development toward the advanced form of the oldest surviving Gaelic harps, which date from the 15th century.

Pictish harp carved on sandstone cross at Dupplin Castle, Perthshire. Late 9th or early 10th century. After J. Romily Allen, Early Christian Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1903, fig. 334B

"In Ireland, however, images of David carved on the high crosses (10th century) sandstone cross at Durrow Abbey, Co. Offaly, Ireland) show quadrangular instruments, possibly lyres. The earliest Irish images of a triangular harp do not appear until later: in metal, on an 11th century reliquary , and in stone in the 12th century."

Therefore Ireland could not have invented the triangular celtic harp, because of its use of the lyer at this time and its spread through non-Gaelic culture of the Picts to the Scots.

The oldest term in Irish for the Harp is the "cruit", crom-chruit, the gaelic Irish called the Picts the Cruit or Chuid. This also may be a link to the origins of the harp.

Until you come up with (factual) archaeological proof, then stop second guessing. I have asked experts in both the national museums of Scotland and Irelands Trinity college, both say the same. The triangular harp common to both Scotland and Ireland originated with the Picts on present day Scottish east coast and spread west and eventually to Ireland.

You are right though harping has existed in Ireland for over a thousand of years, but the non-pedal, triangular style celtic harp of today originated in scotlands east coast, so we just cannot airbrush these origins away too.

Also read these articles on the web:


If you have anything to add feel free. - User:Celtic harper 16:30, 5 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good post. The Scots don't particularly like it if you associate them with the harp, and the Irish don't like anything Gaelic not being Irish, so that's maybe why you get the hostility. For similar hostility, see Talk:Scotland#The_bloody_harp. - Calgacus 16:51, 6 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A really bad emotional post. I'm English, and a harpist, so no ax to grind! That carving that is being referred to, well it cannot be Pictish inspired. If you look at the bottom of the carving you will see Irish knotwork, also it is a Christian carving, that means the Irish (known as the Scotti) must have converted those that made the carving. Anyway carvings really account for very little. There is much more evidence in Ireland of the harp, and this dates from 600 AD, I really can't put it here, too much space needed. Sea horn 20:26, 12 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doesn't sound like you've got no axe to grind to me."About time Scotland stopped re-inventing history!"; well, you're enititled to your opinion, but revising flawed perspectives is quite a normal and healthy part of any historical debate; just because you don't like it, doesn't mean that everyone else should close their minds. Sorry my friend, it's not a reinvention. And your comments on the Dupplin cross are useless; "Irish knots" as you call them are part of insular art, and are just as likely to have originated amongst the Saxons as the Gaels. The Picts were not just blank receivers, they were one of the most artistically inventive peoples of the insular dark ages, which is why labelling Pictish art as "Hiberno-Saxon" is quite acceptable amongst Irish and English scholars, but seen by Picticists as a joke. It is in fact highly possible, and widely thought amongst scholars that the Picts did invent the clarsach. If you have this 600AD evidence, please post it. BTW, the Irish were Hiberni, not Scoti ... Scotus was a Latin translation of "Gael"/"Goidel", not Eireannach! Common misconception. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) File:UW Logo-secondary.gif 15:46, 13 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't want to get into a debate on so called "Hiberno-Saxon" art, that requires a thesis all of it's own. It's a very convenient term for many purposes. As far as I can see, it is Irish knotwork, and it is a Christian carving. The Gaels were the Irish in the time-frame you mention. You are picking and choosing again, and presenting your own view as fact. Really we could fill up this page and many more with this discussion, and it wouldn't be very fair to the Harp page, or to the 'Harp, talk' page, so I rest my case so that others may contribute. Sea horn 18:31, 13 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, that's up to you. You haven't made any case at all. Gaels were never confined to Ireland in the historical period (and certailnly not AD 800), and in fact the first occurences of the word "Scoti" are in reference to northern Britain; so, maybe you better get your "facts" straight, since you're so concerned with them. As far as you can see the knots are "Irish" - so? What, are we supposed to regard you as an expert on Pictish art? If so, why? Anyways, I'm still waiting for you to present the 600AD evidence you claim exists. It's the only thing you mentioned which might contribute usefully to the discussion; so please post it. Maybe after you do that, you might have a case to rest, rather than an end to a series of nonsensical whinges such as "About time Scotland stopped re-inventing history!". - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) File:UW Logo-secondary.gif 18:36, 13 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Firstly, I am not claiming that the first triangular harps were produced in Ireland, even the most enthusiastic Irish writers won't claim that, they are not as arrogant as that. That been said, the first historic evidence of the triangular harp comes from Babylonia, where one was found in circa 1920, and a very nice looking harp indeed. It dates from about 2500 BC. Other figures with triangular harps have be found in the Cycledes islands near Crete, these date from about 2500 BC. I have the photographs of these items, but I believe they are copyright, so I cannot post here.Sea horn 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says, David played a ne'vel (a type of string instrument) which was identified with a lyre. Is this a mistake? Since most scholars identified David as playing, the lyre-like Kinnor (Kin-nohr'). See: wiki: kinnor ([3]) ([]) "In about half of the 42 occurrences of kin·nohr′ in the Bible, the translators of the Septuagint rendered it by the Greek ki·tha′ra." - Insight on the scriptures, volume two, harp.--Anaccuratesource (talk) 22:22, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Let's get something clear, the Dupplin cross is not the only Pictish representation of the clarsach. It is depicted on many Pictish stones, the dating of some perhaps very early. This clarsach was part of Pictish musical culture, and there is no reason to think they imported it from the Irish or Scottish Gaels, other than later affinity that the Irish have for this harp. The NPOV assessment is that the Picts had the clarsach, others had it too. Linking these by cause and effect is purely speculative, although it is interesting that the earliest Gaelic word for the harp is almost identical for their word for a Pict. Also, it should be made clear that the Picts were probably making use of the Gaelic language from an early date (the evidence that the Pictish kings spoke Pictish is nil BTW). The inscription on the Dupplin cross lists the name of a Pictish king (Causantín mac Fergusa) in Latin with Gaelic orthography; two languages were used in Pictland to write inscriptions, Latin and Old "Irish". So the potential for transmission was high. Irish sources also list something called the "Pictish metre", a poetic form of Gaelic originating in Pictland which was probably accompanied by a musical instrument. The form was notable, and it is possible that it came into Irelan with the clarsach ... but like I said, this is speculation. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) File:UW Logo-secondary.gif 16:22, 13 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To clear things up, pedal harps are not necessarily concert harps for example a Salvi Daphne, which is a student harp, so I tried to reword some things in that area. Also, where it mentions fingers used, I changed "last finger" to "pinky" because not everyone's last finger is a pinky. Last, I added Cindy Horstman and Ray Poole under the list of jazz harpists. They're both insanely talented and I'm way jealous!Elevenfans (talk) 03:37, 31 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Harp discussion is not a nationalistic rant![edit]

Firstly, Sea Horn this page is for intelectual discussion only, and is not skewed for nationalistic reasons, ranting, or sword waving. It is you who has put this label on the posts, so I take great offence to this.

Im saying this as an Irishman born in Northern Ireland of Scottish and Irish (Donegal) extraction and I’m very proud of both sides of my heritage (which is both sides of the devide). So with that in mind please get your facts right before you point the finger of malcontent at me. My post was emotional because someone (perhapse you?) delieted my findings on the talk harp page, not once but six+ times. So much I complained to the wikipedia main page and posted my findings on the talk harp page to at least discuss them.

Secondly, I approve of credible empiricle data, facts speak louder than conjecture and second guessing, therefore I will answer your post, with facts in mind, and not with anyother agenda, and will comment if certain facts are misinterperated. I have found from credible sources backed up with pictorial data.

The point we’re getting at is that not all celtic culture should have exclusively come from Ireland. That type of thinking is demeaning to the modern welsh, the decedents of the Picts on the east coast of Scotland, and the ancient (Brythons and Picts, who have no voice to defend themselves). My bias is purly in favour of the Picts and not the Gaels (who include the Scots the Irish and myself).

Sea Horn wrote on the 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC) “The first historic evidence of the triangular harp comes from Babylonia, where one was found in circa 1920, and a very nice looking harp indeed.”

The Babylonian harp you speak of is displayed in (metropolitan museum in New York cc1920), it is squarer in shape and not characteristically Celtic in design. The Babylonian and Greek harps are actually classified as lyre harps or "lyres". These are vertical harps with 2 arms or more arms and began appearing in ancient Sumaria/Babylonia by 2800 BC. They are not Clarsach in shape and is more like a lyre. Therefore your reference here is obsolete.

Sea Horn wrote on the 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC) “Regarding Irish harps, Heccataius, a Greek geographer describes singers in Ireland accompanied by stringed instruments which appear to be harps. These instruments used a scale, and instead of letters, the different notes were named after trees, that was 500 BC.”

Yes, the primitive Celts in Ireland seemed to be very musical as seen from the writings of Hecataeus, an Egyptian historian who lived about 500 B. C. Although his actual witnessing of the events are sheer conjecture, and second guessing at best. Of Ireland he also writes;

" There is a city, whose citizens are most of them harpers, who, playing upon the harp, chant sacred hymns to Apollo in the temple."

Archaeologically there is no evidence of a city in Ireland at that time or for that matter to suggest a temple to Apollo is flippant. He states that the instruments appear to be harps although the instruments he was used to were lyres and not clairsach’s as the celtic harp was not yet invented.

Sea Horn wrote on the 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC) The "Clairseach", was in common usage, it had 29 to 60 strings, with about 30 being the most common and they had fasteners called "ceis", for easy scale change. In 612, St. Gall's school of music was founded by the Irish harper Cellagh.

The first use of the word Clairsach in Scottish and Irish documents are from the 10th centaury till the 19th centaury. The document he states as having the word Clairsach in the 600's must have been translated wrongly. The Irish harper Cellagh is taken from the Irish myth cycles etc, and should be treated as such. Again these documents were translated in the 15th century when the clairsach in its modern definition was in use and would have had 30 strings. So I don't think you've done your research.

Sea Horn wrote on the 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC) “There are numerous references to harps and harpers in the "Annals of Ulster", and these go way back beyond our timeframe. In the year 544 a meeting of harpers is recounted in the Din Seangus. Circa 600 AD”

Compilation of the chronicle now known as the 'ANNALS OF ULSTER' (which covers the period 431-1540) was begun in the late fifteenth century, under the direction of one Cathal Óg Mac Maghnusa, who died of smallpox in 1498. Up to 1489, the original compilation was the work of a single scribe - Ruaidhri Ó Luinín. Other hands have made additions in margins and spaces. Sourced from (Daniel P. Mc Carthy, Trinity College, Dublin)

Therefore the usage of the term Clairsach is obsolite because of its translation in 1489 A.D. The data is flawed due to contamination and bias towards the Celtic harp of the time, and is no indication of the instrument they used. Later carvings do show a Lyer and no Clairsach untill the 11.00's.

Sea Horn wrote on the 01:19, 14 February 2006 (UTC) If Christianity took 800 years to reach the Picts, surly the harp didn't take 4000 years.

After the fifth century, most Picts converted to Christianity, and most of their carvings reflect this change; many of the so-called "Celtic" crosses dotting Scotland are in fact Pictish stones. They were not immune to the Christian pill so to speak, as their southern Brythonic neighbors in Strathclyde were already becoming Christian at this time. The earliest Brythonic language reference dates from just before St Augustine set foot on Britain, and the poems of Aneirin's “Y Gododdin” (in present day Edinburgh) bear testimony to the fact that Christianity was by then long established amongst the native British celts.

Although Columba gets the lion’s share of credit for bringing Christianity to Scots, there were missionaries before him. The first known bringer of the Christian Faith to Scotland was St. Ninian. Like Patrick, he was originally a Briton, who dedicated a church at Whithorn in 397, which is increasingly regarded as the cradle of Scottish Christianity.

And lastly if the old Irish word for the harp was the Cruit then why did the Gaels deem it necessary to call the Picts by this. In short its definition of their race or a cultural aspect to describe these non-Gaels. - User:Celtic harper 12:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basically, all you have is the Dupplin cross dating from about 830 AD. The cross until lately was classed as a Gaelic cross, and it carries obvious gaelic design. Then recently, maybe for nationalistic reasons, some are classing it as a Pictish carving, but not all Scots agree with that analysis. Very often the 'Dupplin harp' carving is pictorially misrepresented in drawings. My basic premise is that the triangular harp was not first used by the Picts, (who left no language or history), but originated in Mediterranean area and Middle East. Later, I believe that the harp was brought to Alba (now Scotland), by Gael (Irish) settlers in the first millenium AD. A bit more expertise needed, and a little less rant please!---Sea horn 13:06, 15 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you didn’t second guessing then I would not feel it necessary to rant. The proof you have given is inconclusive. Celtic knot work is not exclusively Irish as seen in the Sutton Hoo treasure hoard and was noted by Calgacus. You talk about the Dupplin cross 830 AD being the only evidence we have. This is interesting, as any Irish stone pictorial evidence dates from the 9th to 10th centuaries. The later stones show an east/west migration from a non-Gaelic society to a Gaeltachta.

The so called written proof you have given is flawed by translations, second guessing and similar cultural biases. As Calgacus said you haven’t made a case at all, and you are bias towards the archaeological data,and blinded by your own nationalistic reasons. Yes, harping did exist in ancient Ireland. I have never disputed this. But the celtic harp may not have originated from there. Irish evidence be it pictorial or from written sources is so far inconclusive, and is post Pictish in nature. Your argument towards the Pictish stones being of Gaelic origins are insulting to the carvers as the ancient Picts were masters of stone carving, which is evident by the Brochs and Neolithic settlements so far discovered.

Not only did the Picts have to deal with the Romans, they also had their homelands taken away by the Irish Gaels, seeking lands beyond their own. So not all interactions were peaceful. Influence is a two way process good or bad. I’ll leave out the ranting if you drop the hostility towards anything celtic which is non-Gaelic in culture. User:Celtic harper 18:00, 15 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I broadly agree with Sea_horn's analysis concerning the triangular harp. The 'Dupplin harp' is not a true triangular harp, it is really more bow shaped and lacks the T-pillar of the modern triangular harp. These harps were common in the middle east thousands of years ago. The 'Maedoc harp', Ireland Circa 1050 AD, complete with T-pillar, is really the first true representation of the triangular harp as we know it today, and obviously survived because of it's metal construct. Bluegold 13:06, 17 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to disagree with both of you;

Really to be fair the celtic harp belongs to both the Irish and the Scots or the Picts, regardless of who had it first, as they are Gaels and celts. Because we have never physically seen one of these (8th, 9th and 10th) centaury harps, all we can do is speculate on an instrument that has evolved from ancient times. It’s all down to the original artists interpretation/skill etc in carving the monument in stone or later in metal.

Sea horn, saying that the Scots are trying to take the celtic harp for themselves or their own nationalistic tendencies is bordering on the ridiculous. The celtic harp was the national symbol of Scotland from ancient times to the 16th centaury. So even if they wanted to claim the harp back as their own they can. As for the harp being exclusively Irish, well its still the welsh national instrument too.

Considering that the Pictish carving and the metal Irish one is separated by 300 years and that thin metal work is a lot easier to carve than a huge block of stone your argument for the T-piller is inconclusive. The pictish carving could have had a T-pillar and the artist wasn’t that good, or the Irish artist was better at his metal carving.

As an afterthought, the Babylonian harps are not classified as true harps, but harp lyres. As far as I can find the Pictish instrument is classified as a triangular harp. Until you all hunt in a bog for an original instrument the juries well and truly out. whats all the fuss 19:01, 17 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The harp was a symbol of the ascendancy of the Gaelic/Irish language and culture in Alba (now Scotland), and the end of Pictish dominated influence. But the Dupplin cross could be said to mark the beginning of a new Scotland as we know it today.-Bluegold 14:27, 20 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have deleated some of my content as Calgacus insists on editing his former postings.Sea horn 03:06, 25 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What are you talking about?! I've been on wikibreak and have never re-edited my former posts! All you've done is edit out the stuff you probably now realize to be blatant nonsense. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 12:32, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Harp discussion is not a nationalistic rant![edit]

  • There are 10 depictions of Pictish harps; there are thirteen depictions of harp from Pictish-era Scotland (one from Ayrshire, and 2 in Dalriada). The harps depicted in Pictland are unique, and do not look like those depicted in later medieval Scotland or Ireland (they lack the characteristic bump). (Alasdair Ross, "Pictish Chordophone Depictions", in Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies, 36, 1998, esp. p. 41)
  • Although there are more stringed instruments depicted on Irish stones than Pictish stones in this period, there are no triangular stringed instruments depicted on any Irish stone. (Joan Rimmer, The Irish Harp, (Cork, 1969) p. 17)
  • Until the 15th century, the usual Gaelic word for harp was Cruit, meaning "a Pictish thing" (Ross, p. 39)
  • Byzantine, Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic origins have all been suggested for the Pictish harp, it is notable that Pictish harp depictions are at least 200 years older than any other European depiction of a triangular instrument. (Ross, p. 38; John Bannerman, "The Clarsach and Clarsair", in Scottish Studies, 30, 1991, pp. 1-17)
  • Three medieval Gaelic harps survive; two of them come from northern Britain; moreover, there were many "Scoto-English" harpists in the later middle ages/early modern era (e.g. "Pate Harpar Clarsha", an early modern english speaking scottish harpist (Ross, p. 38-9))
  • Attributing Pictish origins to the Gaelic harp is very common in historiography; the editors here who wish to edit in this information are in no way indulging in revisionism. Ignorance of this historiograpy is the main reason for the tension here.
  • Lastly, no Picts exist today, or have done for more than a millenium. The modern Scots trace their origins from the Gaels of Dalriada (whom many people, for their own reasons, like to call "Irish" despite the fact that all contemporary sources never call them that, and neither do modern Gaels - Scottish or Irish), so who exactly is influenced by Pictish nationalism is beyond me. This discussion seems to me another example of the common wikipedia phenomenon by which the most nationalistic editors like to label all other opinions "nationalism", an understandable argumentative tactic, but not a very helpful one.

- Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 13:04, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Babylonian harp discovered by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s. Dated circa 2500 BC

Here is an actual photograph of a Babylonian harp discovered by Leonard Wooley circa 1920. This is a triangular harp and it dates from about 4500 years ago. Oh Calgacus, you do rant ever so much about the Picts (who left no history or language), you are so selective in what you want to believe, and you are stating those beliefs as facts. By the way, I am English. You seem to have a hang up about Scotlands Irish roots. There is the evidence! Now, what do you say to that? Will you rubbish the evidence again? Sea horn 20:44, 1 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no problem with the "Irish" (i.e. Gaelic) roots of Scotland, esp. as I am myself partly Irish and from the traditional "Irish" part of Scotland; the fact that you interpret my relaying of evidence presented by other historians as hostility to "Irish" roots raises real questions about your sincerity as an objective contributor to the thread (ignoring your lies about me editing above). Having the same access as you to this page, I'm well aware that harps existed before the Picts. But according to the Ross article, no harp is attested between 400 BC and the appearance of Pictish harps in the early middle ages. You have to admit, taking stone evidence alone is suggesting that the Picts did have the harp before the Irish or Scottish Gaels; that's just the evidence I'm afraid. I didn't manufacture the evidence. Of course there is loads of room for doubt about the conclusion that the Picts gave the Gaels their clarsach, and I myself am reserved; stone evidence merely reflects what the sculptures and their patrons decided to put on the stones, and it is notable that on most of those Pictish stones with the harp on it there is Davidian kingship imagery. I don't know what that means, but maybe if Irish patrons were pursuing the same goal they would have put in a harpist; who knows. But the evidence is what it is. If you really believe that all claims that the Picts gave the Gaels the harp is anti-Irishness, then send an email to historians such as John Bannerman, and tell them your thoughts. If not, calm down, be nice, and give people the benefit of the doubt; if you do that, you'll have a more sophisticated idea of what is actually going on in this discussion, and maybe you'll even concede that the Pictish theory has something going for it, other than appeasing the nationalism of a dead people. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 13:57, 2 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no problem with your view of history, that's up to you. I wrote, and this is my belief from some years of reading on this matter, that the triangular harp came from the Middle East to Ireland by at least 500 AD, or even by 500 BC, and later it came to Scotland with the Gaels. If I have any problem about what you wrote, it is this. You rubbished almost everything I wrote, you denied that a Babylonian triangular existed and you used some of what I wrote, to my horror, to make an attack on the history of another country. I see you didn't address the Babylonian triangular harp in your last issue. Sea horn 17:53, 2 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm sorry Sea Horn, you're the one who brought up the Babylonian harp. You seem to think I denied its existence; in which case, read what I've written, and you'll see that I didn't. Why don't you stick to the things I actually say, rather than the things you invent for me to say. BTW, I attacked the history of no country. This is another one of your convenient inventions. You're entitled to your beliefs and all, but that ain't good enough for wikipedia. Men like Ross and Bannerman have done more work on the subject than you, and are professional historians who have possessed academic salaries for years, and in the case of Bannerman, is one of the most highly respected men in his field. Anyways, even if you're correct that the harp spread to Ireland from Mesopotamia, it still has to come via Britain, as indeed does everything else (coming via Spain is the product of medieval beliefs that Ireland was close to Spain; but in fact it isn't, the sea route is far too treacherous, and all recorded Irish travellers from the Middle Ages reach the continent via Britain); the two easiest sailing between Britain and Ireland are the Rhinns of Galloway and Argyll, both in Scotland (examine the travels of St Malachy and the Papal legate, who reach the continent, or Ireland from the continent, via Galloway). In any case, your theory flies against the sculptural evidence and indeed literary evidence. The only way to get around it is by Gaelicizing the Picts at an early date, which is arguable; but it still doesn't explain the idea that Ireland must have possessed it before the Picts. True Ireland is later associated with the harp, but that accounts for nothing except later history. If you're going only on evidence, the Picts seem to have had it earlier. This doesn't mean they actually did have it earlier, but it does mean that one has to come up with some good reasoning as to why the Irish might have had it earlier. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:11, 2 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aliases have been used. Sea horn 03:00, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please explain. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:36, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Both of you:

Stop hand.svg

Please see Wikipedia's no personal attacks policy: There is no excuse for personal attacks on other contributors. Do not make them. Comment on content, not on the contributor; personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Note that you may be blocked for disruption. Please stay cool and keep this in mind while editing. Thanks, please keep the discussion civil. --Craig Stuntz 12:56, 2 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First and foremost empirical data is important here, as suggested by the mediator from wikipedia. If there were Irish stones pre 9th centaury with triangular harp reliefs, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Notice I use the word discussion, and I would be fiercely defending the Irish position or another carving for that matter.

Sea horn, your pictorial data for the triangular harp, is somewhat different from the one I have found, one with Sir. Leonard Woolley holding the instrument. Although when I say holding I do mean it in the (broadest possible sense). What he is holding is a plaster cast of a harp/lyre or as its more commonly known “the Harp of Ur, although it is more commonly called a lyre. The original harp/lyre rotted away some millennia ago, so it’s not the original instrument and Sir Leonard Woolley poured plaster of Paris into the imprint.

Your picture omits the characteristic sound box with distinct calf/bull decoration. In this picture the instrument does have this relief. So baring that in mind, the picture I have here is the original interpretation Sir. Leonard Woolley found.

If the picture fails to load or is too small, click on this link at your perusal; Calgacus if you could load this picture I’d be grateful as I’m not that good with computers.

The harp/lyre clearly shows a sound box and four distorted arms, this instrument is classified as a lyre because it’s not triangular in shape. The confusion arises (as far as I can see), when people look at the instrument and include the supporting pillar as part of the soundbox. The wood must have warped over time and the plaster poured into the hole. A true harp would never have this.

Other types of vague triangular shaped harp/lyres have existed, although these can’t be classified as a true triangular harps in the celtic or concert examples we have today. For more information look at;

They were played on the knee or held and strummed with the fingers. The Irish instruments up till the 11th century show this style of instrument. The Pictish instrument is much different; it stretches from the player’s ear directly to the floor, with the strings running vertical and the soundbox running the full length of the harp, from ear to floor. This is more characteristic of the celtic harp of today, than the harp of Ur or the Irish reliefs.

Yes triangular "of sort" harp/lyres have existed, I don’t dispute this I welcome this evidence. But the Pictish instrument is quite different. If my data is wrong then we’ll discuss the evidence.

Lastly, I value your comments positive or negative in this discussion, but bear in mind keep this conversation clean and we all can discuss the data as an intellectual rather than a nationalistic, demeaning, or confrontational manner. Celtic harper 09:53, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you Celtic Harper, you prove my point! Sea horn 17:33, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No, I disagree with your analysis.

The Greek harp/lyre is not a true harp, that’s my point. I added it so I could show you where your confusion lies. Its rounded chest shape at best, triangular of sorts but not a true harp.

As I have said before; “One of the key points of the Pictish harp is the sound box runs the full length of the instrument and that the strings diminish in size and increase in tone up the scale of the instrument. It is more characteristic of the modern clairsach and concert harp. It is the first instrument with a T-pillar. This is why its distinguished from lyres and harp/lyres, and is the oldest credible record in existence.”

The Greek instrument has none of this. Its strings are all the same length and at best it has a strumming sound. All I have proven is that a triangular lyre or harp/lyre existed in antiquity. It is about as far removed from a clairsach as you can get. As for the argument for the lyre of Ur as proof, it’s a plaster cast of a bent lyre. Its box shaped, the reconstruction by academics has proves this.

Celtic harper 11:00, 3 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Even though Sir Leonard's harp is a cast of the imprint of the original, it is still better a representation of the subject than a stone carving that came 3000 years later. The basic crux is whether the Dupplin carving is Pictish, as is claimed in the main article. Then same article was stating that the harp later moved westwards to the Gaels. History until recently had it that Ken MacAlpine commissioned the Dupplin cross. Well he was a Gael, so that makes the Dupplin cross a Gaelic carving. The Clonmacnoise carving would predate the Dupplin cross carving by 150 years. Although the carving is very weather-beaten, it certainly doesn't represent anything square and it appears to be triangular in shape. Back to square one, or should it be triangle one! Really this debate should have a special page! Sea horn 01:15, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sea horn mate, the Dupplin Cross is but one of more than a dozen northern British depictions. I've told you this before! BTW, I'm still waiting for you to explain your statement "Aliases have been used". - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 01:58, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually King Kennith MacAlpie, was of both Scots and Pictish ancestry. His control of the Picts may have been aided by the ancient law of matrilinier succession through which he had reason to challenge for the Pictish Crown.

“Sir Leonard's harp is a cast of the imprint of the original, it is still better a representation of the subject than a stone carving that came 3000 years later.”

Yeah right! A stone carving won’t warp or rot away. The simple matter of the argument is that this cross pre dates anythin that can be found in Ireland. As for the argument anbout the the Clonmacnoise cross, it’s a lyre just like the Greek one I included. Triangular or otherwise.

Yes we are back to square one or be it a triangular one and my original point. The first true representation of a celtic harp originated in the picts and not with the Gaels.

Celtic harper 12:00, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can I just take this opportunity to repeat, the Dupplin Harp is not the only nor even the major Pictish depiction of a harp. There are nearly a dozen depictions of the Pictish harp (Monifieth and Aldbar are two other famous depictions). Would anyone like me to post a list? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 15:44, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You just don't get it guys. The triangular harp came from the Middle East, and that's now proven photo of the Babylonian harp. I have rarely come across such nationalistic arrogance. Highland Scottish and Pictish culture enthusiasts have to do some serious reflection on the origin of Highland Scottish tradition. Trevor Roper in his research suggests that the Highlands of Scotland were culturally deprived, and that the literature of the Highland Scot was a crude echo of the Irish literature. Trevor Roper claims also that the bards of the Scottish chieftains came from Ireland, and that the Scottish bards were the "rubbish of Ireland" who were periodically cleared from Ireland and deposited in that convenient wasteland, Scotland. Also, according to Trevor Roper, while Ireland remained culturally an historic nation, Scotland developed, at best, as its poor sister. He further claims that Scotland did not develop an independent Scottish tradition. (Roper, pp. 271 - 293.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Personal attacks on other commentators do not help your case. --Craig Stuntz 02:10, 5 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lets just pause for a second and admire the works of the great Oxford don, Hugh Trevor Roper. His article reports on Scotland after the reformation and discusses about the fabrication of writers in the 1800s to claim Gaelic culture all to its own. Such authors have been disproved and no historian takes them on fact. We have never said this. We argue that not all celtic culture could possibly have come from Ireland, just because you think this to be the case unknown poster!

Roper has an axe to grind, but his comments are irelevent to this discussion. Oh yes, he’s also the man who authenticated the 60 volumes of Hitlers fake diries, lol. . . enough said!

Celtic harper 12:00, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]'s comments are the only kind of nationalism actually displayed in this thread. It's a case of nationalists accusing everyone else of nationalism in order to be nationalistic themselves. As to Roper, the article referred to is notorious in Scottish historiography, and no professional historian takes Roper's comments seriously. Roper was the kind of guy who liked the anti-Celtic racism of guys like John Pinkerton; and, once again, calling the Scots "Irish" because they spoke Gaelic dialects is like calling Czechs "Poles" because they speak western Slavic dialects. Anyone who does it is either trying to knock Scottish nationality or promote Irish nationalistic sentiments. Gaels - Scottish or Irish - call and always have called their language "Gaelic", never "Irish"; medieval Gaels used the term lingua Scotica (Gaelic language) for the Gaelic language, never lingua Hibernica (Irish language). - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:28, 5 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Really, I don't know what Roper has to do with the origins of the harp, all I'm saying is that the first triangular harp is a Babylonian harp, and thats it, period. Also, I don't know why Ireland is brought so much into the discussion. Everytime I mention the Middle East, the response is continously about Ireland. Sea horn 19:40, 5 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sea horn you wrote

“My basic premise is that the triangular harp was not first used by the Picts, (who left no language or history), but originated in Mediterranean area and Middle East. Later, I believe that the harp was brought to Alba (now Scotland), by Gael (Irish) settlers in the first millenium AD.”

The main point of my first posting, was to examine the data from the pictorial evidence in the British isles and Ireland. The Pictish harp as far as I can see is unique different from the lyres and harp/lyers that come from Europe, the Middle East or anywhere else. These harp/lyres (including the babylonian harp/lyre) are not classified as a true harps (in the modern or clarsach definition). If a triangular lyre/harp did come from Babylon then it must have moved through the Greek and Roman empire. The Pictish design is radical and fundamentally different from anything before, and is a bench mark.

The main crux of the argument with ireland is that people assume the celtic harp originated there, because its a nationalistic symbol and I do see why some feathers are being ruffled in this “talk harp” page. The harp is a symbol and means a lot to many people.

As for the Gaels bringing the lyre to Alba, and the Picts. The Romans could have brought the lyre to Britain. It is quite possible that the Roman lyre, was transformed into the unique Pictish harp due to the trade that existed between the Britons and Picts north of Hadrians wall. The Pictish harp is different form anything else and is unique.

Sorry to strike your sig but (1) the date was wrong and (2) you weren't signed in so there's no way to prove who wrote it. Please sign in using the link at the upper-right corner of the page and then add four tildes (~) at the end of your comments to sign the post. Note that there is a "signature" button on the toolbar above the editor which will do this for you if you click it. --Craig Stuntz 13:34, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry I forgot my password and have signed in here to varify my post. Celtic Harper 23:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe that the big problem with this page is the lack of Irish imput, 'Celtic Harper' and 'Calgacus' have a very strong Scottish POV. As for myself, my grandmother is a McDonald, whether of Irish or Scottish origin I do not know, so there is Gael blood flowing through my veins too, therefore I may also be biased, and one could accuse me of having a Gaelic POV. Celtic Harper, in your last addition, you assume that the only connection these isles had with the Middle East was through the Roman invasion, well that's not so. Have you studied history? Also, the Clonmacnoise carving predates the Gael/Pictish carving by 150 years, and all of your theories are based on the Gael/Pictish carving. So you talk quite a lot about possibilities, but you dismiss other possibilities and evidence quite offhandedly. Sea horn 14:45, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I disagree. The standard for inclusion in Wikipedia articles is not factuality but verifiability. It may be true that the world will end tomorrow but if you can't cite reliable sources for the claim then you can't put it in an article. Hence, it doesn't really matter if individual contributors have a nationalistic point of view (and it is in my opinion a personal attack to state that they write what they do because of nationalism; you don't know what is inside their heads). Instead, what matters is the ability to cite sources. The ability to cite evidence without non-primary sources is simply not relevant to Wikipedia due to the no original research policy. It is important to keep in mind that we are writing an encyclopedia here, not conducting academic research for a journal.
On another subject, it's close to indisputable that Ireland has almost 1000 years of "celtic" harp history (well, 800 if you discount the late 1700s through the mid 1900s...) and some of this is quite well documented, especially in contrast to the Picts! There's plenty of verifiable, Irish-themed material worthy of inclusion in the article. --Craig Stuntz 15:59, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sea Horn you say that their is not a lot of Irish posting here. As I have said before, I am Irish and have Scottish blood, I am also Gael, as all my surnames are of Irish and Scottish origin. I dont see your point at all.

Celtic Harper 23:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feel free to look at this for a true definition on the Clonmacnoise instrument and as I have said before it is not a true harp.

Harbison, P. (1992) The High Crosses of Ireland, An Iconographic and Photographic survey, 3 volumes, Bonn: RGZM.

Harbison1992, 4, argues that the reference to a High Cross at Clonmacnoise is a reference to this cross carving S2 - David playing his lyre.

Alasdair Ross 'Harps of Their Owne Sorte'? A Reassessment of Pictish Chordophone Depictions "Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies" 36, Winter 1998.

“Many of the stones show various type of lyre, e.g the one shown here from Clonmacnoise. These instruments are not harps; they have a flat sound box with a bridge and tailpiece to hold the strings, like on a fiddle, but instead of the fiddle's neck and fingerboard they have two arms holding a yoke which supports the strings. This type of lyre is relatively well known at this early period from many parts of northern Europe. There are even some surviving remains of instruments from the 6th and 7th centuries, found in royal burials in England and on the continent, e.g. the remains from Sutton Hoo and Prittlewell .”

Graeme Lawson, An Anglo-Saxon harp and lyre of the ninth century, in "Music and Tradition", ed. Widdes and Wolpert, Cambridge 1991,

“However lyres are very different instrument from harps, and it is unlikely that triangular harps evolved out of these lyres.”

Graeme Lawson and Alasdair Ross, argue that such instruments as depicted on the Clonmacnoise and the Sutton hoo examples, could not have evolved into the Celtic harps. The Clonmacnoise carving you state so fiercely as direct evidence, would be the "round topped" type of lyre and according to these academics, the triangular harp could not have evolved from them.

Celtic Harper 17:40, 8 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From one crazy Scotsman to another. Hey Calgacus, I see you have a history of attacking this page. Was not The Dagda an old Pictish god in ancient Ireland. Surely that would support your passionate theory that the Picts invented the triangular harp, and did you know that Ireland had Picts too. Also, the ancient name in old Gaelic Ireland for a lyre was Cruit, please check your history. ..MacPhersonAndy 03:25, 24 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey, this made me laugh lots. Thanks. Your rude rant would have worked much better if you had known what you were talking about. Firstly, theory is not mine, it is a standard academic belief. Many people here, for whatever reason, have tried to portray it as revisionist, but it's actually quite orthodox. Secondly, Cruit was the name for a harp, and if you doubt that, you should publish an article about it, coz medieval Gaelic spezialists are under this impression. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 09:57, 24 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don’t really think Calgacus is attacking this page at all. His passionate theory as you say is actually backed up by empirical data and current theory surrounding the origins of the celtic harp. Experts say no triangular harp can be found in pre-10th century Ireland or the Gaels of Scotland for that matter. The evidence of the Dagda having the harp in written record is no clear indication of the type of instrument used. The common misconception is that just because the written record states a harp, doesn’t really mean that the harp was a triangular harp.

Roslyn Rench, The Harp (1969): Its History, Technique and Repertoire. Garden city press Ltd. Letchworth marked, Hertfordshire, UK.

“Lyres are often confused with harps in literature. The word psaltery, lyre and harp are often confused with one another and both come from the word to pluck a stringed instrument. The best we can hope to do then is note what instruments are depicted in their art and ignore the written record.”

She also states that the appearance of a column made the advent of the modern harp first appeared in Ross, Scotland in the 8th century.

Written records are not clear enough, they are not accurate and do not depict the instrument used. That’s why the experts don’t take the Irish myth cycles seriously as the data is flawed. Furthermore there are no harp depictions in Ireland till the 10th century.

Stokes (1954): Music and letters. Vol 35, No4 (p287- 293).Oxford University Press. Quote:

“Among the ancient Gaels were musical composers called bards, who accompanied their own singing on lyres.”

J.Keay & Julia Keay. (2000): Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland, Clarsach, p171. Harper Collins publishers. Quote: “The earliest descriptions of a triangular framed harp i.e. harps with a fore pillar are found on 8th century Pictish stones. Pictish harps were strung from horsehair. The instruments apparently spread south to the Anglo Saxons who commonly used gut strings and then west to the Gaels of the Highlands and to Ireland. The first credible written record of the word Clarsach or (Clar Shioleach) willow board, first appears in the writings of Giolla Brighde Albanach a Scottish bard who lived in the 11th century.”

It appears that the Irish and Scottish Gaels used the lyre and that the Pictish harp spread to them. I agree with you though, the ancient name in old Gaelic for a lyre was Cruit, but you forgot to mention that the Old Irish Gaelic for Clarsach was also Cruit.

Celtic Harper 20:00, 24 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To use a coined phrase, don't know what all the fuss is about. Whether the harp be triangular, quadrangular or polyangular, unlike Scotland, Ireland's place in early harp music is very well documented. No, I am not going to do the thesis here! Overall the page regarding same is about right. Unfortunately from the early medieval period there are no Scottish descriptions to say what the harps depicted in sculpture were actually like. Let's not get too national! MacPhersonAndy 18:10, 27 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I really had to laugh here; again the question of nationality rears its head more times than Freddy Kruger! Academics agree that the lyre was well established in Ireland but the harp was not. As Calgacus says this train of thought is quite orthodox and excepted and is backed up with archaeological data. The shape of an instrument be it triangular, quadrangular or polyangular is actually very important. Academics agree harp in Irish literature is well documented but just how serious we can take this, as a credible empirical source is a different matter. As for Scotland claiming the celtic harp, that’s just laughable. The matter of the Scots not having a description to say what the harps depicted in sculpture were actually like, well the Picts did some three hundred years before and its even noted that they used gut strings. Really what IS all the fuss here? The Gaels i.e. Irish (including myself) and the Scots (including yourself) lose out on this argument. The tradition of modern playing of the Clairsach may well have originated with the Gaels, but sadly the innovation of the instrument didn’t. Celtic Harper 23:00, 27 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Citations, citations, citations please, there are so many books knocking about, half of them not worth quoting let alone reading. Many experts belive that the pictish carvings are just copied from old psalter pages, if you check carefully into those carvings, you will see the strings are set in the wrong alignment to be called harp. Yo dismiss Irish sources (who you claim to be?), but Scotland does rely on Irish sources for much of it's ancient history, we seem to have no problem with those sources when it suits. Basically, it cuts both ways. MacPhersonAndy 00:29, 28 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I really had to laugh at the citations, citations, citations bit. That’s what wikipedias all about, credible empirical data. The experts agree that the Picts innovated the triangular harp as they have studied this field for many years. I have dismissed the Irish sources because the experts in this field do and there is no credible archaeological data. Oh, I don’t have to prove to you that I’m Irish, I know I am. I take it on face value that you claim to be Scottish regardless of your views. As for the “so many books knocking about and half of them not worth quoting let alone reading” bit. Well you seem to have no problem with those sources when it suits. To cut to the chase the empirical data backs up my point. Celtic Harper 20:00, 28 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My reason for referring to your identity, actually I had a great laugh: on looking through the past history of this page it strikes me that Celtic Harper, and are the one and the same person, namely you. Those two IP addresses have edited the Celtic Harper content on more than a couple of occasions, without any objections from Celtic Harper. Things don't square! (sorry to use the pun), credible??? Interesting history, well, that is what I was referring to? BTW I'm a Gael. MacPhersonAndy 02:27, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey guys, this is not a forum! An-gabhar 18:30, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That last comment MacPherson really had me laughing. Actually if youd read the post I said; "Sorry I forgot my password and have signed in here to varify my post. Celtic Harper 23:00, 7 March 2006 (UTC)" I lost my password and had to log in with a different address. No cloak and dagger tactics here mate!! LOL. Celtic Harper 20:00, 28 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No cloak and dagger tactics here mate!! Maybe, but a one agenda wikipedian, and a touch of misinformation in some of your other edits, let others decide your credibility! MacPhersonAndy 17:32, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're so full of it, Andy. You obviously have some problem with the views expressed, and I see you've not participated at all in the discussion, you've just ridden on in mouthing it off and BS-ing. There's some serious POV-pushing going on in this article, accompanied by slanderous and baseless accussations of nationalism. As is typical in such cases, it's those who really POV push that accuse others of being POV. Why don't you just cut the BS, and deal with the facts. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:45, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tosh! -MacPhersonAndy 17:55, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see your continuing your history of helpful contributions Andy. Are you actually gonna contribute anything, or continue your rant of useless verbiage, ad hominem attacks and unexplained reverts? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm, not gonna continue this article's revert warring. Myself, Celtic Harper and a few others have shown why blanket statement's about an Irish origin for the Celtic harp are not supported by evidence. At the very least, the article should be balanced. The statement "The European harp tradition seems to have originated in ancient Ireland over a thousand years ago. In Irish mythology, a magical harp, Daurdabla is possessed by The Dagda." is the main culprit, but the referenced section about the possible Pictish origins below contradicts this. I deleted this controversial section, but others like to reinstall it. The article is POV and biased. The tag is replacing the revert warring. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 17:50, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More Tosh! I have no input into the Harp page, much of it is yours! -MacPhersonAndy 17:55, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see your continuing your history of helpful contributions Andy. Are you actually gonna contribute anything, or continue your rant of useless verbiage, ad hominem attacks and unexplained reverts? - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:10, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's you who is reverting, not me. MacPhersonAndy 18:19, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oh really, well check the edit history; then come back and tell everyone you weren't being truthful. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 18:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, I kept something in that you deleted without commentry, not so much a mere revert! You have a lot of input into that page. Far an taine ‘n abhainn, ‘s ann as mò a fuaim. MacPhersonAndy 18:36, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whatever spin you put on it, you've still reverted several times. So let's have an apology for "It's you who is reverting, not me". BTW, like your catchphrase, it just about sums your contributions up. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 19:23, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually the two bits of information that Calgacus refers to (re Gaels and Picts) are totally mutually exclusive and one doesn't contradict the other. Also they are at different timeframes. An-gabhar 20:09, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please explain ... - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 20:22, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I really think it's a bit OTP to incert the POV, and I urge it be removed at once!!!!!

Calgacus, far from owing you an apology, you owe your fellow Wikipedians an apology for what looks on the face of it to be a direct piece of disinformation, which I discovered quite by accident. At 13.22 1 March 2006 +ref, you referred to a resource by the title of Pictish Chordophone Depictions, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 36, Winter 1998 when you should have referred to this resource by it's proper title, namely A Reassessment of Pictish Chordophone Depictions "Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies" 36, Winter 1998. I believe that this was a deliberate attempt to misinform the reader. MacPhersonAndy 23:48, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wow. Talk about insane. You're really ploughing the depths now. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 13:17, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

LOL this is all crazy!Celtic Harper 01:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree! MacPhersonAndy 00:19, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well I disagree with you, stop puting words into my mouth. An Gavhar is right this is not a forum!Celtic Harper 01:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Calgacus, hope you didn't laugh yourself to death. Maybe I was rather harsh and mistakes can occur with cut and paste, as I know too well. But you came at me so strong that a good riposte was needed at that particular moment in time, hope there are no hard feelings. I have no input into that harp page so it wasn't me who made it biased, if it is that. I still believe the page is pretty well balanced, and let's be honest about this, there is a big question mark about the Picts and the chordophone, and that's academia speaking, not me. Also Celtic_Harper's addition about the 13 carvings, and all only in Pictland before 11th century is erroneous. MacPhersonAndy 19:34, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have removed the POV tag, as case is not being made. See Point of view (see also WP:POV). Bluegold 11:39, 31 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I removed a personal attack on me from this talk harp page. Whatever I have said has been backed up by empirical data. If you think I’m a know it all, then engage in this debate rather than bringing my character into disrepute! Personal attacks are not part of wikipedia. As for these empty and unproven claims, I have backed this up with studies and data. Its not my problem if you have a problem with this. Celtic Harper 01:10, 30 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For a more balanced view of the early Gaelic harp history, follow this link Bluegold 03:39, 1 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It has been discovered on WP:RFCU that Bluegold (talk · contribs), MacPhersonAndy (talk · contribs), An-gabhar (talk · contribs), Bel air (talk · contribs), and Raspitin (talk · contribs) , No More POV Please (talk · contribs), River run (talk · contribs) are all socks. Bluegold (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · nuke contribs · logs · filter log · block user · block log) has been engaging in sockpuppetry to further the wikipedian strength of his POV on this and other pages. Moreover, Sea horn (talk · contribs) is a suspected sock, but may be just, if Bluegold was telling the truth on the investigation page, Bluegold's work colleague trying to help him out. - Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 19:57, 23 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

marie lorcini[edit]

The article says she is a harpist with some orchestras and a teacher. Is she notable enough to warrant mention? Deepak 16:21, 7 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know who Marie Lorcini is, and when, where, why and how her name was inserted in the article, but there is no notability requirement for simply being mentioned in an article. There is a notability requirement for having your own article. This doesn't mean that anyone can be mentioned anywhere. It has to be appropriate, and this has to be examined on a case by case basis. But this also mean you shouldn't just get rid of another editor's contribution, if it is otherwise appropriate, useful and informative, just because it mentions a name which you think is not notable enough to warrant mention. If you've erased another editor's contribution mentioning that Marie Lorcini simply on that basis, then you have not acted according to policy. Contact Basemetal here 15:42, 31 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've found the version from where you removed the sentence mentioning Marie Lorcini. I agree that in this case the insertion of that sentence was neither useful nor appropriate. However as far as notoriety, Marie Lorcini is notable enough to have her own article in the a Web Canadian Encyclopedia: Marie Lorcini article. One should not just go about removing content from Wikipedia on (incorrect) dogmatic grounds just because one has nothing better to do, although I concede that in this case the removal of that sentence was justified on other grounds. Contact Basemetal here 16:03, 31 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Importance of Brittany in the past and its nowadays promotion in the world[edit]

It seems to me that a very important part of the subject has be forgotten: the harp among the Breton people in the past; the action of Breton musicians, specially Alan Stivell to promote the Celtic Harp (and thru it the Harp in general) in the world, and also in the idea and creation of the Electric harps. 18:40, 25 May 2006 (UTC

Cross-strung harp[edit]

I changed "cross harp" to "cross-strung harp" in order to avoid confusion with the harmonica. --Hesperides


This article is biased and very eurocentric. It focuses on a certain type of Harp (Irisch/Celtic/European) and covers other haprs in a subsection "Other harps around the world". The title of this section shows that the POV of the article is biased. The article's POV is European and from here it looks at othere things arround the world. The contents of the "other types"-sections belongs up! Wikipedia should have a NPOV, so the global view must come first, then the special cases may be covered. The structure should be something like world->Africa/Asia/Europe and then subsections on special harp music cultures (or separate articles, if this becomes too long). The celtic harp is not the root of this tree structure but one of the branches. There are many harp music cultures arround the world which should be covered in equal depth. For example, the harp music of the Azande in the Central African Republic (see for example Kubik, Gerhard Zum Verstehen afrikanischer Musik, Aufsätze, Reihe: Ethnologie: Forschung und Wissenschaft, Bd. 7, 2., aktualisierte und ergänzte Auflage, 2004, 448 S., ISBN 3-8258-7800-7) or the unique Enanga music of Uganda deserve just the same attention. So the whole article must be rewritten. I am also astonished about the level of ranting that a topic like this can provoke! If you keep cool and keep the NPOV-directive in mind, it is very clear what has to be done about this article. Nannus 20:13, 29 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with much of what was said above. I was the one who put in the section about harps around the world as a bit of a stopgap measure - there was essentially nothing before that on any of those harps. Unfortunately I do not have the time to give the article the makeover I think it needs. I think as a start an article could be created on the European concert harp and most of the detail about how to play it, etc. could be moved into there. Another article could be created about celtic harps, Latin American harps, Asian harps, African harp-lutes, or whatever other categorization seems appropriate. But, given the level of activity on this article, it may need discussion first. Mona-Lynn 03:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I originally put this under a new header, but I'm cut and pasting it to be under this point, which I did not originally notice, because it is relevant:
"...derived from the Baroque harps that were brought from Spain during the colonial period: wide on the bottom and narrow at the top, with perfect balance when being played but unable to stand independently for lack of a base."
I think this is a little bit misleading. I don't know too much about other harps, but my dad plays a Mexican Jalisco harp professionally, and the reason you can't stand it on end is because the body is so light that if you rest it on the flat end with the feet, the weight of the neck would cause it to fall.
I'd really like to see more about other South American harps. That entire paragraph is almost entirely about the Paraguayan harp, which could cause readers to make generalizations about all Latin American harps. For example, though the Paraguayan harp may be played mostly with the fingernails, Jalisco harps are traditionally played with fingertips, because originally the strings were gut, not nylon. The bass strings, being much thicker, are still played with the fingertips, though many people now play the melody line of the higher strings with their nails.
Personally, I don't feel prepared for anything more than a minor edit, being rather new to wikiediting, but if anyone else wants to try to add more information, my dad's website has a pretty good history section, not just of jalisco harp, but other varieties found in Latin America:
I also think there should be a separate page for Latin American harps, if not for each individual variety.
Meichigo 20:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The reason the articals are Eurocentric is because, for the most part, only European harps have caught on internationally. For that reason, I think the only change needed would be to move the gaelic hap down to "world harps."

Celtic harp[edit]

I am doing a music assignment for school. I wish to know more about the celtic harp, where it is used, construction, people considered experts on the instrument, history and the popularity of the instrument. If any one knows anything about it...... I would also like to ask if you play the instrument yourself. Please help me, I'm stuck!

Celtic harp[edit]

You can go to where you find many elements about the main Celtic harpist. 15:50, 31 August 2006 (UTC)~

Redirection of harpist to harp[edit]

A musician does not = a musical instrument. This leads to confusion. This redirection should be undone. --caroldermoid 17:41, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Wire-strung harps (clàrsach or cláirseach)[edit]

It says in the article under this title that these harps are known as Irish harps not cláriseach in Ireland, so why is "Wire-strung harps (clàrsach or cláirseach)" the heading if cláirseach is the lesser used term? Everytime 01:17, 24 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Structure of this page[edit]

Given the great number of different types of harp in the world, and the complaints here that this article is Euro-centric, I would like to propose that this page be radically restructured to make it work like for example keyboard instrument with a brief historiy and overview, and then links off to separate pages on all the different regional/historical types of harp. I'm not a wiki expert - can we start a draft version somewhere? StrumStrumAndBeHanged 18:32, 26 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like this idea very much. It will take someone with lots of time on their hands, though! Mona-Lynn 07:35, 27 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A split might be a good idea, but you might run into trouble when you suggest the old article be replaced by your new one. Why not make changes to the existing article? That way it's easier to involve other users in the process. --Bensin 12:40, 27 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been considering editing this page a little, but only because I thought the description of the modern concert harp's pedal system was not entirely clear, and I certainly don't want to buy in the ethnic wars that (to my surprise) this topic seems to evoke; I was just thinking about whether I might rewrite this description of the pedals, but have contented myself with expanding and clarifying it slightly.

But I noticed that the same description was found in both this article ("Harp") and in the article "Pedal harp". For now, I have modified both copies the same way - but it does bring up the question about the supposed bias of this article, because it does seem to treat the modern concert harp in disproportionate detail, and also the much shorter "Pedal harp" article is ostensibly about the same harp, with some content duplicated.

I thought it may be a bit confusing to have some detail about this harp in one article, and some in the other, and it brings to mind this thought: Why not shift some of the finer detail about this harp to the "Pedal harp" article, and let this "Harp" article give a description of this harp in just about the same level of detail as it treats the other harps? Duplicated content (such as the description of the pedal system) would go in just one article, whichever one was considered most suitable for that level of detail.

It would be a bit fiddly and time-consuming to do this properly, but I think it's worth considering. I do not consider myself expert enough on the harp to do it myself; but if some expert could do this, perhaps it might satisfy both sides in the dispute that's been going on about the claimed bias of the article.

Just my thoughts, anyway. M.J.E. 06:20, 12 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sharping Levers[edit]

Although the Camac and the Truitt levers are well known and work very well, by far the most commonly used type is still the Loveland. They are standard on Dusty Strings and, for some years now, Triplett harps. Several other makers offer them as options. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there should be a separate page for the different lever types. Also, the passage about Teifi levers sounds like an advertisement. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:36, 7 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Description of European-derived harp strings being set to C major scale misleading.[edit]

The section "European-derived harp" begins:

Most European-derived harps have a single row of strings with strings for each note of the C Major scale (over several octaves).

I would have thought that, technically, "C Major scale" should read "C-flat major scale", because that is how the strings are tuned. But the thing that stays me from correcting it thus is that I only know this to be a fact of the modern orchestral harp, and I do not know if it is true of other European-derived harps.

Should it be changed? - or should the wording be changed to suggest that the strings are not assigned to this or that particular major scale, but something more along the lines that the notes are tuned to the letter-names of a diatonic scale, the exact inflection of those notes depending on the pedal settings?

I'm thinking about changing it, but feel a bit diffident about doing so; if it were referring specifically to the modern concert harp, I would change it without hesitation.

Perhaps someone knowledgeable about European-derived harps in general could suggest the best way of handling it. But I do feel the reference to C major at that point as it currently stands is quite misleading. (The later description of how the harp pedals change the tuning of strings does clarify this a bit later on; but I feel the article should not be misleading even in the short term or even in a brief summary or overview.) M.J.E. 06:38, 12 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • "Diatonic" is certainly the correct term, and I see the change has now been  Done
--D Anthony Patriarche (talk) 01:47, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am going to take harp lessons after the holidays and was wondering if y'all knew which harp (lever or pedal) would be easier to play, or if both are just as challenging. I am leaning towards the lever harp.

sincerely -MurtaghxMisery (talk) 16:44, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmmm - I'm wondering if you're new to Wikipedia, because I think, strictly speaking, questions like this that are not about editing the corresponding article page are not really meant to be posted here.
But, briefly: I'm not expert on the harp, but it sounds from the article as if the two types of harp are quite different instruments - perhaps a bit like the piano and organ are quite different from each other, despite both being keyboard instruments. In your position, I'd be considering more what type of music I wanted to play and what type of harp would best accommodate it, rather than which harp is easier to play. You're not going to be satisfied if you choose the harp that is easier to learn, but you end up having to play a repertoire which is not the kind of music you want to play.
Hope this helps a little. M.J.E. (talk) 16:53, 25 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


How about an illustration that shows the "anatomy" of a harp? The opening paragraph mentions things like "soundboard", "resonator". It would be nice to see a drawing with these labels. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Blah backwards wrongness[edit]

The French method does not use "expressive gestures", that's the Salzedo method; the article had it wrong and backwards! I fixed it, but I am annoyed that it ever got that way to begin with. Blah, blah, blah! </rant>-Fennec (はさばくのきつね) 20:27, 20 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edit warring user Celtic Harper[edit]

To unsigned editor I have noticed your undo of my edit on the Harp Page, firstly your edit was unsigned and you state that all Scottish/Pictish carvings have come from Irish manuscript images pre-9th century. I'm afraid the only credible evidence of an Irish triangular harp image comes from the Madoc book cover so I will need a cited reference of an Irish image to credit your comment. Also the edit you have added to cites Pictish stones reference includes an Irish manuscript as the oldest European evidence for a triangular harp. This reference has been taken out of context as the cited source does not include ANY Irish source images as there are none. Until you source a credible image from a pre-9th century source I will place a [citation needed] tag on your edit. You may however be getting mixed up with the Lyre being confused with the Anglo-Saxon Harp or Harpa as the cruit in Ireland which was used in Ireland until the 12th century. Some experts even think the triangular harp HAS no connection in Ireland till the 11th century. I will need empirical data to remove the tag. Regards Celtic Harper (talk) 23:40, 17 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

May I refer you to "Alasdair Ross discusses that all the Scottish harp figures were copied from foreign drawings and not from life, in 'Harps of Their Owne Sorte'? A Reassessment of Pictish Chordophone Depictions "Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies" 36, Winter 1998". That's all you have is images, and you are stating debate as fact. St John's Crucifixion Plaque, of the 7th century has Irish triangular harps. That's almost 200 years before they appear on a stone in Scotland. Those stones are not of Pictish origin, they are influenced by Irish adventurers to Caledonia. These Irish settlers brought the Gaelic language, Gaelic literature and music with them, and Irish art. Not to give that balance in the article is misleading to the reader, and gives a skewed history of the Irish Harp. I think your editing is being influenced by your patriotism, and not called for here at Wikipedia. (talk) 00:37, 18 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

User, thank you for your comment. I am aware and have read the article by Alasdair Ross to that all the Scottish (and by implication all the Irish) figures were copied from foreign drawings and not from life. I myself have also included that reference in the clarsach page so you have taken my edits out of context. Furthermore Ross cites his only evidence to support this comes from the utrecht palster which is 20 years younger than the Pictish harp stones and only arrived in the British isles some 100 years after its completion. So again there is no Irish source from this.

I would also point out Alasdair Ross is quoted as saying in Pictish Chordophone Depictions. Alasdair Ross in Cambrian Medieval Celtic studies, 36, 1998, esp. p. 41. The harps depicted in Pictland are unique, and do not look like those depicted in later medieval Scotland or Ireland. So it looks like he contradicts himself, and in both cases does not state Ireland as the outside source of the Pictish instrument, so this does not back up you claims of an Irish providence for the carvings. Furthermore, it seems to me you are trying to Gaelicise the Picts as the only possibility reason of there being a triangular harp like in their culture. Also the assumption the Picts were a blank receivers is nil and not supported in empirical research. I would like a citation for the Pictish stones not being of Pictish manufacture by an expert for your own pov statement. The statement you put about the St John's Crucifixion Plaque is rather obscure as any empirical evidence I have seen, nor does the cite the plaque.

Further from being motivated by nationalistic tendencies I am motivated by citations and credible empirical sources. I have researched Irish contemporary sources and you may find the following interesting although contradictory to your own views.

The Ancient Music of Ireland Edward Bunting (2000) Curier Dover publications (originally published in 1843). From an Irish perspective, three distinct forms of lyre are evident; round top lyres as seen in the crosses at Ullard shows a quadrangular instrument with no forepillar.

Recent introduction from Scotland to Ireland of the triangular harp or Clarsach. in History Literature and music in Scotland 1700-1560 Russell Andrew McDonald 2002 University of Toronto Press, Arts Medieval.

Celtic Music History and Criticism Kenneth Mathieson 2001 Backbeat books p192. Only two quadrangular instruments occur within the Irish immigrant context on the west coast of Scotland and show the use of an Irish lyre. From this data it was apparent the triangular harp was present in Scotland before Ireland and the earliest harps used in Ireland were quadrangular ecclesiastical instruments.

The Story of the Irish Harp its History and Influences Norah Joan Clark (2003) North Creek Press. The characteristic instrument of the Irish Celts was a U-shaped lyre and There is good evidence the triangular harp originated in Pictish Scotland rather than Ireland. The first true representation of an Irish triangular harp appears in the St. Mogue shrine.

Music and the Celtic other world: from Ireland to Iona, Caren Ralles MacLeod (2000) Edinburgh University Press. Many such crosses in pre-Norman period in Ireland what is striking is that there are no triangular framed harps at all. No representations of triangular framed harps as we know it.

Pictish three sided harp replaced the Irish style quadrangular instrument. Divided Gaels: Gaelic Cultural Identities in Scotland and Ireland c1200-1650. (2004) Wilson MacLeod Oxford university Press.

Interesting as they don’t source an Irish providence for the triangular harp within a Pictish context. And most strikingly of all other articles discuss the triangular harp was first appeared in Ireland at the start of the Anglo-Norman invasion.

The Ancient Music of Ireland Edward Bunting (2000) Curier Dover publications (originally published in 1843).

The Musical Times and Circular (1956) JASTOR Grey University of Michigan. Celtic Music History and Criticism Kenneth Mathieson 2001 Backbeat books p192.

Fintan Vallely, ed (1999) The Companion to Irish Traditional Music New York University Press.

A New History of Ireland, prehistoric and early history. Daibhi OCoinin (2005). Oxford University Press.

Daibhi OCoinin is an Irish author and also states the triangular harp is not of Irish providence.

So no, your own personal theories regarding the influences from Ireland to the Picts are not backed by empirical sources. Unless you can come up with credible cited sources for your comments and views, I think your editing is being influenced by your POV and patriotism, and not called for here at Wikipedia. Regards Celtic Harper (talk) 13:00, 19 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry Celtic Harper, I'm talking about two words, your editing here at Wikipedia is motivated out of patriotism to Scotland, and is not really necessary go attain good quality encyclopedia. Norah Joan Clark would not be a citable source, she's just a writer, don't have time right now to check the others. This revealing book is worth read, The Invention of Tradition[4]--- (talk) 20:39, 19 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see you are trying to bring my character into disrepute by issuing slanderous accusations against my editing and interests within wikipedia. This is complete nonsense as whatever I have edited has been backed by substantial references and cited sources. Yes my interests are in Scottish early medieval history, but so what. I don't have to justify my edits to yourself. I have heard this type of argument before from others, people who in the long term have had hardened nationalistic tendencies themselves, not only in their editing but also with multiple sock puppets. I can think of three accounts held by this same individual who also quoted the works of Roper and shared the same pov as yourself. This is not a common held belief as I suggest you state such sources on the Scottish forum and see how far you get. I have always used this sign in name nor hidden behind the anonymity of multiple IP address or sock puppets.
I take nothing Roper says as serious and nothing more than a cheap shot at debunking modern Scottish nationalism. In 1983 the same year as his Invention of Tradition, lets not forget the scandal of the so-called Hitler Diaries causing irreparable damage to Trevor-Roper's professional reputation, and raising doubts about his personal integrity. A view shared by his fellow academics, Tom Devine in his book Scotland and the Union 1707-2007 cites him as a “Jhonny-come-lately” to the art of revisiting ancient stories, most of which have long since been disproved. Professor Devine critiques his approach: “Historians have long gone past the stage of simply debunking myths,” he said. “It's an easy thing to do, and frankly, it's rather an undergraduate activity.” Might I add he also called Africa “unhistoric" like Scotland, was criticized by Africanists in various fields of academia. Michael Fry a noted historian, said: “I don’t think Trevor-Roper is a very reliable guide to Scottish history.” In choosing Roper as the one size fits all view to white washing history, says more about your own anti-Scottish feelings and your pre-conceved ideas and bias. A common trait seen in sockpuppetters in this site. Furthermore Norah Joan Clark is still a cited source in print so I would like it wiki critiqued before deletion and I have used multiple sources in my edits to back up my findings. RegardsCeltic Harper (talk) 16:58, 20 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Roper was getting elderly at the time, and his health was failing too. Shortly after-wards, Roper very quickly changed his opinion of the Hitler diaries. Asked to make a judgment quickly on the diaries, four other major historians were taken in too, as the substantive content of the diaries was very accurate. The historians were lied to about the history of the diaries coming from East Germany from a reliable source. But old and all as Roper was, on further examination he quite quickly doubted the authenticity. It was not until forensics were done that the full fraud was uncovered. His masterpiece, "The Last Ten Days of Hitler" is a classic. Basically CelticHarper, you are arguing over two words, you don't have to make it so painful for yourself. Sir Roper, an Englishman, was a very eminent historian and it will take someone of much greater stature than you to question-mark his knowledge. Sheese! (talk) 04:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
He may have been an eminent historian but he loved controvercy and as I have said above people a lot more qualified than you or I have questioned his motives. Professors like Tom Devine in his book Scotland and the Union 1707-2007 and a noted historian Michael Fry and not to mention Africanists in various fields of academia. It just goes to show Roper was falable and not this golden saint you think he is. Lasty I have included multiple empirical sources to my findings, sadly you have only provided one from an elderly racist whos motives were to rubbish the entire history of a nation to keep it within a Union. As we can see in your own views as you have taken his work to your own heart and I suggest you go on the Scottish wikipedia forum with these views and see how far you get. Lastly physical pictorial evidence is used as standard within European harp research and Irish figures do not have a triangular harp till the madoc shrine, both France and the Pics had them first and thats backed up by empirical sources.Celtic Harper (talk) 10:51, 23 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(unindent) It sounds as if there has been disagreement on this question outside of Wikipedia. If I may make a suggestion, perhaps that disagreement that should be detailed briefly in the article (with citations). For instance, if Author 1 said x, let the article say so, and if Author 2 disputed what Author 1 said, let the article also say that. While the article is already long, it could stand another couple of sentences. We're clearly not going to settle the question here, so just let the fact that there's a question be reflected in the article. Rivertorch (talk) 17:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Up to a point. Trevor-Roper's article is certainly not useful here. By the third word it is fairly obvious that what we're going to get is the academic equivalent of trolling. The article is as relevant to the origins of the harp as it is to the history of the West Highland iron industry, which is to say, it is not relevant at all. I'm sure there must be some relevant dissenting arguments, but Trevor-Roper wouldn't be the source. Anyway, DNFT. The anonymous contributor here seems rather likely to be a banned editor evading his ban yet again. Angus McLellan (Talk) 12:51, 26 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To claim that the culture and traditions which eminated from the ethnic melting pot that was Dál Riata belong exclusively to one particular tribe is, although I hesitate to say it, of Third Reich proportions where the twisting of historical facts is concerned. The cultural traditions of these mongrel isles are not exclusively the product of a single tribe, or even in this case a collective Greater Hibernia, but the outcome of centuries of interaction between many; Dál Riatan Scotti, Fortriu Picti, Strathclyde Britons, Northumbrian Angles, Galloway Gaels and Hebridean Norse all influenced what became Scottish culture. The culture of Scotland does not fall within the realm of that which can be described as "Irish", despite the apparent cultural and linguistic supremacy of the Goidelic speaking Scots over the Brythionic speaking Picts and Britons. It may be influenced by it, but it is not the same. (talk) 22:05, 26 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Although the harp seems to be and probably was in Scotland earlier than the rest of Britain it isnt encouraging that people here are dismissing roper by actually citing people like devine and fry - how on earth can their Anti-Scottishness even begin to be compared. Devine even uses the lowland clearances to play down the highland clearances but not because he wanted to suggest they were iffy but just to applaud the bottom feeding institutions that did both and defend the same crap from being criticised by Scots.

THAT much lunacy just to support a HARP = = the institutionalised neutered anti-english neurotic 'pictish' garbage writing above are wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:07, 28 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Well guys looks like the banned editors got a new spin, as for the Picts being anti english WTF I guess he's more psychotic than you all thought he was! Therapy anyone. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:19, 28 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why are the strings of the harp described as perpendicular to the soundboard? Perpendicular means a 90° angle. In the illustration those strings join the soundboard at an acute angle of less than 90°. Caeruleancentaur (talk) 23:28, 19 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The wording may be awkward. The way I read it was in opposition to a guitar or violin, where the strings are definitely parallel to the soundboard. But is the frame of a harp synonymous with the soundboard? What I (perhaps too narrowly) think of as a soundboard seems to be missing from harps. Rivertorch (talk) 07:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


hi am just looking 4 inspiration 4 a competition and was wondering if u cud help the idea is 2 creat a mascot 4 finn harps fc ani ideas??????? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 13 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

how it works[edit]

I could not come up with a better name so please change it to something better. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 27 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How about "Structure and mechanism"? I reworded a little and removed the part about the 26th century B.C., which contradicts what's already in the article. The info on dates of origin needs to be sourced. Rivertorch (talk) 06:10, 28 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use in music...[edit]

"French composers such as Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel composed harp concertos and chamber music widely played today"

My memory may fail me but I don't remember any harp concerto from either Debussy or Ravel. In fact, the only harp works I can come up with for these two are Debussy's Chansons de Bilitis and Sonata en trio, and Ravel's introduction and allegro. Could someone tell me if I'm missing something obvious? (talk) 04:48, 24 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Debussy concerto is the Dances sacree et profane, which is one of the most popular concertos for harp. It was originally written for chromatic harp but Renie transcribed it for pedal harp very shortly after its premiere. (talk) 18:45, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Could we get a better source for the harp being considered a percussion instrument than one harpist/instructor saying it is? It seems as logical as a guitar being a percussion instrument. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 14:20, 25 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The "percussion" reference seems to have been removed -  Done
--D Anthony Patriarche (talk) 02:36, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This classification is controversial; e.g. Piston places the harp with the percussion section, Forsyth with the strings. Generally accepted scoring practice is to place the harp and the celesta, guitar, piano, etc. in their own subsection between the percussion section and the strings, which gets around the problem nicely. --D Anthony Patriarche (talk) 02:36, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Playing range[edit]

The standard range of the concert harp is C1 to G7, not C1 (or D1) to G7. I feel that this needs correction. --Number Googol (talk) 02:44, 10 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article apparently describes the range with all of the pedals in their middle positions. I'm not sure why. If you count pedal adjustments, there is indeed an extra half-step at both the bottom and the top of the range. But even if we state only the standard range, without counting the pedals, it should be stated as C1 to G7. So you're right; it needs to be changed. Go for it. (And cite a source, if you would.) Rivertorch (talk) 05:14, 10 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Concert harp[edit]

I just wanted to find an article on the modern orchestral harp, so I entered the word "harp" and got to this page of course. I then had to look right down to find the marvellous *section* "concert harp" on the modern orchestral harp, with description of how it works, diagrams, photo.

If I enter "concert harp" or "orchestral harp" in wikipedia I get taken to "pedal harp". This page duplicates to a large extent the good section in this article, and in my opinion not as good as the section I mentioned.

There is duplication and incompleteness. There could be a really good article on the modern orchestral harp (with the section mentioned as a starting point), but the material is distributed between "Concert harp" and "Pedal harp" articles.

The main picture at the top in both articles shows a nice medieval harp but the one next to it was only "modern" about 150 years ago. It looks like Queen Victoria used it. P0mbal (talk) 22:05, 3 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I am considering adding a cleanup tag to this article, or trying a major clean up. There are a number of big sections that duplicate content on other pages (e.g. concert harp, clarsach). There is also a large amount of non-encyclopedic trivia especially under concert harp.

I am proposing to re-arrange the categorisation, so as to give a short succinct overview of harp traditions in each region of the world, with links to their specific pages. Also to remove anything more than this and place it onto the relevant specific pages.

Also to shorten the introduction section and make it more general and less western-classical in content and approach.

If anyone has any thoughts or opinions on this please let me know before I start on it.

StrumStrumAndBeHanged (talk) 14:03, 20 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ancient Egypt[edit]

Just noting that today's featured article in German Wikipedia is about harps in ancient Egypt (de:Harfner_(Altes_Ägypten)), which ha sno parallel article heer. Perhaps someone is interested to translate some content for use on this page here. --Pjacobi (talk) 07:30, 14 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nabla (instrument)[edit]

Nabla (instrument) redirects here. Nabla states: "A Hebrew stringed instrument after which that symbol was named, see harp". There should be something about this thing in Harp (or in Nabla (instrument)). -- Tomdo08 (talk) 15:45, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Guitars, lyres, and kitharae are not zithers. There are four basic subgroups under the Chordophone family: harps, zithers, lutes. and lyres. Guitars go with the lutes, and kitharae go with the lyres. I cleaned up the Terminology section to fix this. (talk) 06:02, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cleanup efforts[edit]

I agree that the ancient, Celtic, (folk?) and pedal harp pages should receive an overhaul, with the main "Harp" page serving more as a general overview; I wouldn't mind contributing, especially to the section on pedal harps, and can provide some assistance with references. Actually, I'm willing to clean it up on my own if necessary, though it's always nice to have assistance with an ambitious project.

Does anyone have any valid suggestions, or was it simply a convenient page to stage arguments over where the darn thing originated? As a student harpist myself, I'm fairly annoyed at how bad this page is; the harp has to put up with enough misconceptions already. Has anyone realized that the only photos in the "pedal/concert harp" section are NOT of a modern pedal harp, but of an early, experimental model and a folk harp? It's an embarrassment.

So, in essence; does anyone even care anymore? Stelarinna (talk) 02:32, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We care Stelarinna, really. Be bold, and happy editing. RashersTierney (talk) 05:34, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Additional citations[edit]

Why and where does this article need additional citations for verification? What references does it need and how should they be added? Hyacinth (talk) 02:45, 31 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Salzedo Bias?[edit]

Being a harpist of the French method I have chosen not to make any changes to the article regarding Technique (specifically the paragraph regarding Salzedo). However I feel the paragraph desperately needs editing to remove bias towards the Salzedo method. This section portrays the French method as a stuffy outdated technique and paints the Salzedo method as the modern and therefore superior method of playing. Both methods are equally viable for harpists, as technique is individual to the player. The paragraph is heavily in praise of Salzedo and is not objective. If another harpist can see their way to writing an unbiased Harp#Technique section they would be making the article more informative for prospective students and enthusiasts. (talk) 23:40, 15 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well this is the general Harp article, not the pedal harp article, so surely a section on technique should equally cover all kinds of harp technique equally: African, Asian, south American, Irish, etc. - this article should be a general overview of different types of harp from around the world, with links off to their specific pages, not loaded up on technical detail on specific regional or cultural types such as the Western orchestral pedal harp. To be honest, harp techniques around the world and through history are so diverse I don't see how a general "Harp" article can possibly have a section on "technique". StrumStrumAndBeHanged (talk) 21:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recent amendments re pedals, strings, fifth finger & technique[edit]

I've just made some amendments re pedal harps. I've added information re the missing pedal mechanism on the lowest C&D strings and (on most harps) on the highest G string. The pedal harp mechanism is complicated enough, so this information usually gets left out when discussing how the pedals work, but that can lead to ambiguities re the harp's range. Ideally I would like to replace the range illustration used here (C flat to G sharp) with the one used on the pedal harp page (C natural-D-natural to G natural) as a) we don't normally include scordatura options on other string instrument ranges and b) the illustration used on the pedal harp page has the benefit of pointing out that there is a missing semitone between the lower C and D strings however you tune them - but I see that there has already been discussion on this page re the range illustration, so I have left it as it is. I've used Inglefield and Neill as a reference.

I've also added some information re the use of the fifth finger under Modern European and American Instruments, with references.

I've changed the mention of the upper middle to upper strings being made of nylon to "either gut or nylon" but I can't find a reference for this. However, all my non-wire strings are gut, right to the top, and if you order Bow Brand strings, at least, you need to specify either gut or nylon for the upper registers.

I've been relatively bold re the technique section. I agree with the comment above re Salzedo bias, and I've cut out details of his biography, his playing and compositional style and harp designing etc, which don't really relate to technique, and added some examples of his theory. I've also removed some bits from the French technique part - the thumb is not really low relative to the hand - it's still kept well above the rest of the hand - it's just low relative to the Salzedo technique. I've also removed the reference to musical choices, which seems unfounded and inappropriate. I haven't been so bold as to remove the section entirely, although I have some sympathy with StrumStrumandbeHanged's point above. However, given the rancour that occasionally exists (particularly in the US) between different schools, it's likely that people might approach Wikipedia looking for information. Mohntorte (talk) 01:10, 16 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Origins Of Harp-Persia[edit]

Mandanabeygi:Wikipedia Chinese translation "Origins Of Harp" Persia is not mentioned.Seems ‎like "the Persian harp of Perspolis/Persia in Iran " is not translated at all,and "File:Harp-‎Sassanid.png|Ancient Persian harps carved in stone" is not attached ‎also.<>.‎维基百科(英文)上提到的是“竖琴出现在古波斯”PERSIA-IRAN伊朗<> ‎该文还有足够的照片和历史资料证明竖琴是古波斯(现在的伊朗)的乐器。and also on chinese free encyclopedia website called baidu "Persia/Iran" is not mentioned as the origin of Harp,which I wrote to them and hope it would be added to the article and it will be edited as soon as possible.Mandanabeygi. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mandanabeygi (talkcontribs) 13:01, 25 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Structure and Mechanism Illustration[edit]

The illustration for this section appears to include black (or very dark) text on a black (or very dark) background. Completely unreadable. Since the image appears to be a computer generation, would someone care to change the text to /white/ (or some other lighter color) so that it can actually be seen? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 30 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tamil Harp (transliteration)[edit]

To the person who added the contribution on the Tamil harp (or any other person who would happen to know Tamil): the contribution uses two different transliterations for the word யாழ் (harp) namely yaal and yaazh (that is, they transliterate the letter ழ் in two different ways namely 'l' and 'zh'). This can be confusing for people who do not know Tamil. Please make up your mind. Pick one or the other. Thank you. Signed: Basemetal (write to me here) 09:23, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok. I've waited and waited... No one fixed it. So I did. Don't worry about this any longer. Thanks anyways. Signed: Basemetal (write to me here) 23:44, 23 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section 6.3 ought to be moved. It doesn't make sense to leave it in the "Modern European and American instruments" section. It should be moved to the historical part, namely "Development and history". Please state any objection here. Contact Basemetal here 15:00, 31 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Passage reads like advertising[edit]

For what it's worth, it seems to me that the fourth paragraph of #Folk, lever, and Celtic instruments reads like an advertising piece promoting Allan Shiers' Teifi semi tone.

--Kevjonesin (talk) 12:45, 26 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Major cleanup needed[edit]

This article has gotten into a pretty sorry state, though I can see where a number of editors have jumped in to make some needed improvements. Should we list here some ideas for how best to structure the article, and then dig into getting it fixed? Here are a few suggestions of mine. Feel free to add to the list and sign with three "~" tildes.

  • "Clarsach" and generally the "Celtic" section is way too long, needs to be merged into the subject article, and/or into modern coverage or historical coverage of the Celtic harp MatthewVanitas (talk) Done
  • Untangle the lede, ensure that we don't have too much dense organological taxonomy stuff right up front. MatthewVanitas (talk) Done
  • Start matching all the classical harp stuff up with the main article, front-load the detailed into into the more specific article and greatly trim this section back to the essentials. MatthewVanitas (talk)  Done
  • Organize the Indian sections of "Origins" to ensure we don't have undue detail, have some basic citations, etc. MatthewVanitas (talk)  Done
  • "Multi-course harps" has way too much detail for an overview article, needs trimming back to fundamental details and excess moved to subject articles MatthewVanitas(talk)  Done
  • The photo of the medieval harp with bray pins is dark and hard to see, needs to be replaced with a related and clearer image. MatthewVanitas (talk)
Update: got most of the stuff knocked out, there's just some Euro-Celtic stuff in the middle that's quite a tangle right now. Anybody want to take a squint at how those can be trimmed down, flow improved, etc? After that, it's just a matter of gradually upgrading the photos, improving citations (and removing poor/dead ones).
Once we get it more fine-tuned, I'd really like to solicit outside reviewers to see if we can bump this up to at least a B, if not higher. It's really a dang shame that an article on such a fundamental instrument has dragged down over the years. MatthewVanitas (talk) 18:27, 8 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New "Classification" section?[edit]

It might be useful to have a comprehensive "Classification" section to list all the types and subtypes of harps (and those that have "harp" in the name but aren't considered harps). "Terminology and etymology" has some of this, the lead has some, and some are in the various other sections. What does everyone think? Facts707 (talk) 17:10, 1 May 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree, and as part of this it needs to be made clear what the a priori definition of "harp" being used is. The requirement that the strings be "perpendicular to the sounding board" is arbitrary, imprecise, and is not met by some harps described in the article (e.g. cross-strung); this shortcoming has been commented on earlier on this page (Perpendicular?). E.g., the Madagascar valiha is commonly referred to as a harp, but Wikipedia classes it as a Zither; I think most musicians would regard it as a harp as the strings are vertical and the playing position is harp-like, whereas the archetypical zither is flat and played horizontally. I am not saying the article is wrong, just that it needs to be very clear at the start what the criteria are that determine that an instrument is a harp, and where this systematic classification comes from. --D Anthony Patriarche (talk) 02:06, 30 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

proper name for the harp usually held by cherubs[edit]

looking for names of harps pictured with cherubs

thanks in advancr---- — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:20, 16 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you mean cherubs or angels?Vorbee (talk) 19:53, 26 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mathematics of harps[edit]

Need a section identifying typical string weights & tensions and resulting lengths for needed notes, which results in harp's shape. (talk) 02:16, 23 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Adding the yazh in types of harp[edit]

In the Types of harp section,can i add the yazh as a type of harp,as it even says that it is a type of harp on this article? Simulator-master (talk) 08:22, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]