Lyre Harp Tabs

Evolution of Lyre Harp!

Evolution of Lyre Harp

Evolution of Lyre Harp

Evolution of Lyre Harp The harp is the earliest stringed instrument that has ever been discovered. The name “harpa” or “harp” derives from Anglo-Saxon, Old German, and Old Norse origins that imply “to pluck” or “to pluck and play.” By the 13th century, the phrase was being used particularly to refer to the triangle harp, as opposed to the lyre harp, and it was becoming increasingly popular.

The name “cruit” was used for the first time to refer to a wire-strung instrument in Gaelic, and it was explicitly applied to the harp around 1200. Clarsach or cláirseach was a term that was later used in Scotland and Ireland to refer to the “Celtic” harp. Gut-strung European-style harp and wire-strung Gaelic clarsach were both used in Scotland throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, as shown by papers from that time period that show both terms “harp” and “clarsach” were in use in the country.

The Irish, Celtic, Folk, and Scottish Clarsach, as well as the contemporary lever harp, are all variations on the Gaelic harp. Nylon, metal, gut, and/or synthetic gut (carbon fibre) strings are used to thread most folk harps, with a mix of these strings. Harps made of brass wire are used to carry on the Gaelic tradition.

The Harp’s Origins

The origin of the harp is unknown, and we will never be able to determine what harp music sounded like in the prehistoric age. On rock paintings in France dating back to 15,000 BC, one of the oldest musical instrument discoveries revealed a harp-like instrument that was similar to the modern harp.

Many people believe that the sound of the hunter’s bow was the inspiration for the first harps. The Pharaoh’s tombs in Egypt have some of the earliest depictions of bow harps, which date back around 5,000 years. The presence of so many harps in ancient Egypt is demonstrated by these hieroglyphs. The tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses III (1198-1166 BC) was decorated with several bow harps painted by the artist Nefertiti. Harps were played either seated or standing up in the New Kingdom, and they could reach up to 2 metres (6.5 ft) in height and had up to 19 strings.

Harps were immensely popular in ancient Assyria and Mesopotamia, and they still are today. One of the earliest depictions of a harp was found on a vase in a Babylonian temple, and it was a representation of the instrument. It is believed that these harps had 12 to 15 strings and were comparable to the bowed instruments that were used in Egypt during the same time period.

The angle harp symbolizes the next phase in the development of the harp into what we know today. It differed from what we now refer to as the harp in that it did not have a front-piece, column, or pillar like the one we have today. It was played “upside down” from its current playing posture, with the tuning pegs on the bottom, in order to demonstrate its versatility.

Middle Eastern lyre harps

By 2800 BC, vertical harps with two arms, commonly known as lyre harps or “lyres,” had begun to appear in ancient Sumeria as well as other places. Phoenicia is home to some of the world’s earliest harp sculptures, including marble harp statuettes that date back to between 3,000 and 2,300 BC.

The creation of the lyre harp in Greece occurred at the same time as the invention of mathematical musical scales, as seen in the diagram below. Pythagorus was a Greek mathematician who found numerical ratios that corresponded to intervals on the musical scale in the 6th century BC. The Greeks are also credited with developing the Aeolian harp, which is a wind-powered harp that may be heard today.

The Roman Harps!

When compared to other historical civilizations, it appears that Ancient Rome did not place as much emphasis on music as they might have. Music seems to have gone out with the fall of the Roman Empire, and there have been very few recorded references to it for more than a half millennium.

Following the collapse of Rome, imprints of lyre harps were discovered on the coinage of pre-Christian Gauls, indicating that they were popular in early European civilization. The harp, as well as musical culture in general, appears to have vanished during the Middle Ages. These eras have been buried in obscurity for millennia.

Western Europe, the lyre harps

It was only after centuries of being absent from historical records that the triangular Medieval harp, which was the lyre’s forerunner, made its reappearance in Western European civilisation. Early Gregorian chanting was introduced into Christian worship services in the fourth century AD, but monk vocalisations were already being employed in the church at that time. The harp became the primary instrument for accompanying the monks’ singing as time went on.

It was one of the few instruments permitted in early Christian worship, as other instruments such as the horn, the drum, and rattles were seen as demonic in nature. The Papal Music School in Ireland, where the lyre harp was taught throughout the fifth century, was formed during this time period.

The remains of a six-stringed lyre were discovered in a 7th-century burial ship that was uncovered in the English county of Suffolk. Saxon and Frankish burials in Germany and England have been discovered with the bones of various Germanic lyres ranging from the fifth to the ninth centuries.

The Triangular Harp

When and how the fore-pillar or upright column that supported a triangular-framed harp body came into use is unknown, as is where it originated. The Utrecht Psalter, written in the early ninth century, has the earliest depictions of triangular-frame harps.

The introduction of the harp column, which may have occurred during the early Christian era, signalled the beginning of the modern harp’s development. It provided a solution to two challenges. It enabled the harp builder to raise string tension without warping the instrument, and it also made the harp simpler to tune because changing the tension of one string no longer affected the tension of all the other strings, as was the case previously. Harps could therefore be constructed with more strings at higher tensions, resulting in greater volume and tonal quality.

Medieval & Renaissance Harp History

At the ancient Gaelic world, the harps played by the harpers of the old Gaelic orders were considered an aristocratic instrument, and they were performed in the royal courts and before the leaders of clans. Gaelic culture, legend, and folklore were all enhanced by the presence of harp music. The Troubadours first appeared in Europe around the 13th century, at a time when Feudalism was at its height. European harpers made their money by travelling from town to town, self-accompaniment singing, storytelling, and news-telling, as well as in musical ensembles.

Harpers were second only to the chieftain or the king in importance, and they were frequently called upon to advise and lead troops into war. Unarmed, they were known and respected by the adversary, and they were largely unaffected by the opponent’s actions.

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