What Is a BaHarp?

A baharp is a chordophone instrument in which one or more strings are plucked with the fingers. It resembles other harp instruments in terms of appearance and playing technique. It’s one of the tiniest harps, and it’s usually referred to as a folk harp.

A baharp’s height is usually around 21 inches (53.34 cm), indicating that it is a lap harp. Because of its small size, a baharp usually only has about 12 strings. A baharp has a range of about one and a half octaves.

Despite being one of the smallest harps, the baharp is larger than the lily harp. The lily harp has only eight strings and is only about 15 inches (38.1 cm) tall. Lily harps are typically “toys” that aren’t meant to be played with. Notably, some manufacturers treat baharps as toy harps and produce them with low quality, whereas others treat them with the same seriousness as other harps and go to great lengths to ensure the instrument is long-lasting and playable with a good sound. The baharp is a smaller version of the pixie harp, which has 19 strings default.

The type of music that can be played on a baharp is severely limited due to its small size and limited number of strings. Many songs have melodic ranges of less than an octave, but players of baharps have trouble achieving accompanying chords without more strings. Adding a bass line is also difficult. As a result, many harpists who are looking for a small lap harp prefer pixie harps.

Another issue with baharps is that many are not levitated. This means that in order to play in more than one key, the harp must be manually tuned with a tuning lever. This is difficult to do during a performance, and it can be aggravating even when the harpist is just having fun. A lever is attached to one or more strings on harps with lever systems. To accommodate different keys, the harpist opens the lever to shorten the string and thus raise the pitch.

Despite their drawbacks, the small size of baharps makes them ideal for “beginner” harpists, though even professional harpists can play them. They are well-suited to children and allow students to practice basic harp technique. They are also much less expensive to purchase than their larger cousins, making damage or loss of the instrument far less disastrous. A baharp is also very easy to transport from one location to another, which is ideal for traveling harpists.

A baharp, like other harps, can have gut, wire, or nylon strings. The harp’s sound is influenced the type of strings it has, with wire strings sounding the brightest. Gut strings have a warm sound, but they don’t project as well as other strings.