What Is a Double Harp?

A double harp is a chordophone instrument in which the strings are plucked with the fingers. Harps, in particular, usually have only one set of strings. Single-course harps are what they’re called. The term “multi-course harp” refers to a harp that has more than one set of strings. A double harp is a type of multi-course harp with two sets of strings.

Each set of strings on a double harp is tuned diatonically, which means in the manner of a major scale. Each string set is a mirror of the other, with the strings directly across from each other tuned to the same pitch. This essentially means that the harpist has two harps within a single harp frame, both of which can play in the same range.

Because double harps have two sets of strings instead of one, harpists can create effects on the double harp that are impossible to achieve on a single-course harp. On a single-course harp, for example, the harpist can only go so far in the instrument’s range before the hands start to interfere with each other, just as a pianist can only go so far with the piano. This is not an issue with a double harp, which allows the harpist to play two different items within the same range or even double a line. Furthermore, when properly tuned, the strings on a double harp vibrate sympathetically, making the harp’s sound richer and more full.

Double strung harps, like other types of harps, frequently use a lever system. Levers raise the pitch of a harp string a half step when opened, allowing the harpist to move from flat to natural or natural to sharp, depending on the harp’s initial tuning. As a result, the harpist can change keys and accommodate accidentals without having to manually adjust the string moving the peg to which it is attached. Because double harps have two sets of strings, unlike other harps, they can play different notes of the same pitch class within the same range at the same time, such as C4 natural and C4 sharp.

Double harps are available in a variety of sizes. The number of strings on a large harp can range from 33 to 45. The ones that are the largest are the ones that should be placed on the floor. Lap harps are double harps that are smaller than a double harp. Because they are lighter and take up less space, they are better for portability or for smaller harpists.

Different types of strings, such as nylon, gut, and wire, can be used on a double harp. It is similar to other harps in this regard. Double course harps, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to mix and match string types to achieve the best acoustic effect across the string sets. For instance, if the manufacturer only wanted to emphasize the bass notes on the left side of the harp, he could use wire strings on that section of the harp. Wire strings have a brighter sound that carries better. As a result, the color options available with a double strung harp are far greater than those available with a single-course harp.