How To Play Harp? Steps & Essential Harp Accessories


How to Play Harp
14 May, 2024


Ever wanted to learn a new musical instrument? Learning how to play harp can be a rewarding and fulfilling journey. In this guide, we will show you the essential steps to become a skilled harp player. We will also discuss the must have accessories to support your musical endeavors.

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What Is a Harp?

The harp is a beautiful musical instrument that has been played for thousands of years. It has a triangular shape with a sound box and strings that are plucked by the player’s fingers. The harp makes a rich and resonant sound that is soothing and lively.

How To Play Harp?

Learning how to play the harp takes patience, dedication and consistent practice. However, with the right approach, you can develop the skills to become a proficient harp player. Let’s explore the key steps to mastering the harp.

1: Choose the Right Harp

The first step in learning how to play harp is to select the right instrument. Harps come in different sizes, from small lap harps to large concert harps. As a beginner, it is generally best to start with a smaller harp, such as a 22 string or 26 string lever harp. These smaller harps are more lightweight and portable, making them easier to handle. They also tend to be more affordable, which can be helpful if you’re just starting.

2: Learn Basic Harp Technique

Once you have your harp, it is time to learn the basic techniques of playing this instrument. This step includes learning proper hand positioning, how to pluck the strings and how to create different types of sounds. Start by practicing the basic hand positions. Hold the harp with your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to pluck the strings. You can experiment with different plucking techniques, such as using your thumb, index finger, or a combination of fingers.

3: Tune Your Harp

Proper tuning is essential for the harp to produce the desired pitch and sound. As a beginner, learn how to tune your harp accurately and consistently. Familiarize yourself with the harp’s tuning mechanism, which typically consists of a series of tuning levers or pegs. Gently turn these levers or pegs to adjust the pitch of each string, ensuring that the harp is in tune.

4: Start with Simple Exercises

Once you have the basics of harp technique and tuning down, begin practicing simple exercises and short pieces. This process will help you develop muscle memory, coordination and a better understanding of the instrument. Start with simple scales, arpeggios and short melodies. Remember to practice regularly, even if it is just for a few minutes each day.

5: Learn Music Theory

While it is possible to learn the harp without a deep understanding of music theory, having a solid foundation in this area can greatly enhance your playing abilities and musical expression.

Take time to learn about key signatures, time signatures, rhythm and other fundamental musical concepts.

6: Expand Your Repertoire

As you learn how to play the harp, gradually expand your musical repertoire by learning new pieces and compositions. Explore a variety of musical genres, from classical and folk to contemporary and Celtic, to broaden your musical horizons. Seek out harp sheet music or arrangements that chаllenge you and push your skills to the next level.

Harp Accessories

It is important to have the right accessories to support your harp-playing journey. These tools will enhance your playing experience and help you maintain your instrument.

Tuning Key

A tuning key, also known as a harp key or tuning lever, is an essential tool for tuning your harp. This device allows you to adjust the tension of the strings, ensuring that your harp remains in tune.

Electronic Tuner

An electronic tuner can measure the pitch of each string, guiding you through the tuning process and ensuring that your harp is always in the best playing condition.

Music Stand

A stable music stand is essential for keeping your sheet music or music books within easy reach while you play. This accessory allows you to maintain proper posture and focus on playing without constantly adjusting your music.

Transportation Case or Bag

Getting a high quality transportation case or bag can help you protect your harp when you’re on the mоve. These accessories shield your instrument from potential damage and make it easier to transport your harp to rehearsals, performances, or lessons.

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A metronome is a tool for developing your rhythm and timing. By practicing with a metronome, you can improve your sense of tempo, stay in time and help you learn how to play the harp precisely.

String Set

Regularly replacing your harp’s strings is important for maintaining its optimal sound and performance. Keep a spare set of strings on hand so you can quickly and easily replace any broken or worn-out strings.


What is a harp?

The harp has a triangular shape with a sound box and strings that are plucked by the player’s fingers and produce different sounds from its strings.

How to play harp?

Step1: Choose the right harp

Step2: Learn basic harp technique

Step 3: Tune your harp

Step 4: Start with simple exercises

Step 5: Learn music theory

Step 6: Expand your repertoire

Harp accessories

  1. Tuning key
  2. Electronic tuner
  3. Music stand
  4. Transportation case or bag
  5. Metronome
  6. String set


Is it easy to play a harp?

Like any musical instrument, the harp takes time and consistent practice to learn. With the right approach and guidance, anyone can develop the necessary skills to play the harp.

How is a harp played?

Harps are played by plucking the strings with the fingers of both hands. The non-dominant hand holds the instrument, while the dominant hand plucks the strings.

How long does it take to learn the harp?

Some beginners may learn basic techniques and play simple pieces within a few months, while more advanced skills can take years to develop.

What type of harp is best for beginners?

For beginners, a smaller, lever harp is generally the most recommended choice. These harps, often ranging from 22 to 26 strings, are lighter and more portable, making them easier to handle and learn on.

Is learning to play harp difficult?

While the harp does pose some unique challenges, with dedicated practice and the right guidance, it is possible for anyone to develop proficient harp playing skills.

Do you need to read music to play the harp?

Reading sheet music or musical notation allows you to interpret compositions more accurately, understand music concepts more deeply and become a more well rounded and versatile harp player.

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