Types of Harps

There are generally two types of harps: the pedal and non-pedal harp.

Pedal Harps - This type of harp is also called concert harp, classical harp, orchestral harp, concert grand harp and double-action pedal harp. The pedal harp varies in size and number of strings, usually it has from 41 to 47 strings and has a number of pedals on the base. The pedals are used to change the notes so that the player can play in different keys.

This type of harp is the one you usually see in an orchestra.

Non-Pedal Harps - This is also referred to as lever harps, folk harps, Celtic and Irish harps. This type of harp comes in various sizes from the smallest, called lap harp, to the largest called floor harps. The non-pedal harps have usually between 20 to 40 strings and is tuned to a specific key such as C. This type of harp have levers the player can adjust to change the key. This is the kind of harp mostly recommended for beginners.

Specific Types of Non-Pedal Harps

Modern LeverAlso referred to as Celtic/Neo-Celtic (wire, gut or hair strings), Neo-Gothic (nylon strings) and Folk harp.
Modern WireAlso called Clarsachs and Gaelic harp.
Multi-Course HarpRefers to harps that have more than one row of strings such as double, triple and cross-strung harps.