Harp – the oldest stringed musical instrument. It has a triangular shape in the form of a bow with stretched strings, which, when played, emit a harmonious melody. According to legend, the harp owes its appearance to a hunting bow. When a primitive man pulled a bowstring, it made a peculiar sound; pulling another bowstring, one could already play a small melody. The first images of a bow-like harp were discovered in the form of cave drawings of ancient Egypt, dating back to 2800-2300 BC. in the tombs of the pharaohs. Such a harp, made almost four thousand years ago, was found during excavations of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur. This instrument was popular with the Greeks, Romans, Georgians, Azerbaijanis and other nations.The lyre, the sister of the harp, became popular in Greece. In the paintings and sculptures of those times, you can see that the lyre, during the history of the Mediterranean, was loved by many poets and singers. Lyres – companions of almost all ethnic groups of the world, were smaller and lighter.
In Europe, harps appeared in the XNUMXth century, but they became most widespread in the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries. Ancient harps were arc or angular, differed in size. Small hand-held harps, which the Celts loved, were especially popular. Five octaves – such was the sound range of the instrument, the strings were arranged so that only the sounds of the diatonic scale could be produced.
In 1660, a mechanical device in the form of adjustable keys was invented in Austria, which made it possible to change the tone of the sound by pulling or lowering the strings. Now, to shorten the strings, it was not necessary to use fingers, there were hooks near each of them, which helped to increase the tone. True, such a mechanism was not convenient, and in 1720 the German master Jacob Hochbrucker invented a pedal mechanism for playing the harp. Seven pedals, later increased to 14, acted on the conductors, allowing the hooks to be closer to the strings and increasing the tone of the bands.
Later in 1810, the French luthier Sebastian Herard improved the Hochbrucker movement and patented the double-pedaled harp, which is still in use today. The mechanism, improved by Erar, provided a scale equal to almost seven octaves. G. Lyon in Paris in 1897 invented a pedalless version of the harp. It consisted of cross strings, the number of which doubled due to the elimination of pedals. The second set of strings gave a new sound. Due to this, the tool gained fame, but soon it began to be used less and less.
The first mention of the harp in Russia appeared in the XNUMXth century. The Institute for Noble Maidens in St. Petersburg became the founder of playing this instrument. The institute, founded by Catherine II, brought up many famous female musicians of that time. A lot of time was devoted to learning to play the instrument, the best musicians of Europe were invited.
In the XX century, the harp plays a special special role in the music of a single or group performance. It is not easy today to find a composer who would not use it in his work.