Harps have existed and evolved for over 4,500 years. They are one of the classic instruments of antiquity, used for songs of war, peace, love and sadness. Their unique sound can be used to bring happiness, reflection and healing to both an audience and the harpist. They come in two main groups: pedal and non-pedal. The pedal type is large and heavy whereas non-pedals can range in size from 60 to 23 inches tall. Lap harps are the smallest size, ranging in height from two to three feet.
They are a fun instrument to make music on and a fantastic way to learn how to play on. As the name suggests they are small enough to be held by the musician as he or she plays and compared to their bigger cousins, weigh a good deal less, which makes them extremely portable. They can be more affordable than the full size version and the range of harps for sale means that there is one to fit any budget.
A common misconception about the lap harp is that it is only suitable for beginners. In fact anyone interested in playing harps will almost certainly enjoy playing one. Nonetheless beginers usually find them a great way to learn to play. They also serve as an excellent portable second instrument for a harpist on the road and many of those who purchase one are accomplished harp players looking for a portable instrument to take on their peregrinations. They are often a favorite of music therapists who can easily take them into hospitals and other places to perform music therapy.
Lap harps have fewer strings than pedal harps which means that music has to be adapted to suit the narrower range available, but happily there is plenty of music available which has been specifically arranged.
If this has whetted your interest, please look around for recommendations on picking the right harp, plus basic playing and tuning advice when you get one.