Harp frame acoustics

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    Hi all!

    Probably it was already discussed numerous times, but it is an interesting topic anyway and difficult to find explicit information on it.

    My questions is how the neck and the pillar of the harp (let’s take a celtic one for simplicity) contribute acoustically to the sound of the harp? How the stiffness of the timber improves/colors the sound?
    A more practical question – why the frame of harp is never made of thick plywood, but rather solid hardwood, though I have seen plywood soundboards and aluminium soundboxes on celtic harps.
    If there is any good material available on the web or printed on this subject, I would appreciate references.



    I can’t answer any of your questions with absolute certainty, and I am by no means an expert on the subject of harp making.


    Necks are usually


    The neck and column definitely affect the sound. The heavier they are, the less the harp will resonate. While they resonate less, they still contribute and lend support in some way. Adding more metal changes the sound as well. Weight is a major factor in a harp’s sound.

    If you compare the size and weight and sound of Lyon & Healy harps, Venus harps and Salvi harps, you may hear the difference, at least with harps made in say, the 1980s. The models have changed somewhat since then. Lyon & Healy concert harps once weighed 78 pounds, as I recall, now they are around 82, while Salvis and some Venus harps are noticably more heavy.

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