harp history and composition

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    I NEED HELP! I’m currently researching the history of the harp from

    its origins to the present, using a worldwide perspective. I would

    like to find out its place in every country, town, city, etc, in the

    world. I am also interested in the differnt harp musics of the

    world, again from the beginnings until now. I am a composer, so any

    books related to composition are helpful, but those specifically

    related to the harp are most important. Books along the lines that I

    am reading now are Harps and Harpists, by Roslyn Rensch,

    Temperment, by Stuart Isacoff, Latin American Harps, History, Music

    and Techniques, by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, and Flowers of the Orient,

    By Janet Correll (the last two include music). Any input is helpful.

    Thank you very much!


    World harp traditions are a passion of mine as well. Here is an additional bibliography to look up, and you can contact me for more info if you like.

    Hale, Thomas A. Griots and Griottes. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1998. (This covers an West African harp tradition.)

    Kinnaird, Alison and Keith Sanger. Tree of Strings: a History of the the Harp in Scotland. Kinmor Music: Midlothian, Scotland, 1992.

    Williamson, Muriel C. The Burmese Harp: Its Classical Music, Tunings, and Modes. Southeast Asia Publications of Northern Illinois University: DeKalb, 2000.

    Schechter, John M. The Indispensable Harp: Historical Development, Modern Roles, Configurations, and Performance Practices in Ecuador and Latin America. The Kent State University Press: Kent, OH, 1992.

    Cui Jun Zhi. Konghou World. China Film Press: Beijing, 1996. (This is an extensive book with music that outlines the history of this chinese harp.)

    The following are journal articles. Citations are as complete as possible right now.

    De Vate, Sue Carol. “Trolegomena to a Study of Harp and Voice Sounds in Uganda.” from Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology Vol. V Studies in African Music. 1984

    Knight, Roderic. “The Harp in India Today. Ethnomusicology, Winter 1985.

    Wolfe, Billie. Folk Harp of Mexico. American Harp Journal, vol. 4. no. 1 Spring, 1973

    Grauberger, Stephen L., M.A. “Diatonic harp of the Philippines: An historical overview and an organological comparison of the Cebuano-Bissyan harp. University of Hawaii. 1994. (This is a dissertation I ordered through UNI Dissertation Services in Ann Arbor, MI. phone 1-800-521-0600 or

    If you are near a university music library that subscribes to RILM, an online database for music literature, you can do searches to find these materials and more. You can then have the library do an interlibrary loan for you. That’s how I did a lot of my research on this subject when I was working on my doctorate at University of Nebraska. I found some of these books at and barnes and and bought them for my own library.

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