Many centuries has the harp is one of the oldest musical instruments. It appeared at the dawn of human civilization and became the ancestor of all stringed instruments.
Instrumental ensemble (double oboe, lute and harp).
Fragment of wall painting. Ancient Egypt
It was, perhaps, one day, pulling the string of a bow, the hunter noticed that it emits a gentle melodic sound. He checked his impression, and liked the sound even more. Then he decided to pull the next one string, shorter, and have already received two music sound different heights. It has become possible to play a simple melody. It was a great discovery: there was the first stringed instrument. Over the years, decades, centuries. To the previous string will be added all the new; but a musical instrument continued to be in the form of a bow. It was holding and playing, fingering the strings. The harp he loved in Ancient Egypt, Phoenicia, and Assyria. in Ancient Greece and Rome. In the Middle ages, the harp received a huge spread in Europe. Especially famous for the Irish harpers, who performed their stories - Saga - the accompaniment of a small portable harp. Her image has even entered the national emblem of Ireland.
The national emblem of Ireland with the image of a harp
But gradually, the harp became aristocratic tool. The harp plays only one Who is free and noble, It never sounds Under the hand of the servant... thus spoke poets. The harp was richly decorated with gold, mother of pearl, mosaic. Played it, usually women. "Magic tool" called harp poets, admiring her delicate sounds. In the XIX century it was thought that every well-bred girl from "decent society" should be able to play the harp. Leo Tolstoy in "War and peace" tells how she played the harp Natasha Rostov.
Thomas Sally/ Portrait of Elizabeth Ridgeley (the lady with the harp)
Now the harp is used as a solo instrument and as one of the instruments of the orchestra. Of course, it is very different from their medieval ancestors. Her forty-five - forty-seven strings stretched on a triangular metal frame elegant form, decorated with carvings.
With the help of seven pedals, shorten the strings when necessary, the harp, you can extract all the sounds from re contra to the FA of the fourth octave. Sounds harp very poetic. Composers use it when you need to create fantastic images, paintings peaceful nature, to imitate the sound of folk string instruments. Very often harp soloist in the ballet. It sounds in the "Waltz of the flowers" from the Nutcracker, in a scene from "Swan lake" and the Adagio from the Sleeping beauty" by Tchaikovsky. For harp written variation in Raymonda Glazunov.
P. I. Tchaikovsky. Adagio from the ballet "Sleeping-beauty"
Soviet composers R. M. Glier and S. N. Vasilenko wrote concertos for harp and orchestra. Many works were created for the harp as a solo concert instrument. Arrangements for make it outstanding masters of the performers on this instrument, in particular, a remarkable Soviet harpist Faith Dulov.