What is the difference between the Lyre harp and the Orchestral Harp?

- Jul 14, 2020-

The orchestral harp and the lyre harp can basically be regarded as homologous musical instruments. In the distant period of Cuban Babylon, there was already a prototype of this multi-string plucked instrument. Later, this musical instrument spread westwards through Greece and evolved into the orchestral harp and the lyre harp.

The difference above the structure:

First, the intuitive difference is size.

It can be said that the smallest orchestral harp of 10 strings is about the same size as the larger 20-30 string lyre harp, and the larger orchestral harp is much larger than the lyre harp.

Second, the way of resonance, or the difference in the structure of the body.

The orchestra harp is a triangular structure, and the side facing the player's body is its resonance box. The soundhole on the resonance soundbox is opened backward.

The lyre harp is divided into a plate type and a box type. The plate type lyre harp does not have a resonance soundbox but will dig a groove in the body.

Whether it is the groove of the plate lyre harp or the soundhole of the box lyre harp, it is facing the side.

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Third, the connection between strings and body.

The strings of the orchestral harp are directly connected to the resonance soundbox. The strings are perpendicular to the resonance soundbox, and the vibration of the strings is directly transmitted to the resonance sound box behind the strings. Because the strings are directly connected to the resonance soundbox, the orchestral harp has no structure like this.

The strings of the lyre harp are generally passed through the body and stretched on the side of the body. The strings are parallel to the resonance sound body. Whether it is a plate lyre harp and a box lyre harp, the strings are on the side of the body. Therefore, some lyre harp, especially box-type lyre harp, have the structure of the code, so that the vibration of the strings is transmitted to the panel through the code.

Finally, there is a difference between the diaphonic system.

The lyre harp has a simple structure and generally does not have a tuning system. What is the string is what it is. If you want to change it, you can only use a tuning wrench to adjust it. There is no way to change the tone during the performance.

The orchestral harp, in addition to the very small orchestral harp, has a sound modification system, the pedal orchestral harp is changed by the pedal, and the board key harp is changed by the board key, which can be temporarily changed during the performance.


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The difference in their performance.

First of all, because the lyre harp is generally small, the lyre harp is basically held in the arms or played in hand.

The orchestral harp, except for the very small entry-level orchestral harp with 10-20 strings, is generally placed on the ground. The player sits behind the orchestral harp with the body tilted slightly towards the player. When playing a pedal orchestral harp, sometimes you have to use both hands and feet.

Second, orchestral harp's playing technique will be more strict. The left and right hands move the strings like grips on both sides of the orchestral harp. Generally speaking, the left hand is responsible for playing bass and the right hand is playing treble. On the board-key orchestral harp, the left hand is also responsible for changing the sound.

The way of playing the lyre harp is much more random, in addition to the orchestral harp type similar to the orchestral harp playing method, there are healing types (the most popular way of lyre harp playing), guitar type, African type and so on.

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Edit by Height Musical Instrument News Department