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Fun Harp Facts


Discover something new about the harp!

And come see the amazing things the harp can do on March 2, when harpist Bridget Kibbey will perform Renaissance and Baroque works arranged for the harp, including Bach's mighty Toccata and Fugue, in Merkin Hall. This evening of conversation and performance will be hosted by WQXR's Terrance McKnight. Info & tickets

  • The harp is believed to have existed since 15,000 BC, making it one of the oldest instruments in the world.
  • The word “harp” originates from the German, Old Norse and Anglo Saxon words meaning “to pluck.”
  • It might have strings, but it’s not a guitar!  The harp is meant to be played with the first four fingers on both hands.
  • The world’s largest harp ensemble is comprised of 420 harpists! Watch them perform during a 2013  festival in Paraguay

  • The walls of many ancient Egyptian tombs have paintings of people playing the harp.
  • It’s not just orchestras. The harp can also be heard in classical, folk, country, jazz, and African music, just to name a few.
  • AC/DC on a harp?  Sounds unlikely, but never say never!  Watch Camille and Kennerly (aka the Harp Twins) perform “Highway to Hell” on duetting harps.

  • AC/DC isn't the only rock back to get a harp remix. In 2014, young harpist Anna McLuckie performer Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" on The Voice UK.  

  • Despite their name, the jaw and blues harps are NOT actual harps.  They are both played with one’s mouth, while harps are not.
  • The Earth Harp, invented by harpist William Close, holds the Guinness World Record for longest string instrument. See Close working on the instrument in this CNN video


See celebrated harpist Bridget Kibbey perform in Merkin Hall on the series Only at Merkin with Terrance McKnight.