Celtic Harp vs Regular Harp? Basic Difference Between Them!

What you Need to Know About These Two Harps

There are two essential kinds of harps available out there. Celtic harps use levers to change notes while regular pedal harps use pedals.

Nevertheless, you would possibly still be confused about what the precise difference between this Celtic harp and vs regular harp type is, and in this article, we are going to assist more about their differences in addition to their similarities.

You shouldn’t worry about this as we are going to take you thru an in-depth explanation of the differences and similarities between the Celtic and regular pedal harps.

Moreover, additionally, you will be taught what should guide you to decide between these two types of harps. With this in mind, you will be ready to make a knowledgeable choice as to which best serves your needs.

Celtic Harp vs Regular Harp

What is the Difference Between a Celtic Harp and a Regular Harp?

Regular harps are extra complex in comparison with a Celtic harp and also include a maximum price tag.

Alternatively, a Celtic harp has about 22- 36 strings that are minimal in size, although 36 sometimes is closer to the height of a regular harp there’s a difference when it comes to the models as well as what they make.

As for the pedal harp, it has 44-48 strings with a soundboard that’s extended on the end of the bass for the addition of volume.

Pedal harps are taller, heavier, and larger in comparison with the Celtic harps and usually are not advisable for children’s use because they weigh roughly 70-75 pounds while the Celtic lever harp weighs 10-20 pounds and hence better approved for children’s use.

There’s a principal variation between these two kinds of harm resulting from their chromatic flexibility.

Celtic harps are known to be diatonic; this implies they’re only able to perform in a restricted number of signature keys. However, the basic changes normally are accomplished through using semitone levers.

So, in case you tune your harp on Eb, you’ll be able to comfortably obtain the 14 keys, the only issue you’ll experience is in modulating it quickly in the middle of every piece in comparison with the way it might be simple on a pedal harp. Because of its restricted figure of keys, the repertoire range is a little more limited.

If you cross on the other side, regular harps are fully chromatic and have the potential to contact the total number of keys ranging from the C-Cb major.

That is achieved through the usage of the pedals positioned at the end rear of your harp hence permitting you to alter keys.

Due to this fact, this will play the full classical repertoire.

Pedal harp

  • Much more expensive. Pay attention to this, but don’t let it stop you. There are many financing options for buying or renting a harp.

  • Bigger and heavier. In case you intend to play in locations other than your house, you’ll need a car large enough to transport them in.

  • Louder. As a result, they are bigger, and they’re going to be louder, which is better for playing in large spaces or with a full orchestra.

  • Genuine classical repertoire. If it is your objective to play the music the way in which Hasselmans and Satie wrote it, you’ll have to play on a pedal harp.

  • Modified Celtic repertoire. You may get the gist of a Celtic song on a pedal harp, but the Celtic ornamentation could be troublesome because of the string tension.

Pedal harp parts

Lever harp

  • Inexpensive. Sizes vary, so there’s a lever harp to suit any budget. Even the costliest lever harp is half the price of a pedal harp. You can even choose to have no levers at first, greatly cutting the price, and add levers to some or all strings later. This isn’t possible to do with pedals.

  • Lighter weight. An excellent, big lever harp weighs half or much less of what a pedal harp weighs. You’ll be able to transport a lever harp in almost any kind of car.

  • Not as loud. Lever harps aren’t wimpy, however, un-amplified, they do better in a smaller area or with a chamber ensemble.

  • Modified classical repertoire. You can not play many classical songs on the lever harp exactly as written, however, there are lots of good arrangements for the lever harp.

  • Genuine Celtic repertoire. Inasmuch as there’s a genuine Celtic repertoire for harp, it is possible for you to play it completely on a lever harp.

Lever celtic harp parts

Specialty harps

Pedals versus levers is a key differentiator, however, there are also:

  • Wire-strung harps. These use wire strings rather than nylon, gut, or carbon fiber. They’re traditionally performed together with your fingernails, producing a bell-like tone.

  • Paraguayan harps. These are the distinctive harp of Venezuela, played with fingernails in the melody hand and finger pads within the bass.

  • Double-strung lever harps. These have two sets of strings next to one another, with two sets of levers.

  • Triple-strung harps (no levers). These have sharp and flat notes on a set of strings in between two natural sets.

  • Historic harps. These are reproductions of harps from hundreds of years ago, generally with burrs to provide the strings a buzzing sound, and usually with less space between strings than modern harps.

Should you start your harp journey on one of these specialty harps? Positive, especially in case your main objective is to play one of those.

However in case you’ve never heard of them till you just now read about them right here, please don’t let the variety confuse you. Focus on your objectives, and see what harp suits them best.

Similarities Between the Celtic Harp and a Regular Harp

Both these harps have an identical playing technique approach apart from their comparison when it comes to expenses and repertoire, so in the case of techniques of playing the 2 types of harps, they’re similar, and you don’t want to worry about any cost.

How Much Do They Cost?

The Celtic harp is less expensive in comparison with a regular harp. The Celtic harp prices around $100-$500 while the pedal harp goes for $400-$2,000 and the pedal harp goes for $1,000-$15,000 and more.

Which one should you get?

This can be a tough question, but your pocket will best resolve which one it’s best to go for. In case you are not on a tight budget, you should purchase the pedal harp, but when your budget is low, it is best to go for the Celtic harp.

Moreover, it could be best if you chose a harp that can best satisfy your demands. In case you’re going to be playing the harp forever and maybe even professionally then go for the pedal harp if not then go for the Celtic harp.

Due to this fact, to make a concrete decision on the proper match, you have to consider the harp differences too to find the precise harp that will serve you best too.


Based on the knowledge above, you are actually familiar with the differences between the Celtic and Regular harps.

When looking to buy one that best meets your needs, you might be in a lot better position to make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs.

Consequently, you will get to take pleasure in playing your favorite songs on your preferred harp.

Bill Hood

Bill Hood

My name is Bill, and I am a musician and music enthusiast who has a deep love and passion for anything and everything stringed that moves my soul. It is an honor to be a part of the team at our website dedicated to stringed instruments, and I look forward to sharing my passion and knowledge with our readers as well.

Strings Kings
Strings Kings