Victoria Hughes, Harpist

There are essentially
three different types of harps

Harps are easily rented or bought, and are quite reasonably priced.

Most students start on an instrument called an Irish Harp. As a “lever” harp, in order to make a note flat or sharp, (the equivalent of a black key on the piano), a lever on top of the string is pushed up or down with the left hand.

The second style is the larger-levered Celtic Harp, a favorite among which is the the Lyon and Healy Troubadour harp.

Celtic harps have fewer notes than concert harps, are smaller, and the strings are typically a different tension and are lighter to the touch. Some have a distinct, percussive “Celtic” sound, as opposed to the more mellow sound of the pedal harp.


Harp Instruction by Victoria Hughes  |  510.932.2141  |


What Types of Harps Are There?


Celtic harps are often used as a step towards a concert harp.

Rentals for these smaller harps typically run about $70 per month.

Concert Harps, or “pedal” harps, are so called because they have seven pedals at the base of the harp, one for each note of the scale. When a flat or sharp is needed in a musical passage, the harpist uses their feet to push one of the pedals up or down, thus leaving both hands free to remain on the strings. A concert harp is considered a “full” instrument in that, like the piano, it can play a full range of six octaves. It is more versatile than the lever harp, although larger and more challenging to transport. It is used in playing classical music, some jazz, and for orchestral playing.