Almost every beginner looking to make the harp their instrument of choice has one question — how much does a harp weigh? Well, it is not too hard to determine and relate to the basis of this question. After all, portability is a crucial factor you want to consider and prepare for when it comes to instruments.
So, if anything, it’s understandable that you’d want to know just how heavy or maybe light a harp is.
But who are we kidding? By simply looking at most harps, you’d probably guess that they’d have considerable weight. But here’s the million-dollar question, what exactly is the weight of a harp? Also, do all harps weigh the same?
All these and more are questions we’ll answer during the course of this article. So, stick with us for the entire ride!
Weights of Different Types of Harps
We’d like to give you an exact number right now as the answer to the question of how much a harp weighs. Unfortunately, we can’t. You see, harps come in different forms, models, and sizes. Therefore, due to these variations, it may be impossible to have a definite value as the weight of harps.
However, this is not to say you can not have a notion of what to expect your harp to weigh. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll give you a breakdown of the weights of harps depending on their types. Here they are:
1) Lever Harps (20 – 50 Pounds)
There is little doubt that level harps are of the more popular types of harps. They come off production lines in an assortment of shapes and sizes. But, they are usually smaller than pedal harps (we’ll talk about this soon).
Lever harps have weights ranging from around 20 pounds to the neighborhood of 50 pounds. This roughly translates to between 9 and 22kg. While this may seem rather heavy, level harps are actually one of the least weighty among the types of harps.
Unrelatedly, due to the presence of only levers on this type of harp, you’d have to retune the entire instrument to hit sharps and flats in music.
2) Pedal Harps (80 Pounds)
Easily one of the heaviest, a typical pedal harp stands at approximately 1.8 m high, 1.2 m deep, and 0.55 m at the widest part of its soundboard. This brings the pedal harp’s total weight to an impressive 80 pounds (approximately 36 kg).
Unfortunately, this means the pedal harp is not the most portable of models.
Contributing to the weight of the pedal harp are the seven pedals that make its base their home. These pedals link to the disks on the instrument’s neck and are responsible for the pedal harp being able to play any sound.
Of course, it also means that you’d have your hands free when you play (no hand levers).
3) Folk Harps (9 – 50 Pounds)
Folk or non-pedal harp is another harp that fits the bill of more portable. The harps come in two different sizes — floor sizes and lap sizes — and may have up to 37 strings.
A folk harp may weigh as little as 9 pounds (or 4kg) for the lap sizes. On the other hand, its floor sizes can have weights up to 50 pounds (or 22kg). But, despite this, folk harps are still one of the lightest out there.
The use of folk harps is more common in traditional music and has deep roots in ethnic traditions. However, like the level harp, it cannot reach flats and sharps unless it undergoes returning.
4) Lyre Harps (7 – 12 Pounds)
If you’ve ever seen an instrument that closely resembled a four-side harp, you were likely looking at a lyre model. This type of harp has strings that seem to be on all four of its side.
The invention and use of lyre harps go way back to around 32200 BC. Surprisingly, they’ve survived even till recent times.
Lyre harps are easily one of the more portable harps weighing between 7 and 12 pounds. This is less than 4kg and truly qualifies as lightweight in the scheme of things.
5) Celtic Harps (24 Pounds)
Next on our list, we have Celtic harps. This type of harp comes in two forms — the lap sizes and the floor sizes. Nevertheless, the average weight of Celtic harps (considering both categories) is 24 pounds.
This converts to about 10kg. While it is not the lightest of all harps, it certainly qualifies as being very portable.
6) Lap Harps (4.4 – 7.7 Pounds)
As the name implies, this type of harps is usually relatively small and can easily fit the player’s laps. They are ideal for younger harp enthusiasts and adult players who prefer a small portable instrument.
Over the years, lap harps have become increasingly popular. Indeed, many musical pieces optimized to their 22 strings have surfaced in recent times.
Regarding their weight, lap harps weigh between 4.4 pounds (2 Kg) and 7.7 pounds (3.5kg). You’ll agree that this is incredibly light and easy-to-carry. They are best for harpists who move around a lot and like to have their harps available on-demand.
7) Electric Harps (14 Pounds)
Right off the bat, electric harps weigh approximately 14 pounds or 6.5kg. Their most distinctive feature is the unique sounds they give.
Moreover, the fact that you can process the sounds from the electric harp’s sounds electronically opens a world of possibilities for you. Of course, the harp itself is small and very portable.
8) Travel Harps (13 – 17 Pounds)
Finally, if you travel frequently and always like to have your harp with you, you should look into travel harps. They are also ideal for beginners and younger harpists.
The travel harps weigh between 13 and 17 pounds (or 6 and 8kg) to qualify as a relatively portable instrument. Indeed, they are ideal for traveling harpists (obviously!), harp therapy, and practicing.
Now that you’ve learned about the weights of different harps that exist, let us look at how to move your harp around safely.
Moving a Heavy Harp: Some Tips to Help You
Below are some tips to help you get your harp from place to place in the safest possible way:
- The best way to transport a heavy harp is to lay the instrument flat in your vehicle’s trunk with its level side facing upwards.
- If the harp is extra heavy, you may lay it on a cushioned pad within your trunk. Remember to keep its column down.
- If your harp will fit in your trunk, place it on its column and balance it between the front seat and back seat.
- Always cover your instrument when in transit.
- When moving your harp, do so gently to avoid collisions and knocks on the instrument.
- Finally, when moving your harp (especially if it’s a lever harp), try to lift it instead of dragging it. This way, you can prevent the instrument’s legs from breaking.
We hope that you’ve gained some insight into how much harps weigh from this article. We may as well tell you now — don’t let the sight of pounds and kilograms scare you off. The harp is a marvelous instrument to have. Now, all that is left is for you to make a choice and purchase your preferred harp, except perhaps you already have one. In that case, the above tips will help you safely transport it.