Musical Instruments

Harp Facts

  • Its origin dates back to 3000 BC making it one of the earliest, if not one of the oldest musical instruments in the world.
  • The word ‘harpa’ was first used around the year 600 and was the generic term used for stringed instruments.
  • There are open harps and framed harps.
  • A harpist only plays using the first four fingers of each hand.
  • Irish harpists use their fingernails to pluck the wire strings.
  • When music notes are played in rapid succession on the harp it is called arpeggio. When the harpist makes a sweeping motion of the hands across the strings it is termed glissando.
  • In the middle ages and before it was considered to an aristocratic instrument played for royalty. Therefore, harpists were expected to evoke one of three emotions with their music, tears, laughter and sleep.
  • Since the thirteenth century the harp has been Ireland’s national symbol.

Pipe Organ Facts

  • The pipe organ dates back to 250 BC.
  • It was commonplace in gladiator matches before becoming a staple in the Catholic Church.
  • A musician who plays the pipe organ is called a pipe organist
  • Pipe organs are not a staple in an orchestra, however if they are present there is often only one pipe organ in most orchestras.

Mandolin Facts

  • It is a stringed musical instrument from the lute family.
  • It originated in Italy and is a descendant of the Mandolino of the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • A musician who plays the mandolin is called a mandolinist
  • Its strings are plucked to make the sound.
  • It was primarily used for classical and folk music.
  • The most common version is the eight string version.
  • It is said to be one of the easier instruments to play.

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