Harps – Troubadour or Pedals – What’s the Difference?

In the harp world, there are lots of different varieties of instruments.  If you don’t know your concert grand from your lever harp, then this article is for you.


There are several different kinds of troubadour harps.  The best way to tell if a harp is a troubadour, is if they have levers.  img_20160915_102148595

Of course, not all troubadours have levers, but the ones that don’t – have nothing up by the tuning pegs.


Another way to tell a troubadour from any other kind of harp is size.  They are generally smaller than pedal harps.  But, again – there’s bigger and smaller ones.


There’s lots of variations – and lots of makers.  Just type “troubadour” or “small harp” or “lap harp” into Google, and you’ll be practically inundated with so many different models and types, it’s almost overwhelming.


Pedal Harps

Pedal harps are the big, fancy harps that you’ll see at weddings, churches, symphony concerts, you get the idea.

They are beautiful, and are often gilded, carved or otherwise decorated.


Pedal harps don’t have levers.  They have disc mechanisms up there:


The mechanisms are operated with your feet, thus the pedals:


There’s 7 pedals, one for each pitch.  So, there’s one for all the A’s, B’s, C’s – you get the idea.

As with troubadours – there are lots and shapes and sizes of pedal harps.


Auto Harps


Auto harps are often used in different types of music.  They aren’t really comparable to troubadours or pedal harps, and are played in an entirely different way.

I only bring them up here, because I have had clients who owned one of these, and asked for harp lessons thinking they would learn how to play the harp they had.  When I asked them to bring in their harp, this is what they brought.

So, basically, not the same thing at all.

Well, that basically sums up the different types of harps.  I hope this helps the very beginners out there to feel a little better about their harp knowledge.  That being said, I’ve barely scratched the surface here of all the differences, and will be posting more later.

Happy reading!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s