illustration of King David playing a harp; taken from 'A Popular History of the Art of Music' by W S B Mathews, 1891Derivation

  • Latin: harpa


A musical instrument, roughly triangular in form, whose strings of various lengths are plucked by the fingers in order to produce sound. Drawings of the harp appear on early Egyptian, Assyrian, Hebrew, and Celtic monuments; it is mentioned in the Bible, e.g., Genesis 4; 2 Paralipomenon, 9; Psalms 70; Apocalypse 5; and was used by the minstrels of the Middle Ages. The modern pedal harp was perfected by Sebastian Erard, 1810.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “harp”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 August 2018. Web. 26 February 2020. <>