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the Harp

posted Nov 7, 2015, 8:03 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Nov 7, 2015, 8:04 AM ]
Developed from the hunting bow, the harp is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world, dating back at least as early as 3500 BC, where it was depicted in ancient Egyptian tombs and in Mesopotamian culture. It enjoyed immense popularity during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, where it evolved with new technologies. Missionaries spread it throughout Europe's colonies, particularly to Paraguay. Today, Africa boasts the largest variety of harps.

Modern harps are between two to six feet tall, and have 22 to 47 strings of varying lengths, tuned to the notes of the white keys of the piano. Made of catgut, nylon, or metal, they come in different colors to help you tell one from another. They’re plucked with the first four fingers of each hand, (though Irish folk harpists use their fingernails.) Pedal harps have pedals attached to the bottom which change the pitch of a string and allow them to sound the pitches of the black keys on the piano.

One of our parishioners, Phillip Milbouer, plays harp, and you’ll be able to hear him play it right here next week on Saturday, November 14
th when he plays it at the 5:00 PM Youth Mass. Or, you’ll also be able to hear him play it here on January 16th, 2016 when he performs on our 3rd Annual #young@heart concert.

Phillip is a member of the Xaverian Harp Ensemble, and they will perform as an instrumental group at the Diocese of Brooklyn Youth Choir Festival next Sunday, November 15
th at 3:30 PM at Resurrection-Ascension Church in Rego Park. They’ll also perform holiday favorites at the MAX (Music at Xaverian) Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 5th at 7:00 PM.