About The Harps
Alys Howe plays the pedal harp, lever harp, and electric harp.
The pedal harp (sometimes called the classical harp or the concert harp) is the large type found in orchestras. It is called the pedal harp because it has seven pedals operated by the player’s feet, which will change the pitch of the strings they are associated with.
The lever harp (often called the Celtic harp and sometimes the folk harp), can range in size from a very small instrument with only a few strings, to nearly the size of a pedal harp. (This kind of harp varies a lot depending on who has made it). The pitch of the strings on the lever harp are changed by the operation of the levers on the neck of the instrument.
The type of harp that is most accurately called the Celtic harp was played in Scotland (where it was called clarsach) and in Ireland (where it was called cruit) and was strung with wire or metal strings. Today this kind of harp is usually described as the metal-strung (or wire-strung) harp. Although this kind of harp still exists in a modern form today, the lever harp is now more common in Europe and North America. As with the fiddle/violin, a harpist can play Celtic music on any type of harp. It is the choice of repertoire and the style of performance that makes the music traditional Celtic, not the instrument itself.
The most important difference between pedal and lever harp, as experienced by clients, is that the Pedal Harp can play ALL of the musical selections available in Alys Howe’s entertainment repertoire, while the Lever Harp cannot. On the wedding and entertainment pages of this website, any music selections marked with an asterisk* at the end of the title, are available to be performed on Pedal Harp only.
Today, harpists can choose to play a regular acoustic instrument, or some harpists such as Alys Howe also perform on electric-acoustic pedal and lever harps, or on electric harp. Clients have the option to choose whether they would prefer for Alys to perform acoustically, or with amplification, at their event.
Alys Howe’s electro harp is the Camac “Little Big Blue” in black, made in France.
Alys Howe’s lever harp is a
Dusty Strings FH34
made in Seattle, in Koa finish.
Alys Howe’s pedal harp is a
Salvi Daphne 40
made in Italy, in Maple finish.