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Vertical angular harp: clay plaque from Tell Asmar, 1900–1500 BCE (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Vertical angular harp: clay plaque from Tell Asmar, 1900–1500 BCE (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Photo Maurice Chuzeville, Malakoff, France

Horizontal arched harp (sammû): terracotta relief from Tell Asmar, 1900–1500 BCE (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Horizontal arched harp (sammû): terracotta relief from Tell Asmar, 1900–1500 BCE (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

Photo Maurice Chuzeville, Malakoff, France

Schematic profiles of European harps from the 11th century to the 16th

Schematic profiles of European harps from the 11th century to the 16th

after J. Rimmer

(a) Renaissance harp with brays, and lute: engraving by Israhel van Meckenem (ii), second half of the 15th century; (b) Renaissance harp with brays, German, maker unknown, 16th century (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)

(a) Renaissance harp with brays, and lute: engraving by Israhel van Meckenem (ii), second half of the 15th century; (b) Renaissance harp with brays, German, maker unknown, 16th century (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)

Oldest extant Irish harp, known as the ‘Brian Boru’ harp, 14th century (Trinity College, Dublin)

Oldest extant Irish harp, known as the ‘Brian Boru’ harp, 14th century (Trinity College, Dublin)

The Board of Trinity College, Dublin

Woodcut from Praetorius’s ‘Syntagma musicum’ (2/1619): (1) common harp; (2) Irish harp with brass strings; (3) dulcimer

Woodcut from Praetorius’s ‘Syntagma musicum’ (2/1619): (1) common harp; (2) Irish harp with brass strings; (3) dulcimer

Welsh triple harp by Bassett Jones, c1850, played by Nansi Richards-Jones, 1970

Welsh triple harp by Bassett Jones, c1850, played by Nansi Richards-Jones, 1970

Joan Rimmer / Photo Frank Harrison, Canterbury

Single-rank harp with ribbed resonator, guitar and violin, Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico, 1966

Single-rank harp with ribbed resonator, guitar and violin, Zinacantán, Chiapas, Mexico, 1966

Joan Rimmer / Photo Frank Harrison, Canterbury

Single-action pedal harp with structural and mechanical details: engraving by Benard after Prevost from Diderot and D’Alembert’s ‘Encyclopédie’, v (Paris, 1767), pl.xix

Single-action pedal harp with structural and mechanical details: engraving by Benard after Prevost from Diderot and D’Alembert’s ‘Encyclopédie’, v (Paris, 1767), pl.xix

Positions of forks and pedals, and corresponding keys obtainable on the new Erard double-action harp: engraving by W. Lowry after Pierre Erard from his ‘The Harp in its Present Improved State’ (London, 1821)

Positions of forks and pedals, and corresponding keys obtainable on the new Erard double-action harp: engraving by W. Lowry after Pierre Erard from his ‘The Harp in its Present Improved State’ (London, 1821)

Modern double-action harp, showing pedal-rod/tuning disc mechanism, pedal box, and the positions of forks and pedals for the sharps, flats and naturals

Modern double-action harp, showing pedal-rod/tuning disc mechanism, pedal box, and the positions of forks and pedals for the sharps, flats and naturals

Ensemble of harp, violin, four-keyed clarinet and triangle: ‘I Viggianesi’, engraving by Francesco Pisante after Filippo Palizzi, mid-19th century

Ensemble of harp, violin, four-keyed clarinet and triangle: ‘I Viggianesi’, engraving by Francesco Pisante after Filippo Palizzi, mid-19th century

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