Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuning a Celtic Harp

Celtic harps consist of several strings.

Celtic harps, also known as folk harps, have a single lever that allows you to change the pitch of all the strings simultaneously. Tuning a Celtic harp is important to maintain the integrity of the sound of the instrument, to keep the strings at an appropriate tension and to ensure that the instrument's frame doesn't break from too much tension on the strings. It is easy to break a Celtic harp, so using a tuner and avoiding too much tension will greatly help improve the life of your harp.

Determine the fundamental pitch of your harp. The manufacturer includes this information with the purchase of your harp; not all Celtic harps are tuned to the same pitch. If you don't know how your harp is tuned, tighten the lowest string until it feels firm, but not too tight. Pluck the string and identify the base pitch using the note indicator on the tuner.

Count the number of strings on the harp. If you have 12 or more strings, you will tune the harp chromatically. Seven-string harps will be tuned diatonically. While five-string harps will be tuned to a pentatonic scale.

Tune the first string to the fundamental pitch you determined in Step 1. Then, tune each additional string according to the type of harp you have. You can tune the harp by turning the pegs at the top of the harp with your hand or a tuning wrench. Turn the pegs to the right so that the tension increases will raise the pitch, turning to the left and releasing tension will lower the pitch.


  • Chromatic harps with 12 strings will be tuned in half steps.
  • Diatonic harps with seven strings will be tuned to a major scale, or the following intervals, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step and half step.
  • Pentatonic harps with five strings will be tuned to the following intervals, one whole step, one half step, three half steps and one whole step.notes.
  • If the harp has levers, you can raise and lower all the pitches by adjusting the position of the lever. A lever in the top position makes all the strings flat, in the middle position will make them natural and the lowest position will make the strings sharp.