Materiality page

There are three categories of Materiality:

  • The wood and metal of which the harp is made.
  • The design or template followed to construct the harp
  • Building methods used in the creation of the harp, such as the types of tools used, carved or glued construction, and so forth.

The material elements the wire–strung harp needs are simple: wood and metal. But within that simplicity is an overwhelming list of options. What type of wood or metal? Must it be wood (it obviously must be metal strings, or it wouldn’t be a wire–strung harp.) How are these elements processed?

The design followed is another consideration. Are specific templates used, or does the harp maker follow the nature of the wood available? Are the plans drawn from measurements of a preserved instrument, or is a more original and creative approach taken? Some harp makers stay true to historical elements of the wire–strung harp, while others add innovations such as levers or bridge pins.

Thirdly, the building methods used can make tremendous differences, even in two otherwise identical instruments. Is the body carved, or is it glued together? Some makers use only hand tools, while others employ power tools. Finishes can differ. The skills of the maker can vary widely, from a beginner working from a kit to a full time and experienced worker.

All of these variables and more may be covered here. If you have content in this area that you would like to share, please visit our Participate and Contribute link, or send us an email