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Harps



Harps
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    clarsachs, doppia, harpa, multi-course, standing, skillful, inventive, formerly, status, social, better, highly, maintain, warrior, affected, power
     content words:    In Wales, In Scotland, In Ireland, In Spain, Robin Huw Bowen


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Harps
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     When you think of harps, what else comes to mind? Angels? Soft music like falling water droplets? A large instrument on a stage with an orchestra? You could think of all these things and many more.
 
2     Harps are one of the oldest instruments for making music. Pictures of harps on clay tablets date back to 2800 BC in Iraq. The people of ancient Egypt were great harpers. They made many different styles. They were usually arched or L-shaped, with the front side open. Some were tall enough to be played while standing up. Others were played while kneeling on the ground. It is thought that because the strings were so long, they probably played lower notes.
 
3     The arched harp was the only stringed instrument in early Egypt. It stayed popular as other stringed instruments were invented. Harps were still used when the Greeks and Romans rose to power, a period of more than 2,000 years later!
 
4     The Celts [Keltz] were a warrior culture, but they also loved music and art. They were highly inventive people. The harp was used by them from their early years. Their design was a little different from the ones used in Egypt. Instead of having one open side, there was a pillar or wooden piece that completed the third (formerly open side) of the triangle shape.
 
5     The harp was also much smaller than the one in Egypt. The smaller size and stronger three-sided shape worked better for the Celtic people. Harpers often traveled, and their "Celtic harps" were easily carried without damage. Harpers were socially equal to nobles because of their musical skill, regardless of the social level into which they were born. Their job was to travel the country not only singing songs but also spreading the news across the country.

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