The harp is a musical instrument that is known to be very expensive. Even among instruments of the same brand, there can be a significant difference in price. For example, Salvi’s Pedal Harps range from over a hundred thousand for Daphne to over a million for Louis XVI. Many people wonder why the price varies so much and if there is really a difference in sound quality. Let me share some information with you.
Precious materials are used in the manufacturing of harps. Wood is the main material used in the production of harps. The rarer and more difficult to obtain high-quality wood, the more expensive the resulting harp will be. To ensure stable production, harp manufacturers prefer to use spruce and maple, which are both high-quality and reliable in supply. As a result, harps made with these woods are more affordable. More advanced harps are made with top-quality woods such as rosewood, curly maple, and olive wood, some of which are even limited in quantity. In addition, to highlight the grandeur and uniqueness of the harp, designers may incorporate gold leaf, pearls, or platinum. The materials used to make a harp are one of the factors that determine the price of the instrument. The following images of Salvi harps illustrate the beauty of high-end harps:
Preparing and Processing
Preparing and processing the wood used in the manufacture of harps takes a significant amount of time. Before manufacturing the harp, the wood must be carefully processed to protect its natural texture, structure, and aroma. Harp manufacturers have specially designed workshops where the humidity and temperature are monitored to allow the wood to dry naturally, preserving its original texture, structure, and aroma. Like wine, the time and quality of production are intertwined and a factor in pricing. For example, Salvi and Lyon & Healy show not only the names of the woods used but also the year that the wood began to dry. I have seen high-end harps that use wood that has been stored for over 10 years. Manufacturing a harp takes a long time, and some harps can take years to produce. Despite the seemingly simple design of some harps, a standard 47-string harp may have up to 2,000 small components. The more processes a harp requires, the longer it takes to manufacture, and the more expensive it becomes.
Human Resources in R&D
Each harp is the result of years of experience accumulated by manufacturers, craftsmen, and families, who are constantly improving the materials, tone, and structure of the harp. These efforts have resulted in high-quality harps that we can enjoy today. As a result, the cost of producing a harp includes high labor, material, and time costs.
Harp Type and Features
Harp types and features are also a factor in pricing. Pedal harps require more materials and complex production processes than lever harps, and even a standard pedal harp can cost several times more than a lever harp.
Appearance: The appearance of a harp is elegant, with intricate carvings and engravings that exude elegance. I believe that the harp is not only a musical instrument but also a work of art. The more expensive the harp, the more delicate the craftsmanship. If you have the opportunity, you can observe a harp worth over twenty thousand dollars up close and marvel at the exquisite carving, much like a priceless object.
Sound Quality: Different harps, based on their materials, structure, and craftsmanship, have a different sound quality. Even slight differences can be heard by children, harp students, and even general audiences. If you have any doubts, visit a music room and listen to various types of harps. I am sure you will be surprised. The higher the sound quality, the higher the value of the harp.
This small sharing will help you understand the reason why harps are expensive.