Harp vs. Piano: Full Comparison

Though the piano is one of the most popular musical instruments used extensively by musicians worldwide, the harp is one of the oldest musical instruments and has been used for folk music in different countries. 

The harp was very popular for making music many centuries ago, since the construction of the harp is comparatively simple. 

The music which is created using a harp sounds very similar to piano music so many people would like to find out whether they are the same, and the differences. 

Hence this harp vs piano comparison looks at the design of these musical instruments and provides tips on learning to play them.

Table of Contents

Are the harp and the piano the same?

Music experts often claim that the piano is a “harp in a coffin”, since both of them have strings which are plucked to create music. 

However the piano has wires which are covered with keys, while the harp strings are exposed, and the strings are made from gut, nylon and wound wire. 

Both these instruments have to be tuned, though the harp has to be tuned every time before playing, while the piano has to be tuned only occasionally.

Both instruments can be played while being seated.

One of the major differences is the history of these instruments, the harp was used since ancient times, there is evidence to prove that the harp was used in 3500 BC. 

See also  Violin vs. Flute (What's The Difference?)

On the other hand, the piano was invented only a few centuries ago in Italy around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori. 

There is a difference in the number of strings in these musical instruments, since the harp has only 47 strings, while a piano has 230 strings.

Since the strings of the harp are exposed and are made from thinner material, they are more likely to break, and have to be replaced, while piano strings will rarely break.

The piano is one of the most widely used musical instruments and it is easy to find companies selling pianos and also teachers who can train the person in playing the piano. 

It is widely used for a wide range of music worldwide including classical and pop music.

Since pianos are used extensively, they are also cheaper. 

On the other hand, it is difficult to find suppliers of harps or a teacher who is proficient in the intricacies of the instrument. The harps are mainly used by folk musicians. 

The harps are expensive since they are rare, and require more care since the wood may also warp. 

Harps are more portable

Harps are a more portable instrument than the piano obviously. Since they are smaller you can fit a harp in almost any vehicle, train, or airplane.

You can also move them around the house a lot easier than a piano.

Which to learn first?

Most parents will prefer to teach their children to play the piano first.

This is because the piano is played, in the natural sitting position, while the person playing the harp will have to support it on the knees which can be difficult for younger children who are small. 

See also  Trumpet vs. Saxophone (What's The Difference?)

It is also easier to find a piano teacher, since the piano is one of the most popular musical instruments with many schools having a piano for music classes. 

There are many qualified piano instructors in most cities.

Also the piano has a greater range of notes since it has a sustaining pedal while the sound produced when a harp string is plucked will die quickly.

PRO TIP: Looking to learn the piano with guided courses online? Playground Sessions is one of the most reputable online learning resources for piano.

On the other hand, it is difficult to find a teacher to train a person in playing the harp so that he masters it, so the student may have to travel long distances for training. 

Also the harp is expensive and requires more maintenance.

Hence it is advisable to learn to play the piano first, since the music learner will acquire a number of skills, which will help in learning to play other instruments. 

These include reading music sheets, coordination of the right and left hand, to strike the right notes, and the fingers become agile. Hence even older people prefer to learn the piano first.

Is the Piano or Harp harder?

While most music experts claim that it is easier to create pleasant sounding music using a harp, they agree that it is difficult to master the instrument, create complex music on it. 

On the other hand, it is comparatively easy to learn to play the piano, since it is easy to find a suitable piano for practice, and many qualified piano instructors who can train the student so that he passes the music exams.

See also  Orchestra vs. Band (What's The Difference?)

It is harder to become an expert in playing the harp, compared to becoming a piano expert.


They are quite different instruments with only some similarities and ultimately it is up to you learn pick the one that you can play for awhile to learn and then go onto the next. 

Also Read:

Leave a Comment