Why the harp?

Why the Harp?

The harp has been an instrument attributed to angelic personalties with a celestial quality throughout history. There is abundant literature relating to music and healing. In this context “healing” is a process of de-stressing the human body and the human mind as well as elevating and inspiring the human spirit.

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From the physics of sound we know that harmonics are a natural phenomenon of vibration. This is explained very well in Kay Gardner’s book Music as Medicine. The book noted, “when a musical sound is ‘struck’ it naturally produces overtones or harmonics in predictable intervals. Each harmonic note vibrates in synchronization with the root note. These intervals in the harmonic series are pure because, again, their vibrations are in sync with each other”. This “in sync-ness”, or natural quality of sound, which is resonant with our body’s cellular vibration, can clear the blockages in the energy channel and release tensions.

When one harp string is plucked, the neighbouring strings vibrate simultaneously and the healing harmonics multiply like a domino effect. The unique structure of the harp has an advantage to create the glissando or arpeggio thus setting up a complex harmonic effect which can alter our cellular function and energy channels in greater depth than other instruments would achieve.

This vibrational effect can act on all levels of our body, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. When the overtones and harmonics are created by the plucked harp strings, they resonate with our brain wave patterns, and allow access to long hidden or dormant emotional memories. These memories are reawakened and can be re-examined, re-processed, re-programmed and be corrected or discarded. In psycho-somatic illness, when the emotional problems are cleared, physical symptoms like chronic pain, insomnia, headache, etc, will decrease. Consequently, if the pain is corrected then depression may be resolved.

Another advantage of the harp is that the long decay of the vibration from the plucked strings gives the brain enough time to synchronize with the vibrational tonal frequencies. This enables the brain to activate more neuronal pathways, producing more pyscho-neuro-endocrine effects and ultimately effects the entire body’s cellular structure and function.

Also the vibration of the harps strings resonating from out of a sound board placed in front of my body when I play glissandos or arpeggios on the harp is a unique experience which I have never felt with piano or guitar. The harp’s sound board sits in front of the mid-line meridian. It is the most nourishing meridian of the body and it affects all of the yin meridians. Harp vibration can open up an obstruction of this channel, which connects to all the chakra centres.

From: Williams S. (2001) An interview with Elizabeth Chen Christenson M. D. Harp Therapy Journal 6-11.