The harp, like the piano, is a stringed instrument; unlike the piano, the strings are not struck by hammers but plucked with the fingers, much like the guitar, banjo or mandolin. However, the harp is the only plucked string instrument in a symphony orchestra.
The harp has 47 or 48 strings. Some are coloured red or black, so that the harpist can identify them easily.
The strings are attached at the bottom to the soundboard, which amplifies the sound. At the very bottom of the harp are seven pedals. The harpist uses these to shorten the strings which raises the pitch and makes it possible to play in all keys.
Children can begin learning to play the harp on a smaller instrument without pedals.