Many people say that the harp is more difficult to play than the guitar. It seems to me that the opposite is true since every string on a guitar has many frets, say 15, so 6 strings * 15=75 notes which of course aren't distinct. So I assume the harp is easier to play but the only difficulties is that the harp is more expensive and there's far less tutorials on harps than on guitars.

Which is harder to play?

Also, what's the difference between a small harp and a qanun? It looks like the qanun is just a horizontal harp.

  • The harp may have fewer frets but it has more strings and it may have pedals. I expect that accurately plucking the correct string is hard to master. I don't think that there is any exact measure of the hardness of various instruments. You can probably make a pleasant sound with either fairly easily but mastering either is probably hard. – badjohn Dec 23 '17 at 16:20
  • The guitar tutorials also look easier--there are a jillion tabs for guitar, where fret numbers are plastered all over instead of note heads, and there's one staff line for each string. – Dekkadeci Dec 23 '17 at 19:19
  • Your first question is no really appropriate for the site - it's clearly a matter of opinion - highly subjective. Also, please make this into 2 questions: The difference between the qanun and the harp is entirely unrelated to your first question. Tnx. – Stinkfoot Dec 24 '17 at 23:24
  • Having learned several instruments, I'm convinced that the easiest instrument for a person to learn is the instrument that they love the most, regardless of whether that's french horn, oboe, diatonic harmonica or kazoo. The hardest part of learning any instrument is working up the motivation to play and practice every day. Love makes that easy. Indifference or dislike makes it somewhere between difficult and impossible. – Todd Wilcox Dec 25 '17 at 11:28
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    I don’t think this is subjective. The guitar is much harder. The chord patterns are more complex to learn and so are the scales. The harp is diatonic for the most part, it’s also easier to separate melody and harmony on the harp. So I’d say the harp is much easier to play. – user34288 Aug 25 '19 at 1:50

There are many related horizontal stringed instruments, including the psaltery and zither. The sound box on those is underneath the strings, with the strings going over a bridge, while a harp has the sound box on one end of the strings. From the photos on Wikipedia, it looks like the qanun has multiple strings per note, where the harp only has one. This will greatly change the sound, as well as the way it is played.

The difficult part of playing the harp is that the player is expected to be able to play two-handed. Typically, the right hand plays the melody, with the left hand providing the accompaniment. Trying to keep track of both hands, making sure the fingers land on the right strings, can be quite challenging.

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In terms of complexity of technique, I suppose both harp and guitar are in the midrange. Though any instrument can be played with great artistry, there's just so much a tuba is likely to be required to do, pianists and violinists suffer never-ending technical demands - harp and guitar come somewhere in the middle.

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