The Celestial Harp is an innovative new musical instrument designed and built by Robin Armstrong. The original idea of the Celestial Harp was to play a person’s horoscope, or to play the horoscope of the very moment one was living in. The dream of musically expressing the healing vibrations of the heavens grew. It evolved into a sound sculpture synthesizing the Zodiac, the I Ching, the Pyramid, the Solar System, and the Stars in the sky. Since the sound or feel of the instrument varies widely, depending on the person or individuals playing it at any given time, we present 3 short unique sound snippets of the Celestial Harp.
Hear a sample of the Celestial Harp
Another sample of the Celestial Harp
The shape of any instrument conditions the attitude of the musician and the type of music played. The shape of the Celestial Harp is based on the proportions inherent in the circle, the square and the spiral. There are seventy-two strings radiating out from the center across a spiral bridge and out to a square bridge. There is also a circle of frets. There are eight double strings and a direct relationship of each string to the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching. Each string has its own frets.
The Celestial Harp has a very strong emphasis on space. The musician must move around it. There is no beginning or end to it. The strings can be hammered, plucked, strummed, played with a slide, or sounded in numerous ways. It is both a stringed instrument and a percussion instrument. It is designed so that several people can play it at the same time.
The tuning system uses a very sophisticated system. As the musician plays around the instrument, the scales ascend and descend in waves. In tuning system #-9 there is a range of four octaves plus an auxiliary two octaves. There is also a scale for each sign of the Zodiac. Tuning system #-12 is set up on a chromatic scale and spans about three octaves.
Because several people play the harp at the same time many of the sounds being made seem as if they are coming from several instruments.