Home > Instruments > Other commonly used instruments
Sometimes counted among the strings, the harp differs in both performance technique and structure. The strings are stretched across a triangular frame and are plucked instead of bowed. It has 47 strings and a pedal for each note of the diatonic scale. This pedal changes the pitch of the strings such that it is possible to play chromatic notes. Two of the most common ‘special effects’ are arpeggios, in which the notes of a chord are gracefully spread out, and glissandos, where the fingers are swept across the strings. The distinctive tone of the harp has long been a favorite with many people.
More often seen in the home nowadays, the piano plays a role in some orchestral pieces, although it is more often seen in solo performances. The strings are struck by hammers according to the pressure exerted by the player upon the keys, which allows control over volume and opens the way for expression. The sound produced may also be affected by two pedals, the sustaining pedal and the damper pedal.
The organ is an extremely complex instrument. Although the keyboards are similar to that of a piano, sound is instead produced by the passage of wind through a series of pipes arranged in ranks, with each rank having its own particular timbre. The sounding of the pipes is controlled by pulling out stops, which can be mixed to produce several kinds of sound all at once.