a large musical instrument with strings stretched on a vertical frame, played with the fingers By means of pedals, a harp can be set in any desired key. see also Jew’s harp Culture There are various types of harp. One is sometimes used as a symbol representing Ireland, e.g. on coins, because it is an important instrument in traditional Irish music. See related entries: Musical instruments Word Origin Old English hearpe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch harp and German Harfe.