Add a story, deadline to InHouse or an event to the Calendar.

In the news

Read the latest stories featuring UNT people and programs.

Share photos

Share your campus and event photos and view the gallery.


Quick links

Common UNT web resources for faculty and staff.

Contact us

Who to Contact. Learn How to... Write for InHouse, Share Photos, and more.

Fun Fact: The harp is a mechanical marvel

Jaymee Haefner, College of MusicThe harp seems simple – strings and a frame – but it’s a mechanical marvel, full of moving parts to help musicians create beautiful music. How many moving parts are in an orchestral harp?

A. 200 - as many as in a gasoline engine.

B. 1.4 million – as many as in a Boeing 737.

C. 3,000 – about one-third the number in a restored Steinway piano.

D. 26 – about the same number of bones in the human foot.

The correct answer is C. An orchestral harp, one of the world’s oldest instruments, has more than 3,000 moving parts, says Jaymee Haefner, right, lecturer in harp and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Music

The harp was probably created when a prehistoric hunter draped an animal tendon across a tree branch, brushed a hand across it and enjoyed the resulting tone. Harps appear in paintings on the walls of Egyptian tombs, they are drawn in Middle Age manuscripts and are carved in stone at archaeological sites.

By the early 1700s, musicians were tinkering with the instrument’s mechanics, adding rods and frets to allow a broader tonal range. Refinements in the early 1800s allowed the harp to be played in every key. And, as they say, the rest is history. Today’s harps and harpists can be found in orchestras, along Andean trails, in jazz clubs and Irish pubs.

More than 300 harpists from around the United States will be on campus June 19-23 for the American Harp Society’s 9th Summer Institute and 19th National Competition.

Exposure of harp in the general public is something we’re still trying to gain ground on,” said Haefner, chair of the  institute. “Concert harp as a solo orchestral or standalone instrument is relatively young, although the harp itself is very old. The harp needs to continue growing and doesn’t need to be put in a box. Bach, Beethoven and Mozart are fabulous, but there’s a lot we can play on the harp beyond those styles.”

Public events begin with a 7 p.m. June 19 concert in the Murchison Performing Arts Center. The performer is Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton, winner of the Young Professional Division of the society’s competition in 2009. The World Music Concert will show off the instrument’s versatility at 7 p.m. June 21 in the College of Music, Voertman Concert Hall. Tickets are $20 for each concert.

Other competition and recital performances - open to the public, free or $20 - are scheduled June 20-23.   

  • Enter to win a UNT T-shirt by sending an email to InHouse with “Harp” in the subject line by 5 p.m. June 24. Winners will be selected at random from all responses.

(Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)

Posted on: Thu 16 June 2011

Owning Excellence

Faculty and staff members have roles in transforming UNT into a nationally prominent university. Share your ideas on how you can help UNT to own excellence, keep students on track and improve graduation education.

Mean Green Pride


No current Deadlines

UNT Calendar

February 20, 2018 - 10:00am
February 20, 2018 - 2:00pm
February 20, 2018 - 3:30pm