Aeolian harp... an instrument played by the wind

aeolian harp by harpmaker

Above: Aeloian harp made by Harp Maker


The Aeolian harp   (read the wikipedia articleis named after Aeolus the ancient greek god of the wind. They're sometimes called "harmonic harps". They originated in ancient Greece and flourished through the Renaissance era becoming very popular n the Romantic Era.  The traditional aeolian harp is essentially a wooden box soundboard with strings stretched lengthwise across two bridges. It is placed in a slightly opened window where the wind can blow across the strings to produce sounds. The strings can be made of different materials (or thicknesses) and all be tuned to the same pitch (some are called "monochords") or identical strings can be tuned to different pitches. The musical sounds of an Aeolian Harp are the results are of vortex "swirls" flipping around in the back of the strings It's somehow misterious but also ethereal, haunting and inspiring. Aeolian harps are still hand-crafted today. Some are now made in the form of monumental   outdoor metal sound sculputures. In fact if you place a standard up in a windy hill you will most likely hear this eerie ghostly wind moans.

outdoor aeolian harp sculpture

Above: Outdoors Aeolian harp sculpture in California

So how does it sound untouched by human fingers?

-Click here to listen a livestream of an aeolian harp at the University of Ulm (Germany).
-Internet radio broad cast with sounds of the wind harp

Wind harps transpose the spirit of the wind into spontaneous, multi-layered music in time to nature's rhythms. Their vibrant voices sing pure harmonic tones that range from deep, pulsing bases to soaring sopranos.The sound is random, depending on the strength of the wind passing over the strings, and can range from a barely audible hum to a loud scream. If the strings are tuned to different notes  then sometimes chords can be heard. 

Below: Video of wind harp recorded it on a beach in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. The sounds are created randomly by the wind vibrating the strings. This is a track from my CD Windharp and Wavesong that you can find at



Raw recording (with no effects added) of wind on a standard harp producing a similar effect.   


There are some builders that go beyond making bigger outdoors sculptures that you can place in your garden. Harmonic wind harps  make not only the typical door and window harps but also other bigger sculptures ready for outdoors,  for example the weather proof harmonic sanctuaries that can accommodate several people, an unique auditory experience! 

aeolian harp harmonic sanctuary

Above: Aeolian harp harmonic sanctuary

If you find these wind sounds  healing or relaxing, then you can buy  the cd Wind Songs is a distinctly unique CD, composed of eight tracks that feature a variety of harps, winds, and tunings. at harmonicwindharps. Sample of the album called "chakra tuning.mp3" 


How to build your own aeolian harp
Maybe you're considering to make your own aeolian harp!

Feeling crafty...? making an aeolian harp  doesn´t look so difficult... You can find already made plans to do it... or even improvise it. I'm about to try it myself so I´ll come and edit to inform you of my progress

The below graph was taking from this link where you can commission yours or see some pictures of the process on the making

aeolian harp plans

The above drawing of an aeolian  harp was drawn by Bruce Taylor (using Windows Paintbrush) and posted on many years ago.

You´ll need zither pins and nylon strings that you can easily find in ebay and also any music  local luthier or instrument music store. Remember that the longer the harp is, the more easily it will sing in light breezes. You find some plans also to build it in ebay.

 aeolian harp plans 

Above: aeolian harp woodworking plan

Here is a link to book "Building the aeolian harp" that is sold electronically  and consists of a step-by-step tutorial explaining the complete process from material selection to tuning the completed harp and getting it to sing for you.  It includes 19 drawings, 22 color photos and all the information you will need to build your own harp.

And in this other link you can  also read an indepth  article about aeolian harp and read how to make your own with illustration:  how to build an aeolian harp


As you see in aside of the classical aeolian harps they make other models, including with plastic bottles and chairs... and also combining it with other actual and playing instruments like this example:

 gourd aeolian harp 

Above: Gourd harp made by