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Answered 2011-09-05 14:28:54

The pitch of a vibrating string is related to its length. All other things being equal, if the length of the string is doubled, its pitch is an octave lower. A harp with a range of several octaves must have some very short and very long strings, all strung on the same frame. That leads to the characteristic curved shape of the neck of a harp.

Of course, there are a number of compromises that have to be made in the design of the harp. If the strings really doubled in length with each lower octave, the bass strings would have to be over 30 feet long! The shape of the neck is just one factor that harp designers use to create a workable instrument.

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