Based on the pictorial material that has been preserved,
the harp would appear to be the most frequently played
instrument of the Middle Ages. But it is also always
associated with King David and with the hierarchy of the
angels so that its depiction is often of greater symbolic
significance than an indication of musical use.
In medieval times there were a large number of different
harps. The shape, the number of strings as well as the
material used to make them varied from one European
country to another. In the North the strings were made
of bronze, gold or woven horsehair, in Central and
Southern Europe primarily of gut, while in the Orient
woven silk was also used. In the Middle Ages there was
also widespread use of so-called "snare hooks" (small
wooden buzzing devices attached where the strings
connect to the neck and string holder). They resonated
against the vibrating strings, creating a prolonged
buzzing sound similar to a bourdon.