The Paraguayan harp is the best engineered non-pedal harp in the Solar system, bar none.
The ingenuity of the design can be seen in the way the harp is assembled. The only glued pieces are those that make up the soundbox. The force that holds this harp together is string tension. The nylon monofilament strings are attached to the tuning pegs through the center of the neck rather than the left side. A Paraguayan harp is normally equipped with guitar tuning machines rather than traditional harp pins.
The double neck balances the string tension to the center of the harp. Traditional harps have to be bulky to withstand the twisting force of the strings on the neck. By the way, the neck is called "the harmonic curve" for reasons beyond my understanding. The early designers also gave the harp a sharper than usual string-to-soundboard angle, which brings the strings closer together without sacrificing soundboard surface area.
Because of the narrower spacing of the strings, this harp can be played even by children. Grown ups will have no problem covering almost two octaves with one hand. Also, the strings are lighter than in other folk harps, which makes playing a breeze. You won't need to develop calluses to play this harp.
To prepare for shipping, the strings are loosened enough to raise the neck off the forepillar; the forepillar is removed and the neck is lifted off the body. The whole thing then fits in a crate slightly larger than its own soundbox.
This harp is amazingly light, tipping the scales at a mere 11 lbs. The light weight accounts for the harp's responsiveness and bright, lively sound.
IT WOULD BE JUST AS SILLY TO SAY YOU CAN ONLY PLAY LATIN MUSIC ON A PARAGUAYAN HARP AS TO SAY YOU CAN ONLY PLAY FRENCH MUSIC ON A FRENCH HORN.
Click here for a discussion on the difference between folk harps and the pedal harp.
A sound sample of the harp played by a rank amateur...