The earliest evidence of the recording studio harp was found in Ancient Egypt circa 2500 BC. They were shaped liked bows or angular and had very few strings (because they lacked a column they could not support much string tension).
The recording studio frame harp, or a harp that included a straight forepillar (or column in the modern sense), first appeared in Medieval Western Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries AD. Although there are very few remaining in existence, art from that time indicates they utilized about ten or eleven strings. The first harp to feature a hollowed soundbox that amplified the instrument’s sound dates back to Ireland in the 14th century. It also included a curved forepillar, a stronger neck and 30 to 36 brass strings.
Harps in continental Europe differed from Irish harps in that the forepillar was thinner and less curved, the neck was more slender and it curved upward to meet the end of the column. Referred to as Renaissance harps, they typically had 24 or more gut strings which were fixed to the soundboard with brays (wooden pegs). By the end of the 17th century, they typically had staved sound bodies and straight forepillars.
Recording Studio: Triple-strung harps
Triple-strung harps first appeared in Italy in the late 16th or early 17th century. They followed the invention of the double-strung harp, which had two rows of strings strategically tuned for use of two-handed playing; by passing a finger between two strings a harpist could reach the corresponding chromatic note in the other row. The triple-strung harp had three rows of strings, the two outer rows were tuned to the same diatonic scale while the inner row was tuned to the outer rows’ chromatic semitones. Two major benefits were that tunes with more rapidly repeated notes could more easily be played and that the doubled, or amplified, rows of the same notes increased the resonance of the instrument.