Both beautiful and impressive.
It's simultaneously one of the easiest and hardest instruments to play. Like the piano, a harp's strings are each individual notes that are already in tune, so unlike a violin or cello, you can't hit any slightly off-key notes. To play the harp, you simply pluck the strings, so learning to perform a simple tune doesn't require a great amount of skill.
However, to play the harp at a high level is difficult. A full-sized harp's 47 strings are placed very close together, so the margins of error are tiny. The precision needed to play a complex piece without hitting any wrong strings is intense, and it takes a lot of time and practice to create the muscle memory necessary to play the harp well.
It is a beautiful, ethereal-sounding instrument when it is played well, though, and it's always a treat to see someone excel at it.
Kristan Toczko is a renowned Canadian harpist whose expressive playing and infectious love of music have gained her a significant following on social media. She often takes requests for songs to play or mashups to create on the harp, but one mashup she arranged is particularly impressive.
A follower requested she blend "Carol of the Bells" with the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean," and she did. It may sound like an odd combo, but it totally works. Watch:
Reply to @jilly.mara i had WAY TOO MUCH FUN with this!!!! #harptok #carolofthebells #piratesofthecaribbean #musicmashup #song #cover #disney #hesapirate #christmas #carol
Toczko explained in comments on Facebook that the blisters she gave herself were due to taking a break from playing before recording the video. Like all string players, harpists develop calluses from playing, which serve to protect the skin of their fingers. However, it doesn't take long for those calluses to wear away, and playing a piece that requires intense plucking can be quite tough on the old fingers.
For more fun with the harp, follow Kristan Toczko on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
Oh, and by the way, she has a great sense of humor, too. Check out her response below to a question about songs that play the highest and lowest strings on the harp.