According to legends, the first harp was built by Canola. After a tiff with her love, she wandered through the night and was drawn to some beautiful music, which eventually sent her to sleep. In the morning she discovered the source of the sound - the skeleton of a whale with flesh hanging down, through which the wind had blown and made a unique sound. Inspired by the find, she created the first harp and dedicated it to Daghda, the Celtic god of abundance and protection. Daghda's harp is said to have the ability to create three types of music - sad, joyful and peaceful.
The harp has played a key role in Celtic ancient and modern Celtic culture, with the harp icon being a national symbol in Ireland. During ancient times in Ireland, harpers were consulted before going to war and often led troops into battle, singing songs, whilst also slaying enemies. Early representations of Celtic harps dating from the eighth or ninth century have been found carved into stone in Scotland.
In Norse mythology, gods or their messengers played harps to lull people to sleep or, occasionally, to lure them into the beyond. The strings of the harp formed a ladder symbol to represent the ascent into paradise in the lays of Norway and Iceland. In ancient Egypt, the harp is the hieroglyphic symbol of joy and well-being.