Various kinds of slides can be used on the harp. For example various kinds of guitar slides, a drinking glass as a sliding object or a metal pipe as a slide.


The sliding object is held horizontally on the strings and moved up or down. The strings can be played with the other hand or the sliding object itself is used to strum the strings. The number of strings affected by the slide depends on the length of the sliding object.

When the strings are strummed with a slide the pitch of the hit can be influenced by changing the position of the slide on the strings.

When the sliding object is used to hit the strings the harpist can either take it off the strings immediately (see example above) or leave it on the string:

For a sliding effect on a single string, see tuning key slide.

A guitar slide can also be inserted between two strings. In that way the harpist can produce tuning key slides, tuning key jets and tuning key vibratos on two strings simultaneously.


The sound produced with a sliding object depends on the material of the object and on its diameter. 


  • An open cluster indicates the size of the sliding object. The cluster is notated in the relevant range.
  • A staccato dot indicates that the slide hits the strings and leaves them immediately.
  • Use ties to an empty note stem to indicate that the slide should stay on the strings.
  • If the slide should change position on the strings it is necessary to add verbal indications above the stave.
  • Use one stave for the hand holding the slide and a second stave to notate notes played by the other hand.


Slides can be used on all the strings of the harp. However, it is important to keep in mind that the strings in the top octave are extremely short and therefore the sliding object must be sized accordingly.