This article discusses those Debussy's works which include a part for the harp; that is, almost all his orchestral works, along with the 'Dances' for harp and string orchestra, 'Sonata' for flute, viola and harp, and 'Les Chansons de Bilitis' for two flutes, two harps and celesta, from the point of view of the various functions the composer gave to this instrument. Debussy was aware of the vast sonorous possibilities of the harp and was able to use the advantages of all its registers in a masterly way and its various performing devices in order to achieve the desired colouristic effects. The article presents an overview of particular elements of the technique of playing the harp and examples of their use. Particular attention is given to ways of employing two harps to create both melodic and harmonic structures in order to obtain specific sonorous qualities. The authoress, who is a practising harpist, demonstrates how the harp fulfils particular dramatic, symbolic and illustrative functions ascribed to it by the composer. One result from an analysis of Debussy's orchestral works shows that the way he treated the harp, demonstrating his deep knowledge of this instrument, its character and its limitations, was highly innovative in comparison with its use in the past and was pioneering work for Debussy's successors. In his music the harp gained a stable position in the symphonic orchestra while in chamber music it became a valuable member of the ensemble, taking an equally important role in creating various sonorous qualities. The harpists themselves value the 'Dances' for harp and string orchestra highly. On the other hand, the 'Sonata' for flute, viola and harp inspired the development of chamber music with the participation of the harp, since the beginning of the 20th century.
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