Musical Instruments

Musical instruments in French
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Instruments de musique

Do you play a musical instrument? Here are the most common ones, in French, along with the grammar you need to play them.

 To play (the instrument) = Jouer de (+ definite article + instrument). The normal rules about de + definite article contractions apply.

Par exemple …

to play the violin   jouer du violon
to play the guitar   jouer de la guitare
to play the viola   jouer de l’alto
to play the cymbals   jouer des cymbales

Keyboard instruments – Instruments Ă  clavier

accordion   l’accordĂ©on (m)
keyboards   les claviers (m)
organ   l’orgue (m*)
piano   le piano  
synthesizer   le synthĂ©tiseur
le synthé

Percussion Instruments – Instruments de percussion

bass drum   la grosse caisse  
brush   le balai  
cowbell   la cloche de vache
la cloche Ă  vache
cymbals   les cymbales (f)
drum   le tambour  
drums, drum kit   la batterie  
drumsticks   les baguettes (f)
pedal   la pĂ©dale  
snare drum   la caisse claire  
triangle   le triangle  

Stringed instruments – Instruments Ă  cordes

cello   le violoncelle  
double bass   la contrebasse  
guitar   la guitare  
harp   la harpe (h aspirĂ©)
viola   l’alto (m)
violin   le violon  

Wind instruments – Instruments Ă  vent

bassoon   le basson  
clarinet   la clarinette  
English horn   le cor anglais  
flute   la flĂ»te  
French horn   le cor d’harmonie  
harmonica   le harmonica (h aspirĂ©)
oboe   le hautbois (h aspirĂ©)
saxophone   le saxophone  
trombone   le trombone  
trumpet   la trompette  
tuba   le tuba  

 * When it’s singular, orgue is always masculine. When it’s plural, it can be either:

  • les orgues (m) indicates organs in general
  • les orgues (f) refers to a specific instrument, especially les grandes orgues

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Musical instruments

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