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 à clavier

accordion l’accordéon (m)
keyboards les claviers(m)
organ l’orgue(m or f)
piano le piano 
synthesizer le synthétiseur
le synthé

Percussion Instruments – Instruments de percussion

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

Stringed instruments – Instruments à cordes

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

Wind instruments – Instruments à vent

bassoon le basson 
clarinet la clarinette 
English horn le cor anglais 
flute la flûte 
French horn le cor d’harmonie 
harmonica le harmonica(h aspiré)
oboe le hautbois(h aspiré)
saxophone le saxophone 
trombone le trombone 
trumpet la trompette 
tuba le tuba 

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Musical instruments

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2 Responses

  1. David Henderson 22 March 2018 / 19:15

    I’m trying to find an accurate English equivalent for the French word “monotone” as used by 20th century French composers such as Francis Poulenc