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