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French Musical Instruments Vocabulary

French Musical Instruments Vocabulary

On this page you find a list of vocabulary for 60+ French musical instruments. Learning how to say these words is easy as many of them are the same in English or very similar.

Image: musical instruments

To talk about playing a musical instrument use either the verbs jouer (to play) or faire (to make or do). Both verbs are followed by de + instrument name. Examples:

  • Je joue du violin. I play the violin.
  • Je joue de la flûte. I play the flute.
  • Je fais du piano. I play the piano.
  • Je fais de la guitare. I play the guitar.

String instruments – les Instruments à cordes

  • violin le violon
  • cello le violoncelle
  • electric guitar la guitare électrique
  • guitar la guitare
  • acoustic guitar la guitare acoustique
  • upright base la contrebasse
  • viola l’alto
  • la harpe la harpe
  • mandolin la mandoline
  • banjo le banjo
  • sitar le sitar
  • base guitar la guitare basse

Woodwind instruments – les instruments à vent

  • bassoon le basson
  • saxophone le saxophone
  • oboe le hautbois
  • flute la flûte
  • piccolo le piccolo
  • clarinet la clarinette
  • base clarinet la clarinette basse
  • recorder la flûte à bec

Brass instruments – les cuivres

  • trombone le trombone
  • French horn le cor d’harmonie
  • English horn le cors anglais
  • trumpet la trompette
  • bugle le clairon
  • tuba le tuba

Keyboard instruments – les instruments à clavier

  • piano le piano
  • organ l’orgue
  • accordion l’accordéon
  • electric piano le piano électrique
  • harpsichord le clavecin
  • electric organ l’orgue électrique

Percussion instruments – les instruments de percussion

  • bass drum la grosse caisse
  • bongos le bongo
  • brush le bali
  • castanets les castagnettes
  • cymbals les cymbales
  • drums, drum set la batterie
  • drum sticks les baguettes
  • drum la caisse de batterie
  • glockenspiel le glockenspiel
  • gong le gong
  • hi-hat le charleston
  • kettle drum la timbale
  • marimba le marimba
  • pedal la pédale
  • sleighbells les grelots
  • snare drum la caisse claire
  • tambourine le tambourin
  • tom-toms les tam-tams
  • triangle le triangle
  • tubular bells le carillon
  • xylophone le xylophone


  • harmonica le harmonica
  • zither la cithare
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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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