Are you a music lover who gets excited when listening to popular songs in Spanish, or are you interested in musical instruments? While learning this beautiful language, getting to know the names of the different instruments in Spanish will open your mind to the different music you can find in Latin America and Spain.
Music in Spanish, mainly Latin music, has had impressive worldwide success. Many times, songs that are sung in Spanish are the ones that rank first in the United States.
They are also very popular in Latin America and other continents, as their rhythm encourages everyone to dance. Even if dancing is not your favorite activity, in a club, it will be difficult not to enjoy a Latin song that gives you enough energy and makes you move your body.
Across centuries, both Spain and Latin countries have gone through the influences of other cultures, resulting in interesting musical styles. Traditional music is an important part of each region. We can still hear its representation in modern music through traditional instruments.
Many traditional rhythms are born to ancient instruments typical of each country that make their music special. For example, in Spain, we can enjoy flamenco with its singular guitar sounds.
While in Latin America, you can enjoy a wide variety of music genres, from Andean folk music with 'quena flutes' to bachata with its guitar and 'güira' sounds.
There are specific instruments that musicians from these countries use and have become a cultural representation of their region. Before you learn more about those musical instruments, let's review how to say 'instruments' in Spanish and its singular variation.
The 'Charango' is one of the most famous string instruments from the Andes. It appeared during the colonial era in Peru (a modification of a similar instrument of European origin).
This instrument looks like a small guitar and generally has five strings. However, it can have more or less depending on the 'Charango' model.
'Maracas' are an instrument that uses your body as a resonating element. Generally, you can see musicians using the maracas to beat the rhythm of a song.
'Bongó' is a Latin percussion instrument originating in Cuba, closely resembling a drum. The musicians play it with drumsticks or their hands, depending on the kind of sounds they want to emit.
This drum-like instrument, also native to Cuba, is played only with the hands. When traveling through Cuba, you will see several models of congas and musicians playing them in different ways to vary the sounds.
The 'Rondador' is very popular in the Andean countries. The row of tubes tied one next to the other, each of a different length creates a magical sound due to its different vibrations.
The marimba is the typical instrument of Costa Rica. You will not find an equal instrument in any other country. The 'Marimba' is somewhat like a very large keyboard but with fewer notes. It has various resonator pipes that fall in different lengths and heights. So, by touching it or hitting it with drumsticks, you can hear various sounds.
You can see musicians playing the 'Pinkullo' in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, although with different designs. You will notice that it is very similar to a flute. It consists of a reed with five holes in it that you blow through.
The impressive indigenous communities of the Amazon have also created their own musical instruments, such as the 'Manguare.' What is interesting is that it was created primarily to announce important messages to the community, including ceremonies and declarations of war.
It is a large and prominent instrument made up of two trunks, one thick and one thinner. The person must hit these logs with wooden mallets with a rubber tip. They use the 'Manguare' to send messages because people can hear its sound even up to twenty kilometers away. Very efficient!
An instrument from the north of Spain used in important celebrations and political or military events. The way of playing this instrument is quite interesting.
The piper (Gaitero), a musician, blows a tube through which the air enters until a bag inflates. The air must go out through the instrument's tubes, and while it comes out, the piper plays various notes just as he would with a flute.
The guitar has played a leading role in many rhythms in Latin America and Spain. Flamenco, for example, is a Spanish musical genre that highlights the Spanish Guitar (Guitarra Española) as a fundamental instrument.
The origin of the guitar was in Asia Minor, and it underwent several changes in its composition, including the number of strings. Antonio de Torres came up with his guitar design in Spain, specifying canons and proportions seen on current guitars.
In addition, Vicente Espinel placed the fifth string, which gave a more serious sound. Since then, many countries have thought of it as the Spanish guitar.
Note: the difference between the acoustic guitar and the Spanish guitar is that the Spanish guitar has nylon strings, while the acoustic uses metal strings.
The 'Dulzaina,' is remembered for being a traditional Spanish music instrument that people listen to at folk festivals.
It looks like a clarinet or flute, but smaller. It has seven holes and measures around thirty centimeters.
'Castañuelas' (Castanets) are folk percussion instruments made up of two halves that look like shells. The person who plays them must hold them with their middle finger or thumb and hit them together to make a sound.
You can hear this instrument in typical Spanish music, such as flamenco. Its main purpose is to offer more rhythm and percussion while the dancers tap their feet to the rhythm of the music.
The 'Bandurria' has twelve strings in a lute, similar to a guitar. It is used in traditional music, mainly from Valencia, to accompany choirs.
The next time you meet an expert in the instruments who also speaks Spanish, you can have a fulfilling conversation. Show the person your skills in pronouncing the names of the most well-known instruments and also the traditional ones of some Spanish-speaking countries.
Since we are talking about music, I want to comment that learning a language through music can be a very enriching, fun, and effective process. If you are looking to improve your Spanish-speaking skills, you can start by practicing not only the names of the instruments you see in your everyday life but also by listening to music and repeating what you hear. You will improve your hearing, and little by little, you will be learning new vocabulary.
Also, if you want, even more, our language application allows you to learn grammar, pronunciation, and all the necessary vocabulary to be able to survive in a Latin American country or in Spain. If you take at least 15 minutes a day to practice a little with the Ling App, your Spanish will increase significantly and in a very short time. We assure you!
Meanwhile, our blog will be the ideal complement to the Ling App for you to learn much more about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries as well as more interesting vocabulary such as animal names, weather, and flavors in Spanish.
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