10+ Sweet-Sounding Instruments In French To Enjoy Today


Although it is almost impossible to imagine sipping an inexplicably tiny coffee outside a Paris cafe without the cacophonous notes of an accordion ruining everything, we hope to dispel this dreadful daydream by looking at other more mellifluous instruments in French. So put the image of a stripy t-shirted, onion-wearing accordion player out of your mind as we take a tour of French instruments and their makers, the anatomy of the French musical language.

From classical music to contemporary jazz, French musicians have made crucial contributions to the global music scene. French musical instruments are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship, distinct sound, and fabulous designs and are played everywhere in the world. Here are some marvelous musical instruments in French.

A Quick History Lesson – Une Leçon D’histoire Rapide

French musical instrument craftsmanship dates back through the centuries, with notable developments occurring during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. During this time, luthiers (instrument makers) crafted exceptional string instruments such as violins, cellos, and viols. The French Court, particularly under King Louis XIV, played a significant role in the promotion and development of these instruments.

The 19th century witnessed an upsurge in innovations, with renowned instrument makers like Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume and Adolphe Sax (although he was born in Belgium, he is buried in Paris, so that sort of makes him French) revolutionizing the world of bowed and wind instruments, respectively. Vuillaume’s violins were sought after by virtuosos, while Sax’s saxophone became an integral part of jazz, classical, and popular music.

String Instruments – Instruments À Cordes

Violin – Violon

It is impossible to mention the violin without talking about the French commune of Mirecourt. French violin makers like the aforementioned Vuillaume flocked to Mirecourt during the 19th century, where they honed their impeccable craftsmanship. Violin makers like Stradivari, Guarneri, etc., may be better known today, but a Mirecourt-made violin will still give them a run for their money.

Cello – Violoncelle

And it’s back to Mirecourt for the best in French cellos. Instruments crafted by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume and bows made by François Tourte are still highly regarded by cellists taking to the stage today.

Instruments In French ling app

Wind Instruments – Les Instruments À Vent

Woodwind Instruments – La Famille Des Bois

Clarinet – Clarinette

The French have played a pivotal role in the evolution of the clarinet for generations. As well as saxophones, clarinets made by manufacturers like Buffet Crampon are up there among the best of them with classical and jazz musicians.

Brass Instruments – La Famille Des Cuivres

Flute – Flûte

The French flute tradition is renowned for its emphasis on technical precision and tonal quality. Flutes made by Louis Lot and his partner Vincent Hypolite Godfroy have become synonymous with excellence and are favored by flutists in various genres.

Saxophone – Saxophone

Invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s, the saxophone has become an iconic instrument associated with jazz, classical, and contemporary music. Although Sax was indeed Belgian, French saxophone manufacturers such as Buffet Crampon continue to produce world-class instruments that are cherished by today’s saxophonists.

Percussion Instruments – Instruments De Percussion

Timpani – Timpani

French timpani, also known as kettledrums, have a significant presence in orchestras. The simple design of a skin stretched over a kettle-shaped drum that is then hit repeatedly with a mallet, dates back to pre-history.

Instruments In French ling app

Keyboard Instruments – Instruments À Clavier

Piano – Piano

Pianos made by Sébastien Érard, Maison Pleyel, and Joseph Gabriel Gaveau have been favored by renowned pianists pretty much since the instrument was invented. French pianos are known for their elegant design, exquisite touch, and nuanced tonal characteristics.

Harpsichord – Clavecin

The harpsichord, an instrument prominent during the Baroque period, saw remarkable development in France. Builders like Pascal Taskin crafted harpsichords with distinctive tonal qualities and ornate designs, contributing to the instrument’s prominence during that era. It is even reckoned that W.A. Mozart would have tickled a Taskin harpsichord when wowing audiences in France.

Accordion – L’accordéon

Although I was a bit harsh about the accordion in the introduction, it is a sound undeniably associated with France. Originally from Germany (Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann is usually given the credit for inventing it in 1822), it quickly spread across Europe, and the bellows-driven box-shaped instrument remains surprisingly popular to the present day.

How To Play An Instrument In French

To play (the instrument) = Jouer de (+ definite article + instrument)

For example, jouer de la guitar (play the guitar), jouer du violin (play the violin), or joue de la harpe (play the harp). Anita joue du saxophone (Anita plays the sax.)

Some Musical Instruments In French And English

An acoustic guitarLa guitare acoustique
An electric guitarLa guitare éléctrique
An electric bassLa basse
An amplifierL’amplificateur, l’ampli
A banjoLe banjo
A mandolinLa mandoline
An accordionL’accordéon
A celloLe violoncelle
A violinLe violon
A double bass, upright bassLa contrebasse
A clarinetLa clarinette
A fluteLa flûte
A saxophoneLe saxophone
A trumpetLa trompette
A French hornLe cor d’harmonie
DrumsLa batterie
A drumLe tambour
A synth/keyboardLe synthétiseur (le synthé)
A pianoLe piano
An organL’orgue
A harpLa harpe
An oboeLe hautbois

Learn More Lyrical French By Downloading Ling App

French is undeniably one of the world’s most musical languages, and if you would like to learn more, then Ling app has all you will ever need. By downloading Ling app to your phone, you can learn French at a pace that suits you.

Ling app keeps things interesting with plenty of games and quizzes, as well as lessons set by native speakers. Grab Ling app today at Google Play or the App Store!

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