Groovin’ Instrument Words in Spanish
Do you know how to play an instrument? Or is it a new year’s resolution that you’re working hard to keep? Whatever the case may be, we’re here to complement your musical knowledge with new words in Spanish!
To clear up any confusion: while the topic of Spanish instruments—or instruments from Spain—is truly fascinating, it is not the topic of this blog post. Here you will find all the vocabulary you’ll ever need about los instrumentos musicales (musical instruments).
So, let’s get to it! Did you know that playing an instrument actually makes you smarter? Not only does it boost your brain’s power to think faster, but it enhances your memory and provides countless benefits to your mental and physical well-being. Wow, sounds like you need to start playing right now!
To Play or Not to Play?
While you dip your toes into the kaleidoscopic world of dance and music in Spanish, you are very likely to meet both musicians and non-musicians alike who hang out in the same crowds because of their passion for the art of sound. How can you start chatting with your Spanish-speaking, musically-inclined friends? Here are some great conversation starters:
|¿Tocas algún instrumento?||Do you play an instrument?|
|¿Te gusta tocar la guitarra?||Do you like to play the guitar?|
|¿Me podrías enseñar a tocar la batería?||Could you teach me to play the drums?|
|¿Sabes cómo tocar el bajo?||Do you know how to play bass?|
|Yo no sé tocar el violín.||I don’t know how to play the violin.|
|Yo toco el teclado.||I play the keyboard|
|Me gustaría tocar la flauta.||I’d like to play the flute.|
|Toquemos juntos la guitarra.||Let’s play the guitar together.|
|Vamos a improvisar con tu batería y mi guitarra.||Let’s jam with your drums and my guitar.|
Tipos de instrumentos
While thousands of instruments exist in the world, we’re going to focus on 5 main categories and 5 popular instruments in each one! With a master list of 25 new instrument words in Spanish, you’ll have no problem striking up a conversation. The five main categories of instruments are
- cuerda (string)
- viento (woodwind)
- metales (brass)
- percusión (percussion)
- teclado (keyboard)
Let’s learn some vocabulary!
Los instrumentos de cuerda (String Instruments)
String instruments are timeless musical devices that make sound by vibrating the string against their hollow inside. Interestingly, some of the earliest stringed instruments were found in Ancient Mesopotamian sites with artifacts over three thousand years old! Here are some of the most common of modern times:
|Classic/Electric Guitar||La guitarra clásica/eléctrica||Gee-tar-rah klah-see-kah / ay-lake-tree-kah|
Los instrumentos de viento (Woodwind Instruments)
Woodwind instruments’ sound comes from the friction between exhaled air and a sharp edge inside a hollow tube. They are made of a variety of materials (like brass or silver, for example), not just wood. Do you remember the infamous recorder from high school? Well, the original recorder was surprisingly not made of plastic; in fact—as one of the oldest and most popular woodwind instruments—it was made of high-quality wood and played frequently by eternal talents like Bach, Telemann, and Vivaldi! Get your classical groove on with these woodwind instruments:
Los instrumentos de metales (Brass Instruments)
The brass instrument—though not always made of brass—is known more specifically as a labrosone. This name refers to the fact that it is primarily a lip-vibrated instrument. The musician achieves different pitches by using valves, slides, keys, or crooks, depending on which instrument it is. Let’s look at some popular brass instrument words in Spanish:
|French horn||El corno francés||Kor-noh frahn-says|
Los instrumentos de percusión (Percussion Instruments)
A percussion instrument is really anything that makes sound when you hit, shake, or scrape it. A controversial member of this family is the piano, whose keys clearly respond to the intensity of pressure from the musician’s fingers beating down on it, while arguably, it also acts as a string instrument would as the keys lift hammers inside it that hit strings. Without percussion, most of our favorite songs just wouldn’t carry that signature beat. Let’s take a look at some instruments to appreciate:
|Drum kit||La batería||bah-tay-ree-ah|
Los instrumentos de teclado (Keyboard Instruments)
While the definition of keyboard instrument now refers to a row of levers that are pressed by the fingers, this simple word once acted as a “catch-all” category of musical instruments in the 18th century. At the time, it meant that a musical instrument could not be clearly defined. These days, we have a more specific idea of what a keyboard is, and as you may have already imagined, this category also includes the piano! Take a look at some more:
- Exploring Different Types of Latin Music
- Learn Spanish with Music for Small Children
- Top 10 Children’s Spanish Songs
- Learn Spanish with Music for High School
Music and Words in Spanish
Use your newfound knowledge of musical instruments in Spanish to strike up a conversation with a Spanish-speaking musician. Or, if you’d like more practice, sign up for a free class with one of our certified teachers from Guatemala and ask them about their favorite instruments!
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