Japanese Vocabulary Lesson 14: Musical instruments

Here is the first Japanese lesson related to music! I’m thinking about doing some more, with musical vocabulary in the future, but for now here is how to say some of the most known musical instruments in Japanese!

Woodwind instruments – 木簡楽器 (もっかんがっき, mokkan gakki)
Saxophone – サクソフォーン (sakusofo-n) -> サックス (sakkusu)
 Soprano – ソプラノ (sopurano)
 Alto – アルト (aruto)
 Tenor – テナー (tena-)
 Baritone – バリトン (bariton)
Clarinet – クラリネット (kurarinetto) -> クラ (kura)
 Bass – バス (basu)
Flute – フルート (furu-to)
Piccolo – ピッコロ (pikkoro)
Oboe – オーボエ (o-boe)
Bassoon – ファゴット (fagotto)

Brass instruments – 金管楽器 (きんかんがっき, kinkan gakki)
Horn – ホルン (horun)
Euphonium – ユーフォニアム (yu-foniamu) -> ユーフォ (yu-fo)
Trombone – トロンボーン (toronbo-n)
Trumpet – トランペット (toranpetto) -> ラッパ (rappa)
Tuba – チューバ (chu-ba)
Sousaphone – スーザフォン (su-zafon) -> スーザ (su-za)

Percussion instruments – 打楽器 (だがっき, dagakki)
Timpani – ティンパニ (tinpani)
Chimes – チャイム (chaimu)
Snare Drum – スネアドラム (sunea doramu)
Cymbals – シンバル (shinbaru)
Bass Drum – バスドラム (basu doramu)
Xylophone – シロフォン (shirofon)
Glockenspiel – グロッケンシュピール (gurokkenshupi-ru)
Triangle – トライアングル (toraianguru)

String instruments – 弦楽器 (げんがっき, gengakki)
Piano – ピアノ (piano)
Guitar – ギター (gita-)
Contrabass – コントラバス (kontorabasu)
Violin – バイオリン (baiorin)
Viola – ヴィオラ (baiora)
Cello – チェロ (chero)
Harp – ハープ (ha-pu)
Celesta – チェレスタ (cheresuta)

As you can see, they are all written in Katakana. The reason, is that they are not Japanese instruments, they are imported objects, so in that time, there was no words for them, so they were just transformed into Katakana, according to their original name.

That’s all for today! Soon I’ll bring a lesson with traditional Japanese instruments!


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