Musical Instruments Vocabulary

Below is a list of common musical instruments divided by type. How many instruments do you know? Can you pronounce them all correctly?

  • How do you pronounce the word “guitar”? Answer
    The word guitar is pronounced /ɡɪˈtɑː/ . The “u” is a silent letter. See below to listen to the pronunciation.
  • What kind of instrument is the violin? Answer
    It’s a small stringed instrument made of wood.
  • What traditional instruments are there in your country? Answer
    Here are some examples of traditional musical instruments around the world: in India, there is the sitar (a stringed instrument), in China there is the gu-zheng ( a 21 stringed instrument), in Vietnam there is a bamboo xylophone ( percussion instrument), in Italy there is the mandolin (similar to a guitar), in Australia there is didgeridoo (a wind instrument made from the branch of a tree), in Egypt there is the sistrum ( a u-shaped framed drum) and in Scotland there are the bag pipes (a wind instrument), in Iraq there is the oud (a stringed instrument similar to a lute).    …… Please note that this answer is not an example of how to answer an IELTS question, it’s just some general information for you about instruments in your country – if your country has an instrument which is not in this list, please let me know. Liz 

Vocabulary Practice

Can you label the picture below?

musical instuments


Listen to the answers

  1. microphone
  2. record / vinyl
  3. accordion
  4. bugle
  5. drum
  6. flute
  7. guitar
  8. harmonica
  9. harp
  10. keyboard
  11. piano
  12. saxophone


Types of Musical Instruments

Stringed Instruments

  • guitar
  • violin
  • cello
  • viola
  • harp
  • banjo
  • electric guitar
  • fiddle
  • lute
  • sitar
Listen to Audio


Wind Instruments

  • flute
  • saxophone
  • trumpet
  • pipes
  • recorder
  • tuba
  • oboe
  • bagpipes
  • clarinet
  • bugle
  • harmonica
Listen to Audio


Keyboard Instruments

  • piano
  • electronic keyboard
  • organ

Percussion Instruments

  • drums
  • triangles
  • xylophone / bamboo xylophone
  • wood blocks
  • accordion (oops this is actually a keyboard instrument)
Listen to Audio

Audio for both key board and percussion instruments



IELTS Speaking Part 1: Musical Instruments Questions and Answers (available from Feb 20th)


  1. Hello Liz,

    Just wanted to say- You are amazing. I love the way you teach.

    I am Gesu from India. There are several other traditional instruments in my country, namely, tabla(traditional form of modern drums), harmonium, flute etc.

    Thank you for being a nice teacher. God bless !

  2. Hello,
    Liz, thanks for your great website
    It improved, and is improving my english.
    In Iran, we have many different instruments such as Ghanoon, Kamanche, Dulcimer (called santoor in Persian), Daf, Setar (different from sitar), Tar, Naghare, Sorna, and many more!.
    I recommend you check them out, at least Santoor. it sounds great.

  3. Peter (Prem) says

    Hi Liz (Very Urgent !!!)

    I’m Peter , writing from Singapore. I stumbled upon your YouTube channel as I was preparing for my IELTS exam. Your training videos have been extremely helpful and I feel more confident than before.

    At this instance, I’m writing to inform you about a typographical error I have come across in this website which you may kindly edit and retype at the soonest. The error may have occurred when someone you have entrusted to edit this website mistyped the word. I’m 100% sure that the error was not personally caused by you Liz ! 😉

    I feel that such an error should not be in your website as it may look awkward, especially when you are a prominent IELTS teacher . So, here it is …

    In this website please go to “Home / How IELTS Writing Task 1 is Scored: Band Scores 5 to 8 with useful Tips.”

    Then , look under “Task Achievement” . The spelling of the word “check” has been misspelt as “chekc”. Hope you will take instant action to correct the above error.

    Thank You

    May God Bless

    • Thanks for spotting it and letting me know. It is my typo. All pages have been typed by myself. These things are bound to happen, particularly with my typing. People using this site have a very good standard of English and are not affected by such minor typos. They also know that we all make typos. I rely on people informing me when they come across one. No doubt there will be other typos on other pages. Let me know if you see them 🙂

  4. hello liz ;
    in my country Jordan beside the bag pipe we have also instrument manufactured from 2 short tube of wood opened from both side attached together, on the top of each tube 3 small opening to control air flow while musician play with some time the machine come with one tube, and we called it the double (mij-wez) .

  5. Hi Liz,

    There is a musical instrument called Kalangu, originated from northern Nigeria. The beats are controlled with some wired strings attached to it.

  6. Table, dholak and daf are common in pakistan 🙂

    ur great liz thanks for all ur endless efforts 🙂

  7. Hi liz,
    Thank you for the huge work, you are doing in this website to assist student.
    I’m going to have the EILTS on the 6th of may in Algeria. As I’m intermediate, and had a few days to get ready, I really appreciate all your tips. I think that, it’s the best place to improve our english, either we pass the IELTS or not.
    In Algeria we’ve got a plethora of traditional instruments, here some exeples:
    1/Debouka: percusion instruments: it’s a little tambourine made wirh, potery, metal or wood, and animal skin’s, we hit on it.
    Gasba: is a tube-shaped instrument, just like the flute, made with bamboo and has 6 holes.
    3/Bendir: it’s a disc made by wood and goat’s skin.We heat on it with a stick.
    All are used during wedding and religious ceremonies.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 I did think about creating an English language website as well in the future – would that be something you would enjoy?

      • Yes, Please if you can. You really understand students weakness and your blog answers every query I have regarding all the section in IELTS. I wish you lived in India and I could have attended your classes.

        I look forward to your new blog!
        Thank you.

        • If you want to learn about each section in the IELTS test, go to the RED BAR at the top of this website and click on the section you want to learn. There are over 300 pages of free tips and lessons on this website. For English, if lots of people want English lessons from me, I might start a new Youtube channel or website – but in the future, at present I’m not well and can’t do more work.

          • I hope you are better now! Thanks for the plethora of information on your site. Really amazing work that you have done.

  8. I am from Pakistan and we have a guitar like classical instrument called the “Rabab”. Better check it out the music it produces sounds beautiful

  9. hie Liz,
    can you give me some insight for opera shows? what are these ?

  10. Josep Caesar says

    Turkey, there is Saz or Bağlama ( a 5-12 stringed instrument).

  11. Sapeh, from Borneo Island. Sapes are carved from a single bole of wood. It usually comes with 3 to 5-strings.

  12. Hi Liz,

    Just a humble observation: I think Accordion belongs to the ´Key Board´ family.

    Congratulations for your excellent website and for all the resources you share with us 😉

  13. Dear Liz,

    There is an instrument in Tamilnadu, India called Nadhaswaram. Just I want to you share this information.


  14. It’s a helpful page . . I just want some advice I’m a pakistani girl and a 10Th class student. . I wanna try ielts but I’ve heard its difficult

  15. Hi, Liz
    There is an instrument in Kazakhstan called dombra. Just to let you know 🙂

  16. Hi liz
    I hav just started the ielts class nd i m facing a lot of problems
    Bt now i found ur website nd it is really useful
    I wanna thank u heartly for these useful informations

  17. Hello
    Could you please send me a link to prepare my self for IELTS Exam?
    Thank You

    • This entire website helps you prepare for IELTS on your own for free. Start reading and practicing the 300 pages available.

  18. helpful website. thank you

  19. Akansha Gurung says

    Hi Liz
    Thank you so much for posting this. Your IELTS lessons are really helpful. I really appreciate your efforts.
    I wanted to share some of my country’s traditional musical instruments. I am from Nepal and we have some interesting musical instruments like Sarnagi (stringed instrument similar to violin), Madal (percussion instrument similar to drums), Basuri (wind instrument similar to flute) and Harmonium (keyboard instrument similar to accordion).
    Hope you’ll post these too.
    Thank you

  20. Number 4 is not a bugle, as a bugle doesn’t have valves, and you can clearly see valves in the picture. It looks like a cornet.

  21. Adamadam says

    Hi Liz. TAR is one of the traditional musical instruments of AZERBAIJAN. I wish you add it.

  22. ahmed jasim says

    thank you so much about all your effort to facilitate the Ielts exam .

  23. Just FYI, piano is a stringed instrument!
    Love, AP

  24. Hello Liz. In Iran, we have Kamancheh & Daf.

  25. Thank you for your great post, it is very useful post

  26. Urooj John says

    “Tabla” is widely used in Pakistan as a traditional musical instruments and its compositions.

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