Musical Onomatopoeias

musical-instruments2

A list of musical onomatopoeias…

Bagpipes – Skirl

Banjo – Twang or
Plunk or
Plink plink plink

Bass – Zoomba zoom

Bass Guitar – Thumm

Bells – Jingle, jingle, jingle or
Ding, ding, ding

Clarinet – Doodle doodle doodle det

Cymbals – Cling or
Clang or
Zing zing

Drum (Big) – Bang! or
Boom! Boom! Boom!

Drum (Little, Snare) – Rat-a-tat tat or
Rataplan rataplan or
Pa rum pum pum pum or
Chut, chut, chut or
Pata-pata-pan or
Ta ra ra ra boom

Electric Guitar – Wah wah wah or
Nyow nyow, nyow nyow (also for the air guitar) or
Bow-chicka-wow-wow

Fiddle – fiddle fiddle dee fiddle dee

Fife – Tootle, tootle, toot

Flute – Tu-re-lu-re-lu or
Toot toot toot or
Toodle-oodle-oo or
Tootle ootle ootle, tootle ti toot.

Gong – Gong!

Guitar – Strum, strum, strum or
Ting, tong, tang or
Drin, drin, drin, drin or
Twang

Harp – Twingle twangle

Kick Drum – Ticka ticka

Piano – Plink or
Plink-a-plink-a-plink-a-plink

Piccolo – Deedle-ee dee dee or
Tweedle deedle deedle dee

Tambourine – Chicka, chicka, chicka

Trombone – Wah, wah, wah

Trumpet- Ta-tada-ta-ta or
Pah-pa-ra!

Tuba – Oompah, oompah oompah (also spelled umpa) or
Waa waa

Ukulele – Warble

Viola – Pling, pling, pling

Violin – Pling pling-a-pling or
Zing, zing, zing

Woodblocks – Clonk

Any string instrument:
Plucking a string – Plunk or Zing
Badly played – Squeak, squeak, squeak

Please share any musical onomatopoeias that you know in the comments below!

-Mama Lisa

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” -Martin Mull

Other sources:

Music Onomatopoeia (from literature & songs)
The sounds instruments make (on Language Log)

This article was posted on Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 2:05 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Mama Lisa, Music, Onomatopoeia, USA, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Musical Onomatopoeias”

  1. Lisa Says:

    There’s a German song called Die Geige, die singt about the sounds instruments make. It was written and composed by Willy Geissler (1886 – 1952). There’s an English version called The Orchestra Song.

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