Mexican Musical Instruments

Mexican Instruments

On our last trip to Mexico one of my uncles gave the boys a variety of instruments indigenous to Mexico. My boys were fascinated with these because of their uniqueness and, of course, the music they made. Now they have so many instruments to choose from when they feel like having a little concert or (our favorite thing to do) have a parade! We usually load up on whatever instruments we can carry and play at the same time and go around the house or the backyard with drums, bells, horns and whistles blaring. These little parades are so fun for me and my boys because we can be as loud as we want to be. Of course, if you were to ask my husband or my neighbors they may not share the same enthusiasm. Sorry about that. We try to be respectful, though, and only do this when it is not too early or too late. These are memories that I will treasure forever, so let’s play on!

When we got back from Mexico, my oldest started asking me what the instruments were.  I did not want to lie to him, so I asked my mom for help.  She and my uncle sent me a little list of the different types of instruments so we could see what they were. Here is what we learned:

  • Idiophones are instruments that make noise through their own vibration either by shaking, hitting of rubbing with a stick. Some of these are instruments made with bells or cymbals, guiros, castanets and maracas.
  • shake
  • Membranophones produce sounds by way of vibrating stretched membrane with your hands or sticks. They can also be wind instruments where the vibrations are filtered through a membrane or thin cover such as a kazoo. Drums are the most recognizable of these in my family and probably the favorites as they can be the loudest.
  • drum
  • Aerophones are wind instruments with a column to distribute air like whistles and flutes.


These last two we do not have at home from Mexico.  I am, however, including them so you may see a couple more classifications that we learned about.

  • Chordophones are string instruments like pianos or guitars.
  • IMG_1811IMG_5824
  • Electrophones are instruments that require power or electricity to play. They are electric like electric pianos.
  • IMG_9367

If I forgot to include a category, please let me know. These are just the ones we learned about. I hope they help you classify the instruments you have. The ones that were given to us are like little works of arts. Notice all of the details the people who made them took the time to add. Lovely, don’t you think? And now we know what they are in both English and Spanish. Bonus!


What instruments are common where you live? I would love to see pictures. If you would like for me to include anything on the blog about your instruments, please let me know.

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