Instrument Abbreviations


Most common instrument abbreviations

Clarinet                                   cl

E-flat clarinet                          clpic

Bass clarinet                            clb

Violin                                       vn

Viola                                        va

Cello                                        vc

Double bass                            db

Strings                                     str

Piano                                       pf

Harpsichord                            hpd

Harp                                        hp

Percussion                              perc

Orchestra                                orch

Symphony Orchestra              SO

Wind Orchestra                      WO

Flute                                        fl

Piccolo flute                            flpic

Oboe                                       ob

English Horn                            eng hn

Bassoon                                  bn

French Horn                            hn

Saxophone                              sax

All instrument abbreviations (in alphabetical order)

A                                  alto, contralto (voice)

a                                  alto (instrument)

B                                  bass (voice)

b                                  bass (instrument)

bal                               balalaika

Bar                              baritone (voice)

bar                               baritone (instrument)

bhn                              basset horn

bn                                bassoon

cel                               celesta

ChO                             Chamber orchestra

cl                                 clarinet

clb                               bassclarinet

clpic                             E-flat clarinet 

db                                double bass (string instrument)

domr                            domra

el(s)                             electronic(s)

em                               emiriton

eng hn                         english horn

ens                              ensemble

fl                                  flute

flpic                             piccolo flute

FO                                Folk instrument orchestra

hn                                horn

hp                                harp

hpd                              harpsichord

JO                                Jazz orchestra

kant                              kantele

mar                             marimba

Mez                             mezzo-soprano

ob                                oboe

orch                             orchestra

org                               organ

perc                             percussion

pf                                 piano [instrument]

pic                               piccolo

s                                  soprano (instrument)

S                                  soprano (voice)

sax                               saxophone

saxs                             soprano saxophone

saxa                             alto saxophone

saxt                             tenor saxophone

saxbar                         baritone saxophone

SO                                Symphony Orchestra

str                                string(s), String Orchestra

synth                           synthesizer, synthesized

T                                  tenor (voice)

t                                   tenor (instrument)

timp                            timpani

tpt                               trumpet

trbn                             trombone

va                                viola

vc                                cello

vib                               vibraphone

vle                               violone

vn                                violin

v, vv                             voice, voices

w(s)                             wind instrument(s)

WO                              Wind orchestra

ww                              woodwind

xyl                                xylophone


The list of abbreviations is based on Grove Music Online, General Abbreviations and further adapted for the needs of this database.