Bavarian sound – which instruments?

In the southeast of Germany lies the state of Bavaria. The region has become synonymous with Germany in the world. The traditional clothing (besides the dirndl, especially the lederhosen) is as well known as the most beautiful folk festival in the world: the Oktoberfest in Munich. The Alps are popular with residents and tourists. The beautiful Bavarian castle Neuschwanstein is known by the whole world. Also world-famous is the Bavarian music with its typical Bavarian sound – often called oom pah. For the well known authentic Bavarian and Tyrolian sound you will need the following instruments.

Accordion or Steirische Harmonika

No need to explain the accordion. With your left hand, you can play bass notes and chords, and with your right hand you can play either melodies or rhythm. A similar sound is offered by the Steirische Harmonika (Styrian harmonica), but with a more powerful bass (although this instrument works differently).

Euphonium and other brass instruments

For the bass, you play either a tuba or a baritone, which is similar to the euphonium. More rarely, a bass trombone is also played. For rhythm and melody the instruments horn, trumpet and clarinet are played most often in brass bands.

Bavarian sound with euphonium and accordion
Bavarian sound with euphonium and accordion | ©

Guitar and other stringed instruments

The guitar is used mainly for rhythm, rarely for melody. In Bavaria the music style Oberkrainer from Slovenia is very popular. Here the guitar usually plays an emphasis on 2 and 4, replacing the snare of the drums. Other popular stringed instruments are the zither and the harp.


Although many songs from Bavaria are without vocals, German yodelling is very popular among tourists. One example is the song “Sunny Yodel”.

Many more instruments, including the zither, tuba, and alphorn, are employed in Bavarian music in addition to these traditional instruments. Depending on the kind of music being played, different instruments will be needed. People have been enjoying the rich and varied legacy of Bavarian music for generations. The distinctive sound of Bavarian folk music is still produced by the employment of traditional instruments, which are an integral component of this tradition and the Bavarian sound.

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