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Instruments used for Canadian music
Canadian Museum of Civilization

Video Excerpt

  Canada: Traditional Quebec music, Lévis, Quebec, 1989. Coll. C. Bégin, Canadian Museum of Civilization


Canadians of French and British extraction now make up a large proportion of Canada's population. The musical traditions brought over by the first settlers from Europe have been transformed, adapted and blended together over the years through contact with music of various origins from which melodic, rhythmic and stylistic elements have been borrowed.

A common characteristic of these musical traditions is the use of the violin, accordion or harmonica as melodic instruments; the piano, guitar or double bass as accompaniment instruments; and spoons or bones as percussion instruments. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, each region affirms its cultural distinctiveness through its own style and repertoire, which constitute the best protection against standardization resulting from media coverage and the commercialization of these musical traditions.