The Rocking Guide to 235 Noteworthy Spanish Music Words
Scale the heights of Spanish music vocabulary with this comprehensive guide.
Learn key music words, starting with the basics and moving on up to every word you’ll ever need to know to discuss music in Spanish, including musical terms, instruments, genres and even melodic verbs and adjectives.
We’ll even highlight some renowned Spanish-language musicians who have made a significant impact on the music industry.
Tune in for a comprehensive guide to Spanish music terminology!
- Musical Terms and Elements in Spanish
- Musical Instruments in Spanish
- Genres and Musical Styles in Spanish
- Spanish Musical Verbs
- Spanish Musical Adjectives
- Famous Spanish-language Musicians
- And One More Thing…
Musical Terms and Elements in Spanish
Basic Music Vocabulary
We’re about to dive into some pretty complex terms. Before we do, here are 11 common music words you may hear in everyday Spanish conversations.
- Sonido (Sound)
- Ritmo (Rhythm)
- Armonía (Harmony)
- Escala (Scale)
- Melodía (Melody)
- Nota (Note)
- Canción (Song)
- Música (Music)
- Letra (Lyrics)
- Compás (Beat)
- Instrumento (Instrument)
The words below are organized into themes to make them easier to study. You can make learning them even easier by finding them in use by native Spanish speakers, like on the videos over at FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
More Music Vocabulary
|Clave de do||Alto clef|
|Clave de fa||Bass clef|
|Clave de sol||Treble clef|
|Escala mayor||Major scale|
|Escala menor||Minor scale|
|Tonos enteros||Whole tones|
* Italian loanwords
Musical Notation Vocabulary
|Partitura||Sheet music, Score|
|Línea suplementaria||Ledger line|
|Compás||Measure, Time signature, Bar|
|Clave de do||Alto clef/Tenor clef (depending on its position)|
|Clave de fa||Bass clef|
|Clave de sol||Treble clef|
|Cuadrada||Double whole note|
|Plica||Stem (of a note)|
|Corchete||Flag (of a note)|
|Doble barra||Double bar line|
|Doble barra final||Final bar line|
|Barra de repetición||Repeat bar line|
Musical Instruments in Spanish
|Bajo acústico||Acoustic bass|
|Bajo eléctrico||Electric bass|
|Corno francés||French horn|
|Batería electrónica||Electronic drums|
|Flauta de Pan||Pan flute|
Genres and Musical Styles in Spanish
You’ll find that most of these are cognates, so they’re fairly easy to learn!
|Bossa Nova||Bossa Nova|
|Música infantil||Children's music|
Spanish Musical Verbs
|Tocar||To play (an instrument)|
Spanish Musical Adjectives
|Desafinado||Out of tune|
Famous Spanish-language Musicians
There are many fantastic Spanish-language musicians who have made their mark on the world of music. I’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest names you may come across, but this isn’t by any means a complete list. Use these names as a starting point in your journey into Spanish-language musicians!
- Shakira: A Colombian singer-songwriter known for her unique voice and blend of pop and Latin rhythms. Songs to check out: “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.”
- Luis Miguel: A Mexican singer often referred to as “El Sol de México.” His romantic ballads and powerful voice have made him a Latin music icon. Songs to check out: “La Incondicional” and “Culpable o No.”
- Juanes: A Colombian rock musician and singer-songwriter who incorporates a mix of rock, pop and Latin influences in his music. Songs to check out: “Me Enamora” and “A Dios le Pido.”
- Ricky Martin: A Puerto Rican singer and actor who gained international fame with his catchy pop hits. Songs to check out: “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs.”
- Enrique Iglesias: A Spanish singer known for his romantic ballads and energetic pop songs. Songs to check out: “Bailamos” and “Hero.”
- Carlos Vives: A Colombian singer and composer who helped popularize vallenato and cumbia music, and whose songs feature a fusion of traditional and modern sounds. Songs to check out: “La Gota Fría” and “Bailar Contigo.”
- Celia Cruz: A Cuban singer known as the “Queen of Salsa.” Her vibrant and powerful voice made her a legend in the salsa music world. Songs to check out: “La Vida es un Carnaval” and “Quimbara.”
- Daddy Yankee: A Puerto Rican rapper, singer and songwriter who played a significant role in popularizing reggaeton globally. Songs to check out: “Gasolina” and “Despacito” (with Luis Fonsi).
- Gloria Estefan: A Cuban-American singer, songwriter and actress. With her band Miami Sound Machine, she achieved numerous hits. Songs to check out: “Conga” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.”
- Maná: A Mexican rock band known for their socially conscious lyrics and fusion of rock, pop and Latin sounds. Songs to check out: “Rayando el Sol” and “Labios Compartidos.”
- Marc Anthony: A Puerto Rican-American singer and actor who is one of the top-selling tropical salsa artists of all time. Songs to check out: “Vivir Mi Vida” and “I Need to Know.”
- Julieta Venegas: A Mexican singer-songwriter who blends rock, pop and folk influences. Songs to check out: “Limón y Sal” and “Andar Conmigo.”
- Café Tacvba: A Mexican alternative rock band known for their innovative sound that fuses rock, punk and traditional Mexican music. Songs to check out: “Eres” and “Ingrata.”
- Thalía: A Mexican singer, actress and entrepreneur known for her versatile talents in music and entertainment. Songs to check out: “Amor a la Mexicana” and “Piel Morena.”
- Juan Gabriel: A Mexican singer and songwriter who became one of the most prominent figures in Latin music history. Songs to check out: “Querida” and “Amor Eterno.”
Sing your way to a better vocabulary with this extensive list of Spanish music vocabulary!
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
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