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

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.

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.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. If you decide to sign up by November 28th, you'll receive a 60% discount with our Black Friday sale!

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More Music Vocabulary

Acento Accent
Acompañamiento Accompaniment
Acorde Chord
Acústica Acoustics
Afinación Tuning
Anacrusa Upbeat
Cadencia Cadence
Clave Clef
Clave de do Alto clef
Clave de fa Bass clef
Clave de sol Treble clef
Coda Coda
Compás Time signature
Composición Composition
Contratiempo Offbeat
Crescendo *Crescendo
Decrescendo *Decrescendo
Dinámica Dynamic
Distorsión Distortion
Eco Echo
Escala mayor Major scale
Escala menor Minor scale
Fermata Fermata
Glissando *Glissando
Intensidad Intensity
Interpretación Performance
Intervalo Interval
Legato *Legato
Modulación Modulation
Notación Notation
Partitura Sheet music
Pentagrama Staff
Pizzicato *Pizzicato
Repertorio Repertoire
Resonancia Resonance
Reverberación Reverb
Síncopa Syncopation
Solfeo Solfège
Sordina Mute
Staccato *Staccato
Tempo Tempo
Timbre Timbre
Tono Pitch, Tone
Tonos enteros Whole tones
Transposición Transposition
Trémolo Tremolo

* Italian loanwords

Musical Notation Vocabulary

Partitura Sheet music, Score
Pentagrama Staff
Línea Line
Línea suplementaria Ledger line
Compás Measure, Time signature, Bar
Clave Clef
Clave de do Alto clef/Tenor clef (depending on its position)
Clave de fa Bass clef
Clave de sol Treble clef
Armadura Key signature
Sostenido Sharp
Doble sostenido Double-sharp
Bemol Flat
Doble bemol Double-flat
Becuadro Natural
Nota Note
Cuadrada Double whole note
Redonda Whole note
Blanca Half note
Negra Quarter note
Corchea Eighth note
Semicorchea Sixteenth note
Fusa Thirty-second note
Semifusa Sixty-fourth note
Plica Stem (of a note)
Corchete Flag (of a note)
Silencio Rest
Puntillo Dot
Ligadura Tie
Calderón Fermata
Dosillo Duplet
Tresillo Triplet
Quintillo Quintuplet
Unión Beam
Barra Bar line
Doble barra Double bar line
Doble barra final Final bar line
Barra de repetición Repeat bar line

Musical Instruments in Spanish

String Instruments

Acordeón Accordion
Arpa Harp
Bajo acústico Acoustic bass
Bajo eléctrico Electric bass
Banyo Banjo
Violonchelo Cello
Contrabajo Double bass
Guitarra Guitar
Laúd Lute
Mandolina Mandolin
Piano Piano
Ukelele Ukelele
Viola Viola
Violín Violin

Woodwind Instruments

Clarinete Clarinet
Fagot Bassoon
Flauta dulce Recorder
Flauta transversal Flute
Oboe Oboe
Flautín Piccolo
Saxofón Saxophone

Brass Instruments

Fliscorno Flugelhorn
Corno francés French horn
Trombón Trombone
Trompeta Trumpet
Tuba Tuba

Percussion Instruments

Batería electrónica Electronic drums
Batería Drums
Bongos Bongos
Congas Congas
Glockenspiel Glockenspiel
Marimba Marimba
Tambor Drum
Timbales Tombales
Xilófono Xylophone

Other Instruments

Armónica Harmonica
Gaita Bagpipes
Cítara Zither
Coro Choir
Kalimba Kalimba
Lira Lyre
Melódica Melodica
Órgano Organ
Teclado Keyboard
Teremín Theremin
Voz Voice
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!

Alternativa Alternative
Bachata Bachatta
Banda Banda
Blues Blues
Bossa Nova Bossa Nova
Clásica Classical
Coral Choral
Country Country
Cumbia Cumbia
Electrónica Electronic
Flamenco Flamenco
Folk Folk
Funk Funk
Espiritual Gospel
Hip-hop Hip-hop
Jazz Jazz
Mariachi Mariachi
Merengue Merengue
Metal Metal
Música infantil Children's music
Ópera Opera
Pop Pop
Punk Punk
Ranchera Ranchera
Rap Rap
Reggae Reggae
Reggaetón Reggaeton
Rock Rock
Salsa Salsa
Samba Samba
Ska Ska
Tango Tango

Spanish Musical Verbs

Acompañar To accompany
Armonizar To harmonize
Bailar To dance
Cantar To sing
Componer To compose
Dirigir To conduct
Ensayar To rehearse
Escuchar To listen
Estudiar To study
Grabar To record
Improvisar To improvise
Interpretar To perform
Melodiar To melodize
Silbar To whistle
Silenciar To silence
Sincopar to syncopate
Tocar To play (an instrument)
Transponer To transpose
Vocalizar To vocalize

Spanish Musical Adjectives

Spanish (masculine)English
Afinado In tune
Agudo High-pitched
Alegre Joyful
Apasionado Passionate
Armónico Harmonic
Armonioso Harmonious
Áspero Rough
Brillante Bright
Cautivador Captivating
Clásico Classic
Complicado Complex
Contemporáneo Contemporary
Desafinado Out of tune
Dinámico Dynamic
Disonante Dissonant
Dulce Sweet
Enérgico Energetic
Épico Epic
Estático Static
Experimental Experimental
Expresivo Expressive
Fuerte Loud
Grave Low-pitched
Intenso Intense
Íntimo Intimate
Lento Slow
Ligero Light
Majestuoso Majestic
Melódico Melodic
Moderno Modern
Oscuro Dark
Pesado Heavy
Rápido Fast
Rítmico Rhythmic
Romántico Romantic
Ruidoso Noisy
Sereno Serene
Simple Simple
Solemne Solemn
Suave Soft
Tradicional Traditional
Tranquilo Calm
Triste Sad
Triunfante Triumphant
Vibrante Vibrant

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!


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.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Sign up by November 28th to receive a 60% discount with our Black Friday sale!

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