Music vocabulary in English with example 🎸+ video

Listening to music is definitely one of the favorite activities among people, especially those who intend to become professionals in this area. A lot of people enjoy discussing music when they gather together or expressing their opinions about their favorite genres of music. So, it seems necessary to learn how to talk about music professionally. Most non-native language learners are always looking for ways to improve English speaking. One of the most effective methods that they usually don’t consider is expanding their vocabulary. Knowing a wide range of English expressions, idioms, and phrasal verbs will help you speak more fluently and at a higher level. Therefore, in this article, we will provide you with some useful expressions, collocations, and music vocabulary in English.

What are the different music genres?

  • Pop music genre
  • Hip hop music genre
  • Rock music genre
  • Folk music genre
  • Jazz music genre
  • Disco music genre
  • Classical music genre


vocabulary related to music in English


What is the verb for music in English?

The main verb for the music is “sing”. There are also some adverbs by which we can qualify it.


To sing + adverb
To sing beautifully / like an angel / sweetly / badly / terribly


Example: Tylor Swift sings like an angel!

Example: David sings terribly! He is not musically talented.


Famous expressions about music

Here’s the music expression list that is used in the English language:

To sing in tune = to sing well (the right notes)

To sing out of tune = to sing the wrong notes

To hold a tune = to sing well

catchy tune: memorable melody

To be tone deaf = can’t sing at all, can’t hit the right notes

To have a good/bad sense of rhythm = able to follow the beat of the music


Example: Jack has recently started his singing class but he sings in tune. However, Toney, his classmate is approximately tone deaf.


A melody: the tune, not the words

An upbeat (=lively) / catchy melody or tempo

The hip-hop music has an upbeat melody/tempo


Vocabulary about music in English

Musically gifted:

Meaning: Have talent in music

Example: Terry is absolutely musically gifted. He plays guitar very well.


Sheet music (Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: Musical notation written on paper

Example: The conductor provided some sheet music for the group.

music sheet image (musical notation written on paper).


Strumming a guitar:

This is also in the list of music vocabulary in English that means: playing guitar.

A picture of a girl who is playing a guitar (strumming a guitar).



What are the types of musical instruments?

Percussion instrument:

Meaning: a musical instrument (such as a drum, xylophone, or maraca) sounded by striking, shaking, or scraping

A picture of percussion instrument (musician instrument like drum).


Wind instrument (Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: a musical instrument (such as a trumpet, clarinet, or organ) sounded by wind especially: one sounded by the player’s breath

A picture of wind instrument ( musician instrument like trumpet).


Stringed instrument:

Meaning: a musical instrument (such as a guitar, violin, or piano) that has strings and that produces sound when the strings are touched or struck

A picture of stringed instrument (musician instrument like guitar).

To compose music:

This item is also on the list of vocabulary related to music, which means:

Meaning: to create music

Example: Mozart has composed numerous tracks in his life


Song lyrics (Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: the words to a song

Example: He usually spends two hours per day writing song lyrics.


To attract a sizable following:

Meaning: To attract a lot of fans

Example: This musician has attracted a sizeable following


To play gigs (Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: to give small, informal performances

Example: a lot of musicians have started their careers by playing gigs on streets


To record your debut album:

Meaning: to record your first CD

Example: this group recorded its debut album last year


To become a massive hit:

This items of music vocabulary in English means:

Meaning: to become so popular

Example: His latest track has become a massive hit.


To release your album(Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: to make your album available publicly

Example: Our first album will be released next month


To perform live:

Meaning: To sing live in front of audiences in a hall or concert

Example: His live performance was as fantastic as his tracks

A picture of two people performing live( singing live in front of audiences).

To go on tour:

Meaning: To travel to different cities and regions and hold concerts

Example: Tylor Swift goes on several tours during the summer.


Big break (Of music vocabulary in English):

Meaning: big opportunity to become famous

Example: His live performance in front of famous musicians was a big break for him.


To sing along:

This is a common music vocabulary in English that means:

Meaning: to sing together

Example: All audience sang along in the concert last night


To sing off-key:

Meaning: sing the incorrect melody

Example: It was so strange that he sang off-key in his latest concert.


Occasional virtuoso (Of vocabulary related to music):

Meaning: Extremely skillful.

Example: Without a doubt, he is an occasional virtuoso.


A remixed track:

This item is also of music vocabulary in English that means:

Meaning: a song that has been modified electronically

Example: Young people are mostly interested in remixed tracks from rap artists


To conduct the orchestra:

Meaning: to lead a group of musicians who are playing together

Example: Conducting an orchestra is a very complicated task and requires a lot of skills.

A picture of a leader who is conducting an orchestra.


How to describe a musician?

So, let’s listen to Elizabeth who is talking about her musician brother: (In this description Elizabeth uses collocations and vocabulary we already learnt)

My older brother John is absolutely musically gifted. He can play any tune from memory, without looking at sheet music. He dedicates all his free time to strumming a guitar, composing music, and writing song lyrics. I would say he is an Occasional virtuoso.

John and his friends formed a band that has attracted a sizable in our city. They started out playing gigs on the streets and they used the money they earned to record their debut album.

A remixed track from that CD then became a massive hit on the media platforms thanks to its catchy tune and upbeat tempo.

Their second album will be released at the end of the year; they’ll record it live at their next show. John dreams of going on tour – he’s just waiting for his big break to get his foot in the door of the music industry. He is interested in performing live. He is going to learn classical music and desires to conduct an orchestra in the future.

As for me, I love singing along to his music, but a career in music isn’t for me I’m completely tone-deaf and I always sing off-key.


Different sounds in English

Different sounds

  • Buzzing
  • Crashing
  • Creaking
  • Rumbling
  • Rustling

There are also some adjectives we use with different noises:

Deafening  Applause/Cheer/explosion/Music/roar/silence

Piercing    cry/scream/whistle

Rowdy behavior/crowd/fans/party

Slam shut/click shut/creak open      door

A dog    barks/growls/whimpers/whines

In this article, you learned about the most common expressions, collocations, and music vocabulary in English. The different music genres were introduced, and you also became familiar with different types of sounds and musical instruments. If you are looking to expand your vocabulary, follow the steps mentioned in the article, which completely explain how to improve your English vocabulary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *