186 Spanish Music Vocabulary

accent – acento

accidental – alteración

alto – la contralto

appoggiatura – apoyatura

ascending interval – Intervalo ascendente

augmented / perfect / diminished – aumentado, -a / justo, -a / disminuido, -a

augmented interval – intervalo aumentado

band – banda (or sometimes orquesta, as in the case of a dance band)

bar – compás

bar line – línea divisoria

baritone [singer] – el barítono

bass – el bajo

bass clef – clave de fa

bass drum – el bombo

bassoon / contrabassoon – el fagot / el contrafagot

beat – la parte or el tiempo (or pulso or golpe)

beat – tiempo

blues – blues

bow (up, down) – arco (arriba, abajo)

brass – los metales (los bronces in Latin America)

brass ensemble, etc.     conjunto

bridge – puente

C clef – clave de do

castanets – las castañuelas

cello – el violonchelo

choir, chorus – el coro

Choral – coral

chord – el acorde

chromatic scale – escala cromática

clarinet / bass clarinet  – el clarinete / el clarinete bajo

classical – música clásica

classical music – la música clásica

clef – clave

concert soloist – concertista

concerto – el concierto

conductor – director, director de orquesta

conductor’s score – la partitura, el score (pronounced escór)

conjunto de metales, etc.

counter tenor – contratenor

counterpoint – contrapunto

country and western – country

country music – la música country

cymbal – címbalo

cymbals – los platos

diatonic – diatónico

diatonic scale – escala diatónica

diminished interval – intervalo disminuido

dominant seventh chord – acorde de séptima dominante

Dorian Mode – modo dórico

dotted note – nota con puntillo

double bar – doble barra / doble barra de repetición

double bass – el contrabajo

double flat – doble bemol

double sharp – doble sostenido

downbeat – tiempo fuerte, primer tiempo

drumsticks (harder, softer) – las baquetas (más duras, más suaves)

duo/duet, trio, quartet, quintet            – dúo, trío, cuarteto, quinteto

duration – duración

eighth rest – silencio de corchea

enharmonic – enarmónico

fingering – digitación

flat – bemol

flute / piccolo  – la flauta / el flautín

Fourth – cuarto grado; (intervalo de) cuarta

G Clef – clave de sol

gong – gong

half note – blanca

Half-Step – semitono, medio tono

harmonic minor scale – escala menor armónica

harmonica – la armónica

harmony – armonía

harp – el arpa

harpsichord – clave, el clavicémbalo (pronounced clavichémbalo)

heavy metal – heavy

hip hop – hip hop

horn (French horn) – la trompa (el corno in Latin America)

horn (general term for a woodwind or brass instrument) – el instrumento (de viento)

In tune – afinado

instrument – el instrumento

instrumentalist – el/la instrumentista

interval – intervalo

Ionian mode – modo jónico

jazz – jazz

key – (1) tonalidad, tono; (2) tecla

key signature – armadura

keyboard – teclado

keyboard instruments  – los instrumentos de tecla, los teclados

lead – dirigir

ledger lines – líneas adicionales

line – línea (melódica), voz.

Lydian mode – modo lidio

major – mayor

mandolin – la mandolina

mass – Misa

measure, bar – el compás

measure; bar – compás

melodic minor scale – escala menor melódica

meter – compás

metronome – metrónomo

middle C – do central

minor – menor

Mixolydian Mode – modo mixolidio

mode – modo

The following modes were supplied by Lennie B Tristano

Aeolian – eólico

Dorian – dórico

Ionian – jónico

Locrian – locrio

Lydian – lidio

Mixolydian – mixolidio

Phrygian – frigio

modern music  – la música moderna

modulation – modulación

movement – el movimiento (or el tiempo)

multibar rest – compases de espera

music (the paper) – la música, la partitura

music (the subject) – la música

music score –  partitura

musician – el músico

musicology – musicología

mute – la sordina

note – nota

oboe / english horn (cor anglais) – el oboe / el corno inglés

orchestra manager – el regidor

orchestral part – la partitura, la partichela

organ – el órgano

ornaments – adornos, notas de adorno

passing tones – notas de paso

pentatonic Scale – escala pentatónica

percussion – la percusión

perfect interval – intervalo justo

perfect pitch – oído absoluto

phrasing – fraseo

piano – el piano

piece, work – la obra

pipe organ – tubo de órgano

pop –  música pop

premiere – estreno

principal player – solista

quadruplet – cuatrillo

quarter note – negra

quarter rest – silencio de negra

R & B  – el R & B

rap – el rap

relative major and minor scales – escalas relativas mayor y menor

rest – silencio

rock – el rock

saxophone – el saxofón (alto, tenor)

scale – la escala

score – partitura (orquestal)

section player – tuttista

semitone – semitono

sharp – sostenido

sheet music – partitura

singer – el/la cantante

slur – ligadura

snare drum – la caja

soprano – la soprano

staff; pl. staves – pentagrama/s

string instruments – las cuerdas, la cuerda

strings – cuerdas

symphony – la sinfonía

syncopation – síncopa

tambourine – la pandereta

tempo – el tiempo (which can also mean “movement”, “beat”, “time” and “weather”!)

tenor – el tenor

theme – tema

timpani – los timbales

transposition – transposición

triad – tríada

triangle – el triángulo

triplet – tresillo

trombone – el trombón

trumpet – la trompeta

tuba – la tuba

tubular bells – el campanólogo

unison – unísono

upbeat – entrada anacrúsica

viola – la viola

violin (firsts, seconds) el violín [pl. los violines] (los primeros, los segundos)

voice – voz

whole tone – tono

winds (i.e. both woodwinds and brass) – los vientos

woodwind – maderas

woodwinds – las maderas

world music – la música mundial

Word Document at: 186 Spanish Music Vocabulary

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14 responses to “186 Spanish Music Vocabulary

  1. Could use some verbs here.. to peform, to play, to rehearse, to practice, to listen, to study, to compose, to recite, to memorize 🙂

  2. Awesome list! How about the other modes, aeolian, locrian and phrygian? And are there any special Spanish expressions for “snake charming scales”?

    • Bud you know way more about this subject than I do! Can you look up the answer to your questions and I will add to the list and give you credit. These lists are kind of basic vocab and people then ask me very, very specialized questions. I know Spanish! I don’t know a lot about music from an academic point of view. I could not tell you what a snake charming scale is in English much less Spanish! I would say a prof of music at a Spanish university would be able to answer your questions!

  3. Lennie B Tristano

    Hola Hugh,
    Here are the basic modes in order:
    Ionian … jónico
    Dorian …dórico
    Phrygian … frigio
    Lydian … lidio
    Mixolydian … mixolidio
    Aeolian … eólico
    Locrian … locrio

    “Snake charming scales” are just the various exotic scales that you would imagine a snake charmer playing. These would include modes of the harmonic minor (modos de la escala menor armónica), but there are many more. I was just wondering if there was a special Spanish expression, rather than a literal translation, like Escalas de serpientes encantadoras. I will ask around, and if I find an answer, I will get back to you.
    Salud,Bud T.

  4. Vincent Zaniewski

    I’ve been a Spanish speaker for many years and have always wondered how to say all these terms but never bothered to find out till now. But what a find! Your webpage is a real treasure trove.!
    Thanks so much for putting all this together.
    (I’m in South America for a little while and will be doing volunteer work, perhaps using music so a lot of this may well come in handy. But it’s also great for my personal knowledge. Thanks again.)😀

  5. I am SO grateful for this extended list of musical terms in Spanish! I am a music teacher that will be starting a children’s choir completely in Spanish, as inspired by my Spanish teacher and dear friend, and she is learning to play the piano from me in exchange. After being a teacher for 38 years, I’ve never been so challenged to teach my subject in another language! If I come across any more words that I need, will you be able to help?

    So far, I found these:
    whole note = la redonda
    dotted half note = la blanca punteada
    half note = la blanca
    dotted quarter note = la negra punteada
    quarter note = la negra
    eighth note = la corchea
    sixteenth note = la semicorchea
    beat = el latido
    rhythm = el ritmo

    • Thanks for the extra words! I am retired and haven’t taught Spanish for three years now! I am working on fitness and two novels! Fitness is the tough goal. I enjoy writing. My Spanish teacher days are over! Good luck!

  6. I am traveling to Chile to record my compositions with Chilean musicians, and this list is an absolute lifesaver. Thank you for putting this together!

  7. There will always be regional differences as well as country to country.
    Dotted Eighth Note = Nota Corchea Con Puntillo
    Dotted Quarter Note = Nota Negra con Puntillo
    Dotted Half Note = Nota Blanca Con Puntillo
    The people I have consulted with doble corchea for 16th note.
    Let me know if you would like the parts of the guitar, trumpet or violin translated.

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