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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6 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.

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