Talking about Music in Spanish

Talk About MUSIC in Spanish 🎶

Hola y bienvenido a Spring Spanish! I’m Juan y además de ser uno de los profesores de Spring Spanish (and besides being one of the Spring Spanish teachers), I’ve been a musician for most of my life and music is one of my favorite topics ever! If you’ve got the music bug as well, and want to have heated talks and arguments about your passion for tango, salsa, rock, reggaeton… all in Spanish… then this video is for you! 

Todo lo que necesitas saber para hablar de música en Español (everything you need to know to talk about music in Spanish): Taste in music, some technical terms, Latin genres, instruments, folklore music, popular Latin artists: you name it. Also, if you’re a musician I have a life-saving tip for you in Spanish at the end.

¡Acompáñame!

Basic Music Vocabulary

Music is a huge topic in Latin-America. And everything people talk about a lot… comes with TONS of vocabulary. Here are some of the most important words:

  • El/La artista (The artist –   feminine and masculine)
  • La banda (The band)
  • El sonero (The sonero – That’s the main singer in Salsa music)
  • La orquesta (The orchestra – as in La orquesta de salsa)
  • El/La cantante (The singer – feminine and masculine)
  • El concierto (The concert)
  • El coro (The chorus)

Some instruments:

  • La guitarra (the guitar)
  • La trompeta (the trumpet)
  • El bajo (The bass)
  • El piano (The piano)

As you might know already, I play several types of percussion, so here are some of my favorites:

  • Los timbales (The timbales)
  • Las congas (The conga drums)
  • La batería (The Drum Kit)

Alright, you know some useful words now. But wouldn’t it be cool if you could impress your new Latino friends with some fun facts about Latin music and artists?

Fun Facts (and Spanish Music Sentences)

Learn the following sentences by heart to sound like an expert in any conversation about music!

  • El Tango Argentino tiene raíces europeas. (The Argentine Tango has European roots.)
  • Una de las Orquestas de Salsa más famosas fue La Fania All Stars. (One of the most popular Salsa Orchestras was La Fania All Stars.) 

By the way, Salsa is my favorite Latin type of music. It has African roots, and it's a big part of Latino cultural heritage. It’s a great kind of music to dance to and to celebrate, not to mention how complex and interesting it is to play it. If you watch until the end of the video, I have a little surprise for you about salsa! 

  • El merengue y la Bachata son ritmos caribeños. (Merengue and Bachata are Caribbean rhythms.)
  • Actualmente, el reguetón es la música latina más famosa en el mundo. (Currently, Reggaeton is the most popular Latin music in the world.) I’m not a big fan, but can’t argue with that!

Now, learning these sentences by heart as a whole is fun, but you can’t learn to speak Spanish entirely that way of course. The trick to really speak fluent Spanish is to listen to a lot of Spanish and then  memorize chunks, parts of the sentences you hear (so word combinations) that almost never change and that native speakers use all the time. I’ll give you some examples in a second.

First, let’s take a look at some questions you might use in a casual conversation about music:

  • ¿Te gusta la música? (Do you like music?)
  • ¿Cuál es tu artista favorito? (Who’s your favorite artist?)

CHUNK ALERT!  Oops! We got to a chunk example faster than I thought! tu artista favorito (your favorite artist) is a great example of a chunk you can use in any conversation about music, and you should learn it by heart. It never changes, if you learn it by heart you don’t have to think about “is it “ti artista” or “tu artista” or “tu artista favorita” of whatever. It just rolls off the tongue.

Okay, back to music! When talking about music, you can use this chunk to strike up a conversation. You can also add mi artista favorito es (my favorite artist is) and answer that question yourself. Use it in your next conversation in Spanish and let me know how it went in the comments!

  • ¿Qué tipo de música te gusta? (what type of music do you like?)
  • ¿Escuchaste la nueva canción de _____ ? (Did you listen to the new song by _____ ?)
  • ¿Qué te parece esta canción/Artista? (What do you think of this song/artist?)

CHUNK ALERT! “Qué te parece” (What do you think) is an excellent chunk to learn by heart as well. It’ll make you sound super natural in any situation. 

Want to know more chunks you can use in your conversations in Spanish? Then subscribe to our channel and hit that notification bell because with the five free weekly Spanish lessons we publish you’ll have plenty of stuff to talk about with your Spanish-speaking friends. They won’t even know what hit them!

So what if you’re on the opposite side of those questions? Here are some common chunks you can use to answer:

  • Mi artista favorito es ______  (my favorite artist is)
  • ¡Me encanta esta canción! (I love this song!)
  • Me gusta más la salsa que el reguetón (I like salsa better than reggaeton) 

¿A ti qué tipo de música te gusta? ¿Cuál es tu artista favorito? (what type of music do you like? What’s your favorite artist?) I love to talk about music so let’s strike up a conversation in Spanish in the comments!

Now, quick tip for the musicians out there: In Spanish, we have a different way to name the musical notes: While in English usually it’s CDEFGAB, in Spanish is Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si like this:

C  –   D  –   E  –   F  –   G  –   A  –   B 

Do – Re – Mi – Fa – Sol – La – Si 

So if you’re playing in a gig with Latin musicians, and you ever hear Esa canción está en Do menor. (That song is in C minor.) now you know what they mean!

Ok so before we finish, remember I told you I have a little surprise for you? Well, here’s a little clip of me playing some timbal with a Salsa Orchestra! 

That’s it for today my friends! Hope after this video you feel confident to talk about that J Balvin concert you went to before La Pandemia (The pandemic) or de cómo Oscar D’León es el mejor sonero de la historia de la Salsa (How Oscar D’Leon is the best Sonero in Salsa History) Pff quién te conoce Hector Lavoe… (Pff who knows you Hector Lavoe…)

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