Music Vocabulary


Suitable for advanced students studying for TOEFL or TOEIC level exams.

Here is some vocabulary that is commonly used when talking about music. Do you recognise these words? Study their meanings and then see them in use in the sentences below!

A trio of musicians


  • choir - (n) an organised group of singers that sing in public or in a church.
  • classic - (adj) having lasting very high quality. (n) something that is of lasting very high quality.
  • classical - (adj) European music from the 18th and 19th centuries (for example opera or symphony music)
  • instrumental - (adj) music performed by a musical instrument. (n) a song or piece of music performed with musical instruments, without a singer.
  • lyrics - (n) the words in a song.
  • orchestra - (n) - a large group of musicians who play various instruments and perform together.
  • opera - (n) a dramatic play that is set to music and usually performed in a theatre.
  • reggae - (n) a type of music that originated in the West Indies.
  • soundtrack - (n) the music that accompanies a movie or television series.
  • symphony- (n) music, usually in three or four more parts, that is written to be performed by an orchestra.


Example sentences


  • () The church choir will be performing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve.
  • () The song My Way by Frank Sinatra is a classic song that has been covered many times. 
  • () Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is regarded as one of the most famous classical composers of all time.
  • () Our band recorded an instrumental song because none of us can sing.
  • () I like to listen to The Beatles because I find it easy to understand the lyrics in their songs.
  • () The school orchestra plays the national anthem before first class every day.
  • () The opera Don Carlos was composed by Verdi and is based on the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias.
  • () Jamaican Bob Marley is the greatest reggae singer of all time.
  • () Whitney Houston's songs feature on the best selling soundtrack of all time, music from the movie The Bodyguard.
  • () Beethoven's 9th symphony is considered by many to be the greatest classical music ever written.


Are you confident you have learnt this vocabulary? Then it's time to try the quiz! Music Vocabulary Quiz

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