music

Music is the pleasing sound created by voices or instruments following some tonal structure. If you sing, whistle, or play an instrument, you are making music. You can also write music using the specific language of notes.

In Greek mythology, the goddesses who inspired creativity were called the Muses, from the words mousikḕ téchnē ("the art of the muses”). This led to the Latin mūsica. The word is also used in various idioms, such as "face the music," which means to accept consequences, and "making beautiful music together," which suggests making love. If something is "like music to your ears," you are happy to hear it.

Primary Meanings of music

1.
n
an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
2.
n
punishment for one's actions
Full Definitions of music
1

n an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner

Examples:
show 91 examples...
hide 91 examples...
Book of Genesis
the first book of the Old Testament: tells of Creation; Adam and Eve; the Fall of Man; Cain and Abel; Noah and the flood; God's covenant with Abraham; Abraham and Isaac; Jacob and Esau; Joseph and his brothers
Book of Exodus
the second book of the Old Testament: tells of the departure of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt led by Moses; God gave them the Ten Commandments and the rest of Mosaic law on Mount Sinai during the Exodus
Book of Leviticus
the third book of the Old Testament; contains Levitical law and ritual precedents
Book of Numbers
the fourth book of the Old Testament; contains a record of the number of Israelites who followed Moses out of Egypt
Book of Deuteronomy
the fifth book of the Old Testament; contains a second statement of Mosaic law
Book of Joshua
a book in the Old Testament describing how Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan (the Promised Land) after the death of Moses
Book of Judges
a book of the Old Testament that tells the history of Israel under the leaders known as judges
Book of Ruth
a book of the Old Testament that tells the story of Ruth who was not an Israelite but who married an Israelite and who stayed with her mother-in-law Naomi after her husband died
1 Samuel
the first of two books in the Old Testament that tell of Saul and David
II Samuel
the second of two books of the Old Testament that tell of Saul and David
1 Kings
the first of two Old Testament books telling the histories of the kings of Judah and Israel
II Kings
the second of two Old Testament books telling the histories of the kings of Judah and Israel
1 Chronicles
the first of two Old Testament books telling the history of Judah and Israel until the return from the Babylonian Captivity in 536 BC
II Chronicles
the second of two Old Testament books telling the history of Judah and Israel until the return from the Babylonian Captivity in 536 BC
Book of Ezra
an Old Testament book telling of a rabbi's efforts in the 5th century BC to reconstitute Jewish law and worship in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity
Book of Nehemiah
an Old Testament book telling how a Jewish official at the court of Artaxerxes I in 444 BC became a leader in rebuilding Jerusalem after the Babylonian Captivity
Book of Esther
an Old Testament book telling of a beautiful Jewess who became queen of Persia and saved her people from massacre
Book of Job
a book in the Old Testament containing Job's pleas to God about his afflictions and God's reply
Book of Psalms
an Old Testament book consisting of a collection of 150 Psalms
Book of Proverbs
an Old Testament book consisting of proverbs from various Israeli sages (including Solomon)
Book of Ecclesiastes
an Old Testament book consisting of reflections on the vanity of human life; is traditionally attributed to Solomon but probably was written about 250 BC
Canticle of Canticles
an Old Testament book consisting of a collection of love poems traditionally attributed to Solomon but actually written much later
Book of Isaiah
an Old Testament book consisting of Isaiah's prophecies
Book of Jeremiah
a book in the Old Testament containing the oracles of the prophet Jeremiah
Book of Lamentations
an Old Testament book lamenting the desolation of Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC; traditionally attributed to the prophet Jeremiah
Book of Ezekiel
an Old Testament book containing Ezekiel's prophecies of the downfall of Jerusalem and Judah and their subsequent restoration
Book of the Prophet Daniel
an Old Testament book that tells of the apocalyptic visions and the experiences of Daniel in the court of Nebuchadnezzar
Book of Hosea
an Old Testament book telling Hosea's prophecies
Book of Joel
an Old Testament book telling Joel's prophecies
Book of Amos
an Old Testament book telling Amos's prophecies
Book of Obadiah
an Old Testament book telling Obadiah's prophecies; the shortest book in the Christian Bible
Book of Jonah
a book in the Old Testament that tells the story of Jonah and the whale
Book of Micah
an Old Testament book telling the prophecies of Micah foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem
Book of Nahum
an Old Testament book telling Nahum's prophecy of the fall of Nineveh
Book of Habakkuk
an Old Testament book telling Habakkuk's prophecies
Book of Zephaniah
an Old Testament book telling the prophecies of Zephaniah which are concerned mainly with the approaching judgment by God upon the sinners of Judah
Book of Haggai
an Old Testament book telling the prophecies of Haggai which are concerned mainly with rebuilding the temples after the Babylonian Captivity
Book of Zachariah
an Old Testament book telling the prophecies of Zechariah which are concerned mainly with the renewal of Israel after the Babylonian Captivity
Book of Malachi
an Old Testament book containing the prophecies of Malachi
Gospel According to Matthew
one of the Gospels in the New Testament; includes the Sermon on the Mount
Gospel According to Mark
the shortest of the four Gospels in the New Testament
Gospel According to Luke
one of the four Gospels in the New Testament; contains details of Jesus's birth and early life
Gospel According to John
the last of the four Gospels in the New Testament
Acts of the Apostles
a New Testament book describing the development of the early church from Christ's Ascension to Paul's sojourn at Rome
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans
a New Testament book containing an exposition of the doctrines of Saint Paul; written in AD 58
First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
a New Testament book containing the first epistle from Saint Paul to the church at Corinth
Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
a New Testament book containing the second epistle from Saint Paul to the church at Corinth
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians
a New Testament book containing the epistle from Saint Paul to the Galatians
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians
a New Testament book containing the epistle from Saint Paul to the Ephesians which explains the divine plan for the world and the consummation of this in Christ
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians
a New Testament book containing an epistle from Saint Paul to the church at Philippi in Macedonia
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians
a New Testament book containing an epistle from Saint Paul to the Colossians in ancient Phrygia
First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
a New Testament book containing Saint Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians
Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
a New Testament book containing Saint Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians
First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
a New Testament book containing Saint Paul's first epistle to Timothy; contains advice on pastoral matters
Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy
a New Testament book containing Saint Paul's second epistle to Timothy; contains advice on pastoral matters
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus
a New Testament book containing Saint Paul's epistle to Titus; contains advice on pastoral matters
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Philemon
a New Testament book containing an epistle from Saint Paul to Philemon asking Philemon to forgive the slave for escaping
Epistle to the Hebrews
a New Testament book traditionally included among the epistle of Saint Paul but now generally considered not to have been written by him
Epistle of James
a New Testament book attributed to Saint James the Apostle
First Epistle of Peter
the first New Testament book traditionally attributed to Saint Peter the Apostle
Second Epistle of Peter
the second New Testament book traditionally attributed to Saint Peter the Apostle
First Epistle of John
the first New Testament epistle traditionally attributed to Saint John the Apostle
Second Epistel of John
the second New Testament epistle traditionally attributed to Saint John the Apostle
Third Epistel of John
the third New Testament epistle traditionally attributed to Saint John the Apostle
Epistle of Jude
a New Testament book attributed to Saint Jude
Revelation of Saint John the Divine
the last book of the New Testament; contains visionary descriptions of heaven and of conflicts between good and evil and of the end of the world; attributed to Saint John the Apostle
Haphtarah
a short selection from the Prophets read on every Sabbath in a Jewish synagogue following a reading from the Torah
Additions to Esther
an Apocryphal book consisting of text added to the Book of Esther
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Children
an Apocryphal book consisting of text added to the Book of Daniel
Book of Susanna
an Apocryphal book consisting of text added to the Book of Daniel
Bel and the Dragon
an Apocryphal book consisting of text added to the Book of Daniel
Book of Baruch
an Apocryphal book ascribed to Baruch
Epistle of Jeremiah
an Apocryphal book consisting of a letter ascribed to Jeremiah to the Jews in exile in Babylon warning them against idolatry
Book of Tobit
an Apocryphal book that was a popular novel for several centuries
Book of Judith
an Apocryphal book telling how Judith saved her people
1 Esdras
an Apocryphal book consisting of a compilation from I Chronicles and II Chronicles and Ezra and Nehemiah
II Esdras
an Apocryphal book of angelic revelations
Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach
an Apocryphal book mainly of maxims (resembling Proverbs in that respect)
Wisdom of Solomon
an Apocryphal book consisting mainly of a meditation on wisdom; although ascribed to Solomon it was probably written in the first century BC
1 Maccabees
an Apocryphal book describing the life of Judas Maccabaeus
II Maccabees
an Apocryphal book describing the life of Judas Maccabaeus
Fatihah
the first or opening sura of the Quran which is the central prayer of Islam and is used on all special occasions as well as during the five daily prayers
Messiah
an oratorio composed by Handel in 1742
Hallel
(Judaism) a chant of praise (Psalms 113 through 118) used at Passover and Shabuoth and Sukkoth and Hanukkah and Rosh Hodesh
Hare Krishna
a chant to the Hindu god Krishna
Dies Irae
the first words of a medieval Latin hymn describing the Last Judgment (literally `day of wrath')
Internationale
a revolutionary socialist anthem
Te Deum
an ancient liturgical hymn
Marseillaise
the French national anthem
The Star-Spangled Banner
a poem written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 was set to music and adopted by Congress in 1931 as the national anthem of the United States
Magnificat
(Luke) the canticle of the Virgin Mary (from Luke 1:46 beginning `Magnificat anima mea Dominum')
Types:
show 141 types...
hide 141 types...
section, subdivision
a self-contained part of a larger composition (written or musical)
pizzicato
a note or passage that is played pizzicato
monody, monophonic music, monophony
music consisting of a single vocal part (usually with accompaniment)
concerted music, polyphonic music, polyphony
music arranged in parts for several voices or instruments
polytonalism, polytonality
music that uses two or more different keys at the same time
popularism
music adapted to the understanding and taste of the majority
harmony, musical harmony
the structure of music with respect to the composition and progression of chords
air, line, melodic line, melodic phrase, melody, strain, tune
a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence
part music
vocal music for several voices in independent parts (usually performed without accompaniment)
composition, musical composition, opus, piece, piece of music
a musical work that has been created
instrumental music
music intended to be performed by a musical instrument or group of instruments
prelude
music that precedes a fugue or introduces an act in an opera
overture
orchestral music played at the beginning of an opera or oratorio
antiphony
alternate (responsive) singing by a choir in two parts
chorus, refrain
the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers
ballet
music written for a ballet
dance music
music to dance to
serial music, serialism
20th century music that uses a definite order of notes as a thematic basis for a musical composition
syncopation
music (especially dance music) that has a syncopated rhythm
genre, music genre, musical genre, musical style
an expressive style of music
Bach
the music of Bach
Beethoven
the music of Beethoven
Brahms
the music of Brahms
Chopin
the music of Chopin
Gilbert and Sullivan
the music of Gilbert and Sullivan
Handel
the music of Handel
Haydn
the music of Haydn
Mozart
the music of Mozart
Stravinsky
the music of Stravinsky
Wagner
the music of Wagner
Ta'ziyeh
(Islam) a form of Iranian musical pageant that is the theatrical expression of religious passion; based on the Battle of Kerbala and performed annually (in Farsi)
vocal, vocal music
music intended to be performed by one or more singers, usually with instrumental accompaniment
morceau
a short literary or musical composition
lead, lead-in, lede
the introductory section of a story
canto
a major division of a long poem
above
an earlier section of a written text
sports section
the section of a newspaper that reports on sports
article, clause
a separate section of a legal document (as a statute or contract or will)
book
a major division of a long written composition
chapter
a subdivision of a written work; usually numbered and titled
episode
a brief section of a literary or dramatic work that forms part of a connected series
spot
a section of an entertainment that is assigned to a specific performer or performance
spot
a short section or illustration (as between radio or tv programs or in a magazine) that is often used for advertising
insert
a folded section placed between the leaves of another publication
introduction
the first section of a communication
narration
(rhetoric) the second section of an oration in which the facts are set forth
close, closing, conclusion, end, ending
the last section of a communication
passage
a section of text; particularly a section of medium length
mezuza, mezuzah
religious texts from Deuteronomy inscribed on parchment and rolled up in a case that is attached to the doorframe of many Jewish households in accordance with Jewish law
sura
one of the sections (or chapters) in the Koran
exposition
(music) the section of a movement (especially in sonata form) where the major musical themes first occur
obbligato, obligato
a part of the score that must be performed without change or omission
sheet music
a musical composition in printed or written form
fanfare, flourish, tucket
(music) a short lively tune played on brass instruments
glissando
a rapid series of ascending or descending notes on the musical scale
roulade
(music) an elaborate run of several notes sung to one syllable
counterpoint
a musical form involving the simultaneous sound of two or more melodies
African-American music, black music
music created by African-American musicians; early forms were songs that had a melodic line and a strong rhythmic beat with repeated choruses
classical, classical music, serious music
traditional genre of music conforming to an established form and appealing to critical interest and developed musical taste
harmonisation, harmonization
a piece of harmonized music
four-part harmony
harmony in which each chord has four notes that create four melodic lines
preparation
(music) a note that produces a dissonant chord is first heard in a consonant chord
resolution
(music) a dissonant chord is followed by a consonant chord
leitmotif, leitmotiv
a melodic phrase that accompanies the reappearance of a person or situation (as in Wagner's operas)
theme song
a melody that recurs and comes to represent a musical play or movie
signature, signature tune, theme song
a melody used to identify a performer or a dance band or radio/tv program
idea, melodic theme, musical theme, theme
(music) melodic subject of a musical composition
part, voice
the melody carried by a particular voice or instrument in polyphonic music
homophony
part music with one dominant voice (in a homophonic style)
church music, religious music
genre of music composed for performance as part of religious ceremonies
arrangement, musical arrangement
a piece of music that has been adapted for performance by a particular set of voices or instruments
realisation, realization
a musical composition that has been completed or enriched by someone other than the composer
recapitulation
(music) the section of a composition or movement (especially in sonata form) in which musical themes that were introduced earlier are repeated
intermezzo
a short piece of instrumental music composed for performance between acts of a drama or opera
allegro
a musical composition or musical passage to be performed quickly in a brisk lively manner
allegretto
a musical composition or musical passage to be performed at a somewhat quicker tempo than andante but not as fast as allegro
andante
a musical composition or musical passage to be performed moderately slow
introit
a composition of vocal music that is appropriate for opening church services
chorale prelude
a composition for organ using a chorale as a basis for variations
solo
a musical composition for one voice or instrument (with or without accompaniment)
duet, duette, duo
a musical composition for two performers
trio
a musical composition for three performers
quartet, quartette
a musical composition for four performers
quintet, quintette
a musical composition for five performers
sestet, sextet, sextette
a musical composition written for six performers
septet, septette
a musical composition written for seven performers
octet, octette
a musical composition written for eight performers
bagatelle
a light piece of music for piano
divertimento, serenade
a musical composition in several movements; has no fixed form
canon
a contrapuntal piece of music in which a melody in one part is imitated exactly in other parts
etude
a short composition for a solo instrument; intended as an exercise or to demonstrate technical virtuosity
idyl, idyll, pastoral, pastorale
a musical composition that evokes rural life
toccata
a baroque musical composition (usually for a keyboard instrument) with full chords and rapid elaborate runs in a rhythmically free style
fantasia
a musical composition of a free form usually incorporating several familiar themes
musical passage, passage
a short section of a musical composition
movement
a major self-contained part of a symphony or sonata
largo
(music) a composition or passage that is to be performed in a slow and dignified manner
larghetto
(music) a composition or passage played in a slow tempo slightly faster than largo but slower than adagio
suite
a musical composition of several movements only loosely connected
symphonic poem, tone poem
an orchestral composition based on literature or folk tales
medley, pastiche, potpourri
a musical composition consisting of a series of songs or other musical pieces from various sources
nocturne, notturno
a pensive lyrical piece of music (especially for the piano)
adagio
(music) a composition played in adagio tempo (slowly and gracefully)
song, vocal
a short musical composition with words
study
a composition intended to develop one aspect of the performer's technique
tra-la, tra-la-la
a set of nonsensical syllables used while humming a refrain
beguine
music written in the bolero rhythm of the beguine dance
bolero
music written in the rhythm of the bolero dance
carioca
music composed for dancing the carioca
conga
music composed for dancing the conga
flamenco
guitar music composed for dancing the flamenco
gavotte
music composed in quadruple time for dancing the gavotte
habanera
music composed in duple time for dancing the habanera
hornpipe
music for dancing the hornpipe
gigue, jig
music in three-four time for dancing a jig
landler
music in triple time for dancing the landler
mazurka
music composed for dancing the mazurka
minuet
a stately piece of music composed for dancing the minuet; often incorporated into a sonata or suite
paso doble
music in march time composed for dancing the paso doble; often played at bull fights
pavan, pavane
music composed for dancing the pavane
polka
music performed for dancing the polka
quadrille
music for dancing the quadrille
reel
music composed for dancing a reel
rhumba, rumba
syncopated music in duple time for dancing the rumba
samba
music composed for dancing the samba
saraband
music composed for dancing the saraband
12-tone music, 12-tone system, twelve-tone music, twelve-tone system
a type of serial music introduced by Arnold Schoenberg; uses a tone row formed by the twelve semitones of the chromatic scale (and inverted or backward versions of the row)
tango
music written in duple time for dancing the tango
tarantella
music composed in six-eight time for dancing the tarantella
techno
a style of fast heavy electronic dance music usually without vocals
waltz
music composed in triple time for waltzing
march, marching music
genre of music written for marching
popular music, popular music genre
any genre of music having wide appeal (but usually only for a short time)
rag, ragtime
music with a syncopated melody (usually for the piano)
jazz
a style of dance music popular in the 1920s; similar to New Orleans jazz but played by large bands
kwela
a kind of danceable music popular among black South Africans; includes a whistle among its instruments
development
(music) the section of a composition or movement (especially in sonata form) where the major musical themes are developed and elaborated
capriccio
an instrumental composition that doesn't adhere to rules for any specific musical form and is played with improvisation
motet
an unaccompanied choral composition with sacred lyrics; intended to be sung as part of a church service; originated in the 13th century
program music, programme music
musical compositions intended to evoke images or remind the listener of events
incidental music
music composed to accompany the action of a drama or to fill intervals between scenes
Type of:
auditory communication
communication that relies on hearing

n (music) the sounds produced by singers or musical instruments (or reproductions of such sounds)

Types:
piano music
the sound of music produced by a piano
Type of:
auditory sensation, sound
the subjective sensation of hearing something

n musical activity (singing or whistling etc.)

“his music was his central interest”
Types:
show 11 types...
hide 11 types...
bell ringing, carillon, carillon playing
playing a set of bells that are (usually) hung in a tower
instrumental music
music produced by playing a musical instrument
intonation
the production of musical tones (by voice or instrument); especially the exactitude of the pitch relations
percussion
the act of playing a percussion instrument
vocal music
music that is vocalized (as contrasted with instrumental music)
whistling
the act of whistling a tune
change ringing
ringing tuned bells in a fixed order that is continually changing
drumming
the act of playing drums
singing, vocalizing
the act of singing vocal music
song, strain
the act of singing
fixed intonation
the intonation of keyboard instruments where the pitch of each note is fixed and cannot be varied by the performer
Type of:
activity
any specific behavior

n any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds

“he fell asleep to the music of the wind chimes”
Synonyms:
euphony
Types:
music of the spheres
an inaudible music that Pythagoras thought was produced by the celestial
Type of:
auditory sensation, sound
the subjective sensation of hearing something
2

n punishment for one's actions

“you have to face the music
Synonyms:
medicine
Type of:
penalisation, penalization, penalty, punishment
the act of punishing

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.