Music

French music vocabulary
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La musique

Music is a language unto itself, and yet we need our own language to talk about it. The French names for musical genres are often the same as in English, but there’s still plenty of French vocabulary to be learned.

music   la musique
musical   musical
musically   musicalement
musicality   la musicalité
beat   le temps
movement   le mouvement
rhythm   le rythme
song   une chanson
     
Types of music   Genres de musique
ambiant music   la musique d’ambiance
background music   la musique de fond
bland music   la musiquette
blues   le blues
classical music   la musique classique
country   la musique country
electronic music   la musique électronique
folk   le folk
la musique folklorique
French variety music   la variété française
hip hop   le hip hop
house music   la musique house
jazz
hot jazz
cool jazz
  le jazz
le hot
le cool
Muzak   la musique d’ascenseur
la musique de supermarché
pop   le pop
la musique populaire
rap   le rap
rock   le rock
soul   la musique soul
     
People   Gens
musician   un musicien
une musicienne
backup singer   le / la choriste
composer   le compositeur
la compositrice
conductor   le chef d’orchestre
drummer   le batteur
guitarist   le / la guitariste
rapper   le rappeur
la rappeuse
singer   le chanteur
la chanteuse
singer-songwriter   l’auteur-compositeur
     
Instruments   Instruments
brass   les cuivres
keyboard ` à clavier
percussion   à percussion
reed   à anche
string   à cordes
wind   à vent
     
Verbs   Verbes
to compose   composer
to listen to music
to listen to the radio
  écouter de la musique
écouter la radio*
to perform   interpréter
to play an instrument
to play guitar
to play piano
  jouer d’un instrument
jouer de la guitare
jouer du piano
to practice   s’exercer
to read music   lire la musique
to sing   chanter, interpréter
to write music   écrire, composer la musique

 *The verb écouter means "to listen to" so when followed by something like radio there is no preposition: écouter la radio. In écouter de la musique, de is not acting as a preposition, but is rather helping to create the partitive article: "to listen to some music."

 Reading comprehension

Listening comprehension

Musical expressions

Music for French Mastery

Listening to music can be a fun and interesting way not only to experience some culture, but also to improve your French.

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French music terms
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