12 Easy Tagalog Music Words You Need To Know

Tagalog music words - A photo of a woman on a couch listening to songs.

So, you know those Filipino parties where everyone’s singing their hearts out in Tagalog? You’re digging the vibe, but all those Tagalog music words are flying right over your head. What’s with all the drama, the tears, the goofy jokes in the songs? You just wanna get it, right?

Well, guess what? I’m here to be your Tagalog music translator! We’re about to break down those lyrics, find out what makes those ballads so epic, and why some songs make everyone burst out laughing. Time to level up your Tagalog language skills and join the sing-along!

What Is Music In Tagalog?

Before we talk about those Tagalog music words, let’s first meet the star of the show: music! In Tagalog, we call it musika (pronounced as moo-SEE-kah).

Now, musika might ring a bell ’cause it sounds like “música” in Spanish. That’s no coincidence! Way back in the 1500s, the Spanish sailed in and decided they owned the Philippines for the next 300+ years. Naturally, their language left a mark on every Filipino’s life, including on our music scene. Musika is basically the Filipino remix!

But musika is way more than just a borrowed word. Think of it as the heartbeat of Filipino culture. We love expressing ourselves through music, whether it’s that old-school kundiman music, love ballads your grandma gets all misty over, a cheesy boy band song from the 90s, or a wild fiesta with dancing in the streets. Music is always on the playlist!

Tagalog music words - A photo of a Filipino family singing inside their home.

Tagalog Music Words

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! Imagine a song as a delicious dish. Musika is the whole meal, but to truly savor it, we need to understand the ingredients – the Tagalog vocabulary that builds each song.

Hooked on Filipino music and wanna learn more of the language? Try the Ling app! It’s a fun, easy way to learn Tagalog and 60+ languages, plus get that insider cultural knowledge. Want a taste? It’s just a click away – hit up your Google Play and App Store, download the Ling app, and use it daily!

Here’s a taste of the most common Tagalog music terms you’ll encounter:

1. Song – Awit / Kanta


This is your all-purpose Tagalog music word for any tune that tickles your ears, whether it’s a heart-wrenching kundiman ballad passed down for generations or the latest chart-topping song dominating the radio. Awit is broad, encompassing everything from grandma’s favorites to the latest viral hit.

Example: Uy, bet mo ‘yung bagong awit ni ____ (name of singer)? (Hey, you diggin’ that new song by ____?)

2. Melody – Himig

Think of himig as the unforgettable part that gets stuck in your head after hearing a song. It’s like the main storyline of the song, carried by the vocal line or a catchy instrumental hook. A beautiful himig can make even the simplest lyrics resonate.

Example: Napakaganda ng himig nung kantang ‘yan! Hindi ko maintindihan lahat ng salita, pero parang may pinapasabi talaga. (That song has such a beautiful melody! I don’t understand all the words, but it feels like it’s saying something.)

3. Rhythm – Ritmo

This is the invisible force that gets your body moving! It’s all about the beat – the pulse that drives the song forward. A fast ritmo can have you jumping up and down, while a slow one might make you sway gently.

Example: Parang ang saya ng ritmo ng kantang ito! Gusto kong sumayaw! (This song has such a fun rhythm! I wanna dance!)

4. Harmony – Harmoniya

Imagine a group of singers blending their voices perfectly or different instruments creating a smooth, pleasing sound together. That beautiful blend is harmoniya. It’s the magic that happens when different musical elements come together in a way that feels good.

Example: Wow, ang galing ng harmoniya ng banda na ‘to! Nakakarelax pakinggan. (Wow, this band has amazing harmony! It’s so relaxing to listen to.)

5. Lyrics – Liriko

This is where the real story unfolds! The lyrics, or liriko in Tagalog, are the words that carry the emotions, message, and even hidden jokes that Filipinos love to incorporate into their songs. If you understand the details of the lyrics, you’ll appreciate the music even more!

Example: Nakakaiyak naman pala ‘yung liriko ng kantang ito! Hindi ko akalain may ganitong kwento. (The lyrics to this song are so sad! I didn’t realize it had such a story.)

6. Tempo – Tyempo

Is the song like a runaway train or a slow, steady walk in the park? The tempo is basically the speed setting.

Filipino music has it all: peppy songs that make you wanna jump around or those slow, heart-tugging ballads that bring the waterworks. Even without knowing the words, the tempo or tyempo in Tagalog is your inside scoop on the mood.

7. Solo – Nag-Iisa

Musicians work hard, and the solo is their reward! Imagine the Filipino singer pauses, then a blistering guitar solo takes over, or maybe a series of drumbeats that get your adrenaline pumping. Traditional Filipino music has some incredible instrumental solos with Tagalog instruments like the banduria (a type of mandolin), which definitely adds a special flavor!

8. Chorus – Koro

The chorus or koro in Tagalog is the part you know, even when the verses are a blur. It’s catchy, usually where the song’s big message lives, and it’s designed to get stuck in your head. Next time you hear a chorus, pay attention – you might learn Tagalog with songs without even realizing it!

9. Instrumental

When you’re listening to Tagalog music, words just get in the way, right? An instrumental section strips everything back and lets the melody, the rhythm, and the interplay of instruments paint a picture. You might hear a mellow instrumental intro that sets a romantic tone or a frantic instrumental break that ramps up the energy before a killer final chorus.

10. Verse – Berso

The verse, or berso in Tagalog, is where Filipino songs wear their hearts on their sleeve. It’s loaded with hugot lines (emotional lines) that get you right in the feels, vivid Tagalog imagery that paints a scene in your mind, and sometimes even playful doble sentido (double meaning) that adds a cheeky twist.

11. Bridge – Tulay

The bridge or tulay in Tagalog is the song’s musical shapeshifter! It can shift the mood in a heartbeat – a sudden tempo drop might usher in a mournful violin solo, or a traditional kundiman might surprise you with a modern rap interlude. The tulay also builds anticipation with soaring melodies or energetic breaks, leading to a final chorus that explodes with feeling.

12. Outro – Huling Bahagi

This is the last part of the music that could be a classic fade-out on a sentimental folk song, leaving you feeling nostalgic. Or, a rock anthem might end with a bang – extended guitar solos, a final burst of energy from the entire band – leaving you pumped and ready for more. The outro or huling bahagi in Tagalog is that last musical statement that stays with you long after the song has ended.

More Filipino Music Vocabulary

Do you think you know all there is to know about Filipino music? Well, hold on to your headphones ’cause there’s a list of more Tagalog music words waiting! Knowing these insider terms will help you connect with those OPM (Original Pilipino Music) tunes that hit you right in the feels.

Filipino Music Conversation Starters

Alright, let’s put those Tagalog music words to use! Music is a great way to connect with people, so here are some conversation starters to get those Filipino music discussions flowing. Try them out in English, or practice with the Tagalog translations to boost your skills.

  • Instead of just asking the basic “What’s this song about?”, try a different approach! Ask Ang ganda nung ritmo, ‘no? (That rhythm is awesome, right?) or Narinig mo ba ‘yung solo? Ang galing! (Did you hear that solo? So good!).

  • Want to learn more about your friend’s musical tastes? Ask her/him Anong mga artista ‘yung pinakinggan mo noong bata ka? (What artists did you listen to growing up?) or May paborito ka bang kanta sa videoke? (Do you have a favorite karaoke song?). 

  • You can even tap into nostalgia with May kanta ba na nagpapaalala sa’yo ng Pilipinas? (Is there a song that reminds you of the Philippines?).

  • Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences too! Say things like: Trip ko ‘yung kanta na ‘to kasi sobrang chill (I love this song because it’s so chill) or Ang sarap pakinggan ng himig ng kantang ‘to! (The melody in this song is so good!).
Filipino music vocabulary - A photo of friends around a campfire with a guitar.

And That’s A Wrap!

Wow! You’re officially on your way to becoming a Filipino music pro! Don’t hesitate to try out those new Tagalog music words you just learned, ask questions about the songs you hear, and share your own musical favs (even if they’re in English!).

After all, music is a universal language, so the more you immerse yourself, the more you’ll understand. Now go rock that karaoke session, find some amazing new Filipino artists, and most importantly, have fun with it!

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