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30+ Fascinating Malayalam Music Vocabulary To Know

September 8, 2022

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Have you ever wondered what Malayalam music sounds like, what instruments they use, and how they perform? Well, the music culture of Kerala has a long and rich history. Although not similar to Malayalam poetry, most of its songs are poetry driven. Especially famous for its Carnatic music, the Malayalam harmony played a significant role in early Malayalam literature.

Thus, before you go on your marvelous trip to Kerala, sit back for a while and experience the history of classical music. This blog has prepared all the essential facts and Malayalam music vocabulary, such as Bell (മണി), (A Capella ഒരു കാപ്പെല്ല), and other words related to musical tools, musical composition, and all kinds of similar and opposite words. Learning these will proffer a more enlightening and exciting journey for you. So, want to learn more? Continue reading and exploring the Malayalam music world.

Classical Malayalam Music

Music plays a significant role in our lives, and Malayali people cannot live without music. From classical to pop music, the locals enjoy every music genre and celebrate them as a grace to humanity. If you are a music lover, you would agree too. Because no matter how old you are, from rock music to folk songs, music has its enchanting character.

However, here we will learn about a few popular genres in Kerala and their music definition according to the state culture.

Sopana Sangeetham

Sopana Sangeetham is Kerala's initially created classical music form that developed in the temples of the state. The word sopana means leading up to the sanctum sanctorum. Thus, the sopanam music means singing from the side of the temple steps. It is the most famous music genre that the locals admire. The sopanam music is of two types Kottipaadi Seva' and 'Ranga Sopanam.' 

This particular music composition is considered the continuation of Dravidian music and is mainly based on ragas. One of the most prominent branches of this music form is Arangu Sangeetham. Also known as abhinaya sangeetham, such sounds are used in folk art and classical dance arts like Kathakali, Kutiyattam, etc. 

Carnatic Music

Another modern music out of several forms in Kerala is Carnatic music. Introduced and popularised by the former ruler of the kingdom Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, Carnatic, or the modern South Indian music in Kerala, became the heart of every local musician. The locals encourage every musical note and all vocal tones of this music form, from children to professional singers.

In the twentieth century, the state reached the peak of popularity in Carnatic music and birthed several talented singers. Carnatic music's meaning lies in the holy verses addressed to the deities. Therefore, most Carnatic song teachers like Chembai did not accept remuneration. It offered classes for free to people of different types and religions. In fact, many educational institutions offer Carnatic music classes to students, and many research facilities are also provided to facilitate the music's potency further.

Folk Songs

No matter where you go, every corner of the world has its own original charm regarding folk songs. Even in Kerala, popular folk music is sung to tell different regional stories mingling with history and culture. The origin of Kerala folk sounds can be dated back to the vocation of the locals. And as Kerala is a diverse state with a unique vocation, the folk songs also differ from region to region.

We know that songs are usually portrayed in an artistic form. But with Kerala folk songs, the musical notes and terms are following the job performed by the natives. It uses simple, ordinary, and understandable words that are basic to the Malayalam dictionary. The harmony of folk songs also portrays god and devotes itself to nature. So, such tunes are not performed only to ease stress but also to educate people on how their jobs are executed.

Traditional Musical Instruments

Malayalam Music Vocabulary

Now let us discover some traditional musical instruments- സംഗീതോപകരണങ്ങൾ (saṅgītēāpakaraṇaṅṅaḷ) to the accompaniment of the songs sung by the locals. Apart from guitar, piano, and drums, artists of Kerala possess their native tools and instruments that create harmonious instrumental or vocal tones which cannot be produced by any other.

Stringed Instruments- തന്ത്രി വാദ്യങ്ങൾ (Tantri Vādyaṅṅaḷ)

  • Veena
  • Tampura
  • Pulluvakudam
  • Nanthuni
  • Pullonveena
  • Narayanaveena

Membranophones- അവന്ധ വാദ്യങ്ങൾ (Avanadha Vaadhyangal)

  • Toppi Madhalam
  • Sudha Madhalam
  • Thudi
  • Arabana
  • Udukku
  • Timila
  • Veekan Chenda
  • Pambavadyam
  • Dholak
  • Idakka
  • Kudukudupandi
  • Thamber
  • Chenda
  • Mizhavu
  • Thappitta
  • Thavil
  • Velathavil

Wind Instruments- കാറ്റ് ഉപകരണങ്ങൾ (Kāṟṟ Upakaraṇaṅṅaḷ) / Sushiram

  • Kombu
  • Odakuzhal
  • Kuramkuzhal
  • Nagaswaram
  • Sanku

Idophonic Instruments- ഘനം (Ghanam)

  • Ilathalam
  • Chengila
  • Haribol
  • Chaplankatta

30+ Must-Know Malayalam Music Vocabulary

Now that we know the traditional instruments used by the Malayali musicians to produce an artistic form of auditory communication, let us check out different instruments and genres in the Malayalam language with proper translations. Knowing these will increase your efficiency in spoken pronunciation and enhance your vocabulary beyond the traditional native terms. Ready to sound like a local? Let's get started with our Malayalam dictionary!

Musical Instruments

Malayalam voice - Malayalam Music Vocabulary
EnglishMalayalamPronunciation
Acoustic guitarഅക്കോസ്റ്റിക് ഗിറ്റാർakkēāsṟṟik giṟṟār
Accordionഅക്രോഡിയൻakrēāḍiyan
Alto hornആൾട്ടോ ഹോൺāḷṭṭēā hēāṇ
Bagpipeബാഗ് പൈപ്പ്bāg paipp
Bellമണിmaṇi
Berimbauബെറിംബോbeṟimbēā
Bass guitarബാസ് ഗിറ്റാർbās giṟṟār
Chimesമണിനാദങ്ങൾmaṇinādaṅṅaḷ
Clarinetക്ലാരിനെറ്റ്klārineṟṟ
Drumsഡ്രംസ്ḍrans
Electric guitarഇലക്ട്രിക് ഗിറ്റാർilakṭrik giṟṟār
Fluteഓടക്കുഴല്ōṭakkuḻal
French hornഫ്രഞ്ച് കാഹളംphrañc kāhaḷaṁ
Fiddleഫിഡിൽphiḍil
Guitarഗിറ്റാർgiṟṟār
Gongsഗോങ്സ്gēāṅ‌s
Harmonicaഹാർമോണിക്കhārmēāṇikka
Harpകിന്നരംkinnaraṁ
Keyboardകീബോർഡ്kībēārḍ
Marimbaമാരിംബmārimba
Mandolinമാൻഡോലിൻmānḍēālin
Organഅവയവംavayavaṁ
Pianoപിയാനോpiyānēā
Pipe organപൈപ്പ് ഓർഗൻpaipp ōrgan
Rattleറാറ്റിൽṟāṟṟil
Recorderറെക്കോർഡർṟekkēārḍar
Saxophoneസാക്സഫോൺsāksaphēāṇ
Sitarസിത്താർsittār
Trumpetകാഹളംkāhaḷaṁ
Tambourineടാംബോറിൻṭāmbēāṟin
Ukeleleഉകെലെലെukelele
Violinവയലിൻvayalin
Vertical Fluteലംബ ഓടക്കുഴൽlamba ōṭakkuḻal
Whistleചൂളമടിക്കുകcūḷamaṭikkuka
Wind chimesകാറ്റിന്റെ മണിനാദങ്ങൾkāṟṟinṟe maṇinādaṅṅaḷ
Xylophoneസൈലോഫോൺsailēāphēāṇ

Musical Genres

Malayalam Music Vocabulary

A-H

EnglishMalayalamPronunciation
Acapellaഒരു കാപ്പെല്ലoru kāppella
Alternative rockഇതര റോക്ക്itara ṟēākk
American folkഅമേരിക്കൻ നാടോടിamērikkan nāṭēāṭi
Afrobeatsആഫ്രോബീറ്റുകൾāphrēābīṟṟukaḷ
Ambient musicആംബിയന്റ് സംഗീതംāmbiyanṟ saṅgītaṁ
Bluesബ്ലൂസ്blūs
Bollywoodബോളിവുഡ്bēāḷivuḍ
Barbershopബാർബർ ഷോപ്പ്bārbar ṣēāpp
Bluegrassബ്ലൂഗ്രാസ്blūgrās
Chinese folkചൈനീസ് നാടോടിcainīs nāṭēāṭi
Classic countryക്ലാസിക് നാടൻklāsik nāṭan
Country Musicനാടൻ സംഗീതംnāṭan saṅgītaṁ
Country bluesകൺട്രി ബ്ലൂസ്kaṇṭri blūs
Choralകോറൽkēāṟal
Chantജപിക്കുകjapikkuka
Classicalക്ലാസിക്കൽklāsikkal
Classic rockക്ലാസിക് റോക്ക്klāsik ṟēākk
Dancebellഡാൻസ്ബെൽḍānsbel
Dubstepഡബ്സ്റ്റെപ്പ്ḍabsṟṟepp
Drum & Bassഡ്രം & ബാസ്ḍraṁ & bās
Discoഡിസ്കോḍiskēā
Emoഇമോimēā
Electronicaഇലക്ട്രോണിക്ilakṭrēāṇik
Electronic rockഇലക്ട്രോണിക് റോക്ക്ilakṭrēāṇik ṟēākk
Electronic Dance Musicഇലക്ട്രോണിക് നൃത്ത സംഗീതംilakṭrēāṇik nr̥tta saṅgītaṁ
Electronicഇലക്ട്രോണിക്ilakṭrēāṇik
Electropopഇലക്ട്രോപോപ്പ്ilakṭrēāpēāpp
Ethio-jazzഎഥിയോ-ജാസ്ethiyēā-jās
Euro-discoയൂറോ-ഡിസ്കോyūṟēā-ḍiskēā
Euro-danceയൂറോ-നൃത്തംyūṟēā-nr̥ttaṁ
Flamencoഫ്ലമെൻകോphlamenkēā
Gospelസുവിശേഷംsuviśēṣaṁ
Grimeഗ്രിംgriṁ
Grungeഗ്രഞ്ച്grañc
Glitch popഗ്ലിച്ച് പോപ്പ്glicc pēāpp
Highlifeഹൈലൈഫ്hailaiph
Hardcore rockഹാർഡ്‌കോർ റോക്ക്hārḍ‌kēār ṟēākk
Hip Hopഹിപ് ഹോപ്പ്hip hēāpp

I-Z

EnglishMalayalamPronunciation
Indie rockഇൻഡി റോക്ക്inḍi ṟēākk
Industrialവ്യാവസായികvyāvasāyika
Japanese folkജാപ്പനീസ് നാടോടിjāppanīs nāṭēāṭi
Jazzജാസ്jās
K-popകെ-പോപ്പ്ke-pēāpp
Mentoമെന്റോmenṟēā
Majikaമജികmajika
Modern Countryആധുനിക രാജ്യംādhunika rājyaṁ
Metalലോഹംlēāha
Operaഓപ്പറōppaṟa
Popപോപ്പ്pēāpp
Punjabiപഞ്ചാബിpañcābi
Punkപങ്ക്paṅk
Pop Latinoപോപ്പ് ലാറ്റിനോpēāpp lāṟṟinēā
Raga rockരാഗം പാറrāgaṁ pāṟa
Reggaeറെഗ്ഗെṟegge
Rapറാപ്പ്ṟāpp
Salsaസൽസsalsa
Swingഊഞ്ഞാലാടുകūññālāṭuka
Soft rockമൃദുവായ പാറmr̥duvāya pāṟa
Sambaസാംബsāmba
Symphonyസിംഫണിsimphaṇi
Trapകെണിkeṇi
Tranceട്രാൻസ്ṭrāns
Technoടെക്നോṭeknēā

Common Music-Related Words

EnglishMalayalamPronunciation
Audienceപ്രേക്ഷകർprēkṣakar
Concertകച്ചേരിkaccēri
Composerകമ്പോസർkampēāsar
Melodyമെലഡിmelaḍi
Musicianസംഗീതജ്ഞൻsaṅgītajñan
Performanceപ്രകടനംprakaṭanaṁ
Singerഗായകൻgāyakan
Songwriterഗാനരചയിതാവ്gānaracayitāv
Songsഗാനങ്ങൾgānaṅṅaḷ
Showകാണിക്കുകkāṇikkuka
Tunesട്യൂണുകൾṭyūṇukaḷ
Tempoടെമ്പോṭempēā
Vocalistവോക്കലിസ്റ്റ്vēākkalisṟṟ

Over To You!

Is your inner songwriter, music composer, instrumentalist, or vocalist soul getting pumped up after learning all the music-related vocabulary in Malayalam? Knowing these words will help you familiarize yourself with the language and culture deep within Kerala. From their instruments to musical song selection, you get an insight into the regional music industry that gives power and peace to so many.

If you think this blog post successfully provided the needed information, do not forget to check out more on the Ling App. Just download the app from Playstore or Appstore and use it on your chosen device.

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