noun, often attributive mu·sic \ˈmyü-zik\

Definition of music

  1. 1a :  the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuityb :  vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony choral music piano music recorded music

  2. 2a :  an agreeable sound :  euphony her voice was music to my ears the music of a nightingaleb :  musical quality the music of verse the music of lovingly orchestrated words — Saturday Review

  3. 3 :  a musical accompaniment a play set to music

  4. 4 :  the score (see 1score 6a) of a musical composition set down on paper leafing through the music

  5. 5 :  a distinctive type or category of music there is a music for everybody — Eric Salzman rock music jazz music classical music

Examples of music in a sentence

  1. This is one of my favorite pieces of music.

  2. performing music in front of an audience

  3. dancing to the music of a big band

  4. They are writing music for a new album.

  5. a song with music by George Gershwin and words by Ira Gershwin

  6. He is learning to read music.

  7. She studied music in college.

Origin and Etymology of music

Middle English musik, from Anglo-French musike, from Latin musica, from Greek mousikē any art presided over by the Muses, especially music, from feminine of mousikos of the Muses, from Mousa Muse

First Known Use: 13th century

MUSIC Defined for English Language Learners


noun, often attributive mu·sic \ˈmyü-zik\

Definition of music for English Language Learners

  • : sounds that are sung by voices or played on musical instruments

  • : written or printed symbols showing how music should be played or sung

  • : the art or skill of creating or performing music

MUSIC Defined for Kids


noun mu·sic \ˈmyü-zik\

Definition of music for Students

  1. 1 :  an arrangement of sounds having melody, rhythm and usually harmony classical music

  2. 2 :  the art of producing pleasing or expressive combinations of tones especially with melody, rhythm, and usually harmony I want to study music in college.

  3. 3 :  a musical composition set down on paper Bring your music.

  4. 4 :  a pleasing sound Your voice is music to my ears.

Learn More about music

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up music? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


capable of being understood in two ways

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.