• tú tocas música - you play music.
  • te encanta la música - you love music.

I can't wrap my head around why there is no article in the first, but an article is needed in the second. I understand the general vs. specific thing but I can see no difference between the "music" in these two sentences.

  • la música implies a type of music or a piece of music.
    – Lambie
    Feb 26 at 17:31
  • In "te encanta la música", la música is the subject of the sentence. Apr 6 at 7:51

3 Answers 3


The reason why we say:

  • Tú tocas música.

and NOT:

  • Tu tocas LA música.

is that the person in question does not play ALL the music and, most important, "música" is the object of the verb. "Música" without an article has a partitive meaning.

Instead, in:

  • Te encanta la música.

"la música", which is a comprehensive or generic term, is the subject. There is inversion, the subject-predicate order being:

  • La música te encanta. (Literally: Music pleases you.)

Unlike in English, in Spanish we use the article with subjects when the noun is abstract or a generic plural:

  • Los instrumentos musicales te encantan. (You are fond of musical instruments.)

In Spanish, "gustar", "agradar" and "encantar" are transitive verbs where the subject is the thing or the person causing pleasure, and the object is the person experiencing pleasure.

  • '"(la) música" is usually omitted without a predicate. "Toco música" would be redundant, unless you mention the type of music, e.g. Toco country or Toco música country. Soy músico "I'm a musician," is what a native speaker would've said.
    – cocteau
    Jan 27 at 2:52
  • I do hear "tocar música" once in a while, although it is indeed more common to find the type of music or the name of the instrument after "tocar": tocar la guitarra, tocar el piano.
    – Gustavson
    Jan 27 at 10:11
  • "Toco (la) guitarra" is usually said, but we don't say "toco (la) música" unless we say the kind or why I'm doing it: "Toco la música que me gusta, toco la música que amo."
    – cocteau
    Jan 27 at 17:24
  • What is heard much more frequently is, for example, "tocar música clásica", "tocar música folklórica", etc.
    – Gustavson
    Jan 27 at 17:27
  • That's what I've heard too, or, "Toco folklor" in a more informal way.
    – cocteau
    Jan 27 at 17:33

¿ Qué música tocas?

What music do you play? [implied: type of music, just like English, no article] OR What song are you playing? música means music and song or piece of music.

¿ Qué es la música que estás tocando? What song are you playing? Or: What's the song or piece of music you are playing?

That's the difference; Music versus song or piece of music.


A native Spanish speaker would say either: "Tú tocas" (We don't say: tu tocas la música/te encanta tocar la música[It sounds redundant]) or "te encanta tocar"(encanta+infinitive).

  • ¿Qué música te gusta? = What kind of music do you listen to?
  • ¿Te gusta tocar? = do you like playing?
  • Te gusta tocar en vivo = you love playing live.
  • Me encanta tocar mi repertorio (I enjoy performing all the songs)
  • Me encanta tocar estas canciones en vivo (I love playing playing these songs live)(these and not others)
  • Me encanta la música = I love music (in general)
  • Me gusta tocar un instrumento = I enjoy playing a music instrument (as a hobby)
  • Me encanta la música country = I love country music (as a musical genre)
  • A ti te encanta la música, o no? = you love music, right? (an article is needed)
  • ¿De verdad te gusta esa música? = do you really like this music?
  • Se toca rock aquí (nomás) = Rock music is played here.


  • Y la canción (que tocaban) era «x». = y la música (que sonaba) era «x». = the song was playing was "x."

And when we say "lo que se tocaba" it stresses that someone was playing the song, and in the case of "lo que sonaba/lo que se escuchaba" that you have a picture of yourself hearing no matter who is playing(the song being played)

  • I just want to play music THAT my favourites bands play(that's the kind of music)

"Yo toco la música." not accompanied by a that-clause sounds like something a kid would say or people who cannot speak Spanish really well.

  • ¿Puedes vivir cómodamente de la música? ¿Puedes vivir de lo que tocas?

In these instances, we use the definite article to indicate that someone live from making music as an activity.

  • Tengo LA música clásica como una de las principales fuentes de inspiración.

That one in particular.

  • Te encanta la [buena] música

An adjective is needed.

  • Tú tocas música.

But I think something is missing here.

  • ¿A que te dedicas? ¿Qué es lo que te gusta tocar? ¿Desde cuándo que tocas? Tú tocas, ¿cierto? ¿Qué es lo que tocas? ¿Así que te encanta tocar? ¿Que es eso que estabas tocando? Dale, toca un poco. ¿Cuál es el género musical que te gusta más? ¿Cuál es tu guitarrista favorito? ¿Cuáles son los temas que más te gustan de él?(better)

  • Cuando toco esta canción, (something else happens)=When I play that song, ...

  • Thanks! But are you saying that you would not say "I play music", but simply "I play" with the music being implied by the use of tocar?
    – dcsalmon
    Jan 26 at 21:47
  • @dcsalmon if you want to say "I play music", you don't say "toco la música" you just say, ''toco", "sí, toco"(as an answer), "suelo tocar", etc that's like saying "I play" with the music being implied by the use of the verb tocar. Yes!
    – cocteau
    Jan 26 at 22:23
  • The answer is mostly correct in the way that “yo toco” may imply “yo toco música”. However, this may end up being incomplete because someone may expect a resolution e.g “yo toco música”, “yo toco guitarra”, “yo toco saxofón”.
    – Krauss
    Jan 26 at 23:29
  • Or another way to say it: Toco sólo lo que me gusta, sea música clásica, popular o judía. Ojalá toque con las que me gustan, una stratocaster o les paul, pero si no, me da igual. A simple "toco" is enough otherwise.
    – cocteau
    Jan 27 at 2:09
  • "Toco música" would be redundant, unless you mention the type of music, e.g. Toco country or Toco música country. "Toco la música" would be redundant, unless you mention what music you like: "Toco la música que a mi me gusta"/"Toco lo que a mi me gusta(de ese tipo solamente)". '"(la) música" is usually omitted without a predicate.
    – cocteau
    Jan 27 at 2:45

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