Music tattoos may not have been around for thousands of years, but music has! The oldest evidence that people used to make music, and listen to it, dates back in 200 BC. The Greeks had a way of putting accents on certain words, making them sound different and rhythmical. As time went by, the music gained more and more ground. Confucius, the famous philosopher from China, referred to music in his profound writings. He came to the conclusion that music produces a kind of pleasure that human nature cannot do without.
Numerous other personalities shared their thoughts about music, including Shakespeare. The general opinion about music hasn’t changed for thousands of years. Luckily, we have access to a much larger variety of music than they did.
Music tattoos are a way of expressing our love for music. Getting a tattoo that is somehow connected with the idea of music is like transposing music into images. The musical notes are known to accurately do that, but there are also various symbols that can help us express our feelings towards music.
Music tattoos can be divided into two main categories, namely for music lovers and for music makers. The first category usually comprises musical notes and headphones combined with other visually alluring elements like roses, ribbons, hearts, compact cassettes, and so on. In addition, it includes band logos and portraits of favorite singers.
The second category is more focused on musical instruments. Depending on the instrument they play, people get violin tattoos, guitar tattoos, drums tattoos, bass guitar tattoos, microphone tattoos, and so on. They are more interested in the technical part of making music than in how it feels like.
Simple or complex, music tattoos are able to express your love for music in general, a certain band or singer, and a certain musical instrument. You can be as creative as you want when designing your tattoo, but until then, here are some cool examples!
Loving the sound of music
This is a very simple music tattoo that expresses this person’s love for music. It consists of the outline of a heart and the quaver or the eighth note. I don’t think he or she especially likes the sound of the eighth note, but it is just a way of condensing an idea into a symbol. This type of tattoo can be included in the category of minimalist designs because it is very plain and meaningful at the same time.
Play, pause, skip and shuffle
Another simple design that fits perfectly on the wrist, is an expressive tattoo as well. It is connected to the technology that we use to listen to music. There are symbols for play, pause, skip and shuffle, all of which we use every time we want to hear the sound of music. Is shuffle an option that you use? I like to be surprised by my device, but it’s not like I don’t know every song from my playlist.
Body as a double bass
This lady tattooed a very small part of her body, but she transformed it a lot more. Thanks to the perfect placement of the two music tattoos, her back looks now like a double bass. This string instrument is not precisely represented, but if you look at the bigger picture, her idea is awesome! She could be a double bass player or she could be a dancer.
The song of two hearts
A staff and four musical notes, two of which form a smiley face, are perfect replacements for wedding rings. This couple got matching tattoos of what probably is a portion of their favorite song. They added a fun element in their music tattoos, namely the tie. By using a small and a big tie, they created the impression of smiley faces. I appreciate their creativity and their modern way of expressing their love.
Music is a soul saver
Writing a message on our bodies that refers to music is just as good as any other design. This girl seems to have had serious problems in her life and music was always there to comfort her. Saying music saved my soul is a pretty serious statement, which should not be underestimated. I also like the calligraphic font she chose for her profound tattoo.
Rammstein is a German band that sings industrial metal. Their logo is exactly like the tattoo on this girl. She must be among their biggest fans since she chose to permanently ink her skin with their logo. She tattooed it close to her heart, so that must mean a lot! That area is not too exposed, but not hidden either. I admire her dedication to this band because she is clearly not heavily tattooed with other band logos.
The treble clef and a flower
This design is part of the music tattoos and the indie tattoos. Indie is short for independent and it refers to a style that isn’t mainstream. The musical sign from inside the flower is the G clef or the treble clef. Since modern times, it is widely used for vocal music. Most people don’t know that, so they simply use it as a symbol for music in general. This person is not an admirer of anything mainstream, so she might know its true meaning.
Fine line music in a heart
The technique used to ink this tattoo is called the fine line. It is self-explanatory and a very coquette way of inking detailed designs. I can identify a multitude of musical symbols as part of the heart, such as the G clef, the F clef, the eighth note, beam notes, and the quarter note. She is aware of how complex music is, so that’s why she didn’t just represent her love for music with one symbol.
Guitar-shaped musical symbols
An inspired choice as a forearm tattoo, this representation of a guitar is full of musical symbols. Compared with the tattoo we talked about before, this one contains an extra symbol. More specifically, it is the one that looks like an apostrophe. That is a breath mark. Too much tension would accelerate our heartbeats to the point of tachycardia, so a breather is always welcome! The curved chord looks extra bouncy!
Music connecting people
When you can synchronize your heartbeats and your favorite music beats to another’s, then you can be complete. The fourth and the fifth staff lines are transformed into the heartbeat symbol to express feelings. The two silhouettes look like beamed notes to emphasize connection. I’m not sure why the half-note is there, but I suppose it’s all about finding our better halves. Very touching!
Love for the U2
Formed in 1976, U2 is one of the most popular bands ever. This tattoo depicts one of the band’s logos. They didn’t use the same logo over the decades, but each represented them at some point. They are Irish and sing rock, so perhaps this guy likes the rock genre or he is also Irish. Originating in their early days, this logo was imprinted on the band’s official merchandise. Those horizontal lines are supposed to be wings. Music does make you fly, figuratively, of course.
Sheet music as a rose
In order to describe how beautiful music is, one can take sheet music and shape it like a rose. Sheet music is a music notation printed on paper or written on staff paper. This is a very inventive way of showing in images how much music means to you. I like that this person kept the design simple and focused on delivering a message, not on creating a visual masterpiece.
Peace, music, and flower
Slightly changed, this G clef looks nice next to the orange flower. In the middle of the key, there is the symbol of peace. Music is both peaceful and beautiful, so this tattoo makes sense. It looks like a design personalized for a certain person, not taken from albums full of tattoos. That coin is placed there with a purpose. It is meant to give you an idea of how big this tattoo is.
Oversized headphones for impeccable sound
These headphones are not life-size! They are considerably larger! I still like how this oversized design looks on this guy’s ribs. He is most certainly passionate about music and he likes a clear sound. These types of headphones are usually provided with memory foam that ensures long, comfortable wear. He will comfortably wear his tattoo after it heals!
Swirling musical elements
This visually appealing composition comprises multiple musical elements. Among the music tattoos that contain more than two musical instruments, this one is shaped like a heart; sort of. The left side is composed of staff with musical notes on it and a part of the G clef, while the right side incorporates piano keys and a part of a guitar. I can’t tell which part of the body was inked, but I love the overall look!
Out of tune Day of the Dead guitar
This tattoo is a combination between a musical instrument, a skull, and a logo. I looked up the logo and it belongs to a company. The owner of that company is the one who got this tattoo. He is a creative fellow since he put together a sugar skull and a guitar in such a cool manner. I know the guitar is out of tune because its chords aren’t properly tightened. The meaning of all these is too personal to tell.
Singing along with the stars
Judging by the details in this tattoo, the person who got it is a vocalist. The microphone isn’t the only element that could give him or her away. The stars symbolize the desire to be successful and only a professional could know that # is not a hashtag for anything, but a symbol for sharp notes. The presence of the thirty-second note is also a sign of knowledge. The thirty-second note is the one with two flags.
Divine sounds on red lips
There is no mystery with this music tattoo. A female decided to ink her passion on skin or a representation of her love for female voices. The sound comes out of a nicely defined mouth; it is sharp and starts with a dotted note. The latter means that the note’s duration is lengthened by one-half. So, imagine a woman’s voice that sustains a note. I associate this with peacefulness and calmness. Do you?
Compact cassette with a message
Compact cassettes or audio cassettes were en vogue until the early ’90s when compact discs appeared. I don’t think this person is old fashion, but he or she might find this tape representative for music. The added message states that my life is music. We can easily conclude that music is life regardless of the format we use to listen to it. We don’t even use CDs these days anymore, so anything related to music goes.
Mexican guitar singer
Considering the decorations on this singer’s face, we can conclude that he is Mexican. He is also smoking a cigar, fact which can also be associated with Mexico or, even better, with Cuba. His facial expression says a lot about how much soul he puts into his music. Maybe the person who picked him appreciates a passionate singer that can make anyone emotional.
Music caresses the heart
A staff full of musical notes surrounds a bright red heart like a ribbon. It looks delicate and heart-warming. The white accents look so nice that they make the notes sparkle. This is one of the feminine music tattoos that would look great on someone’s forearm, wrist, or ankle. When choosing a small tattoo, it’s best not to ink it in areas where large tattoos would fit better.
Thigh high made of music
Seductive and feminine, this tattoo looks sexy! It seems like this woman is wearing stockings, when in fact she is not. Instead of the thigh-high stockings, she is wearing a music-inspired tattoo. There’s a symphony of weightless musical notes on a ribbon that closes with a bow. This design doesn’t even need color because it simply stands out. Would you dare to opt for a such tattoo?
Roses and a microphone on a thigh
This tattoo is not as daring as the previous one, but it still looks fantastic! The roses are feminine and the microphone is empowering! The microphone is old-fashioned but nicely tattooed with all the necessary details. I’m not sure if people still use this type of microphone anymore, but I know it was part of the singing equipment at some point.
Double bass in watercolors
Doesn’t this double bass look like it is bathing in watercolors? While retaining parts of its original color, it is also soaked in blue, turquoise, pink, and red ink. A true symphony of colors, this tattoo expresses dedication and love for music. No one would ever choose a big design for something that means little to him or her. For me, this is larger than I’d like it to be, so maybe I have to find an instrument that matches my taste better.
A peak at a drum set
As if a portal to another dimension was open, this drum set mysteriously appears from a black hole. The outline of this tattoo is tight and it only follows the shape of the drums. A little too dull for my own taste, this design looks nice, but it doesn’t emanate any certain feeling. The beauty of the drums is incontestable, but I think you know what I mean. Let’s touch the cymbals!
Microphone and headphones combination
A black and white realistic tattoo, this one is based on a lot of shading work. Music tattoos that consist of this combination are really appreciated thanks to their meaning and their looks. The sound that figuratively goes into the microphone comes out of the headphones. The sound of music circulates fluently and reaches not only our ears but our souls as well. It is a representative tattoo for the music category.
Delicate hand on a sound enhancer
The microphone is basically a sound enhancer. Vocalists need to be heard as clearly as possible by as many people as possible. However, this instrument becomes much more for those who sing. Do you notice how delicate this hand looks when holding the microphone? I’d say he’s holding a very fragile object that could break any time or a baby, not a sturdy microphone. This is what passion is all about.
Mesmerizing violin sounds
The fiddler or the violin has only four strings. If you play a violin song in your head right now, aren’t you amazed by its complexity? Only delicate hands like the ones from this tattoo and a brilliant mind are able to make such mesmerizing music with four strings only. The inking work itself is quite good as well. Not many tattoo artists succeed when drawing hands.
Modern tape and audio player tattoo
While the elements part of this music tattoo are mainly old or outdated, the style itself is modern. This guy probably wants to remember mix tapes and ghetto music since he wrote these words on his skin. There’s also a cassette player and a tape, as well as an orange arrow between them, pointing at the place where the tape is supposed to go. I think this tattoo is original and that, even if its meaning is obvious, it is very important to him.
Punk-rock skull is mad
A nice chest piece, this tattoo looks a little tough because of the skull. However, the skull is so innocent that it has its hair dyed with rainbow colors. Its hairstyle reveals their identity as a punk-rocker and the guitars reveal its love for music. Probably one badass lady, the wearer of this tattoo expressed her personality in an awesome way. I wish I had the courage to do the same!
The tattoo that spreads on the back of this lady is complex. Besides the guitar and a very thoughtful message, it also comprises skulls, roses, and wings. The skulls may not have any connection with the death of someone dear. They could just contribute to the duality of life and death beyond words. Music doesn’t fail when it comes to sadness, sorrow, and other feelings alike. That purple guitar looks like it belongs. I wouldn’t change anything about this tattoo.
Music has an impact on life
A guitar that turns into a tree can mean a lot of things. I think the main idea revolves around the fact that music is soulful. Deeply grounded roots represent the foundation of a healthy tree just as a good song needs solid knowledge of playing an instrument and composing music. The guitar itself doesn’t look fancy because it is supposed to express a principle.
A musician’s affection
The facial expression of this man is priceless! It really shows affection and content toward the guitar he is holding. Since he can rock a 6-string guitar, he must be a pretty talented artist. I don’t know if he is famous or not, but I was deeply impressed by how well his emotions were captured in this design. Compliments to the tattoo artist who was able of highlighting his facial characteristics! I also appreciate the dedication to tattooing his bracelets and wristwatch because they paint a bigger picture of that man.
Some birds are known to sing beautiful songs, such as the mockingbird, the canary, and the nightingale. I am not sure which bird is this, but I think it looks a lot like a mockingbird. The staff is filled with plenty of short notes and accents besides the usual rhythms. Birds’ ability to sing is innate and unique from one species to another. Maybe this is the reason why someone would pick this design and ink it permanently. If you’ve seen the Hunger Games, then you surely know what a mockingbird sounds like.
The name of quality music
Marshall is a producer of music equipment that is very appreciated for its quality tools. This guy is obviously a big fan of this brand since he didn’t leave out such detail from his tattoo. He has two similar tattoos on different arms, one depicting a type of guitar and amp, and the other, another type of guitar next to the same model of the amp. He is, without a doubt, a musician who got a tattoo that tells a lot about him and his passion.
Gramophone in almost life-size
The gramophone was invented at the end of the nineteenth century and is a music player that isn’t used for listening to music anymore. Gramophones that were preserved are mostly exposed in museums or are part of personal collections. This guy’s tattoo looks so large, that I think it’s almost as large as a life-size gramophone. He must be really into it since he decided to cover his chest and abs with an image of it! Let the music play!
Skilled fingers playing the piano
This tattoo looks like broken out of an old movie. Music tattoos that look so realistic are emotional. You could say that a few musical symbols and a bird are a great combination. However, when you look at this particular drawing you might realize there is a greater emotional load stored in it. The subtle blue shading contributes to the old feeling that I get.
Oscillating musical imprint
I have no idea what this guy’s favorite beat sounds like, but I know what it looks like. This type of music tattoo is a novelty. People have just started tattooing this type of sound representation. It’s still considered new and cool, so you should get one before it becomes old news. I know I would! Don’t limit yourself to using just your hearing, when you can use your vision as well!
Sunset-colored double bass
At sunset, the sky becomes reddish and yellow, a combination of the two! That’s exactly what I saw when I took a look at this tattoo. Music tattoos can be super simple, or they can be daring and colorful, and this one certainly is.
I (heart) headphones
Sound travels through the air, in our ears, brains, and, most importantly, in our hearts. Music is life for those who know how to appreciate it and use it in their favor. An anatomically correct heart with a pair of headphones on isn’t only a pleasure to look at, but also a metaphor. Music might not heal a sick heart, but it can definitely heal a broken heart. This person had a lot of courage to get such a large tattoo on such a painful area as the ribs!
Embed a gramophone into my heart
In order to make music one has to be knowledgeable. He or she has to know how to play an instrument and have other theoretic practice, too. While all of the above are important, the end result cannot be touching if it doesn’t come from the heart. These things were beautifully expressed in this tattoo. A heart combined with a gramophone is all about the emotions that pump the sound through an enormous cone. One of the most moving music tattoos in this list.
Music flows through the body
Dancing is not the only way we can let the music flow through our bodies. The guitarist/vocalist from this tattoo expresses a lot of rages. He looks like he’s going to smash that guitar, but I don’t think he’d really do it. Music can help us get rid of negative feelings and energies. When I feel there’s too much negative energy accumulated in my body, I go dancing. This music tattoo is a great way of transmitting an emotion.
The window to music
Music tattoos are so varied, that they generate the strangest results. This circle looks like it’s offering an insight into another dimension where a piano is waiting to be played. The flowers seem located behind it. The two aren’t combined but rather overlapped. The balance between cold and warm colors is ideal in this case, a fact that makes this design harmonious.
Embellished gramophone and a rose
Any audio player is a godsend for a music lover. When you have the liberty to make an audio player of your choice look so colorful and nice, you are going to either frame it or tattoo it on your skin. This person chose the second option. Music tattoos aren’t always deep and full of meaning. They are sometimes cute and colorful depending on the wearer’s taste and personality.
Neo-traditional wooden drum
This is a detailed image of a neo-traditional tattoo. Music tattoos are fitted for any tattooing style. This one looks a little cartoonish, that’s why it cannot be included in the traditional tattoos category. I’m not sure what’s above the wooden drum, but I believe it is an eagle or another similar bird. It holds on to the drum with its claws like the drum is really important.
The perfect portrait of a singer
This portrait is jaw-dropping! I really can’t believe how real it looks! I’ve seen amazing tattoos before and I’m aware that this is possible, but I’m still very surprised when I lay eyes on such a work of art! The person whose face is tattooed is Dave Grohl. He is known as the vocalist from the Foo Fighters. In fact, he was the drummer from Nirvana and he is knowledgeable on every level when it comes to music. A truly complex artist, he must’ve been an inspiration for the individual who got this complex tattoo.
Loving the electric bass
This design is dedicated to the electric bass. Besides having a part of an electric bass included in the drawing, there’s also a written section that mentions the electric bass. In addition, that large, black music symbol is the F clef, also called the bass clef. Therefore, this modern tattoo revolves around this person’s favorite instrument, namely the electric bass.
Body shape used as a guitar
This girl took advantage of her body shape and made it look like a guitar. She tattooed every part of a classic guitar on her back, except its outline. Her body acts like the outline of the said string instrument. Although those aren’t real strings and frets, her idea is original and smart. Hopefully, she’ll maintain her physical appearance over the years and wear her tattoo with pride!