There’s no doubt about it — music is magical. Few art forms can transcend time and language barriers in the way that music can. It’s one of our oldest forms of self-expression, and it’s difficult to find a person who doesn’t like music.
It’s no wonder, then, that tattoos dedicated to music are popular, no matter the culture or region. They’re a creative way to express your love of the art in any way you can imagine.
Popular designs include:
- Song lyrics
- Bass clef
- Treble clef
- Music notes
- EKG lines
- Album covers
- Meaningful artists
- Sheet music
- Cassette tape
Popular Designs and Meanings
Tattoos are a deeply personal piece of artwork, and each one means something unique to its owner. It can be as simple as liking music, or as deep as a lyric that saved a person’s life. Here are some well-known meanings behind different types of musical tattoos.
Tattoos of song lyrics are generally a single line or a verse of a song. These song lyrics are words that resonate with the person wearing the ink. They may be words that helped them through tough times or words that give them power. Seeing those words on their body reminds them of the inner strength that those lyrics give them.
Sometimes, people choose to have music quotes tattooed rather than music lyrics. Quotes such as, “When words fail, music speaks” are especially popular.
Treble/Bass Clef and Music Notes
These attractive designs are well-liked by musicians and music fans alike. Treble clefs, bass clefs, and music notes are all easy designs to get creative with and generally symbolize a love of music.
Treble and bass clefs, in combination with music notes, are the most popular designs for a music-themed tattoo. It’s an excellent choice for your first ink.
Microphone or Instruments
A microphone and an instrument are both meaningful choices for those who love to sing or create music. Whether music is your livelihood or hobby, your love of the craft is made obvious by your choice of artwork.
The most popular instruments used as designs are guitars, drums, and violins. They tend to represent a musician’s passion for the instrument.
Whether you love to sing in the car, play ukulele to relieve stress, or find yourself up on stage every week, a microphone or a musical instrument are excellent choices for expressing your passion.
EKG lines, also referred to as “heartbeat lines,” are the little lines visible on a heart monitor with every heartbeat. These tattoos aren’t musical on their own, but they’re often tied in with another design, like sheet music or a treble clef, to show that music is close to the person’s heart.
Typically a larger piece, like a back piece or part of a sleeve, album covers are chosen by people with whom the album really resonates. Similar to song lyrics, these designs are chosen by people who feel a strong connection with the album and want a beautiful reminder that brings them strength and joy.
Album covers can be inked in any color, copying the exact album coloring or going for a neutral black theme. These usually cover a larger area than their treble clef counterparts.
Some people choose to get the image of their favorite artist tattooed on them. Similar to song lyrics, they represent an artist who’s had great significance in a person’s life. It’s a good way to pay homage to a person whose music has had a profound effect on you.
Popular Art Styles for Music Tattoos
Several popular art styles are typically used with music tattoos.
Tribal tattoos are characterized by their solid black lines and general lack of color. Music tattoos done in the tribal style were especially popular in the early 2000s and continue to be a common choice today. Some of the most frequently used designs in the tribal style include music notes and treble clefs.
For those who like a splash of color in their tattoos, the watercolor design is a great choice. This style is characterized by thin linework with color exploding across the borders. Colors most commonly used with this style are blue, red, and purple, though greens and yellows occasionally make an appearance, too.
Treble and bass clefs are frequently chosen as the subjects of this style. The same goes for album covers, which can receive an interesting touch with a variety of colors.
Typically decorated with motifs like beads and jewels, Bohemian tattoos are another popular design, especially when it comes to music tattoos. These designs incorporate dreamcatchers, feathers, and other images into classic musical imagery such as sheet music and music notes.
The most common style is the traditional style, where musical themes aren’t blended across other styles or genres. Traditional tattoo art can be identified by its rich pigments and bold lines. They may also be colorless and can range from realistic depictions of instruments and famous people to abstract musical designs.
Colors Used in Music Tattoos
Black music tattoos are by far the most common. These colorless designs aren’t limited to simple motifs like bass clefs and music notes — many larger pieces, like images of album covers and instruments, are done in black and white as well.
Black and white ink tend not to fade as quickly over time as colored ink, which may be a factor in why many people choose to go with a colorless design. It’s also thought that colorless tattoos tend to hurt less than colored tattoos.
That’s not to say that people don’t get music tattoos that are colored. Colored tattoos are still popular; some use just one color to add a splash of vibrancy to the design, though pieces with multiple colors are popular as well.
In general, color is a great way to add that extra touch of self-expression to your tattoo. The most common colors used in a music tattoo are blue, red, and purple.
Whether you want your tattoo placement to be subtle or you want it to stand out, choosing where to place it’s a big decision. Here are some typical placements of different types of music tattoos.
Smaller tattoos are great for your first ink or your hundredth piece. They’re often placed in spots such as:
- Behind the ear
These tattoos can easily be concealed or shown off, depending on your needs. Though they may cover a much tinier area, these tattoos still allow for a lot of creativity and self-expression. Who says a tattoo has to be huge and obvious? Sometimes, small and understated is the way to go.
The meaning of the tattoo could also be tied to the size and placement. For example, a tattoo of a cochlear implant or a music note behind the ear could also symbolize a lack of hearing.
If you’re trying to choose a small design that will be easy to cover up, or visible whenever you want it to be, consider designs such as music notes, treble or bass clefs, or minimalist designs, such as tiny microphones or instruments. These images work well with small spaces and hurt less than a large tattoo.
For larger tattoos, such as back pieces and full sleeves, it’s common to place them in areas such as:
- Back of the leg
These pieces are usually larger clefs, instruments, album covers, or the image of an artist that means a lot to them. Choosing one of these spots also means your artist has a bigger canvas to work with. Large tattoos turn your body into a beautiful mural celebrating your passion for music.
Some beautiful large designs that would make a great sleeve or back piece are instruments, equipment, such as traditional cassette tapes, or an album cover. Combine these images with other motifs to make a design your own.
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one of the most widely recognized symbols of musical notation, the treble clef represents one's love for playing music as well as the universality of the language of music. Love for music can be represented in a variety of ways, and musical tattoos reflect deep emotional connections to songs or instruments.What is the tattoo symbol for mental illness? ›
The green ribbon, also referred to as the mental health ribbon, is the global symbol of mental health awareness and can also be associated with bipolar disorder. The green ribbon Tattoo is an excellent mental health tattoo choice, especially for people who want to show their support for mentally ill people.What symbolizes overcoming struggle? ›
The lotus symbolizes growing and overcoming obstacles, hardship, and whatever life throws at you.What tattoo symbolizes overcoming struggles? ›
"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."What is the meaning of musical symbol? ›
Musical symbols are marks and symbols in musical notation that indicate various aspects of how a piece of music is to be performed.What does a wrist band tattoo mean? ›
For permanent band tattoos, this effect is powerful because you are carrying and honoring that memory for life. It's not uncommon to get one band tattooed for each loss. On a less grim note, the solid armband tattoo can also symbolize strength and luck.What tattoo represents bipolar? ›
Just like the semicolon, other forms of punctuation are used to portray mental health challenges; this arrangement of two colons and an open parenthesis represents bipolar disorder. The symbol makes a kind of double emoticon. Looked at one way, it's is a smiley face; the other way, it's a frowny face.What is the tattoo for depression? ›
A semicolon tattoo is a tattoo of the semicolon punctuation mark (;), which is used as a message of affirmation and solidarity with those who have dealt with suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.What tattoo symbolizes abuse? ›
The Medusa tattoo has become popular among women who have experienced sexual assault. By reclaiming the Medusa identity, they are dispelling the belief that being victimized means they ought to be cursed or punished.What is the symbol of mental resilience? ›
The Helix. The helix shape (or spiral) is a symbol of resilience. It is found throughout nature.
Oak Tree. The oak tree is often seen as a symbol of inner strength, resilience, and potential. It is an iconic representation of the human spirit and its capacity to overcome obstacles in life. In many cultures, it is seen as a sacred tree with special powers that can protect us from harm and difficulties.What is the powerful life symbol? ›
Ankh. The Ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol. This Egyptian cross is widely known as the symbol of life, but the ankh also has other meanings.What symbolizes overcoming mental illness? ›
The green ribbon is the international symbol for mental health. In Eastern religions, the lotus flower is a symbol of enlightenment and rebirth. Lotus flowers grow in deep mud, so many people choose it as a tattoo design to symbolize how they've risen from hardship, and as a reminder that they can overcome anything.What is a strength tattoo? ›
A strength symbol tattoo is a drawing that in a particular culture demonstrates endurance, courage, and steadfastness.What tattoo means strength and resilience? ›
Lotus tattoo about strength and resilience
Lotus has a cultural significance in Buddhism. Because it grows and blooms from mud, it represents inner strength and resilience.
|Symbol Description||Chord Quality||Examples|
|Chord with just a “7”||Dominant 7th||“C7”|
|Chord with capitalized “M”||Major 7th||“CM”, “CM7”|
|Chord with lowercase “m”||Minor 7th||“Cm”, “Cm7”|
|Chord with a dash||Minor 7th||“C-“, “C-7”|
The crotchet and quaver between which the "3" is printed are supposed to be shorter than usual so that 3 rather than 2 notes to a crotchet are played. This makes the rhythm add up again. (The same goes for the last quaver in the bar.)What does F mean in music? ›
f. forte (loud) ff. fortissimo (very loud)What does 3 dots tattoo on wrist mean? ›
The three dots tattoo represents “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates to “my crazy life.” It often means the struggles of the underprivileged and the minorities. It's a way of saying, “my life is crazy, but I'm thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I'm still here.”What does 444 tattoo mean? ›
The 444 tattoo refers to a spirit of self-improvement, passion and effort. This set of numbers is one of the most popular angel numbers, which are repeating numbers in a sequence that offers guidance and support during a time of need.
One of the most well-known criminal tattoos is the teardrop tattoo. A common tattoo in American prisons for Hispanic inmates, is four dots or three dots. The dots represent that you have earned your keep in your gang.What tattoo for struggling with mental health? ›
Semicolon. A semicolon tattoo through the lens of mental health is a symbol of solidarity between those of us who live and struggle with a mental illness or who have lost someone to suicide. "Semicolons are a very traditional, very popular mental health tattoo and they represent that it's not the end," explains Roman.What is the symbol of calm tattoo? ›
Zen circle. A symbol of balance, harmony, and inner peace, the zen circle is a symbol of calm and serenity. Tattoo ideas like this one are a symbol of your own personal journey to self-discovery and enlightenment.What tattoo symbolizes pain and suffering? ›
The Rose and Dagger Tattoo
Together, the rose and dagger create a powerful symbol of the pain and suffering that can come with love and relationships. This tattoo can represent both physical and emotional pain and may be chosen by individuals who have experienced heartbreak, betrayal, or loss.
If you're looking for anxiety tattoos, you've probably seen a lot of options with semicolons. Semicolon tattoos were inspired by Project Semicolon – a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. Over time, the semicolon has been used to represent mental health awareness, including anxiety.What tattoo symbolizes surviving depression? ›
The traditional semicolon tattoo originated with the Semicolon Project that was started by Amy Bleuel in 2013. Her mission was to encourage people living with mental illness and to give them hope.What are the trauma tattoos? ›
Synopsis. A traumatic tattoo is when foreign bodies become forcibly embedded in the dermis and create a permanent tattoo. Such particles may include fireworks, sand, metal, glass, gunpowder, asphalt, dust, petroleum products, and graphite from pencil point injuries.What tattoo symbolizes manipulation? ›
String puppets have been the symbol of manipulation and power for a long time. The mysterious hand that control their strings can be interpreted in many ways. Usually, the puppet master is Destiny.Is there a symbol for PTSD? ›
There are several symbols that are used to represent PTSD. There is a PTSD ribbon which is teal that symbolizes awareness and support for those who have PTSD. There is also a PTSD Warrior Symbol for military members and veterans.What is a symbol of hopelessness? ›
A crying eye with a tear, surrounded by a black blanket or tunnel, symbolizing suffering and hopelessness.
Mental Symbols is an essay on mind and meaning, on the biological implementation of mental symbols, on the architecture of mind, and on the correct construal of logical properties and relations of symbols, including implication and inference.What symbol represents stress? ›
The conventional symbols for stress are the Greek letters σ and τ and the symbols used for strain are ε and γ.What symbol represents healing? ›
A snake coiled around a staff is a widely recognized symbol of healing. A snake coiled around a staff is a widely recognized symbol of healing. The staff belongs to Asklepios, the mythical Greek god of medicine.What is the godly symbol of strength? ›
The anchor is seen as a symbol of strength and steadfastness. It was also a popular symbol because of its close resemblance to the cross.What is the most powerful human symbols? ›
Clothing, homes, cars, and other consumer items are symbols that imply a certain level of social status. Perhaps the most powerful of all human symbols is language—a system of verbal and sometimes written representations that are culturally specific and convey meaning about the world.What symbols have powerful meanings? ›
- The Hamsa, the healing hand. ...
- The Ankh, key of life. ...
- The Cross, an enduring symbol of infinite love, sacrifice, victory, and redemption. ...
- The Eye of Horus, the great protector. ...
- Om, harmony with the universe. ...
- The Lotus, flower of awakening.
Pentagram. Throughout history, various cultures and spiritual traditions have used the pentagram, a five-pointed star symbol. In modern Western esotericism, people commonly associate the pentagram with protection and frequently use it as an amulet or talisman.What tattoo symbolizes healing? ›
The hamsa is a hand-shaped symbol that is found in many cultures. It is a reminder that we are all connected and that we are all one. The hamsa can also represent protection, strength, and healing.What represents good mental health? ›
According to the World Health Organization, good mental health is when you can: cope with the normal stresses of life. work productively. realise your potential.What is the symbol for people with depression? ›
You might have seen rainstorm images, ravens, and skull or grim reaper symbols. Barren landscapes and faces of cliffs are popular, too. All of these are commonly associated with depression because they capture the essence of the darkness, despair, struggle, and thoughts of death that are hallmarks of major depression.
Animal Tattoo Design (Eagle, Wolf, Lion Design)
Animal tattoos are generally known to depict strength, power, dominance, leadership, independence, etc. These tattoos often have strong, very bold design, and are large in size.
Triangles are the strongest shape! Any weight placed on them is evenly distributed between all t… Triangle tattoo, Gorgeous tattoos, Tattoos.What tattoo means change and growth? ›
A tattoo can represent a new beginning. The phoenix, the butterfly, the never-ending worm ouroboros, and the robin symbolize change and growth.What symbolizes power and strength? ›
Lion. The lion is a symbol of physical strength and power. It relates to courage, bravery, and leadership. The body of a lion is also a symbol of divine power.What tattoo symbolizes strength and power? ›
Samurai tattoos are a popular choice for those seeking to symbolize power and strength. These tattoos often feature samurai warriors in full armor, wielding swords or other weapons. Samurai tattoos can be highly detailed and may also feature other elements such as dragons or other mythical creatures.What is the tattoo of courage? ›
As the King of the Jungle, a lion is a symbol of courage, leadership, and power. Lions are generally considered to be highly intelligent and fearless animals, and their bravery is endless. These animals are ready to sacrifice their lives just to fight whatever comes their way.
Clef. A clef is a musical symbol that indicates which notes are represented by the lines and spaces on a musical staff.What does a semicolon music tattoo mean? ›
People get semicolon tattoos to represent their own struggles with—and victories over, ongoing as they can be—suicide, or to express solidarity for those experiencing mental health issues.What does the semicolon music note tattoo mean? ›
The semi-colon tattoo has become quite an important symbol for those who have struggled or are struggling with mental health issues.What is the musical hashtag symbol? ›
Sharp (#): This symbol (as much as I cringe to say it, the one that looks like a hashtag) indicates that a note should be played half a step higher than it is normally played. It is always placed on the staff line in front of (that is, to the left of) the note.
The most common sign to designate the repeat of a two-measure phrase is a double slash with two dots on the bar line between the two measures immediately after the two measures to be repeated.What are the ten musical symbols? ›
- Accent. The accent is a sideways V found on the top or bottom of the head of a note. ...
- Arpeggio. The arpeggio symbol indicates to the player that the notes in the chord should be played independently and in a sweeping motion similar to the way an arpeggio is played.
- Bars. ...
- Brace. ...
- Breath Mark. ...
- Caesura. ...
- Chord Numerals. ...
staff, also spelled stave, in the notation of Western music, five parallel horizontal lines that, with a clef, indicate the pitch of musical notes.What is the tattoo symbol for depression? ›
Heart with Semicolon
This is a simple but elegant tattoo that makes a statement about depression and would serve as a reminder to love yourself and keep going. Other options might be to have a small heart beside a semicolon or to make the dotted part of the semicolon a heart itself.
If you're looking for anxiety tattoos, you've probably seen a lot of options with semicolons. Semicolon tattoos were inspired by Project Semicolon – a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. Over time, the semicolon has been used to represent mental health awareness, including anxiety.What does the semicolon (;) symbol mean? ›
A semicolon is used to indicate that two sentences are closely related in general. A colon, on the other hand, is typically used to indicate that the second sentence explains, clarifies, or expands on the previous sentence.What does a colon tattoo mean? ›
Colon tattoos are used to mark lesions that are useful for later endoscopic resection, subsequent surgical resection, and easy endoscopic follow-up of the resection site.What does the moon tattoo mean? ›
The moon symbolizes power, knowledge, wisdom, femininity, and fertility. Many people like getting inked with a moon tattoo.What does 3 hashtags mean in piano? ›
The symbol that looks like a pound sign or hashtag is a sharp sign. It indicates that the note it precedes should be raised by a semitone. The note in the example is a C-sharp.What is F hashtag in music? ›
This hashtag is what we call a "sharp." It raises the pitch by one half step. I'm assuming you mean the sharp in the bass clef. (Based on the music, it's hard for me to imagine these both being in treble clef.) Since the written note is F, you'll move it up one half step to the nearest black key to make it F♯.