February 3, 2023

The singer Halsey with a sheet music tattoo on her arm

Music has been a part of human culture for centuries, and that passion has evolved into a variety of avenues since then. Some people love music for the lyrics, some for the composition, and some for the beats and melodies themselves. Regardless of where your love comes from, it’s always a great idea to get a tattoo about something you’re passionate about—so why not music?

If you’re considering getting a music tattoo, keep scrolling for some major inspiration. From music notes to instruments to sound waves, here are 26 design ideas to help you choose your next tattoo.

01of 26

Stylized Music Tattoo

If you’re drawn to a particular instrument, why not let that inspire your ink? Play around with different styles to make it fit your aesthetic.

02of 26

Hand-Drawn Style Tattoo

Record players are a classic part of music, and they’re easily customizable as a tattoo. If you prefer something simple but with flair, go for a hand-drawn style, like this one.

03of 26

Minimal Record Player Tattoo

If you like the look of a record player but want something minimal, a great idea is to simplify the components. Go for even linework all over to keep the design to the bare elements.

04of 26

Music Symbols Tattoo

If you’re a big music lover, it may be hard to choose one design to symbolize your passion. Instead, go for a lineup of some of your favorites to make it personal and easy.

05of 26

Broken Lines Tattoo

For a unique design, why not play around with the linework? This guitar tattoo has its lines fade out to make the tat almost one with the skin visually.

06of 26

Sound Wave Tattoo

Many people forget that music forms sound, but if you’re passionate about the science of music, these sound wave tats might be the perfect inspiration for you! Signify any sound or piece of music in wavy, aesthetically pleasing lines.

07of 26

Personalized Music Tattoo

Amp up a basic music note tattoo by adding color or other touches like white to signify shine. Adding more to the simple design makes it much more personal.

08of 26

Gramophone Tattoo

If you want something even more engrained in the history of music than a record player, why not go for a gramophone? They’re easily recognizable and make for a cool design.

09of 26

Music Note Tattoos

Music is more than beats and lyrics; why not get the actual notes themselves tattooed? This is a great way to signify you play an instrument or a good option if you love a very specific section of music.

10of 26

Instrument Tattoo

Music doesn’t come from nowhere. If you play an instrument or really love a specific one, why not get it tattooed on you as a symbol of that passion?

11of 26

Drum Tattoo

Music tattoos don’t have to be dainty! This drum is done in an American classic style, which lends it hefty visual interest with only linework and shading.

12of 26

Musical Finger Tattoos

Music notes come in a lot of varieties, so spreading them across your fingers makes for an eclectic and visually diverse look. Play around with clefs and notes to create a combo you love.

13of 26

Musical Wrist Tattoo

If you want a tattoo that conveys that you’re a musician in a more minimal way, try designing your tat around one element that defines the instrument. Here, the central f-holes quickly conjure the image of a violin.

14of 26

Music Notes with Movement Tattoo

Music notes don’t have to just be the typical line of symbols. Why not try arranging them in a way that adds movement to the ink, like this design.

15of 26

Single Clef Tattoo

One solid music note—or in this case, a clef—can make a major impact. Go for a bold design with thick blackwork to make it pop even more.

16of 26

Floral Gramophone Tattoo

The classic look of a gramophone makes a perfect accompaniment to a floral design. Because of the thin lines, the large item ends up looking delicate rather than hefty.

17of 26

Combined Notes Tattoo

Rather than sticking a bunch of music notes beside one another, why not combine them! The shapes are customizable, so combining them makes for a truly personal tattoo.

18of 26

Band Logo Tattoo

Music tattoos don’t have to focus on the actual music. Instead, think about a band you really like and get their logo as a reminder.

19of 26

Behind-the-Ear Music Notes Tattoo

Music notes come in a variety of shapes and can be easily resized, so they make a great tattoo for smaller or hidden places. Here, they seamlessly fit behind the ear and add movement to the area.

20of 26

Minimal Music Tattoo

The wrist is a great location for a minimal tattoo, as it will make a big impact when visible. Go for varied line widths to keep it from feeling too heavy or light.

21of 26

Guitar Tattoo

For a minimal but stylish piece of ink, try playing with different styles. This guitar is done in a line-art aesthetic, but it could just as easily be watercolor or neo-American style.

22of 26

Tuning Fork Tattoo

For instrument players or vocalists, a tuning fork is the ultimate symbol of the music-making process. Thanks to its clean lines and shape, it easily integrates into any style of ink.

23of 26

Music Player Tattoo

Love a specific song or moment from a song? Why not get the classic music player elements tattooed, with the timestamp denoting your favorite part.

24of 26

Textured Record Player Tattoo

If a record player is your jam but you don’t want anything too simple or overly complex, go for a simple style with textural detail. Here, the lines on the player and the dots on the vinyl add visual interest.

25of 26

Music Notes with Movement

Add some visual interest to a simple music note tattoo with the composition lines. However, to really give it a personal twist, have the lines add movement to the design.

26of 26

Clef Finger Tattoo

A singular music note pops a punch on its own, but it stands out even more when in a small but visible space. A finger tat of a note or clef makes it clear music is front and center to you.