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How Spotify can be used to learn Arabic

Spotify (also the free version) can show the lyrics of the song you are playing in real time. This works surprisingly well for Arabic songs too. Here is how you can turn Spotify into a great study tool for Arabic!

Last updated: 2 years ago

Listening to and understanding what the song is about brings you closer to a foreign language and culture. Arabic song can be a headache, not only for beginners of Arabic.

I, personally, have never used any Apple product, but I have heard that paid services such as Apple Music include an option to display the lyrics of a song, which is definitely a great study tool for Arabic. Now, the good news is: the free version of Spotify (desktop version) also offers this option.

Let's see how it works. Lyrics are available on all Spotify versions: desktop, browser, and mobile phones. The best thing about it: the lyrics follow the song in real time; so you can jump right into the middle of a song that's already playing and check the lines.

The lyrics are provided by Musixmatch. Musixmatch is an Italian music data company and platform for users to search and share song lyrics with translations. It is the largest platform of this kind in the world, with 8 million lyrics (according to the company).

Spotify desktop app (free version)

  1. On the Now Playing bar, click the microphone icon while a song is playing.
spotify microphone
Spotify Play Bar – press the “microphone” icon.

You'll see the lyrics scrolling in real time during playback.

Spotify mobile app (paid)

The free version of Spotify works very well on the desktop and browser version. However, there are some limitations in the mobile version. You cannot choose songs but can only play them in a randomized order. Furthermore, on my device, the lyrics were disabled. So, the following steps only work if you are a subscriber to Spotify (to my knowledge – otherwise, let me know!).

  1. On a song, press the Now Playing view.
  2. During playback, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  3. You'll see the lyrics displayed in real-time while the song is playing.

Some examples

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Spotify. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Let's see the Spotify lyrics in action:

helwa baladi lyrics
How Spotify can be used to learn Arabic 15

Surprisingly, lyrics are available for most Arabic songs. However, sometimes, they are not correct or from another song. For example, الجن by Mashrou' Leila (مشروع ليلى) does not show the correct Arabic text, but to be fair, it is not their most popular and famous song.

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Spotify. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Photo credit: pixabay (Gigxels)

How to translate Arabic lyrics

Since the lyrics are provided by musixmatch, we can use their to search for translations. Let's choose Helwa Ya Baladi. This song has been interpreted by many singers in the past, so we can actually select from many musicians.

There aren't many translations available, but English is available:

helwa ya baladi translations
Screenshot from musixmatch.com

Note: If you know other music options offering Arabic lyrics, let me know.

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