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An instrumental or instrumental song is music normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a big band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals.[1][2][3] The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer (especially in cases where the composer themselves will perform the piece, as in the case of a blues solo guitarist or a folk music fiddle player); as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large big band, concert band or orchestra.

In a song that is otherwise sung, a section that is not sung but which is played by instruments can be called an instrumental interlude, or, if it occurs at the beginning of the song, before the singer starts to sing, an instrumental introduction. If the instrumental section highlights the skill, musicality, and often the virtuosity of a particular performer (or group of performers), the section may be called a "solo" (e.g., the guitar solo that is a key section of heavy metal music and hard rock songs). If the instruments are percussion instruments, the interlude can be called a percussion interlude or "percussion break". These interludes are a form of break in the song.

In popular music

Example from Free Music Archive, Steve Combs & Delta Is - "Theme Q",
bass, drum, guitar, keyboard,
4 min 53 s

In commercial popular music, instrumental tracks are sometimes renderings, remixes of a corresponding release that features vocals, but they may also be compositions originally conceived without vocals. One example of a genre in which both vocal/instrumental and solely instrumental songs are produced is blues. A blues band often uses mostly songs that have lyrics that are sung, but during the band's show, they may also perform instrumental songs which only include electric guitar, harmonica, upright bass/electric bass and drum kit.

Number-one instrumentals

Title Artist Country Reached number-one
"Frenesi" Artie Shaw US 1940
"Song of the Volga Boatmen"[4] Glenn Miller US 1941
Piano Concerto in B Flat Freddy Martin US 1941
"A String of Pearls" Glenn Miller US 1942
"Moonlight Cocktail" Glenn Miller US 1942
"Heartaches" Ted Weems US 1947
"Twelfth Street Rag" Pee Wee Hunt US 1948
"Blue Tango" Leroy Anderson US 1952
"The Song from Moulin Rouge"[5][6] Mantovani UK 1953
"Oh Mein Papa"[note 1][6][7] Eddie Calvert UK 1954
"Let's Have Another Party"[6][8] Winifred Atwell UK 1954
"Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)"[6][7] Pérez Prado UK 1955
"Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)"[9] Pérez Prado US 1955
"Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)"[7] Eddie Calvert UK 1955
"Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)" Pérez Prado Germany 1955
"Autumn Leaves" Roger Williams US 1955
"Lisbon Antigua" Nelson Riddle US 1956
"The Poor People of Paris" Les Baxter US 1956
"The Poor People of Paris"[6][8] Winifred Atwell UK 1956
"Moonglow and Theme from Picnic" Morris Stoloff US 1956
"Tequila"[note 2] The Champs US 1958
"Patricia"[9] Pérez Prado US 1958
"Patricia" Pérez Prado Germany 1958
"Hoots Mon"[note 3][6][10] Lord Rockingham's XI UK 1958
"Side Saddle"[6][11] Russ Conway UK 1959
"The Happy Organ"[12] Dave "Baby" Cortez US 1959
"Roulette"[6][11] Russ Conway UK 1959
"Sleep Walk" Santo & Johnny US 1959
"Theme from A Summer Place"[13] Percy Faith US 1960
"Apache"[6][12][14] The Shadows UK 1960
"Wonderland by Night"[13] Bert Kaempfert US 1961
"Calcutta"[13] Lawrence Welk US 1961
"On the Rebound"[6][15] Floyd Cramer UK 1961
"Kon-Tiki"[6][16] The Shadows UK 1961
"Mexico" Bob Moore Germany 1962
"Wonderful Land"[6][12] The Shadows UK 1962
"Nut Rocker"[6][17] B. Bumble and the Stingers UK 1962
"Stranger on the Shore" Acker Bilk US/UK
[note 4]
1962
"The Stripper"[13] David Rose US 1962
"Telstar"[6][12] The Tornados UK 1962
"Telstar"[18] The Tornados US 1962
"Dance On!"[6][19] The Shadows UK 1963
"Diamonds"[6][14][20] Jet Harris and Tony Meehan UK 1963
"Telstar" The Tornados France 1963
"Foot Tapper"[6][19] The Shadows UK 1963
"Il Silenzio" Nini Rosso Germany 1965
"A Taste of Honey"[18] Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass US 1965
"Love is Blue"[21] Paul Mauriat US 1968
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"[21] Hugo Montenegro US 1968
"Grazing in the Grass"[21] Hugh Masekela US 1968
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"[6][22] Hugo Montenegro, his Orchestra and Chorus UK 1968
"Albatross"[6][12] Fleetwood Mac UK 1969
"Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet"[21] Henry Mancini US 1969
"Amazing Grace"[6][12] Royal Scots Dragoon Guards UK 1972
"Popcorn" Hot Butter France 1972
"Mouldy Old Dough"[note 5][12] Lieutenant Pigeon UK 1972
"Frankenstein"[21] The Edgar Winter Group US 1973
"Eye Level"[6][12] Simon Park Orchestra UK 1973
"Love's Theme"[23] The Love Unlimited Orchestra US 1974
"TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)"[note 6] MFSB featuring The Three Degrees US 1974
"Pick Up the Pieces"[note 7][23] Average White Band US 1975
"The Hustle"[note 8][23] Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony US 1975
"Fly, Robin, Fly"[note 9] Silver Convention US 1975
"Theme from S.W.A.T."[23] Rhythm Heritage US 1976
"A Fifth of Beethoven"[23] Walter Murphy US 1976
"Gonna Fly Now"[note 10] Bill Conti US 1977
"Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band"[note 4] Meco US 1977
"Rise"[23] Herb Alpert US 1979
"One Step Beyond"[note 11] Madness France 1980
"Chariots of Fire"[23] Vangelis US 1982
"Miami Vice Theme"[23] Jan Hammer US 1985
"Song of Ocarina" Jean-Philippe Audin and Diego Modena France 1992
"Doop"[note 12][6][24] Doop UK 1994
"The X-Files" Mark Snow France 1996
"Flat Beat"[note 13][6][25] Mr. Oizo UK 1999
"Bromance"[note 14] Tim Berg (Avicii) Belgium (Flanders) 2010
"Harlem Shake"[note 15] Baauer Australia/New Zealand 2013
"Harlem Shake" Baauer US 2013
"Animals"[note 16] Martin Garrix Belgium (Flanders) 2013
"Animals" Martin Garrix Belgium (Wallonia) 2013
"Animals" Martin Garrix Scotland/UK 2013

Borderline cases

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Some recordings which include brief or non-musical use of the human voice are typically considered instrumentals. Examples include songs with the following:

Songs including actual musical—rhythmic, melodic, and lyrical—vocals might still be categorized as instrumentals if the vocals appear only as a short part of an extended piece (e.g., "Unchained Melody" (Les Baxter), "Batman Theme", "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)", "Pick Up the Pieces", "The Hustle", "Fly, Robin, Fly", "Get Up and Boogie", "Do It Any Way You Wanna", and "Gonna Fly Now"), though this definition is loose and subjective.

Falling just outside of that definition is "Theme from Shaft" by Isaac Hayes.

"Better Off Alone", which began as an instrumental by DJ Jurgen, had vocals by Judith Pronk, who would become a seminal part of Alice Deejay, added in later releases of the track.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Contains several vocal interjections of the title.
  2. ^ Features vocal interjections of the title at the end of each chorus.
  3. ^ Contains several Scottish-sounding grunts at the end of each chorus and immediately beforehand.
  4. ^ a b Stranger on the Shore hit #1 on the end of year UK charts, but NOT the weekly UK charts. Despite this, it is the highest selling instrumental single worldwide and in the UK; in the US, this honor falls to Meco's Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band.
  5. ^ Contains vocal interjections before, during, and immediately after the choruses.
  6. ^ Contains vocals at the beginning and during the fade-out.
  7. ^ Contains vocal interjections at the end of the second and third verses.
  8. ^ Contains vocal interjections of "do the hustle!" at the end of each chorus.
  9. ^ Contains vocal interjections of the title at the end of each chorus and "up, up to the sky" as an ending.
  10. ^ Contains vocals, which total thirty words and thus contains the most lyrics of any song classified as an instrumental which has hit number 1.
  11. ^ Includes spoken introduction, and background chant of, "Here we go" at several points during the song.
  12. ^ Contains, during its choruses, several nonsensical vocal interjections of the title.
  13. ^ At the beginning, before the main piece begins, it features the lyrics "Oh yeah, I used to know Quentin, he's a real, he's a real jerk".
  14. ^ Bromance was an instrumental before being re-released as "Seek Bromance" with vocals by Amanda Wilson from the song "Love U Seek" by Italian DJ Samuele Sartini.
  15. ^ Contains samples of the lines "Con los terroristas" from a remix of the 2006 reggaeton single "Maldades" by Héctor Delgado and "Do the Harlem shake" from "Miller Time" by Plastic Little.
  16. ^ "We're the fucking animals" is said twice.

References

  1. ^ Ozzi, Dan (11 April 2018). "RLYR's 'Actual Existence' Is 40 Minutes of Beautiful Chaos". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  2. ^ Bernardinelli, Federico (19 August 2018). "Rocking on Banker's Hill, an Interview with El Ten Eleven". Arctic Drones. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  3. ^ Fischer, Tobias. "Interview with Jasper TX | Sweden Experimental interviews". tokafi.com. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Number Ones - Mar 1941". tsort.info. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  5. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mantovani: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Instrumental #1s". ukcharts.20m.com.
  7. ^ a b c Mawer, Sharon. "Eddie Calvert: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  8. ^ a b Mawer, Sharon. "Winifred Atwell: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  9. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Pérez Prado: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  10. ^ Mawer, Sharon. "Lord Rockingham's XI: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Pianist Russ Conway dies". BBC News. 16 November 2000. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h McNair, James (10 December 2009). "Whatever Happened To The Hit Instrumental?". Mojo. Archived from the original on 20 December 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  13. ^ a b c d "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Dec 1959 - Jun 1962". Tunecaster.
  14. ^ a b "The Shadows founder member dies". BBC News. 29 November 2005.
  15. ^ "Country Music Hall of Fame To Welcome Floyd Cramer and Carl Smith". Broadcast Music Incorporated. 13 August 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  16. ^ Boynton, Graham (25 September 2009). "Hank Marvin: 'We should have taken Harrison's advice and sung'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  17. ^ Perrone, Pierre (23 September 2008). "Obituary: Earl Palmer". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  18. ^ a b "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Sep 1962 - Oct 1966". Tunecaster.
  19. ^ a b "Rhythm magazine". Rhythm. March 2001. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012.
  20. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Jet Harris – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  21. ^ a b c d e "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Oct 1966 - Jun 1973". Tunecaster.
  22. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hugo Montenegro: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Nov 1973 - now". Tunecaster.
  24. ^ "All the No.1s: Doop – Doop". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  25. ^ Siegler, Dylan (April 2000). "Mr. Oizo". CMJ New Music Monthly (80). College Media Inc.: 39. ISSN 1074-6978.