Instrumental

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For other uses, see Instrumental (disambiguation).
Indian nadaswaram and tavil music is one of the oldest traditions in instrumental music.
Flat Eric featured in the video for Mr. Oizo's "Flat Beat" in 1999; the puppet and instrumental UK number one were popularised through use in advert for Levi's Sta-Prest jeans.[1]

An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocal input; the music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments.

In a song that is otherwise sung, a section not sung but played with instruments can be called an instrumental interlude. If the instruments are percussion instruments, the interlude can be called a percussion interlude. These interludes are a form of break in the song.

In popular music[edit]

In commercial popular music, instrumental tracks are sometimes renderings of a corresponding release that features vocals, but they may also be compositions originally conceived without vocals. An instrumental version of a song which otherwise features vocals is also known as a -1 (pronounced minus one).

The opposite of instrumental music is a cappella.

For genres in which a non-vocal song or interlude is conceived using electronic media, rather than with true musical instruments, the term instrumental is nonetheless used for it.

Number-one instrumentals[edit]

TitleArtistCountryReached number-one
FrenesiArtie ShawUSDecember 21, 1940
Song of the Volga BoatmenGlenn MillerUSMarch 19, 1941
Piano Concerto in B FlatFreddy MartinUSOctober 4, 1941
A String of PearlsGlenn MillerUSFebruary 7, 1942
The Memory of TreesEnyaUSDecember 5, 1995
Moonlight CocktailGlenn MillerUSFebruary 28, 1942
HeartachesTed WeemsUSMarch 15, 1947
Twelfth Street RagPee Wee HuntUSAugust 28, 1948
Blue TangoLeroy AndersonUSMay 17, 1952
The Song from Moulin Rouge[2][3]MantovaniUKAugust 14, 1953
Oh Mein Papa[note 1][3][4]Eddie CalvertUKJanuary 8, 1954
Let's Have Another Party[3][5]Winifred AtwellUKDecember 3, 1954
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)[3][4]Perez PradoUKApril 29, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)[6]Perez PradoUSApril 30, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)[4]Eddie CalvertUKMay 27, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)Perez PradoGermanyOctober 8, 1955
Autumn LeavesRoger WilliamsUSOctober 29, 1955
Lisbon AntiguaNelson RiddleUSFebruary 25, 1956
The Poor People of ParisLes BaxterUSMarch 17, 1956
The Poor People of Paris[3][5]Winifred AtwellUKApril 13, 1956
Moonglow/Theme from PicnicMorris StoloffUSJune 2, 1956
Tequila[note 2]The ChampsUSMarch 17, 1958
Patricia[6]Perez PradoUSJuly 28, 1958
PatriciaPerez PradoGermanyOctober 18, 1958
Hoots Mon[note 3][3][7]Lord Rockingham's XIUKNovember 28, 1958
Side Saddle[3][8]Russ ConwayUKMarch 27, 1959
The Happy Organ[9]Dave "Baby" CortezUSMay 11, 1959
Roulette[3][8]Russ ConwayUKJune 19, 1959
Sleep WalkSanto & JohnnyUSSeptember 21, 1959
Theme from A Summer Place[10]Percy FaithUSFebruary 22, 1960
Apache[3][9][11]The ShadowsUKAugust 25, 1960
Wonderland by Night[10]Bert KaempfertUSJanuary 9, 1961
Calcutta[10]Lawrence WelkUSFebruary 13, 1961
On the Rebound[3][12]Floyd CramerUKMay 18, 1961
Kon-Tiki[3][12]The ShadowsUKOctober 5, 1961
MexicoBob MooreGermanyJanuary 27, 1962
Wonderful Land[3][9]The ShadowsUKMarch 22, 1962
Nut Rocker[3][13]B. Bumble and the StingersUKMay 17, 1962
Stranger on the ShoreAcker BilkUS/UK
[note 4]
May 26, 1962
The Stripper[10]David RoseUSJuly 7, 1962
Telstar[3][9]The TornadosUKOctober 4, 1962
Telstar[14]The TornadosUSDecember 22, 1962
Dance On![3][15]The ShadowsUKJanuary 24, 1963
Diamonds[3][11][16][17]Jet Harris and Tony MeehanUKJanuary 31, 1963
TelstarThe TornadosFranceFebruary 9, 1963
Foot Tapper[3][15]The ShadowsUKMarch 29, 1963
Il SilenzioNini RossoGermanyJuly 19, 1965
A Taste of Honey[14]Herb Alpert & The Tijuana BassUSNovember 27, 1965
Love is Blue[18]Paul MauriatUSFebruary 10, 1968
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly[18]Hugo MontenegroUSJune 8, 1968
Grazing in the Grass[18]Hugh MasekelaUSJuly 20, 1968
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly[3][19]Hugo Montenegro, his Orchestra and ChorusUKNovember 13, 1968
Albatross[3][9]Fleetwood MacUKJanuary 29, 1969
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet[18]Henry ManciniUSJune 28, 1969
Amazing Grace[3][9]Royal Scots Dragoon GuardsUKApril 15, 1972
PopcornHot ButterFranceJuly 13, 1972
Mouldy Old Dough[note 5][9]Lieutenant PigeonUKOctober 14, 1972
Frankenstein[18]The Edgar Winter GroupUSMay 26, 1973
Eye Level[3][9]Simon Park OrchestraUKSeptember 29, 1973
Love's Theme[20]Love Unlimited OrchestraUSFebruary 9, 1974
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)[note 6]MFSB featuring The Three DegreesUSApril 20, 1974
Pick Up the Pieces[note 7][20]Average White BandUSFebruary 22, 1975
The Hustle[note 8][20]Van McCoy and the Soul City OrchestraUSJuly 26, 1975
Fly, Robin, Fly[note 9]Silver ConventionUSNovember 29, 1975
Theme from "S.W.A.T."[20]Rhythm HeritageUSFebruary 28, 1976
A Fifth of Beethoven[20]Walter MurphyUSOctober 9, 1976
Gonna Fly Now[note 10]Bill ContiUSJuly 2, 1977
Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band[note 4]MecoUSOctober 1, 1977
Rise[20]Herb AlpertUSOctober 20, 1979
One Step BeyondMadnessFranceMarch 7, 1980
Chariots of Fire[20]VangelisUSMay 8, 1982
Miami Vice Theme[20]Jan HammerUSNovember 9, 1985
Song of OcarinaJean-Philippe Audin and Diego ModenaFranceJanuary 18, 1992
Doop[note 11][3][21]DoopUKMarch 19, 1994
The X-FilesMark SnowFranceJune 8, 1996
Flat Beat[note 12][3][22]Mr. OizoUKApril 3, 1999

Borderline cases[edit]

Some recordings which include brief examples of the human voice are typically considered instrumentals. Examples include singles with the following:

A few songs categorized as instrumentals may even include actual vocals, if they appear only as a short part of an extended piece (e.g., "Unchained Melody" (Les Baxter) or "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" or "Pick Up the Pieces" or "The Hustle" or "Fly, Robin, Fly" or "Do It Any Way You Wanna" or "Gonna Fly Now" (Bill Conti)). Falling just outside that definition is "Theme From Shaft" by Isaac Hayes.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Contains several vocal interjections of the title track.
  2. ^ Features vocal interjections of the title track 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 screams of "do the hustle!" at the end of each chorus.
  9. ^ Contains vocal interjections of the title track 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 amount of lyrics of any instrumental song to hit #1.
  11. ^ Contains, during its choruses, several nonsensical vocal interjections of the title.
  12. ^ 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".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Osborne, Ben (12 March 1999). "The toy done good". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media). Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mantovani: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b c Mawer, Sharon. "Eddie Calvert: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Mawer, Sharon. "Winifred Atwell: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "Pérez Prado: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Mawer, Sharon. "Lord Rockingham's XI: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Pianist Russ Conway dies". BBC News. 16 November 2000. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h McNair, James (10 December 2009). "Whatever Happened To The Hit Instrumental?". Mojo. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Dec 1959 - Jun 1962". Tunecaster. 
  11. ^ a b "The Shadows founder member dies". BBC News. November 29, 2005. 
  12. ^ a b "Country Music Hall of Fame To Welcome Floyd Cramer and Carl Smith". Broadcast Music Incorporated. 13 August 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Perrone, Pierre (23 September 2008). "Obituary: Earl Palmer". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Sep 1962 - Oct 1966". Tunecaster. 
  15. ^ a b "Rhythm magazine". Rhythm. March 2001. 
  16. ^ "The Shadows founder member dies". BBC News. 29 November 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Jet Harris – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Oct 1966 - Jun 1973". Tunecaster. 
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hugo Montenegro: Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h "All Instrumental Top 20 Songs, every top 20 instrumental, Nov 1973 - now". Tunecaster. 
  21. ^ "All the No.1s: Doop – Doop". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  22. ^ Siegler, Dylan (April 2000). "Mr. Oizo". CMJ New Music Monthly (College Media Inc.) (80): 39. ISSN 1074-6978. 

External links[edit]