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An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate , such as shouted in a setting. Through , a broader sense of the word may refer to instrumentals. The is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in , after it is written by a ; in the mind of the (especially in cases where the composer themselves will perform the piece, as in the case of a solo guitarist or a player); as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a , which could range in components from a or trio to a large , or .

In a that is otherwise , 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 that is a key section of heavy metal music and 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
In commercial , instrumental tracks are sometimes renderings, 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 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 , , / and .


Number-one instrumentals
USDecember 21, 1940
Song of the Volga BoatmenUSMarch 19, 1941
Piano Concerto in B FlatUSOctober 4, 1941
A String of PearlsUSFebruary 7, 1942
Moonlight CocktailUSFebruary 28, 1942
HeartachesUSMarch 15, 1947
Twelfth Street RagPee Wee HuntUSAugust 28, 1948
USMay 17, 1952
The Song from Moulin RougeUKAugust 14, 1953
Oh Mein PapaContains several vocal interjections of the title.UKJanuary 8, 1954
Let's Have Another PartyUKDecember 3, 1954
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)UKApril 29, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)USApril 30, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)UKMay 27, 1955
Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White)GermanyOctober 8, 1955
Autumn LeavesRoger WilliamsUSOctober 29, 1955
USFebruary 25, 1956
The Poor People of ParisUSMarch 17, 1956
The Poor People of ParisUKApril 13, 1956
Moonglow and Theme from PicnicUSJune 2, 1956
TequilaFeatures vocal interjections of the title at the end of each chorus.USMarch 17, 1958
PatriciaUSJuly 28, 1958
PatriciaGermanyOctober 18, 1958
Contains several Scottish-sounding grunts at the end of each chorus and immediately beforehand.Lord Rockingham's XIUKNovember 28, 1958
UKMarch 27, 1959
The Happy OrganDave "Baby" CortezUSMay 11, 1959
RouletteUKJune 19, 1959
Santo & JohnnyUSSeptember 21, 1959
Theme from A Summer PlaceUSFebruary 22, 1960
ApacheUKAugust 25, 1960
Wonderland by NightUSJanuary 9, 1961
CalcuttaUSFebruary 13, 1961
On the ReboundUKMay 18, 1961
Kon-TikiUKOctober 5, 1961
MexicoGermanyJanuary 27, 1962
UKMarch 22, 1962
B. Bumble and the StingersUKMay 17, 1962
Stranger on the ShoreUS/UK
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 's Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band.
May 26, 1962
David RoseUSJuly 7, 1962
TelstarUKOctober 4, 1962
TelstarUSDecember 22, 1962
Dance On!UKJanuary 24, 1963
Diamonds and UKJanuary 31, 1963
TelstarFranceFebruary 9, 1963
UKMarch 29, 1963
Il SilenzioGermanyJuly 19, 1965
A Taste of HoneyUSNovember 27, 1965
Love is BlueUSFebruary 10, 1968
The Good, the Bad and the UglyUSJune 8, 1968
Grazing in the GrassUSJuly 20, 1968
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, his Orchestra and ChorusUKNovember 13, 1968
AlbatrossUKJanuary 29, 1969
Love Theme from Romeo and JulietUSJune 28, 1969
Royal Scots Dragoon GuardsUKApril 15, 1972
PopcornFranceJuly 13, 1972
Mouldy Old DoughContains vocal interjections before, during, and immediately after the choruses.Lieutenant PigeonUKOctober 14, 1972
FrankensteinUSMay 26, 1973
Simon Park OrchestraUKSeptember 29, 1973
Love's ThemeLove Unlimited OrchestraUSFebruary 9, 1974
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)Contains vocals at the beginning and during the fade-out. featuring The Three DegreesUSApril 20, 1974
Pick Up the PiecesContains vocal interjections at the end of the second and third verses.Average White BandUSFebruary 22, 1975
The HustleContains vocal interjections of "do the hustle!" at the end of each chorus. and the Soul City OrchestraUSJuly 26, 1975
Fly, Robin, FlyContains vocal interjections of the title at the end of each chorus and "up, up to the sky" as an ending.Silver ConventionUSNovember 29, 1975
Theme from S.W.A.T.USFebruary 28, 1976
A Fifth of BeethovenUSOctober 9, 1976
Gonna Fly NowContains vocals, which total thirty words and thus contains the most lyrics of any song classified as an instrumental which has hit number 1.USJuly 2, 1977
Star Wars Theme/Cantina BandUSOctober 1, 1977
RiseUSOctober 20, 1979
One Step BeyondIncludes spoken introduction, and background chant of, "Here we go" at several points during the song.MadnessFranceMarch 7, 1980
Chariots of FireUSMay 8, 1982
Miami Vice ThemeUSNovember 9, 1985
Song of OcarinaJean-Philippe Audin and Diego ModenaFranceJanuary 18, 1992
DoopContains, during its choruses, several nonsensical vocal interjections of the title.DoopUKMarch 19, 1994
The X-FilesFranceJune 8, 1996
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".Mr. OizoUKApril 3, 1999
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.Tim Berg ()Belgium (Flanders)September 18, 2010
Harlem ShakeContains 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.Australia/New ZealandFebruary 25, 2013
Harlem ShakeUSMarch 2, 2013
Animals"We're the fucking animals" is said twice.Belgium (Flanders)August 17, 2013
AnimalsBelgium (Wallonia)August 31, 2013
AnimalsScotland/UKNovember 17, 2013


Borderline cases
Some recordings which include brief or non-musical use of the human voice are typically considered instrumentals. Examples include songs with the following:
  • Short verbal interjections (as in "Tequila" or "Topsy" or "Wipe Out" or "The Hustle" or "Bentley's Gonna Sort You Out")
  • Repetitive words (e.g., "la la..." (as in "Calcutta") or "Woo Hoo")
  • Non-musical spoken passages in the background of the track (e.g., "To Live Is to Die" by ; "Wasteland" by )
  • Wordless vocal effects, such as drones (e.g., "Rockit" or "Flying")
  • , such as beatbox on rap singles
  • , (e.g. "Cry for a Shadow")
  • (e.g., "Hocus Pocus")
  • (e.g., "I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman" or "Colonel Bogey March")
  • Spoken statements at the end of the track (e.g., God Bless the Children of the Beast by Mötley Crüe, For the Love of God by )
  • Non-musical vocal recordings taken from other media (e.g., "Vampires" by )
  • which may or may not contain non-lyrical words. (e.g., many songs by Godspeed You! Black Emperor and other bands.)

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., "" (Les Baxter), "", "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 .

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


See also


Notes

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