An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics or any other sort of vocal music; all of the music is produced by musical instruments. This term is used when referring to popular music rather than to other musical genres such as European classical music. In commercial music, instrumental tracks are sometimes renditions of a corresponding release that features vocals, but 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).
Most opening themes for TV shows and films tend to be instrumentals.
- Most of the music on OverClocked ReMix is entirely instrumental. This is a mix of the fact that people who frequent the site prefer it and that singing talent is in short supply compared to what's put into the rest of the remix.
- "Popcorn" - Gershon Kingsley (1972) - Perhaps the most covered instrumental ever with about 72 different versions.
- "Music Box Dancer" - Frank Mills (1974, rereleased in 1978) - To many, this is the tune that plays when the ice cream truck passes by their homes.
- "The Hustle" - Van McCoy (1975)
- "A Fifth of Beethoven"- Walter Murphy (1976)
- "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band"- Meco (1977)
- "Chariots of Fire" - Vangelis (1981)
- "YYZ" - Rush (1981)
- "Miami Vice Theme" - Jan Hammer (1985)
- "Bad Horsie" by - Steve Vai
- "Surfing with the Alien" and so many others that there are too many to list - Joe Satriani
- " Eruption" - Van Halen (the band's first albums have plenty of these, such as "Spanish Fly", "Cathedral", Intruder", and "1984"; in later days, there's also "316")
- Metallica have one of each of the first four albums ("Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)", "The Call Of Ktulu", "Orion" and "To Live is to Die" - though the first opens with Studio Chatter, and the last, has a short spoken part), and Death Magnetic revived the tradition with "Suicide & Redemption".
- "(Christmas Eve) Sarajevo 12/24" - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Queen's "Procession"
- "Jessica" -The Allman Brothers Band
- "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" - Jeff Beck (from the instrumental album Blow by Blow)
- "The Peter Gunn Theme" - Henry Mancini
- Ditto for any covers of the tune, like those made for Spy Hunter games.
- The Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini
- "Foreplay" - Boston
- Pretty much the output of The Art of Noise and Herbie Hancock.
- "D.N.A." by A Flock Of Seagulls.
- The Microphones had several instrumentals entitled "Instrumental".
- "Jordan" by Buckethead
- Pink Floyd has "On the Run", "Any Colour You Like", "Marooned", "Careful with that Axe Eugene", "Atom Heart Mother", and several others.
- "Bron-Yr-Aur" by Led Zeppelin
- "Last Ride In" and "Espionage" by Green Day
- Dream Theater has plenty. The Dance of Eternity is one of them.
- Irish band And So I Watch You From Afar and Japanese band té are outstanding bands both doing nothing but instrumentals.
- Post-rock bands Explosions In The Sky and Pelican are entirely instrumental. Mogwai only have a handful of songs with singing.
- "Something for the Ages"- Hammerfall
- "Misirlou": Dick Dale's Bad Ass Surf Rock version from Pulp Fiction.
- Not to mention the other equally Bad Ass Surf Rock instrumentals on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack: "Surf Rider" by the Lively Ones, "Bustin' Surfboards" by the Tornados, and "Bullwinkle Part II" by The Centurions.
- "Peaches En Regalia", "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace", "Nine Types of Industrial Pollution", "Son of Mr. Green Genes," "Duodenum", "King Kong", "Apostrophe" and many, many others by Frank Zappa
- Even older and a masterpiece by Joe Meek: "Telstar" by the Tornados.
- "1980-F" by After the Fire, at least in Germany.
- "Oxygène 4", "Equinoxe 4" and 5, and "Magnetic Fields 2" by Jean Michel Jarre.
- "Magic Fly" by Space (no, not that Space).
- "Samba Pa Ti" by Santana.
- "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland. And by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
- "Cinema" by Yes.
- "Behind My Camel" by The Police.
- "Un Fantasma Tra Noi (A Ghost Between Us)" by Lacuna Coil
- Savatage has been fond of instrumental tracks since "Hall of the Mountain King". Dead Winter Dead features "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" which was arguably their most popular song and the smash hit of their spin-off project the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
- Chimaira's 13-minute Implements of Destruction mixes this with Epic Rocking.
- Emilie Autumn has a double album called Laced/Unlaced, which has both electric violin instrumentals and classical covers and one or two songs she wrote herself on Violin.
- Nightwish has at least one instrumental per album.
- Apocalyptica does almost entirely instrumentals. It helps that they don't actually have a vocalist in their lineup and all of their songs with lyrics are sung by guest vocalists.
- "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams.
- "From Skin to Liquid" by Cannibal Corpse.
- "Theme for Great Cities" by Simple Minds. And that's only their really popular instrumental!
- "Patricia's Park" and "Colours" by Alphaville.