Are instrumentals 'songs'?


Actually I got stuck purchasing your latest. Forgot my Paypal account is depleted of money. I tried to pay $15 for the record via BC, but I have $3.68 in there. Just moved some money. Will have your stuff playing in my van soon. :) I was going to say 'I will have your junk in my head' but that sounded really wrong... lol!


New member
I guess I'm going to have to call my instrumentals "tunes". Hey! Wait a sec! "Tunes" is slang for songs. Labels suck!


All American Un-American
Actually it's according to what kind of DJ they are and what kind of DJ'ing they are doing. Some of those guys are using DAW's , midi controllers, and actually playing stuff on the fly as the music plays. I don't know much about electronica, so I can't give you the particulars, but some of those guys have a high degree of musicianship.


New member
I would say that in terms of commonly understood usage that a "song" is sung by a singer, with or without instrumental accompaniment, and a musical piece without vocals would be called an instrumental. Common usage does sometimes change the meaning of terminology... for example, ask most songwriters what is a "ballad", and the typical response will be that it's a slow song, as opposed to an up-tempo song. But in fact a ballad can be either slow or fast in tempo... the term ballad simply describes a song that tells a story.

A good example might be a TAXI listing that says something like "instrumentals needed" or "no ballads, only up-tempo wanted." Most people would interpret these ads as meaning that they were looking for a musical piece with no vocals or in the case of the other example, no slow songs wanted, only fast ones.


I have not read every posting in this thread, so what I am about to state might have been presented before me, but the real answer to the question is:

A piece of music can only be called a "song" if it has lyrics to be sung ANY form of instrumental cannot be referred to as a song, it can only be referred to as a "tune". Where a "tune" can take various forms ( eg a symphony, a string quartet, a melody, etc) but there are no words to be sung.

By definition the Macquarie English Dictionary defines a song as ---a metrical or poetical composition combining both words and music that is meant to be sung.

It also defines a tune as --- a melody composed without words and intended to be played by musical instruments only.

These two definitions I was taught while studying music and music composition about fifty years ago and to the best of my knowledge the definitions have not changed since.

Hope this puts both types of music in their correct categories.



If only for a moment.....
A ditty, a number, a piece, a tune or a song. It's all music so what's the hubub?
A lion, a panda, a chicken, a brontosaurus, an amoeba; they're all animals {or they were ! :eek:}, what's the hubbub ? :D

Common usage does sometimes change the meaning of terminology...
Which is why instrumentals are understood to be songs.
I agree that it's important to be aware of the strict definition otherwise anything can mean anything and everything becomes stupid :RTFM:. That kind of happened in the late 60s where some writers implied that the words of their songs were kind of meaningless and the listener was to put their own meaning to things.
"In their minds there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking" doesn't mean "those rich bastards with money should be relieved of both their money and their lives."
Words have meanings.
At the same time, groupings of people do use words sometimes in ways beyond the strict definition and you can't just dismiss that. Well, you can, but those people will continue to use the words the way they do.

I have not read every posting in this thread
Then you've missed some first rate in flight entertainment !
what I am about to state might have been presented before me, but the real answer to the question is:
The real answer is "no". But sometimes, people power {:spank:} does change things slightly. So the colloquial answer is "yes."
Sometimes, you can fight city hall.


New member
Whenever I think of "Classical Gas", "Walk Don't Run", "Wipeout", "Pipeline", or even " In The Mood" by Glenn Miller, I think of them as songs- funny, though- when I think of Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor", I think of it as 'music'.

Odd, I've never thought of that question before...