Song vs. Instrumental

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GraysonPeddie
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Song vs. Instrumental

Postby GraysonPeddie » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:04 pm

Is it possible that a song that does not have lyric/vocal should not be a song, but instrumental? If a lead instrument that performs a melody, can it be a song?

I can picture this:

Listener: Hey, what song is this?
Musician: It's not a song since there isn't a vocal. It's classified as instrumental.
Listener: Well... So? So what?
Musician: To be classified as a song, I have to add lyrics to a song and sing into it, so since I didn't, it's not a song. It's instrumental

Okay, am I not making any sense at all?

Cranky said that my songs are not instrumental. Noticed that I could have used "it" or "my music" but... I don't know.

https://www.recordingrevolution.com/3-m ... /#comments

So here's a song from Checkfield called "Carousel."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLThFQRGeMI

And let me ask you guys again: Does Checkfield compose "it" as "instrumental" or a "song?" Checkfield's song has a very beautiful structure and the melody is very memorable that I don't see the song as having lyrics at all. And this is the reason why I use "it" for determining whether a piece of a music is a song or an instrumental.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

Lyberta
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby Lyberta » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:08 am

If it doesn't have lyrics, it's not a song. That is why I never refer to musical compositions without lyrics as songs and advocate it. I also really hate when audio players use the term "song" in their UI since I very rarely listen to songs.

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby folderol » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:26 pm

42low wrote:Language problem.
What do i call a song without vocals then?

My language has one name for both. Lied.
Is their an english word for both?

If expecting argument I wimp out and call it a composition :lol:

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Michael Willis
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby Michael Willis » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:38 pm

42low wrote:My language has one name for both. Lied.


I like that. So many times I complain that English has one word that means too many concepts (like "proud" or "love"), but in this case I find myself wishing that we had a good word to refer to music with or without lyrics. For what it's worth, I generally use "piece", short for a piece of music, and then I'll use an adjective to clarify, like "orchestral piece" or "progressive rock piece".

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby ufug » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:19 pm

I would just call your examples songs, because I trust that you would understand the meaning and intent of the word "song" in context regardless of the dictionary definition.

I picture this being a more likely scenario in the imagined conversation:
Listener: Hey, what song is this?
Musician: It's not a song since there isn't a vocal. It's classified as instrumental.
Listener: Whatever dude. (turns away and leaves conversation)


A musician who knows and cares about the distinction might direct the conversation like this:
Listener: Hey, what song is this?
Musician: This is GrayonPeddie's new instrumental/concerto/tune/theme song/aria (whatever your preferred term is)
Listener: It's pretty good!
Musician: Yeah, I dig it too.


:lol:

GraysonPeddie
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby GraysonPeddie » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:15 pm

I suppose we cannot rely 100% on the definitions from a dictionary, can we? Here's my example that I wrote about a couple of months ago:

https://soundcloud.com/grayson-peddie/b ... rom-a-grid

Mine consists of an intro, 3 verses and a chorus, then I changed the elements to add a bassline, french horn, and removed an electric piano since the french horn is now a lead instrument instead of electric piano for performing a melody. The same structure continues with 3 verses and a chorus. After that, I "veer off the road" to take a different route, this time with a slow tempo and a completely different set of elements. Thus came with a different structure. To me, it seems like I've done a bridge, a verse, and a chorus. Am I right about this? After that came a "calm before a storm" before a bridge kicks in. After the bridge, there's three verses and a chorus and before the final (outro) is the epic part, keeping the same structure the same as the early part of my song. The rest of the song uses electric piano as a lead instrument, which again, performs as a melody for the song.

The middle part of the song has a "new age" feel. Or is it more of an ambient-type even with African percussion and ghatams involved? What I intended to do as an artist is to give it a nice natural feeling although the string synth sounds more of a "synthetic" part with a formant filter used in ZynAddSubFX. The beginning and the rest of the song is intended for building a futuristic "Tomorrowland/TRON Legacy"-style world. The middle part of the song would have animals, forests, and waterfalls that surround multiple cities. It's up to listeners to use their imagination.

Now, is this still a song if a lead instrument is used in place of a lead vocal?

I would also walk away as well if someone insist in telling me it's still instrumental and not a song and that is something I would strongly disagree with the dictionaries.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

Lyberta
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby Lyberta » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:55 am

ufug wrote:I would just call your examples songs, because I trust that you would understand the meaning and intent of the word "song" in context regardless of the dictionary definition.


I would call it Linux, I don't care that pretty much all of it is GNU. Because Linus is not Stallman, he doesn't give a shit about freedom. That's why we now have tons of proprietary software for GNU/Linux. That's why we can't have nice things.

Also, this and this.

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby jonetsu » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:26 pm

Karaoke ?

(just kidding)

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davephillips
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby davephillips » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:00 pm

Mendelssohn wrote a lovely series of Songs Without Words (Lieder ohne Worte).

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mr_p
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby mr_p » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:11 pm

Interesting topic. Sorry for bumping up but I can not refuse myself to add my two cents.
In my language there are two words you can translate to english as song

First of these words has two meanings
- it can refer to song as form of music. In that case - song dosnt have to go with lyrics
- it can refer to song as form or poetry - even without music

The second word is "song" commonly used nowadays - piece of music with lyrics.

So, in my opinion it is possible that song does not have a lyrics.
Lets take Beehoven song cycle. These are compositions to which someone wrote lyrics. We can play it without singer and it still should be called songs.
Also, in my country jazz musicians, even skilled and educated ones often are calling instrumental pieces as "songs". AFAIK this is common in many coutries.

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby GraysonPeddie » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:25 pm

No need to apologize for bumping up my thread, as I do not mind as I'm glad you found my thread interesting and thank you for chiming in. Much appreciated.
--Grayson Peddie

Music Interest: New Age w/ a mix of modern smooth jazz, light techno/trance & downtempo -- something Epcot Future World/Tomorrowland-flavored.

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madmoris
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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby madmoris » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:21 am

Interesting discussion, but is it still alive?
As for me, I share the opinion of Lyberta:

If it doesn't have lyrics, it's not a song. That is why I never refer to musical compositions without lyrics as songs and advocate it. I also really hate when audio players use the term "song" in their UI since I very rarely listen to songs.


The concept of a song includes the presence of lyrics as a necessary condition. "the song" is only one kind of musical composition. That's why I prefer the term "music piece" or "musical composition", because they have a broader meaning.

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby jonetsu » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:20 am

Since I do instrumentals I see it like this. The music tells a story. It is beyond words and can be instantly personalized. A song about [insert topic here] limits the scope. This said, I find instrumental music obeys in a large part to the same "rules" as songs. The story unfolds with the help of the arrangement, the tones of the instruments, the melodies, the mixing. Expectations a much the same as in a pop song. Introduction, scene set, first chorus, developments in the plot, second chorus, the something is realized (bridge), and then back to the chorus with a punch. When you think about it and see this as a loose form, many, many songs and pieces are using that. It is basically storytelling. A good story will keep the reader/listener captivated, expecting things to happen. And then there's the tone of the person telling the story (eg. the music).

If one throws everything he's got right at the start, how much of good story this can make ?

Cheers.

I think this one I made follows a bit this scheme:

https://soundcloud.com/nominal6/tundra-tango

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby chaocrator » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:58 am

musical art object :mrgreen:
or just a track, to be less serious.

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Re: Song vs. Instrumental

Postby jonetsu » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:38 pm

42low wrote: A love song doesn't have to speak about him or her for instance.
An angry song doesn't have to mention a husband or wife for instance.


A love song will remain a love song. A song about angriness will remain about angriness. An instrumental does not restrict in such a way. A nice melody without words, nice chords, can be about love, can be about a peaceful feeling, can be about enjoying a beautiful natural scene, etc, can be all of that at the same time.

This said, songs are nice too and it's also nice to have very specific lyrics. Sometimes lyrics can even stand on their own as a text. Sometimes they can carry political views, and much more.

There are a certain quantity of South American songs that even though they have a dancing and upbeat mood can talk about very dire situations. In these songs the specific lyrics are very important.


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