I was just commenting on Thorsten Hinrichsen's "Oh my dear my Reindeer" instrumental album, the question came into my mind do people prefer vocal or instrumental songs, in my view doing instrumentals is very difficult, it is harder than doing songs with lyrics as there has to be plenty of strong phrases and riffs in there to keep the listener's attention!

I sometimes add the odd instrumental in an album, not to make the numbers up but just because some pieces don't need lyrics, there is plenty to say without words but it has to be busy enough to hold the listener's attention otherwise it could just become background music.

Many artists such as Justin Johnson have mastered the instrumental and they prefer to play these all the time - I have yet to hear him sing...one day maybe ! ;-)

Justin packs a lot of technique and interesting twists and turns into his pieces and has mastered the skill of holding the listener's attention, usually if you're singing lyrics people will  listen, especially if you include a catchy chorus, some lyrics from classic well known songs  are so strong they would stand up without any music at all, they would stand alone as poems, is a song just a poem with music? 

Up until the 50's, 60's and into the 70's it seemed to be all about the lyrics, there was always a story in the song, many modern pop songs rely on very few lyrics, just a repeated phrase matched to a riff, good for dancers and Gym users but has the popular music song been dumbed down?

Interested to hear your thoughts! :-) 

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there is a lot of amazing stuff going round outside the mainstream, ready for the pot to boil over and produce the next "big thing" , but in the big picture everything goes round and round...I think tribute bands will continue to prosper in the future as they are now, but who knows ?;-)

I saw the Queen show on new year's eve, I've always been a big fan of the band and saw them at Hammy Odeon in '75,  whatever you think of the singer they had on new year's eve the magic of the songs still came through, and Brian's guitar was still  the "other vocalist" in the great tradition of rock, instrumental and vocal passages complementing each other beautifully! :-)

My humble take.

Early in the 20th century music was localised. People didn't move around so much and technologies to spread music were just starting up. Then in the 1950's Elvis and co. brought together gospel and rhythm and blues and television let it loose on the world. For a brief time styles continued to meld and develop culminating in the great rock bands of the 60's and 70's.

Problem was that all of this expansion and creativity generated a massive market and inevitably, the corporations took over and the music died. There have a few great artists since, Springsteen (can't think of anyone else), but by and large the classic era had passed.

So with the corporations in charge it all became about the dollar, the lowest common denominator and we are left with the results.

Now, with another massive technological revolution, more stuff is happening, and it's good. The music industry is crying foul because their model is threatened, they don't have control any more and by and large don't know what to do about it.

Watch this space.

There was plenty of instrumental music in the 50's and 60's - i.e. Freddie King, Lonnie Mack, the Ventures, surf music in general.

Popular music has definitely been dumbed down. My theory on this is that it's a rebellion against intricately done guitar solos, chord progressions, and singing with elaborate riffs. The guitar and singing has already been taken as far as possible, so to express themselves, people have to emphasize some other aspect, such as chanted lyrics instead of sung, beats, dancing. Plus technology has also caused a change, just like the electric guitar revolutionized music.

I've noticed that people are either "music people" or "lyric people". Some people know all the words to a song and can sing them, but they barely notice the music. Some people know all the music, riffs, solos, etc. in a song, but might be lucky if they can remember the chorus.

I'm more like the second. I can identify a song within the first couple of notes, but I've noticed that it can take an audience well into the song before they recognize it  - you can tell by when they start applauding or cheering.

depends who is singing! I do like all kind of music ,I'm not partial.

having said that I do like some good instrumental tunes the shads being one of my fav's

oh yes! :-)

I think the human voice can be the most expressive instrument there is. Also the more instruments you add to a composition the better the song sounds. If they are played well.

Unfortunately, despite my desire to sing, I kind of Can't carry a tune. So, I've adapted my playing to be mostly instrumental.

Instrumentals. I couldn't sing right even if my life depended on it, that's why.

not being able to sing is an asset for a Blues musician - I can't sing either, I sound like a cat being strangled in a saw mill, but it don't stop me! ;-) 

oh I'll second that Steve,wink

I'm a brilliant singer in the bath but alas we no longer have a bath!

I don't understand the question?

Depends on mood.

These people need no lyrics.

These people do.

Very few people can do a all instrumental rock guitar records and get people interested.  a few.

If you can stir some ones emotions with just music you have done something. Words make it easy. Easier

I like instrumentals with words :)

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