Instrumental Music vs Vocal Music

Instrumental music is woven with melodies from various instruments, and evokes emotions without words, offering abstract narratives. Vocal music, on the other hand, is centered around the human voice and conveys stories and emotions directly through lyrics, creating a personal connection.

Vocal music is generally more favored by the public because it has lyrics that can be interpreted in several ways and we are also drawn psychologically to the human voice. Instrumental tracks are less able to convey direct emotional characteristics and are more abstract.

Let’s dive in deeper to fully understand the difference between the two.

Key Takeaways

  • Instrumental music leverages melodies from instruments to evoke abstract emotions.
  • Vocal music, featuring the human voice and lyrics, directly communicates stories and emotions, fostering a personal connection.
  • Instrumental music’s advantages include its soothing effect, universal appeal, and the creative freedom it offers listeners to interpret or imagine their own lyrics.
  • Vocal music’s advantages lie in its ability to energize audiences, provide memorable and sing-along experiences, and create intimate connections through precise vocal performances.
  • Despite instrumental music’s ability to convey meaning and emotion through timbre and tone, vocal music’s direct storytelling and memorability make it more popular in the mainstream.

1. What is instrumental music?

Instrumental music is any music that does not include lyrics or words, only things like musical instruments, such as pianos, guitars, violins, etc. Many times instrumental music is created for activities like dancing or playing sports because it can create an atmosphere of fun without having to include words.

2. What is vocal music?

Vocal Music is any music with vocals or singing. That means the song has someone singing the lyrics out loud as opposed to just using instruments. Usually, if there are no words in the song, then that means it is instrumental music.

3. What are the pros of instrumental music

  1. It can be very soothing to listen to.
  2. It can be less distracting when working or studying.
  3. If you play an instrument, you will likely enjoy it even more!
  4. You can make up your own lyrics.
  5. Many people find it easier to play an instrument than to sing.
  6. It can calm people down and keep stress levels low.
  7. Instrumental music tends to be more universally accepted, making it easier for listeners of different backgrounds or cultures to enjoy.

4. What are the pros of vocal music?

  1. People can sing along to the music.
  2. The music can be more catchy as repetitive lyrics can make them more memorable.
  3. Vocal music is live art that energizes an audience.
  4. People will more likely be able to remember the name of the song and then come back to it.
  5. Vocal music has a more psychological connection with an audience.
  6. Vocal music contains lyrics that can be more easily understood by listeners.
  7. Vocal music can be quite challenging to perform due to the need for extreme precision in breathing and pitch, therefore it’s great to listen to.
  8. Vocal music is much more intimate and allows for a personal connection with the audience.

Why is vocal music more popular than instrumental music?

Vocal music is more popular than instrumental music because it has a greater potential to convey meaning. It can tell a story, set a mood, convey an emotion, etc. It is also much easier to sing along with as well as memorize lyrics.

However, instrumental music can also be made to convey meaning and tell a story. Music without lyrics has been around for centuries in many different cultures all over the world, and it is an extremely effective means of conveying emotion and moods through tones and timbres (the association between timbre and meaning is particularly important in describing the differences between music with lyrics and instrumental music).

The “con” is that listeners who don’t study the lyrics and don’t already know them may miss out on what the song is actually about, further limiting the potential of someone being able to connect with it emotionally or have it be significant to them.


Vocal and instrumental music are just different ways of making musical art and performing. Some people prefer vocal music over instrumental music while the opposite is also true of others. In general, vocal music is generally more popular than instrumental music in the mainstream as people can sing along with the songs, and this type of music can psychologically have a better connection to them.