Vocals often are, aside from transferring a message or telling a story, a vital part of the sound of a song even when not understood because of language issues. In instrumental versions of a song this important part is normally missing.

Is an example known where an artist tried to compensate for the loss of vocal sound by using a mockup in instrumental versions?

  • 1
    Burt Bacharach often recorded instrumental versions of the songs he'd written for other artists. These versions would have the vocal melody played by other instruments (often himself on the piano). (Btw, many songs have parts where the vocal melody is played by an instrument; you only have to look so far as Smells Like Teen Spirit.) Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 18:31
  • 4
    "In instrumental versions of a song this important part is normally missing." You will have to provide some proof or backing for this claim. I think that in an instrumental version, all essential elements of the song have to be performed somehow, or otherwise it's not really even the same song. Karaoke backing tracks are not "instrumental versions", they are backing tracks. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 19:15
  • 3
    What do you mean by "using a mockup"? Also, what do you mean by "loss of sound"? Are you referring to the loss of amplitude (volume) if a recording simply has its vocal track(s) muted and wondering how to compensate for it? Or are you asking how to deal with the absence of the vocal melody?
    – trw
    Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 22:30
  • 1
    In my opinion the last paragraph leaves the question off-topic: How does a known...artist fit Music Practice & Theory?. The are quite a few songs by Schubert, which were transcribed by Liszt into piano-only version integrating the voice part, see this question. But I'm not aware of any voice problems with Liszt....
    – guidot
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 8:54
  • Clarify "loss of sound" - at first I though you meant degraded sound quality in a recording after filtering out the vocal part - and also clarify "using a mockup" - that sounds like you mean an instrument which sounds like the human voice. Also, can you specify a genre? IMO rock songs especially sound lame in instrumental arrangement. Maybe add an example to your question with some observations what you think are the missing qualities. Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


I've been taught that in western classical music, the oboe is often the instrument used or considered to sound the most similar to the human voice. This is culturally reflected through many film and TV soundtracks that deal with certain strong, but more tender human emotions.


I‘ve heard the other day a version of It ain’t necessarily so (Gershwin) by a folksinger and then by a Saxophon. I‘m certain we could find many interpretations of popsongs by Sax and I mean this is the instrument that can best compensate the human voice, but also certain e-guitar effects (distortion and wuah-wuah) may have a similar ability. e.g. songs of The Queen (Mercury)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.