The Best Instrumental Music of 2016

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best instrumental music of 2016. From jazz to classical to rock, these are the year’s best.

Best Pop Instrumental: “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Max Richter

Max Richter’s composition “The Only Living Boy in New York” is a beautiful and stirring work that instantly captivates the listener. While its simplicity might belie its technical mastery, the piece is an emotionally profound exploration of loneliness, nostalgia, and hope. The sparse piano melody is accompanied by Richter’s trademark organic strings and subtle electronics, creating a lush and evocative soundscape that is both cinematic and intimate. This is a piece that lingers long in the memory, and it is easy to see why it was voted the best pop instrumental of 2016.

Best Rock Instrumental: “Theme from The Warriors” by Brian Tyler

“Theme from The Warriors” by Brian Tyler is the best rock instrumental of 2016. It is an epic and intense track that perfectly captures the feeling of the movie it was written for. It is a must-listen for any fan of rock music.

Best Jazz Instrumental: “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” by Miles Davis

Miles Davis’ “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” is the best jazz instrumental of 2016. The track features Davis on trumpet, with a backing band comprising of Herbie Hancock on piano, Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Tony Williams on drums, and Ron Carter on bass. The track is an uptempo fusion piece which demonstrates Davis’ mastery of the genre.

Best Classical Instrumental: “Sinfonia” by Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Sinfonia” is a beautifully composed piece of classical instrumental music. It is one of the most popular pieces of music from the Baroque period, and is often performed by orchestras and soloists alike. The piece is known for its intricate melodic lines and complex harmonies, and is a favorite among classical music lovers.

Best Hip-Hop Instrumental: “Beats to the Rhyme” by A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest’s “Beats to the Rhyme” is the best hip-hop instrumental of 2016. The track is a bass-heavy, minimalist beat that allows for plenty of room for Q-Tip’s lyrics to shine. The production is credited to Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip, and it features scratches from DJ Babu.

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