The Best Instrumental Music Albums of All Time

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From Bach to Beethoven, Mozart to Tchaikovsky, these are the best instrumental albums of all time.


Instrumental music has always had a special place in the hearts of music lovers. The best instrumental albums of all time feature music that ispmpeccably performed and composed, and they have a timeless quality that sets them apart from other recordings.

There are many different genres of instrumental music, from classical to jazz to rock. And within each genre, there are countless subgenres and styles. This list features the best instrumental albums of all time, regardless of genre or style. These are the albums that have truly stood the test of time, and that continue to resonate with listeners today.

So whether you’re a fan of Beethoven or The Beatles, Miles Davis or Metallica, we hope you’ll find something on this list to suit your taste. And if you’re looking for something new to Listen to check out our list of the Best New Instrumental Albums of 2018.

A Brief History of Instrumental Music

Instrumental music is music that does not rely on words to tell a story. It is purely musical, without any sort of lyrical content. This can include anything from solo pieces for a single instrument, to complex works for large ensembles.

Instrumental music has been around for centuries, dating back to the Renaissance era. Many of the great classical composers, such as Bach and Beethoven, wrote instrumental works that are still performed today. In the 20th century, jazz and rock music also made extensive use of instrumental performances.

There are many reasons why people enjoy listening to instrumental music. For some, it is a way to appreciate the beauty of the sound itself, without any distractions from lyrics. Others find that instrumental music can be very relaxing, or evenhelp them focus and concentrate better. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that instrumental music continues to be popular all around the world.

The Best Instrumental Music Albums of All Time

Instrumental music has the ability to evoke emotion and create a mood. It can be used to tell a story, or it can simply be enjoyed for its beauty. There are many different types of instrumental music, from classical to rock, and each type can be enjoyed in its own way. When it comes to the best instrumental music albums of all time, there are a few that stand out above the rest.

The Beatles – Abbey Road

The Beatles – Abbey Road: This is one of the most popular and well-known instrumental albums of all time. It was released in 1969 and features some of the best-known Beatles songs, including “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.”

Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon: Another classic, this album was released in 1973 and features the iconic song “Time.” It is considered one of the best albums of all time, period, not just instrumental albums.

Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy: This album was released in 1973 and is a favorite among hard rock fans. It features the classic Zeppelin song “Over the Hills and Far Away.”

Rush – Moving Pictures: Rush is a classic rock band that is known for their complex instrumentals, and this album is no exception. Released in 1981, it features the popular song “Tom Sawyer.”

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

In 1973, Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon, an album that would go on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time. The album was a departure from the band’s earlier work, featuring longer, more complex compositions and a greater focus on atmospheric composition and sound design.

Dark Side of the Moon is often cited as an example of the progressive rock genre, and is considered one of the most influential albums of all time. The album’s success helped to define Pink Floyd as one of the most popular and innovative rock bands of their generation.

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti is widely regarded as one of the best instrumental albums of all time. The album features some of the band’s most iconic tracks, including “Kashmir” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Physical Graffiti is a perfect example of Led Zeppelin’s masterful songwriting and musicianship, and is essential listening for any fan of rock music.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959)

Perhaps the most important and influential jazz record of all time, Kind of Blue was Miles Davis’ statement to the world that jazz could be cool, restrained and elegant all at once. Recorded in just two days with his legendary “first great quintet” featuring John Coltrane, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, the album is a masterclass in economy and restraint, with each of the five extended tracks feeling like a concise statement on the possibilities of jazz. It’s an album that has been endlessly imitated but never matched, and its influence can still be felt in any number of jazz records made today.

John Coltrane – A Love Supreme

Recorded in one four-hour session in December 1964, A Love Supreme was released a year later and became one of the most acclaimed jazz albums of all time. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this record; not only is it one of the best instrumental albums ever made, it’s also a critical work in the development of jazz.

A Love Supreme is comprised of four parts: “Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm.” The first three parts are played by Coltrane’s quartet (pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones), while the final part is a unaccompanied saxophone solo by Coltrane. Together, these four parts add up to just under 34 minutes of music, but in that brief time Coltrane and his band manage to explore a wide range of emotions and ideas.

The album opens with “Acknowledgement,” which starts with a simple motif played on drums and bass before Coltrane comes in with his saxophone. From there, the quartet builds up a gentle groove that slowly evolves over the course of the track. This is followed by “Resolution,” which is more uptempo and features some stunning interplay between Coltrane and Tyner.

The third track, “Pursuance,” is where things really start to get interesting. Here, Coltrane takes the lead while Tyner plays more of a supporting role; as the track progresses, Garrison and Jones lock into an increasingly tight groove that allows Coltrane to explore different melodic ideas. The result is one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of jazz ever recorded.

Finally, we have “Psalm,” which brings A Love Supreme to a close with another incredible saxophone solo from Coltrane. This time around he takes things in a more spiritual direction, playing with passion and conviction while still maintaining total control over his instrument.

A Love Supreme is an essential album for any fan of jazz or instrumental music in general. It represents both a high point in Coltrane’s career and a watershed moment for jazz as a whole; time has only served to cement its status as one of the greatest albums ever made.


There are countless great instrumental albums out there, and this list is just a small sampling of the amazing music that has been created without words. We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at some of the best instrumental albums of all time and that you’ll take the time to explore some of these great records for yourself.

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