Definition of instrumental in English:

instrumental

adjective

  • 1Serving as a means of pursuing an aim:

    ‘the Society was instrumental in bringing about legislation’
    • ‘Although several experienced hands, who were instrumental in that series victory are unavailable, a core of exciting young players is emerging.’
    • ‘Anne was instrumental in coordinating, with the assistance of the Barwon Group of the Country Women's Association, drought hampers that were dispersed amongst farmers in need.’
    • ‘Emily was instrumental in forming a branch of the Girls Friendly Society in Tullow and remained active in this society for many years helping to train young girls in their formative years in religion and crafts.’
    • ‘The exhibition, which is well worth a visit, consists mainly of photographs and prints of ships that were built, their history and the people who were instrumental in Waterford shipbuilding.’
    • ‘He was instrumental in bringing in both Japanese and American taiko drum ensembles, as well as the 1997 and 1999 North American taiko conferences.’
    • ‘The government's ability to provide basic services reliably was instrumental in establishing government creditability.’
    • ‘They went to war together and both were instrumental in a victory that many consider a defining moment in Canadian hockey history.’
    • ‘A small investment in time could be instrumental in gaining positive outcomes.’
    • ‘You were elected to government in 1996 with a mandate to improve standards of behaviour in government and parliament, and have instead been instrumental in bringing about a sharp decline!’
    • ‘Her major gratifications were seeing the many social services she was instrumental in initiating come to fruition, among them day care for senior citizens.’
    • ‘Produce production can be instrumental in arresting the decline in the number of farms in some rural areas, as well as in providing an alternative to tobacco production.’
    • ‘Our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about other motorists' dangerous driving habits are instrumental in producing our emotional response.’
    • ‘Nor did he allow himself to be deterred by the fact that it was these men who were instrumental in his success as a solo artist.’
    • ‘All tenets are instrumental in producing issues that prepare war fighters and planners to be good decision makers.’
    • ‘The motor is also instrumental in producing a rapid response rate in the hand without sacrificing pinch force.’
    • ‘He crossed for two of Australia's 13 tries in a 90-8 victory and was instrumental in many more.’
    • ‘A good planning process is instrumental in positioning an organization for success.’
    • ‘The strategy, which was instrumental in Microsoft's victory in the so-called browser wars, is being replayed in the digital media market.’
    • ‘Thirty four years later, in 2001, it was found dusty and forgotten in the loft of a house in Top Lane and was returned to the parish council chairman who was instrumental in reintroducing the competition.’
    • ‘A few well chosen elements of directorial interpretation are instrumental in making this production more suited to and enjoyable for its audience.’
    involved, active, influential, contributory
    helpful, of assistance, of help, useful, of service, of use
    significant, important
    play a part in, contribute to, be a factor in, be responsible for, be partly responsible for, have a hand in
    add to, help, promote, advance, further, forward, oil the wheels of, open the door for, be conducive to, make for
    lead to, cause, give rise to
    conduce to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Relating to something's function as a means to an end:
      ‘a very instrumental view of education and how it relates to their needs’
      • ‘Also, neocons seem to have a more instrumental view of religion.’
      • ‘Finally, he investigates what he calls the instrumental functions, that is, the afterlife of the narrative or the consequences of the work.’
      • ‘We will then consider the instrumental function of value judgments and their experimental verification.’
      • ‘To some who hold an intrinsic view of education, instrumental education is nothing more than training.’
      • ‘Why do so many people hold an instrumental view of culture?’
      • ‘Trouble is, when education is so instrumental, what does that mean for teachers and schools?’
      • ‘That is so because the bohemian frequently professes an instrumental view of work as a necessary evil to make money necessary to provide for his bohemian life and the expenses that it involves.’
      • ‘The instrumental view appears to have been dominant until the Renaissance.’
      • ‘The instrumental function of dope stamps, for both users and dealers, is clearly an important aspect of the phenomenon, but it does not tell the whole story.’
      • ‘The official focus on the ageing question, with the implicit notion that people have a responsibility to reproduce a new generation of elder-carers, contributes to the instrumental view of parenthood.’
      • ‘In other words, they have a purely instrumental view of power, one in which the ends of power are irrelevant.’
      • ‘It is incompatible with the manipulative attitude implicit in an instrumental view of religion.’
      • ‘The instrumental function of power is perceived to be as a question of knowledge.’
      • ‘First, Longinus recognizes the instrumental functions of rhetoric, and can treat it as an object of judgment.’
      • ‘They lead to an overly instrumental view of education that emphasizes the immediate needs of self-interested parties and programs of study that have economic returns.’
      • ‘Stamps also serve important instrumental and expressive functions in the lives of heroin distributors.’
      • ‘Duquin argues that nonactive representations of women may reinforce the view that women's bodies serve an ornamental, rather than instrumental, function.’
      • ‘Du Toit also moves beyond a purely instrumental view of violence, as simply a means to an end, to argue that violence often has symbolic meanings and can become an end in itself.’
      • ‘The process of naming brands of dope and the choice of images represented in dope stamps have a number of functions not related to the instrumental functions employed by users and distributors.’
      • ‘A narrower version of the instrumental view of free expression focuses on its utility in the functioning of a representative democracy.’
  • 2(of music) performed on instruments, with no vocals:

    ‘a largely instrumental piece’
    • ‘My work consists of using instrumental music and the singing voice as sound stimulation, to train and develop listening.’
    • ‘By the 1960s, whites too had become avid fans of township jazz, which had sprouted into kwela's instrumental music and mbaqanga, a vocal jazz style.’
    • ‘Musicians, singers, and related workers play musical instruments, sing, compose or arrange music, or conduct groups in instrumental or vocal performances.’
    • ‘Although his musical output was modest, his vocal and instrumental music speaks in a highly personal voice.’
    • ‘Both halves are packed with the duo's explosive instrumental music, and feature remarkably little in the way of stage banter or dialogue.’
    • ‘Events include set dancing, figure dancing, instrumental music, solo singing, recitation, ballad group and question time.’
    • ‘Much of traditional Korean vocal and instrumental music employs a metrical rhythmic system based on a series of accompanying patterns known as jangdan.’
    • ‘Concerts of vocal and instrumental music were given regularly.’
    • ‘He has always been a prolific composer - 20 symphonies, an equal number of concertos, a vast array of orchestral, vocal and instrumental music.’
    • ‘The competition is open to those aged 16 to 24 and has categories for light and classical Hindustani and Carnatic vocal, instrumental and devotional music.’
    • ‘There follow three chapters dealing with other sources grouped by genre: sacred music, theatre music and vocal, keyboard and instrumental music.’
    • ‘This work represents not Beethoven the titan, but Beethoven as composer of warmly songful instrumental music.’
    • ‘Competitions will take place in solo singing, recitation, question time, instrumental music, ballad group singing, novelty act, ceilidh dancing.’
    • ‘Both vocal and instrumental music, as well as dance, play a significant role in Azande culture.’
    • ‘Those featuring in the concert will travel from all over the county, guaranteeing those present a wonderful night's entertainment in instrumental music, singing and dancing.’
    • ‘Unlike an instrumental music degree, conducting courses will generally involve more philosophical and historical elements, as well as the basic technical training.’
    • ‘It is almost like I have to have two different heads - writing instrumental music is totally different from writing songs for vocals.’
    • ‘Finzi had more trouble with instrumental music than with vocal.’
    • ‘Music is universal and hence Hindustani, Carnatic and instrumental music, which has great value on the international arena, has to be promoted through fusion, she adds.’
    • ‘While Creston is best known for his instrumental music, his vocal literature deserves renewed attention.’
    1. 2.1 Relating to musical instruments:
      ‘brilliance of instrumental colour’
      • ‘The Vogler Quartet worked closely with local music groups, schools and educational institutions in the key areas of performance, musical education and instrumental tuition.’
      • ‘Even more critically, he has an acute sense of how the rigors of instrumental training can actually squelch innate musical creativity.’
      • ‘A rich, soulful, musical voice and a brilliant instrumental ability are just the start of it.’
      • ‘If the score breaks no new ground for Glass, the fine brush strokes of instrumental color lend texture and atmosphere to every scene, especially in the first opera.’
      • ‘As well as musical skills such as improvisation, arranging, composition and instrumental studies, there will also be a business element to the course which will teach students how to market themselves and put on a gig.’
      • ‘The real interest lies in Frank's uncanny use of contrasting instrumental colors to create a texture for the ear.’
      • ‘His style was mainstream with little evidence of experimentation, and yet there is variety and a particular use of instrumental colour throughout.’
      • ‘There are those who say that God can be worshipped in church through human musical creativity and instrumental skill, and would claim the Psalms advocate the use of many instruments in worship.’
      • ‘On a whole, the album offers a lot in terms of musical context and instrumental set-up.’
      • ‘The result is a fascinating array of delicate instrumental colours.’
      • ‘The instrumental color, finely crafted elegance, and glowing sweep of the music were exhilarating.’
      • ‘The orchestra is no Vienna Philharmonic, but the musicians cope valiantly with the complex score and convey much of its instrumental color.’
      • ‘The earliest piece here is Nacht-Schatten, from 1991, in which microtones colour and destabilise the instrumental textures.’
      • ‘Here was Bach with new life, vibrant instrumental colors and bold drama - Bach for the 21st century!’
      • ‘Ideally too, the instrumental colours need to bolder, less integrated into a homogeneous texture.’
      • ‘A dense libretto, by the composer, and an expressionistic musical style, which searches out new instrumental colors, make this opera a masterpiece.’
      • ‘The blinding flashes of instrumental color were brilliantly evoked.’
      • ‘It is music without any rhetoric or goal, in which periods of time (increasingly lengthy as he got older) are filled with washes of instrumental colour.’
  • 3Relating to an implement or measuring device:

    ‘instrumental error’
    ‘instrumental delivery of a baby’
    • ‘Trials were selected for evaluation that specifically addressed whether epidural analgesia affected the risk of instrumental delivery.’
    • ‘The organoleptic quality of tomato fruit involves a set of attributes (flavour, aroma, texture) that can be evaluated either by sensory analyses or by instrumental measures.’
    • ‘This situation is likely if she has experienced a long labor, an instrumental delivery, or separation from her baby, all of which are more likely following an epidural.’
    • ‘If necessary, early intervention with instrumental delivery is appropriate.’
    • ‘In electronic devices, even a negligible instrumental error can totally degrade the system compared to electro-mechanical ones.’
    • ‘The epidural group had more instrumental deliveries, however.’
    • ‘Two widely recognized research programs have used the available instrumental data to reconstruct global surface air temperature trends from the late 1800's through today.’
    • ‘This result may be related to the increase in instrumental deliveries or to the increased use of Pitocin.’
    • ‘Sensory and instrumental measurements are used together to draw conclusions and make assumptions about quality.’
    • ‘The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has recommended training in instrumental delivery to control and reduce the rates of caesarean section.’
    • ‘I'd rather have a caesarean than go through another instrumental delivery.’
    • ‘However, the public was not informed in hopes that this was simply because of an instrumental error.’
    • ‘The frequency of change to instrumental delivery and resuscitation at birth illustrates that many of the cases were probably infected in utero.’
    • ‘Inclusion criteria were instrumental vertex delivery of a live singleton after 37 weeks of gestation or cesarean delivery at full dilation.’
    • ‘The effect is due to the limitation of the instrumental resolution regarding the measurement of hydration water large-scale motions.’
    • ‘Although height can be measured by instrumental methods, it is often an estimate.’
    • ‘Fetal distress was more common among instrumental deliveries.’
    • ‘Studies with sufficiently long followup, including the need for surgical repair later in life, are required to properly evaluate the association between instrumental deliveries and such outcomes.’
    • ‘The distribution of true ages may be only approximated by the measured distribution, because the latter can be disturbed by fluctuations in measured age caused by instrumental error.’
    • ‘Secondly, it was recorded that no attempt should be made at a difficult mid-cavity instrumental delivery.’
  • 4Grammar
    Denoting or relating to a case of nouns and pronouns (and words in grammatical agreement with them) indicating a means or instrument.

    • ‘In Russian, the instrumental case is used to indicate how something is done.’

noun

  • 1A piece of (usually non-classical) music performed by instruments, with no vocals:

    ‘the opening tune is an instrumental’
    • ‘The performance will feature instrumentals using guitar, bass, vibes, keyboards and tapes.’
    • ‘The badly drawn one has stuck to a signature script of music-box melodies, shuffling instrumentals and rambling lyrical tangents.’
    • ‘Have you always mixed songs and instrumentals in your work?’
    • ‘Overall, I found the vocals and the instrumentals to be good, just not great.’
    • ‘We spent over a fortnight in the studio, going through vocals and instrumentals.’
    • ‘If the songs had simply been instrumentals, the album would not have suffered.’
    • ‘Finally, she re-recorded the vocal performances over the finished instrumentals.’
    • ‘Even more slicked down and hooked up than even Face The Music, this one doesn't even have any instrumentals.’
    • ‘Half the songs are instrumentals featuring the many talents of each gal.’
    • ‘After this the album is split into two halves: the next four songs having vocals, whilst the remaining four are instrumentals.’
    • ‘Alternating between sharp funky instrumentals and light-hearted vocal tracks, Outside In feels at ones familiar yet totally fresh and new.’
    • ‘Four of these are songs, and seven instrumentals.’
    • ‘He prefers garage-style vocals, electronic instrumentals and the all-essential horns.’
    • ‘Her music presents instrumentals and melodies that blend classical, contemporary jazz, pop and African rhythms into a seamless style.’
    • ‘The beautiful vocals and instrumentals make memorable moments in each piece, whether a honky-tonk, a love ballad or simply a swinging tune.’
    • ‘With its haunting vocals and enchanting instrumentals, this song will leave you lusting for more.’
    • ‘I start with melodies, instrumentals, a rough sketch of what the song's going to be.’
    • ‘It has a beautiful melody and instrumentals while Green sings of her love of music.’
    • ‘The song is heavy on instrumentals, which is weird to me, but I like it.’
    • ‘The songs and instrumentals come from all over French Canada and France.’
  • 2Grammar
    the instrumentalThe instrumental case.

    • ‘Of the five inflectional cases which are commonly ascribed to the Old English noun, the instrumental is the one least obvious.’
    1. 2.1 A noun in the instrumental case.
      • ‘Grammatically, it is an instrumental.’

Pronunciation:

instrumental

/ɪnstrʊˈmɛnt(ə)l/