Definition of instrumentalist in US English:



  • 1A player of a musical instrument.

    ‘is the skilled pop instrumentalist an endangered species?’
    • ‘That he is a superior instrumentalist, a thoughtful musician, a questing spirit, and a great charmer, no one doubts.’
    • ‘Set in the attractive surroundings of Canford School at historic Wimborne, Dorset, the school offers a variety of courses that are of interest to instrumentalists, singers, pianists and conductors.’
    • ‘The competition is open to pianists or string instrumentalists ages 13 through 19.’
    • ‘Vocalists and instrumentalists can use them to provide accompaniment if a live accompanist is not available which probably is most of the time.’
    • ‘The conductor and the instrumentalists establish a French style in the overture.’
    • ‘She also is the pianist for Meadowbrook Church and frequently accompanies instrumentalists and vocalists for competitions, auditions and recitals.’
    • ‘But there is little tolerance for guitarists, bodhrán players or other instrumentalists doing the same - they either come as ready-formed virtuosi, or leave their instruments at home.’
    • ‘These include solo, chamber music and concerto competitions, as well as ensemble festivals and competitions for string performers, vocalists, pianists and other instrumentalists.’
    • ‘Their rapid scherzos, fugal finales, and dependence on four equally engaging string players attest as much to the virtuosity of the instrumentalists employed at court as to Haydn's accomplishment.’
    • ‘This also is excellent preparation for accompanying other instrumentalists or vocalists and for composition.’
    • ‘Among them were composers, instrumentalists, vocalists and lecturers in the theory of music.’
    • ‘These three singer/composer/instrumentalists deliver original pop songs interspersed with passionate renditions of Celtic and Eastern European folk tunes.’
    • ‘The singers and instrumentalists were placed on either side of the stage.’
    • ‘Fortunately, with recordings and film aiding our memories, these singers, instrumentalists, conductors, and composers need never fade from memory, and they may live forever.’
    • ‘Unlike most instrumentalists, pianists must perform on whatever instrument is made available to them.’
    • ‘Of the 44 instrumentalists, excluding pianists, who graduated in 1994, 36 alumni were interviewed for the article; eight members of the class could not be found.’
    • ‘An exceptional singer, songwriter and skilled instrumentalist, Irish Music magazine hailed him as ‘one of the country's major folk voices’.’
    • ‘Given the radiantly musical performances for singers and instrumentalists alike, surely we could have been spared some of the unnecessary busyness.’
    • ‘Is it any wonder that the stereotype of choral singers is that we have less musical skill than instrumentalists?’
    • ‘Unlike many other instrumentalists who control a musical tone from its beginning to its end, the pianist relinquishes control as soon as the sound is heard.’
  • 2An adherent of instrumentalism.

    • ‘It has the virtue of solving certain paradoxes such as the infamous Schrödinger's cat paradox, but few philosophers or physicists can take it very seriously unless they are either idealists or instrumentalists.’
    • ‘But this is not to say that instrumentalists are wholly right, or that Moore is wholly wrong to think that the sole purpose of criminal law is to provide for the retributive punishment of those who culpably commit such wrongs.’
    • ‘Indeed, the instrumentalist can argue that it is sometimes immoral to insist on critically reflecting and acting autonomously when one may actually act worse as a result of consistently critically reflecting.’
    • ‘Two things are not understood, particularly by instrumentalists.’
    • ‘Unlike the empiricist, the instrumentalist does not maintain that the only valid concepts are those reducible to sense data.’


  • Of or in terms of instrumentalism.

    ‘an instrumentalist account of the liberal state’
    • ‘Dewey combined this instrumentalist pragmatism with a commitment to naturalism, i.e. to an understanding of the world and human life which respects the discoveries of the natural sciences.’
    • ‘Mach shared Berkeley's instrumentalist view of scientific laws and theories.’
    • ‘Most modern philosophers sympathetic to the pragmatist outlook think that the instrumentalist account of truth is unnecessarily revisionist.’
    • ‘Utilitarian, functional and instrumentalist ideas started to reshape the curriculum.’
    • ‘For Duhem, this instrumentalist doctrine played a key role in maintaining his religious and scientific views in peaceful coexistence.’