I’ve talked plenty of times about how music has the power to evoke images, memories, thoughts, and ideas. If it weren’t important, why would I devote a weekly post to it? The same goes for instrumental music as it does for vocal music. I used to not care for instrumental music that much, but, though I still prefer to hear a voice on a song, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate instrumental music a little more. Here’s a countdown of my ten favorite pieces of instrumental music…
10. Star Wars main title theme, composed by John Williams — I’ll admit it; I’m a Star Wars nut, despite the fact that I pretty much hate all other science fiction. John Williams’ majestic theme music helps truly set the tone for the amazing ride that is all six films (well…at least the original trilogy…).
9. Ma Vlast: Moldau (Vltava), composed by Bedrich Smetana — I fell in love with this piece of classical music (the only classical piece on my list) in a music appreciation class my freshman year of college. This evocative piece of music is meant to trace the path of the Vltava (or Moldau) River from its genesis in mountain springs to the larger River Elbe. It is also the basis for the Israeli national anthem, a fact I didn’t learn until years after I had first heard the piece.
8. Gone With The Wind main title theme, composed by Max Steiner — Another classic movie theme. This one is a true product of its time — emotional, dramatic, and powerful.
7. Time Stops, Explosions In The Sky — This is one of three songs by Explosions In The Sky on this countdown. EITS have changed the way I think about instrumental music. This song really hits its stride about halfway through, where it changes direction and becomes something truly unexpected.
6. SpectroMagic theme, composed by John Debney — SpectroMagic is probably my favorite Magic Kingdom parade, and the main reason is the music. It’s some of my favorite music from all of the parks, and I think you’ll see why (ignore the vocals at the beginning).
5. Your Hand In Mine, Explosions In The Sky — This beautiful piece of music was the first EITS song I ever heard, after reading that it was the basis for the Friday Night Lights theme, which you’ll see later on. It’s simply breathtaking.
4. Love’s Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra — The late Barry White’s crowning achievement is this buttery smooth slice of sophisticated proto-disco. Good stuff!
3. Jessica, The Allman Brothers Band — This Southern rock masterpiece is some of ABB’s best. I’ve long said it can hold its own against any classical music.
2. Friday Night Lights theme, composed by W. G. “Snuffy” Walden — Among his countless TV show composing credits is Snuffy Walden’s music for Friday Night Lights. The opening theme is the most perfect 45 seconds of music for the best television series of all time.
1. First Breath After Coma, Explosions In The Sky — Don’t let the oddball title fool you…”First Breath After Coma” is the most amazing, most perfect piece of instrumental music you could ask for. At nearly ten minutes, this music just washes over you. Stunning.