The balance between instrumental and vocal length

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Hiya,

Lately I was thinking about how instrumental the Maiden studio albums are. Or if you turn it around: how big are the portion that contains vocals? To properly "research" this I want to zoom in on the songs themselves.

Even though it's a huge task (although there's no hurry) I'd like to measure this. In the end I hope to make some nice lists out of this information.

"Why the hell are you doing this", I hear you thinking?
Well, first of all I am interested in it myself. E.g. I wonder how instrumental Powerslave is compared to other records. I've got an idea that this album does contain a lot, if not the most music without vocals (or relatively seen: it has the least vocals). Measuring this will help me to find out about this.

I am not measuring short parts without vocals in between couplets or sentences, that are part of the same chord progression/couplets or other sections on which the vocals are, as instrumental sections: all that is part of the vocal sections: example --> everything in Prowler from the first "Walking" until "feel like walking arouhouhooounnd ooow" is regarded as one big vocal section. On the other hand, I am counting "OK"s or "whohoohoo"s or "yeah"s (however short) as vocal portions, even if they are embedded in largely instrumental sections. The main thing is too distinguish vocals from non-vocal sections, and this sounds to me as the most logical but also most practical way.

Also I wonder if there could be any relation with taste. Of course, taste is about many other aspects, but who knows quantity can have to do with it as well.

E.g., would people who especially care for vocals (and emotion and lyrics behind vocals) mostly prefer Hallowed over Rime?
And would people who especially care for instrumental music prefer Rime over Hallowed?
And how would an opinion change if a large instrumental chunk in Rime was cut off?
And: what if Hallowed would have a much longer instrumental section? Perhaps the "instrumentalists" would love it, but the "vocalists" not.

These are just assumptions, but once in a while I just really like to delve into such matters.

These questions aside, bare with me because I'm going to write the "vocals/instrumental portions in relation to total length"-info on the Commentary fora.

= = = = = = =

The balance between instrumental and vocal length
Iron Maiden
Killers
The Number of the Beast

Total overview / album and song comparisons:

Album info:

Instrumental (%)
58,24 Iron Maiden (without Sanctuary)
57,41 Iron Maiden (with Sanctuary)
56,01 Killers (without Twilight Zone)
54,97 Killers (with Twilight Zone)
42,48 The Number of the Beast (with Total Eclipse)
42,34 The Number of the Beast (without Total Eclipse)

Vocal (%)
57,66 The Number of the Beast (without Total Eclipse)
57,52 The Number of the Beast (with Total Eclipse)
45,03 Killers (with Twilight Zone)
43,99 Killers (without Twilight Zone)
42,59 Iron Maiden (with Sanctuary)
41,76 Iron Maiden (without Sanctuary)

Instrumental (absolute length (minutes:seconds))
23:19 Iron Maiden (with Sanctuary)
22:29 Killers (with Twilight Zone)
21:47 Iron Maiden (without Sanctuary)
21:30 Killers (without Twilight Zone)
18:53 The Number of the Beast (with Total Eclipse)
16:57 The Number of the Beast (without Total Eclipse)

Vocal (absolute length (minutes:seconds))
25:34 The Number of the Beast (with Total Eclipse)
23:05 The Number of the Beast (without Total Eclipse)
18:25 Killers (with Twilight Zone)
17:18 Iron Maiden (with Sanctuary)
16:53 Killers (without Twilight Zone)
15:37 Iron Maiden (without Sanctuary)

Total album length (without silence)
44:27 The Number of the Beast (with Total Eclipse)
40:02 The Number of the Beast (without Total Eclipse)
37:24 Iron Maiden (without Sanctuary)
40:37 Iron Maiden (with Sanctuary)
38:23 Killers (without Twilight Zone)
40:54 Killers (with Twilight Zone)


Song info:
Instrumental (%)
01 100,0 Transylvania
01 100,0 Genghis Khan
01 100,0 The Ides of March
04 70,09 Phantom of the Opera
05 65,22 Innocent Exile
06 65,17 Another Life
07 64,24 Strange World
08 61,62 Prodigal Son
09 60,00 Hallowed Be Thy Name
10 51,39 22 Acacia Avenue
11 49,85 Remember Tomorrow
12 48,61 The Prisoner
13 47,67 Sanctuary
14 46,01 Iron Maiden
15 44,10 Running Free
16 43,77 Total Eclipse
17 43,48 Killers
18 42,58 Murders in the Rue Morgue
19 42,51 Drifter
20 42,06 Prowler
21 39,80 Invaders
22 39,07 Twilight Zone
23 38,37 Wrathchild
24 35,86 Charlotte the Harlot
25 35,84 Gangland
26 32,33 Purgatory
27 30,45 The Number of the Beast
28 30,40 Children of the Damned
29 21,30 Run to the Hills

Instrumental (absolute length)
01 5:07 Phantom of the Opera
02 4:18 Hallowed Be Thy Name
03 4:05 Transylvania
04 3:48 Prodigal Son
05 3:41 Strange World
06 3:23 22 Acacia Avenue
07 3:07 Genghis Khan
08 2:55 The Prisoner
09 2:30 Innocent Exile
10 2:11 Another Life
11 2:10 Killers
12 2:02 Drifter
13 1:56 Total Eclipse
14 1:49 Murders in the Rue Morgue
15 1:45 The Ides of March
16 1:42 Remember Tomorrow
17 1:38 Prowler
17 1:38 Iron Maiden
19 1:32 Sanctuary
20 1:30 Charlotte the Harlot
21 1:28 The Number of the Beast
22 1:26 Running Free
23 1:23 Children of the Damned
24 1:21 Gangland
25 1:20 Invaders
26 1:06 Wrathchild
27 1:04 Purgatory
28 0:59 Twilight Zone
29 0:49 Run to the Hills

Vocal (%)
01 78,70 Run to the Hills
02 69,60 Children of the Damned
03 69,55 The Number of the Beast
04 67,67 Purgatory
05 64,16 Gangland
06 64,14 Charlotte the Harlot
07 61,63 Wrathchild
08 60,93 Twilight Zone
09 60,20 Invaders
10 57,94 Prowler
11 57,49 Drifter
12 57,42 Murders in the Rue Morgue
13 56,52 Killers
14 56,23 Total Eclipse
15 55,90 Running Free
16 53,99 Iron Maiden
17 52,33 Sanctuary
18 51,39 The Prisoner
19 50,15 Remember Tomorrow
20 48,35 22 Acacia Avenue
21 40,00 Hallowed Be Thy Name
22 38,38 Prodigal Son
23 35,76 Strange World
24 34,83 Another Life
25 34,78 Innocent Exile
26 29,91 Phantom of the Opera
27 00,00 Transylvania
27 00,00 The Ides of March
27 00,00 Genghis Khan

Vocal (absolute length)
01 3:21 The Number of the Beast
02 3:10 Children of the Damned
02 3:10 22 Acacia Avenue
04 3:05 The Prisoner
05 3:01 Run to the Hills
06 2:52 Hallowed Be Thy Name
07 2:49 Killers
08 2:45 Drifter
09 2:43 Remember Tomorrow
10 2:41 Charlotte the Harlot
11 2:29 Total Eclipse
12 2:27 Murders in the Rue Morgue
13 2:25 Gangland
14 2:22 Prodigal Son
15 2:15 Prowler
16 2:14 Purgatory
17 2:11 Phantom of the Opera
18 2:03 Strange World
19 2:01 Invaders
20 1:55 Iron Maiden
21 1:49 Running Free
22 1:46 Wratchchild
23 1:41 Sanctuary
24 1:32 Twilight Zone
25 1:20 Innocent Exile
26 1:10 Another Life
27 0:00 Transylvania
27 0:00 The Ides of March
27 0:00 Genghis Khan
 
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MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Um...good luck, ya crazy bastard!

Seriously, sounds very interesting and I'll be intrigued by your results. I'll look for 'em in 2016 :)
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I've wondered about this myself actually. Looking forward to what results you come up with!

I remember in the weeks leading up to the release of TFF, some pictures of the lyric booklet leaked and we got to see the lyrics. My first impression was that there were a lot of words. And as it turned out, TFF was a pretty wordy album. There were a lot of songs like Starblind or Wild Wind that didn't have many repeated lyrics but lots of vocal lines. On top of that, there were only a few songs that had the signature Maiden "repeat a phrase for the chorus". However, there are also a few extended instrumental parts, like in El Dorado or Isle of Avalon. It's still a pretty vocal driven album, but I wonder if it balances itself out.
 

CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
From the debut: which song has in absolute terms the most instrumental music?
Phantom, I would think.
The instrumental Transylvania?

The instrumental section in Phantom I'd judge to begin with Dave's first lead (~02:45). The section just before that (~02:05), although starting with no vocals, is, in my opinion (& going by Foro's criteria), a vocal section. Still, that instrumental section is going on (but not quite) four minutes (~02:45 - ~06:35); so pretty close to the length of Transylvania.

Or were you excluding actual instrumentals?
 
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Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Correct Perun! Phantom is, in absolute length, indeed more instrumental than Transylvania. The difference is a bit more than a minute.

I don't think I am first categorizing in vocal and instrumental sections the way you are doing this Cried.
E.g. the first 20 seconds in Phantom are instrumental.

I've counted these as "vocal portions" in Phantom:
0:20 - 0:21
0:57 - 1:58
2:16 - 2:40
6:35 - 7:18
 
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CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
Ah, I kinda forgot you weren't really meaning continous sections. So, yeh, if you add all of Phantom's sections up, then it has more instrument than vocal. However there's no need, surely, to be counting one tiny vocal section at the beginning of Phantom? The first minute is basically intrumental (vocal section starts at ~00:58).
I don't think I am first categorizing in vocal and instrumental sections the way you are doing this Cried.
E.g. the first 20 seconds in Phantom are instrumental.
The whole first minute, as I said, is instrumental. Surely?
I've counted these as "vocal portions" in Phantom:
0:20 - 0:21
0:57 - 1:58
2:16 - 2:40
6:35 - 7:18
This is splitting hairs. I think you should view sections more broadly as being dominated by vocals, or being purely instrumental.
What about the 'ah' at 6:03?
If you don't, you'll miss stuff like the above.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Sorry Cried I am doing this more precise and perfect, in a way, that I really want to separate vocals and non-vocals more than you. You are more busy with the song structure, the music underneath (and pay less attention to what happens on top; or don't mind how much "vocal time" is on top) in a stricter sense, I am more busy with the vocals in a stricter sense. As I said, I am rather going for parts where someone starts singing, to be precise: then I start measuring on that part, and not earlier. The first 20 seconds in Phantom don't have vocals, it isn't that illogical nor difficult.
What about the 'ah' at 6:03?
Must have missed it. I have just put my CD away but thanks for the tip! I'll take another listen.

edit:
@Perun I don't have that "ah" on my CD, honestly. Weird. Or are you kidding here? :)

edit 2: Ah, wait, you mean around 2:03 (starts at 2:02 on my CD). :ok:
 
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CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
Sorry Cried I am doing this more precise and perfect, in a way, that I really want to separate vocals and non-vocals more than you. You are more busy with the song structure...
I'm not more busy with it, I just think it makes more sense. However, if you want to split hairs over vocal elements that last one second, then be my guest! :p
As I said, I am rather going for parts where someone starts singing, to be precise: then I start measuring on that part, and not earlier. The first 20 seconds in Phantom don't have vocals, it isn't that illogical nor difficult.
I know the first twenty seconds have no vocals; did I say otherwise? However, bar one tiny vocal element (one second by your reckoning), the rest of the first minute doesn't have vocals either. Dividing the first 58 seconds of Phantom into - 20 seconds of instrumental, 1 seconds of vocals, then another 37 seconds of instrumental (or whatever) - is, to me, absurd. I don't really see the point (or what possible conclusions you might derive) from subjecting a track to this kind of subdivision. To my mind, it would be far more sensible to view the first 58 seconds (in this example) as instrumental, with no vocals. The problem with not doing this should be self evident: you're going to miss the odd growl or "yeh" or "ah" or whatever. Why does this matter? You tell me...
I am not measuring short parts without vocals in between couplets or sentences, that are part of the same chord progression/couplets or other sections on which the vocals are, as instrumental sections: all that is part of the vocal sections: example --> everything in Prowler from the first "Walking" until "feel like walking arouhouhooounnd ooow" is regarded as one big vocal section. On the other hand, I am counting "OK"s or "whohoohoo"s or "yeah"s (however short) as vocal portions, even if they are embedded in largely instrumental sections. The main thing is too distinguish vocals from non-vocal sections, and this sounds to me as the most logical but also most practical way.
I'm essentially questioning the logic of the second part of your opening post. Why is counting these necessary?

I just don't see the purpose in this "precise and perfect" method you're employing here, Foro.
 

Perun

In the labyrinth of eternity
Staff member
edit 2: Ah, wait, you mean around 2:03 (starts at 2:02 on my CD). :ok:

No, I don't. It's towards the end of the instrumental section, very quiet but there. Listen closely.

Edit: It is at the exact moment the harmonies end in the instrumental section. It seems to have a different volume on the individual masters, but it's always very quiet. At least that's what I hear.
 
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CriedWhenBrucieLeft

Meme Only Account
No, I don't. It's towards the end of the instrumental section, very quiet but there. Listen closely.

Edit: It is at the exact moment the harmonies end in the instrumental section. It seems to have a different volume on the individual masters, but it's always very quiet. At least that's what I hear.
Interesting. I checked 2 different CD's but didn't hear it. Will try again later.
Yip, Perun's correct: it's bang-on 06:00 on my 1998 remaster. I heard it the first time I listened, but obviously (by my method) ignored it! :p
 
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