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

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)

Vocal (%)
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)

Vocal (absolute length (minutes:seconds))
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)
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 49,85 Remember Tomorrow
10 47,67 Sanctuary
11 46,01 Iron Maiden
12 44,10 Running Free
13 43,48 Killers
14 42,58 Murders in the Rue Morgue
15 42,51 Drifter
16 42,06 Prowler
17 39,07 Twilight Zone
18 38,37 Wrathchild
19 35,86 Charlotte the Harlot
20 32,33 Purgatory

Instrumental (absolute length)
01 5:07 Phantom of the Opera
02 4:05 Transylvania
03 3:48 Prodigal Son
04 3:41 Strange World
05 3:07 Genghis Khan
06 2:30 Innocent Exile
07 2:11 Another Life
08 2:10 Killers
09 2:02 Drifter
10 1:49 Murders in the Rue Morgue
11 1:45 The Ides of March
12 1:42 Remember Tomorrow
13 1:38 Prowler
14 1:38 Iron Maiden
15 1:32 Sanctuary
16 1:30 Charlotte the Harlot
17 1:26 Running Free
18 1:06 Wrathchild
19 1:04 Purgatory
20 0:59 Twilight Zone

Vocal (%)
01 67,67 Purgatory
02 64,14 Charlotte the Harlot
03 61,63 Wrathchild
04 60,93 Twilight Zone
05 57,94 Prowler
06 57,49 Drifter
07 57,42 Murders in the Rue Morgue
08 56,52 Killers
09 55,90 Running Free
10 53,99 Iron Maiden
11 52,33 Sanctuary
12 50,15 Remember Tomorrow
13 38,38 Prodigal Son
14 35,76 Strange World
15 34,83 Another Life
16 34,78 Innocent Exile
17 29,91 Phantom of the Opera
18 00,00 The Ides of March
18 00,00 Genghis Khan
18 00,00 Transylvania

Vocal (absolute length)
01 2:49 Killers
02 2:45 Drifter
03 2:43 Remember Tomorrow
04 2:41 Charlotte the Harlot
05 2:27 Murders in the Rue Morgue
06 2:22 Prodigal Son
07 2:15 Prowler
08 2:14 Purgatory
09 2:11 Phantom of the Opera
10 2:03 Strange World
11 1:55 Iron Maiden
12 1:49 Running Free
13 1:46 Wratchchild
14 1:41 Sanctuary
15 1:32 Twilight Zone
16 1:20 Innocent Exile
17 1:10 Another Life
18 0:00 The Ides of March
18 0:00 Genghis Khan
18 0:00 Transylvania
 
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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

Dormant 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

Dormant 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

Dormant 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

Dominus et deus
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

Dormant 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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