The distinction between classical and instrumental music is difficult to discern because each form has its own definition, which can be difficult to define precisely. Classical music can be defined in a variety of ways. It can refer to music from a specific region or country, such as classical Romanian music, or to a specific period of Western music production between 1750 and 1820, when a variety of instruments, instrument arrangements, and vocal productions were used. Mozart and Beethoven are examples of classical music composers.
“Classical music” is sometimes used to refer to any music written before the early twentieth century that could be performed an orchestra or symphonic band. Operas, solos, and small arrangements for chamber orchestras, quartets, quintets, or trios are examples of classical music. In this case, the instruments are the distinction between classical and instrumental music: electric guitars, synthesizers, or any instrument developed after the early twentieth century are examples of instruments capable of producing instrumental but not classical music.
When comparing the two, instrumental music composed in the style of classical music but written after the twentieth century can be useful. In this case, the distinction is due to the era. Instrumental music evocative of the classical era, for example, can be found in some modern film scores. Because it was written recently, the modern film’s score may sound like classical music, but it isn’t.
Instrumental music, definition, is music performed on a musical instrument. Some people consider the human voice to be an instrument, while others do not, making instrumental music limited to classical music without singing. Even if vocals were included in the definition of instrumental music, many modern bands would not be classified as such. Furthermore, they would not be considered classical if they performed in other genres such as rock or ska.
Without vocal accompaniment, any music composed without vocals is referred to as instrumental. In this case, the distinction between classical and instrumental music is based on minor details and how strict either form’s definition is. To some, all classical music is instrumental, whether it is vocal or not. Others define instrumental music as music without vocals, so only some classical music falls into this category. Others may not notice the difference because both genres are created using instruments.