10 Best Instrumental Sad Songs
The 10 best instrumental sad songs are a mix of classical and contemporary pieces. The ability to make people cry with melody alone is a special gift for a composer. For this reason, the ability to make truly sad music has often been displayed only by the most skilled musicians in history, and many of the composers and musicians on this list are extremely gifted people.
- Bach’s “Air on the G string” is an easy choice as one of the best instrumental sad songs. This song is certainly one of the most emotionally poignant melodies in music history, and it can be hard for some people to listen to it without having tears well up.
- No list of sad instrumental songs would be complete without the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” It’s one of the most devastating pieces of piano music ever formulated.
- Guitarist Marty Friedman has created many great and sad instrumental songs, but his song “Loneliness” is easily the most effective. The song has very sparse background music behind the melody, which helps add to the sorrowful mood.
- Jeff Beck is an instrumental music icon, and "Cause We've Ended As Lovers” is definitely one of the most elegant instrumental sad songs ever created. The song is very blues-oriented, and Beck’s skillful use of guitar phrasing and tone are crucial to the piece's emotional intensity.
- Mozart’s “Adagio in B minor” for the piano is a devastating piece of classical instrumental music. Mozart’s melodic brilliance is on full display in this piece, and it’s totally heartbreaking.
- “Lipstick Traces” by UFO is less well known than some of the other sad instrumental guitar songs, but it’s just as brilliant as any of them. Virtuoso Michael Schenker was with the band at the time when this song was recorded, and his expressive ability with the instrument is on full display.
- Joe Satriani recorded a lot of great instrumental music, including several sad songs, but his best has been “Tears in the Rain.” This acoustic piece has a Spanish flair, and melodically it conveys a sense of terrible isolation.
- Chopin’s “Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 1 In B flat Minor” is a great piece of sad instrumental piano music. He was one of the best composers of all time, and he created many melancholy pieces of music, but none compares to this one.
- Guitarist Steve Vai has a great ability to convey emotion with his music, and the song “Blue Powder” is the best example of him conveying sadness. The song is an exhibition of tremendous skill in blues phrasing, mixed with minor sounding classical melodies.
- The appropriately titled “Sorrow” by Yngwie Malmsteen rounds out our list. The guitarist has mostly been known for his speed on the instrument, but this song displays the emotional depth he is truly capable of.