Created By: Rikun on January 25, 2010 Last Edited By: Oreochan on February 25, 2012

Sad Violin Music

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Trope
An extremely common trope where somebody is recounting a painful story, having a tragic flashback, or is overall in a very sad mood. Whenever one wants to punctuate a feeling of sadness, tragic music is played in the background and it will usually be a violin. Though it is often used as just plain background music, this trope is often lampshaded and parodied by the presence of an actual violinist who happens to be behind our protagonists during their moment of tragedy.

Examples

Anime And Manga

Film

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • January 25, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    A somewhat different but related trope is where a character plays an imaginary violin in order to mockingly suggest that another character is whining. e.g. in this Reservoir Dogs quote:
    [rubbing his thumb and forefinger together]
    Mr. Pink: Do you know what this is? It's the world's smallest violin playing just for the waitresses.

    Probably would want to split these...
  • January 25, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    The violin will usually play "Hearts and Flowers," as noted on the Standard Snippet page.
  • January 25, 2010
    Worlder
    Sarcastically known as "World's Smallest Violin".
  • January 25, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Once on SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Krabs actually does play the world's smallest violin.
  • January 25, 2010
    Evalana
    In the original Pound Puppies TV Special, Cooler has a fancy dinner with Violet, a new arrival, complete with candles and a violinist. While offscreen for a little while, the violinist immediately jumps into action when Violet starts to cry and begins to tell Cooler how she ended up in the pound.
  • January 25, 2010
    Chabal2
    I've seen this evoked as "Stop the violins, I'm going to cry". Apparently this was the pre-Linkin Park version of playing "CRAWWWWWWWLING IN MY SKIIIIIIIIN" at emo(ting) people.
  • January 25, 2010
    Antigone2
    Would "Ashokan Farewell" count as a straight example? It's the title music for Ken Burns' miniseries "The Civil War".
  • February 6, 2010
    Pontifex
    I've noticed that slow piano music is also fairly common. Example: This Song plays in Mass Effect after the mission on Virmire, where Commander Shepard is forced to sacrifice one of his companions.

    Another piano example: The beginning of the song Everything You Ever from Dr. Horrible.

    Also, I would recommend the name "Sad Music of Sadness."

  • February 6, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Sad Music of Sadness would go under Mood Motif for violin. But yeah, I think the "My heart bleeds for you" violin thing is tropeable on its own.
  • February 6, 2010
    CAD
    I think the lampshading is Sorry I Left The BGM On.
  • February 6, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Seen in some anime and rpgs. You hear a lone violin, over a sad scene. Grandia loves this trope.
  • February 7, 2010
    TripleElation
    Oh wow, Naruto spams this trope to oblivion. It features violins bawling their strings out to such an extent of woe and despair that a few years ago an Israeli news station snagged one of the tracks ("Grief and sorrow") wholesale for a fallen soldiers' remembrance day special on national TV. (Notably that one cheats by also relying on piano; the series also has something for sobbing violin purists.)
  • February 7, 2010
    Ambious
    I can't recall exactly where this happened, but I remember this being lampshaded, as in 'cue in the sad violin music' or 'I hear violins, means somebody's dead' or stuff like that.
  • February 7, 2010
    Clevomon
  • February 7, 2010
    Arivne
    Film
    [Sad violin music plays]
    John Slade: Ma'am, how is he?
    Woman: He's dead, can't you hear the music?
  • February 7, 2010
    Clevomon
    Related to the Lonely Piano Piece.
  • February 7, 2010
    TripleElation
    The trope Playing The Heart Strings seems to have a red link to Violin Of Woe, which I think would be a good title here.
  • February 7, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • In the The Goodies Christmas Special "The Goodies and the Beanstalk", Tim Brooke-Taylor starts moping once they all become poor and Hearts and Flowers starts up. It turns out to be Grahame Garden playing the violin.
  • February 12, 2010
    Evalana
    In the South Park episode "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes," when Mr. Farkle tells the boys that he has to close his shop because he can't compete with Wall-Mart, Cartman pulls out a little violin and starts playing. Kyle tells him to stop, but Cartman insists he just felt like playing the violin. A little later, when Kyle starts talking about all the other people who have lost their jobs due to Wall-Mart, Cartman pulls it out again. This time, Kyle pulls it out of his hands and breaks it, but Cartman is unphased, saying he can get another one at Wall-Mart for five bucks.
  • February 13, 2010
    Chabal2
    Mozart's Lacrymosa.
  • February 13, 2010
    DhanaRagnarok
    In One Piece, Bink's no Sake do the job when Bartholomew Kuma separated the Mugiwaras by sending them in every corner of the world
  • August 8, 2010
    Evalana
  • May 3, 2011
    DarthHowie
    This needs to be launched. I will launch it myself soon if someone else doesn't.
  • August 14, 2011
    regresal
    bumped
  • August 14, 2011
    CaveCat
    This was also used in Scooby-Doo Meets The Boo Brothers.
  • August 15, 2011
    FallOffAClift
    Mention Worlds Smallest Violin. This gets done with orchestral music very often, the effect is somewhat subtler but it always has violins in there carrying the melody. Rarely it's the same obviously melancholic type of melody, but executed by a lone guitar or flute.
  • January 2, 2012
    Oreochan
    Bump.
  • January 6, 2012
    Oreochan
    Gonna go add examples now since it's up for grabs now.
  • January 9, 2012
    ScanVisor
    Obviously this is a staple of soundtracks, but Yoko Shimomura can take this to new extremes in terms of sheer sadness. "Musique Pour La Tristesse De Xion". Sadness indeed.
  • January 9, 2012
    Oreochan
    I'm going to go pm the sponsor to see if they want.
  • January 14, 2012
    FallOffAClift
    The overture to Of Thee I Sing has a short violin solo whose tune appears in the show as Diana's lament, "I was the most beautiful blossom in all the Southland."
  • February 25, 2012
    FallOffAClift
    An example from Bleach, Renji's soliloquy after he is defeated by Ichigo has very sad background music accompanying it featuring violins prominently. I think this theme shows up a few other times too in the show.
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