main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Leitmotif: Real L Ife
  • Believe it or not, but this was a common occurrence for actual people during the American Civil War. Composers from both sides of the war wrote and published many songs honoring individual politicians, generals, and victorious campaigns, including—
  • Every new U.S. President gets treated to Hail To The Chief.
  • Every U.S. Military General and Admiral also gets a relatively simple series of ruffles and flourishes (which are played on drums and bugles, respectively), one of each per star (4 for a full General/Admiral, 3 for a Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral, etc.).
    • The President, incidentally, also gets four ruffles and flourishes...followed by "Hail to the Chief."
  • Individual warships can have a "Ship's Song," usually either as an appropriated popular song with some symbolic connection to the ship, or lyrics set to the tune of another song. Sometimes, an original composition is created by composers or artists in honor of the ship.
  • Close your eyes and imagine a wedding. See the bride walking down the aisle? Now, what do you hear?
  • Now that you're done with that, imagine a circus. There's a good chance that you might think of Entry of The Gladiators by Julius Fucik.
  • American high school and college graduates begin their ceremonies with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D.
  • Don Rickles apparently gets La Virgen De La Macarena as a leitmotiv.
  • National anthems
  • Service hymns, such as The Air Force Song or the Marines' Hymn can often be heard at parades or official functions.
  • Despite being about the First Patriotic War, when Napoleon was driven out of Russia in a brutal winter campaign, and including leitmotifs from both God Save The Tsar and La Marseillaise, the 1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsiy is still used to denote Independence Day in the United States. For added Irony-points, the version used is often the post-1917 version, which replaces the leitmotif from God Save The Tsar with one from Slavsya Rus, by Mikhail Glinka. This arrangement was one promoted by the Soviet Union, so as to avoid having to expose their citizenry to God Save The Tsar.
  • Beethoven's 5th Symphony was appropriated as a Leit Motif for the Western Allies in World War II for a number of reasons. The first bar matched the Morse Code for the letter V (dot-dot-dot-dash). V was for Victory, and the two fingered hand gesture popularized by Churchill. The propaganda value of Germany's greatest composer was being used against Germany was not lost, either.
Western AnimationLeitmotif    

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy