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Cherubic Choir
"Expensive horror films have more expensive theme tunes, like choirs of small children going, 'Aah-AAH-aah-aah-AAH-aah, I died tragically, la, la,la.'"

Children singing, giving an encouraging and positive feel to the scene. The choir is usually dominated by boy sopranos. A Cherubic Choir normally means that the good guys are in the middle of triumphing, though sometimes it just indicates we're done with the tense part. It can also imply a sort of divine endorsement of what's happening. Often a Theme Music Power-Up.

Sometimes it's Ominous Latin Chanting without the Ominous part; just put it in a major key instead of a minor. Cherubic Choirs tend to be in something other than the native language, possible as a kind of musical lorem ipsum (i.e. deliberately unintelligible to keep your focus on the sound, not on the words) and of course in keeping with the Rule of Cool.

Contrast Creepy Children Singing, where creepy songs and nursery rhymes are played in the background to add tension and fear to a scene.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Film
  • Used heavily in The Lord of the Rings movies: for instance, when Gandalf escapes Orthanc.
  • Les Choristes is a movie about a Cherubic Choir formed by Clément Mathieu in order to Save Our Students; the choir also doubles as a way to highlight his resistantly cheerful attitude.
  • At the end of Star Wars Episode I, children sing a major-key version of the ominous Emperor's theme.
  • The "ice dance" theme from Edward Scissorhands.
  • In Batman Returns children are singing right as baby Penguin's parents are about to dump him in the sewer.
  • Used in Blood Diamond in the song "London", which features a children's choir doing a call-and-response section with the main singer. The group singing is the Kenya Boys Choir.
  • Hannibal - The choir Libera contributes to at least five out of twelve of the movie's soundtrack tracks.
  • The London Oratory School Schola has contributed to at least seven movies.
  • Empire of the Sun opens with one singing, the main character played by Christian Bale being a member of a church choir. The vocals were dubbed by an actual boy soprano.
  • Sparse but dramatic examples as the astronauts of Apollo 13 re-enter the Earth's atmosphere while the whole world watches on. More prominent after they safely splash down.

Live-Action TV
  • The Wire's theme song (Tom Waits' "Down in the Hole") was sung by a different artist each season. Season 4 used a Boy's Choir, since the season's theme is the decrepit west Baltimore school system and the young men it fails to help.
  • The theme music for Mr. Bean - "Ecce homo qui est faba" or "Behold the man who is a bean."
  • Parodied on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Ned believes that when he sees the girl who is The One, she'll have light glowing behind her, and angels will sing. Ned does see that with Moze, but it's really the kids from the music room who are waiting for Gordy to fix the lights in there. At the end, light and angelic singing appear with Moze again, but this time it's not just the kids in the music room, or lights being moved by Gordy.

Music
  • Gustav Mahler's Third and Eighth Symphonies.
  • Subverted by Rammstein in "Spieluhr".
  • The Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" with The (London) Bach Choir.
  • The Pink Floyd song "Another Brick in the Wall" with the Islington Green School choir.
    • Also, "Outside The Wall" from the same album, with Roger Waters speaking the lyrics over the choir.
  • The entire boychoir genre, with some of the best known examples including the Vienna Boys Choir, the Choir of Kings College Cambridge, and Libera.
  • Subverted with Yo La Tengo's cover of Sun Ra's "Nuclear War", which features a positively ecstatic choir of adorable little children yelling the chorus:
    It's a motherfucker, don't you know!
    When they push that button, yo' ass gotta go!
  • Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera opens with a choir of children singing from Mozart's The Magic Flute.
  • Anberlin's song, "*Fin" has a boys choir helping out with the finale.
  • There are several Dutch songs that use a children choir with interesting lyrics.
    • Robert Long: "Het spijt me John Lennon (I'm sorry, John Lennon)". The children do the background with wonderful lyrics such as 'murder and manslaughter' 'still children are dying'. It's actual a sort of protest song about us still doing bad stuff to other humans and ignoring the suffering of other people.
    • Piet van Vliet: "Zwarte p, witte l (Black p, white l)". It's a reference to chocolate letters. It can also be understood as black pete, white dick which is completely intentional. The children come in somewhere after the middle to take over the chorus. 'He's a black pete, but has a white l, and if you don't like it, your mother sure does' (It's difficult to translate)
    • "Bolletjes in mijn hol (Little balls up my bum)". It's about rectal drug smuggling and they're not subtle. The children take the chorus over after the middle. It translates roughly as: 'Yes I have little balls up my bum, I'm completely stuffed, whistling past the the checkpoint with my fully loaded anus'
  • Garbage's "Not Your Kind of People", featuring the daughters of two bandmembers.
  • Ride's song "I Don't Know Where It Comes From" from Carnival of Light.

Pinball

Radio

Sports

Video Games
  • The theme of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Royal Chapel, "Requiem of the Gods," consists of this trope and organ music, appropriately enough.
  • Medal of Honor: Frontline: The music in the "Rough Landing" and "Arnhem Knights" levels. In both cases, it induces Soundtrack Dissonance, and in the latter, the good guys are losing.
  • At the end of Ōkami, when Amaterasu regains her power.
  • The music that plays during the final battle against the Chandelier superweapon in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is performed by a boys' choir with Ominous English Chanting. Perhaps a rare twist on this trope, as the music (and gameplay) is clearly meant to paint the whole scenario as a tragedy. In other words, it's like a solemn lament to the necessity of one last, desperate battle to take out a superweapon raining death on a country that has already won the war, forcing the soldiers to fight one last battle to secure the peace they've been longing for all this time.
  • Nippon Ichi is really fond of this trope for their good endings. To whit:
  • The True Final Boss battle music in Mushihime Sama. Talk about Soundtrack Dissonance. The regular edition of Futari averts this, but Black Label plays it straight again.
  • At the best ending of Myst III: Exile, a boy soprano sings as the (redeemed) antagonist goes home to see his family after 20 years of separation. It is suggested that the singer is the villain as a young boy singing about his beloved Age, Narayan.
  • The intro music of Gran Turismo 4 is a choral version of the series theme, "Moon over the Castle".
  • The Opening Theme of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a choral remake of the original NES opening theme.
  • Also subverted by the "Theme of Law" in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where the angels' heavenly choir (which later becomes Zelenin's Song) is disturbing and eerie.
  • "The Prophet's Ascension" from C&C4. The music plays as Kane enters a portal that brings him and his followers to the stars, "ascending" like he promised.
  • "You Were There", the closing song of Ico, feature a song sung by Libera boy chorister Steven Geraghty.
  • MOTHER 1: The game's Sound Stone, the Eight Melodies, is one of these in its OST interpretation. This song was used in the 1989 commercial for the game.
  • The Dark Mirror version of Syphon Filter's main theme.
  • Mario Kart 64 of all games employs this with Bowser's Castle and the end credits.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins' main theme, 'Le Ali Del Principio', has a nine-year-old girl (the daughter of the composer, Motoi Sakuraba) singing lyrics in Italian. It's mostly used as a Theme Music Power-Up or for big reveals.
  • Bayonetta has a few of these, a joyful one sung during the Mook Debut Cutscenes, and two melancholic yet incredibly relaxing ones during the Paradiso levels.
  • Used extensively in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams to drive home the innocent-children theme of the game. It's most prominent in "When the Night Falls," the hub world. The same vocal sounds are later used in Sonic Lost World's Desert Ruins Zone 3, which has a candy motif.

Western Animation
  • Played wonderfully in The Prince of Egypt, when the Exodus is occurring and the Israelites are leaving Egypt. In the musical background, groups of children are singing a song of praise to God in Hebrew.
    • The music and animation in this scene work well in sync. At the beginning of the children's choir, the Israelites are unsure, as though they cannot believe that they are indeed being delivered from their bondage. Slowly, as the tempo picks up and more voices join in, we start seeing children playing in the road. A girl offers an elderly woman a hand. Moses ends up carrying two kids who are hanging from his staff as he balances it on his shoulders. People start laughing. Some people break out drum-heads and other musical instruments. Young women start dancing. By the end of the chorus we've gone from uncertainty to jubilation.
  • The song "Once Upon a Time With Me" by Florence Warner Jones on the Once Upon a Forest soundtrack.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes has a Recurring Extra called The Ah Guy, whose sole purpose is to provide one of these at the appropriate moments.
  • James Horner employs this in The Land Before Time
    • This was used in almost all of Don Bluth's films.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The scene where Esmeralda frees Quasimodo from the torture wheel.
  • Parodied in an episode of Johnny Bravo, when Johnny sees an ad for something he just happens to need at the moment. Cut to ad. choir starts singing, cut back to Johnny, with the choir standing behind him.


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