13 Hours Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Duet Bonding

You can see the sparks flying.
Battle isn't the only way to make friends. Sometimes, you don't need an instrument of destruction to get someone on your side — you just need an instrument.

Duet Bonding happens any time a pair of people become a little closer because they play music together. This can lead to a new Love Interest, or just help them get to know each other a bit better. The piano is the most often used instrument, probably because the pair needs to sit close together to play.

A sub-trope of Let's Duet. See also Dance of Romance, Love at First Note. May introduce a Love Theme.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pictured above, Kahoko Hino and Len Tsukimori from Kin'iro no Corda, playing their first duet together (yes, there is more after that).
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Quatre and Trowa play a duet shortly after meeting, which cements the friendship they'll have for the rest of the series (and drives the shippers nuts).
    • The music of the duet is titled on the soundtrack as 'Sparkling Harmony,' under the subtitle 'Affection.' It's not hard to read between the lines.
  • Nodame Cantabile is essentially all about this.
  • At least two instances in Ojamajo Doremi — Doremi has one with Hazuki (Doremi on piano and Hazuki on violin) and another with her little sister Pop (both playing piano).
  • Hibiki and Kanade play piano together to improve their teamwork early in Suite Pretty Cure ♪.
  • In Maria-sama ga Miteru, one of the ways in which Sachiko tries to convince Yumi to become her soeur is by playing a piano piece with her, which bears all the hallmarks of a romantic courtship.
  • Your Lie in April features this with pianist Kousei Arima and violinist Kaori Miyazono. As revealed in the finale, she even switched from violin to piano so that they could play together like this.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • A variant occurs in the animated film Alpha and Omega; wolf couples seem to bond over duet howling/dancing/singing, who knew?
  • In Corpse Bride, after Victor offends the eponymous bride, they make up by playing a piano duet together.
  • A very memorable scene from Whisper of the Heart featuring a boy, a girl and Country Roads.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The piano scene in Big.
  • In Get Over It, the main character and his new love interest play piano together to show that they are getting closer. However, he can only play twinkle-twinkle little star, and she's an expert— she improvises while he struggles along.
  • Subverted in Deliverance— after the famous "Dueling Banjos" scene, Drew goes to shake the boy's hand; he is snubbed.
  • Nearly literal version in Walk Hard - the double-entendre duet of "Let's Duet."
  • In The Holiday Iris and Miles bond over composing "Arthur's theme" on a piano together.
  • Once practically revolves around the romantic bond formed through playing music together.
  • In Electric Dreams, Madeline is rehearsing her cello when the Instant A.I., Just Add Water in the next room begins duetting with her through the air vent. She thinks it's the human who lives in the apartment, and they begin a relationship.
  • The river scene in The Dark Crystal where Kira is singing and Jen is playing the flute. Jen also bonds with the podlings by joining in with their jig.
  • Basically the premise of Music and Lyrics (only actually writing the song, not just performing it together.)
  • Although they were already friends, the end of the Apartheid-based film Serafina has the title character and her male friend perform a duet they had been planning for the entire movie for a school concert. The problem is, by this point, their school has been burned down by the white police, so they're performing for an invisible audience in the rubble.
  • Troy and Gabriella of High School Musical become acquainted by singing karaoke in front of a crowd of people. Later, they bond some more when they practice to become the leads in the school play.
  • In Duets, Liv finally bonds with her up until then jerkass estranged father when he calls her up on stage during a karaoke competition so that they can sing a duet of her deceased mother's favorite song: Cruisin' by Smokie Robinson. The odd couple of the drugged-up ex-salesman Todd and the recently released ex-convict Reggie's friendship begins to blossom when they share a duet of Try a Little Tenderness.
  • A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! (the Live-Action Adaptation of The Fairly Oddparents) has "Looking Like Magic", a song sung by Timmy and Tootie's actors, accompany the characters' Falling in Love Montage.
  • In Au revoir les enfants Jean and Julien bond over playing a piano duet while an air raid alert is going on.

  • Happens in the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair. The protagonist and another man play a literal piano duet, both playing the same piano at the same time but different parts of the piece. Not a straight-up example, because the two had been lovers in the past, but they weren't together at the time.
  • Played with in Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay.
  • Aubrey-Maturin has the title characters do this quite often. Aubrey plays violin; Maturin plays cello. And, uh, Does This Remind You of Anything??:
    [H]e was particularly attentive in laying out the sheets, pouring Stephen another glass of wine, and, when they began, in so playing that his violin helped the 'cello, yielding to it in those minute ways perceptive to those who are deep in their music if to few others.[... T]hey carried straight on without a pause, separating, joining, answering one another, with never a hesitation nor a false note until the full satisfaction of the end.
  • In Victorian era fantasy novel Darkness Visible, Lewis plays the piano, and Marsh the violin. Both are experts, and the first time Lewis offers to play a duet with Marsh it is a clear sign that their relationship has changed. They go on to play together many times, using the music as a much-needed emotional release when neither of them can express themselves in words.
  • In Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game, when the protagonist Josef Knecht is still a young boy, the Music Master himself comes to examine if he's eligible to be educated in the elite schools. He does it by making the young Josef play music together with him. Thereafter they practically make a baroque-style version of what jazz musicians usually call "jam session", using a popular song as the basic theme. After this, the Music Master explicitly tells to Josef that making music together is the easiest way to create a friendship.

    Live Action TV 
  • This was the only way Ted and Stephanie could communicate for a while in Scrubs, until Ted grew a pair.
  • In one of the last episodes of Battlestar Galactica Starbuck plays the piano with a pianist she previously disliked and it help her to come to terms with her past.
  • In Glee this is how Jesse seduces Rachel when they first meet. And then again when Jesse returns to McKinley.
    • Glee loves this trope, especially with Rachel. Two other examples include Mercedes and Rachel resolving a feud while singing "Take Me or Leave Me", and Blaine solidifying his foray into bisexuality with Rachel with "Don't You Want Me."
      • Blaine does it again, this time with Kurt - their rampant flirtation solidifies with "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and "Candles", which takes place right after their Relationship Upgrade, is an entire song of them staring dopily and dreamily into each others' eyes like they can't believe they've just found each other.
      • Blaine even hangs a lampshade on the Candles duet; right before the Big Damn Kiss he flat out tells Kurt that the duet would be an excuse to spend more time with him.
    • Invoked and averted simultaneously. While temporarily the coach Finn orders this for two pairs of members who are at odds with each other. While Marley does seem to like Kitty just a little more after their cover of Holding Out For A Hero its clear at the end that Kitty might be/probably is faking. As for Jake/Ryder, Jake and Ryder end up in a fight during their rendition of Superman, forcing Finn to deal with it.
    • Rachel also had a duet with her mother (Lady Gaga's song "Poker Face") when she found out who she was.
    • Community mocks Glee's use of the trope - Troy and Annie's Buffy Speak-laden attempt is thwarted by Shirley.
    • And also subverted when Rachel and Mr. Shuester sing a duet overlaid with each character's internal monologues about each other. Rachel suddenly realizes that Mr. Shuester isn't so bad, and that they have a real connection. Mr. Shuester suddenly realizes that Rachel has had the aforementioned thought process.
  • It happens on Victorious a few times, mainly with Tori and Andre.
    • And once with Jade and Andre. To the point he developed a crush on her.
  • Austin & Ally: Austin has to try to defy this trope because he mistakes her crush on the cellphone accessory cart guy that he read about in her Secret Diary for himself. So he starts refusing to practice with her in private. Played straight when Austin and Ally perform "Don't Look Down" and "You Can Come To Me"
  • Emily and Paige from Pretty Little Liars become closer after singing a duet version of Pink's "So What".
  • Happens on several occasions in Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, the EMH realizes that he has a crush on Seven of Nine while they are practicing Seven's singing abilities.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data bonds with his "mother" (the wife of his creator) via a violin duet. We get a first hint that she is not what she seems by the fact that not only Data, but she too can play inhumanly precise and fast...
    • In Lessons Picard bonded with Lt. Nella Daren over a duet where he played his Ressikan flute and she played a small portable piano. One of the duets ends in their first kiss.



    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Happened in Arthur, where a piano duet stops Arthur's grudge against his cousin.
  • Played straight than inverted with Stewie and Olivia on Family Guy.
  • In the Jem episode "The Bands Break Up", Kimber and Stormer from rival groups Jem and the Holograms and The Misfits each have a falling out with their respective bands. They find themselves in a bar and are persuaded to sing a song together called "I'm Okay". They find that they make a pretty good duo and decide to continue singing together for a while. Status Quo Is God, however, and they both go back to their bands at the end of the episode, but they become friendlier to each other.