And as "Superman" came on the screen, I swear to God, if you listen carefully, it literally, the music speaks the word.
A type of Mood Motif
that was traditionally used in medieval Europe to celebrate the arrival of a royal person
. The form usually involved trumpets played in a bombastic and stirring manner.
Today, it is still present in music as a form of celebrating something. A fanfare today also uses brass instruments, or the closest digital music equivalent, and if not bombastic, it is still meant to be stirring and uplifting.
A Sister Trope
to Victorious Chorus
Compare Orchestral Bombing
, Dramatic Timpani
, Drum Roll Please
, Ermine Cape Effect
(having the same effect for royalty, but with clothes).
Contrast Losing Horns
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Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- This has been around for about as long as film had original music. Studios tried to have a fanfare as their theme, but only 20th Century Fox's theme has lasted.
- The Universal Logo, composed by the late, great Jerry Goldsmith is nothing short of EPIC.
- The Warner Bros. one made a brief return in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (though within the movie itself, and not the opening). It was also once used in synthesized form for the Warner Home Video logo. Warner nowadays uses an excerpt of "As Time Goes By", though it appears more on their TV logo than on movies.
- Paramount has one that's rarely used except in their home video releases.
- John Williams is fond of this.
- At this point we really should acknowledge Maurice Murphy, principal trumpeter of the London Symphony Orchestra at the time they recorded the original Star Wars score. John Williams was so impressed by Murphy's "heroic brass sound" that he personally asked for him as lead trumpet on several of his film scores, including all the rest of the Star Wars series.
- Parts of the theme to The Last Starfighter.
- Miklós Rózsa and his magnum opus music for Ben Hur. Seriously, he out-fanfares John Williams in the fanfare department.
- Independence Day
- Elmer Bernstein also made some memorable fanfares.
- The theme to Tombstone is on the dramatic end of this, but still has the elements.
- Star Trek
- Humperdinck's entrance in The Princess Bride gets a sinister fanfare.
- The background trumpets of "Comedy Tonight" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Forum counts, or at least does during the final reprise.
- The stage version has fanfares heralding the grandiose entrance of Miles Gloriosus. A portion of the following song ("Bring Me My Bride") is recognizable in the fanfare that opens the show.
- In The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, a fanfare is played for the Grand Vizier of Marabia.
- In The Three Musketeers (1973), a fanfare is to be played for the King of France. One of the Musketeers (D'Artagnan?) needs a distraction, so he tries to play the fanfare and fails badly. However, the other musicians think it's time and play the fanfare correctly.
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold's composed several for The Adventures of Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn version).
- The opening of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
- Hilariously parodied in Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
- First, there's the scene where the Sheriff and the soldiers ride up to Robin after his castle gets taken by the repo guys, where the fanfare is the soldiers miming trumpet noise.
- Later when an actual trumpet fanfare is played directly into Prince John's ears at full blast.
- The Galaxy Quest theme.
- The James Bond scores of John Barry are practically made of fanfare.
- The Fellowship theme in The Lord of the Rings; as well as the themes for Rohan and Gondor, appropriately.
- How the West Was Won
- Despite being labeled as a march in the title, the main theme from Captain America: The First Avenger (called the Captain America March) certainly opens as a fanfare.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
- The famous theme tune for Hawaii Five-O. The 2010 remake Hawaii Five-0 at first attempted a techno remix, but the backlash was intense. So, the producers brought back most of the original band members for a much closer version that stays a Fanfare!
- The original Battlestar Galactica Instrumental Theme Tune. Reused in the 2003 revival as the Colonial Anthem.
- The first season opening credits of Space: 1999 start with a grand fanfare, heralding the arrival of... Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
- "Song of the High Seas", the Instrumental Theme Tune from Victory at Sea.
- Airwolf has a massive fanfare as part of its opening theme.
- As does the opening theme of that other Donald P. Bellisario creation named JAG.
- One of Mystery Science Theater 3000's Running Gags involves someone (usually Tom Servo) announcing "The King approaches!" in a pompous tone of voice whenever the movie plays a fanfare.
- Popular with British TV companies for their opening logos, particularly in the 1960s-80s. Anglia Television, ATV, Channel Four, LWT, Rediffusion, Thames, TVS and Yorkshire Television all used fanfares at one time or another. Hilarious in the US, where many viewers exposure to British programming was limited to Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Benny Hill Show. The stirring fanfare of Thames Television was followed by a half-hour of watching a pudgy guy chase half-naked women around.
- Entertainment Tonight, composed by Michael Mark.
- The Theme Tune for Lois and Clark, clearly inspired by the John Williams score from the Superman movie.
- Several Leitmotifs in Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle have a fanfare-like character, such as the Sword motif and the Valkyries' theme (exploited in the famous "Ride of the Valkyries"). Of Siegfried's two themes, one is only slightly fanfare-like; the other (the famous horn call) is much more so.
- The theme to Masterpiece Theatre is actually an old piece titled "Fanfare for trumpets, timpani, violins and oboes". It's on the more relaxing and graceful end, but it is a fanfare.
- The Triumphal Chorus from Verdi's Aida.
- Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. Composed in WWII, it even got a rock version by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
- Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada has the "Procession of the Nobles".
- The Moody Blues' Days of Future Past.
- Mirdautas Vras by Summoning. Perhaps the only example of a fanfare for a villain. Listen here.
- Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" opens with a fanfare that is repeated at intervals, though the main body of the piece relies rather more heavily on strings than the other examples here.
- In settings of the Requiem Mass, "Tuba mirum" is a good place to look for fanfares combined with Ominous Latin Chanting. Mozart's only has a relatively tame trombone solo, but the Berlioz and Verdi Requiems pile on the brass magnificently.
- Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien opens with the reveille call that he heard while on vacation in Spain.
- Gustav Mahler's music is filled with fanfares and marches, thanks to growing up in a town with a barracks.
- "Fanfare" from Kiss' Music From The Elder.
- John Williams again, for his Olympic Fanfare and Theme. He has made other contributions to the Olympics in years to come; this one was his first.
- Camelot has a recurring fanfare derived from the title song ("Ca-me-lot!").
- Of Thee I Sing has a trumpet fanfare derived from its title song, which plays before various important entrances and announcements. This is subverted in the final scene by Rule of Three.
- Da-da-da-DAH! Arguably the best overture of a musical ever written, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy revolves around four notes and four central words: "I had a dream!"
- Similarly, the overture of Leonard Berstein's version is so epic and widely regarded it is performed by symphonies as a modern classical piece completely separate from the musical. Its opening fanfare is instantly recognizable.
- There's also the Governor's fanfare, derived from his song "My Love", and a shofar-like Inquisition fanfare which sounds quite scary.
- The aptly-named Victory Fanfare, which has appeared in almost every game of the Final Fantasy series.
- The Dragon Quest overture (especially obvious in VIII).
- "The Musashi Legend" from Brave Fencer Musashi. Listen to it here.
- The theme to Golden Sun.
- Part of the Baldur's Gate 2 main theme, from about 0:15 to 0:50 here.
- In Luftrausers, the normal wubs in the soundtrack will eventually change to a synthetic fanfare sounds while you hear an army marching in the background. It does really give you the War Is Glorious feel of the game, while you mow down enemies as an ace dogfighter.
- The victory music in the first Star Fox game.
- The victory tune in Capcom's Knights of the Round. Oddly, it's just the SNES port, not the arcade version, which sounds more like chimes than trumpets.
- Chrono Trigger
- "Lucca's Theme." In fact, one of the things that annoyed some gamers about Cross was that even though that tune was upgraded to a full victory tune, and given two remixes, both of them slowed the tempo down.
- A different sort of fanfare is "Courage and Pride", the castle theme — there is a remix of it that plays it as it would be in "real life", outdoors with chattering voices.
- The theme to The Legend of Zelda series may have been intended as a fanfare at first, but the audio limitations of the Famicom/NES made it difficult to make clear. The The Legend of Zelda series made it clear that the theme is a fanfare, and was also played as one in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. The is also the major item-finding cues in the games.
- From 1:40 onward, "The Greatest Journey" from Halo 3 is a Fanfare version of the original Halo Theme.
- Rise of Nations plays victorious fanfares whenever you're winning a battle, as well as during the victory debriefing screen.
- Kessen is absolutely overloaded with sweeping fanfares, both for victory and for battles. Kessen III replaced some of the fanfares with odd rock/techno orchestral mixes though, which sort of worked, but didn't make your hair stand on end like some previous songs in the series did.
- Cave Story has "item acquired" and "boss defeated" fanfares.
- The victory music (especially the "defended town" one) in Heroes of Might and Magic III.
- Numerous games released by Apogee Software in the early-to-mid 90s opened with a screen displaying the company's logo accompanied by the "Apogee Fanfare."
- The title screen music for the original Pokémon has been a recurring fanfare and main theme for the series. There are few various victory fanfares as well, but this is without the most recognizable one from the games.
- Super Mario Bros. has the music played whenever Mario/Luigi touches a flagpole at the end of a level. A different fanfare is used at the end of each Castle level after he defeats a Fake Bowser (or the real one at the end of the final level) and rescues a Toad (or Princess Peach, again at the end of the final level).
- The Classic Mega Man games feature jingles used when introducing the Robot Master bosses and after defeating them. The pieces frequently used for this originate respectively from the original game and its sequel. The individual iterations also feature their own fanfare, such as the weapon obtained, password/load/save, and fortress map screens.
- Mother 3 has "LOG-O-TYPE," which plays at the conclusion of the prologue. It later becomes the Leitmotif of the Pigmask Army rearranged as "His Highness' Theme."
- Fallout has always had a subdued ambient soundtrack, so the short drumroll and fanfare that plays when you level up might not seem very amazing, but in context of the game, it is nothing short of triumphant.
- Listen to the theme that first plays when a character is promoted in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and swell with pride. It doesn't matter who you are or even if you've ever played this game... You'll find a reason to be proud.
- Wing Commander has an especially memorable one as its main theme. In the second game, the Kilrathi get an evil minor-key fanfare of their own.
- And Great Revival from the Ace Attorney series also qualifies. Even if you weren't a fan of Edgeworth, this song got your attention.
- The openings to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and She-Ra: Princess of Power.
- Justice League
- The show has one, enhanced by the fact that there is a few seconds of darkness as the fanfare begins, before the outlines of the heroes slowly come into view.
- The old Superman and Batman: TAS themes also come in whenever Superman or Batman do something incredible; like Batman taking on Kalibak.
- Beast Wars introduced the character of Silverbolt in its second season. His statements concerning his honor code, and knightly actions were often accompanied by a medieval-style fanfare. Even his first appearance has him silhouetted in the moon as his fanfare played.
- From Season 2 on (when they started Flash animation), Johnny Test overused fanfares.
- TaleSpin has one that plays during the heroic and triumphant moments.
- The Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud is the most famous of the various songs used as themes for the Olympic Games. The version linked was arranged by John Williams and added to the beginning of his Olympic Fanfare Medley, which as indicated by the title follows it up with a fanfare of Williams' own.
- Williams' "Summon the Heroes", the 1996 Atlanta Olympic theme, also draws heavily on the fanfare.