Instrumental Theme Tune

A Theme Tune without lyrics. Often, there is some attempt to thematically match the instrumentals to the tone of the show; a noble, orchestral theme for high drama, something brassy and mysterious for Speculative Fiction, something fast and powerful for an Adventure Series, something quirky and odd for a comedy show. Often, such a theme tune will be adapted from an obscure old symphony piece.

Far and away the most common style of Theme Tune for American drama series.

Note that some Instrumental Theme Tunes actually possess Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Adventures of Kotetsu
  • The anime adaptation of Axis Powers Hetalia has an orchestral opening theme.
  • Baccano!! has Gun's & Roses by Paradise Lunch.
  • Cowboy Bebop's theme song, "Tank", has a few spoken words in the beginning, but is mostly a Charles Mingus-esque big-band jazz number.
  • Crest of the Stars and its sequels use a brass-heavy symphonic theme.
  • Deltora Quest (the American version only)
  • Devil May Cry: The Animated Series has "d.m.c." by rungran for its opening song, NOT to be confused with Run-D.M.C..
  • Divergence Eve has a lyric-less metal/techno/rock opening.
  • Bruce Faulconer's score for the American dub of Dragon Ball Z contains several highly awesome character theme tunes, spawning the release of several albums and hundreds of fan-created bootleg tracks. Notable examples include "Vegeta's Theme", "Perfect Cell's Theme" and "SSJ3 Powerup".
  • Fushigi Yuugi has some instrumentals itself, but in a subversion: What seems like the backing track to an Image Song with lyrics is actually an entirely different song. (i.e. "Inoru You Ni Aishiteru"/"Romantic", "Ai To Iu Na No Tatakai Ni"/"Sassou To...", "I Wish"/"Music Box")
  • Gungrave's theme song, "Family".
  • Like Cowboy Bebop above, Gunsmith Cats also opens its episodes with a jazzy instrumental.
  • GUN×SWORD opens with what can only be described as a spaghetti western theme played with traditional Japanese instruments.
  • Haibane Renmei's "Free Bird", later becoming a Leitmotif.
  • The Marvel Anime adaptations of Iron Man and Wolverine both have instrumental rock themes as opening and ending songs.
  • There are several versions of the theme song of Lupin III, both instrumental (the majority, including the original second-series one) and vocal (the second opening of the second series, and various Lupin-related jazz albums). The original 1971 series had a completely different theme, but it's not as memorable, and hasn't been used since the new one was written in 1977.
  • Monster
  • Najica Blitz Tactics has a jazzy/big band instrumental opening theme.
  • The OVA of Read or Die opens with an instrumental piece that sounds like a James Bond homage.
  • Robotech featured an instrumental theme by composer Ulpio Minucci, which helped distinguish the series from those of the decade and hinted at the show's ambitions.
  • The American release of Speed Grapher uses an instrumental opening theme ("Shutter Speed"), though the Japanese release uses Duran Duran's "Girls on Film".
  • Streetfighter IIV (the American version only)
  • Trigun has, essentially, a long guitar solo as a theme tune.
  • Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu/Tweeny Witches
  • Yona of the Dawn: An orchestral instrumental piece.

  • John Carpenter's classic Halloween (1978) theme is a good example of a modern version of the trope: a nearly non-musical electronic sound beat designed to create tension whenever it is heard in the movie.
  • There are only three James Bond films with instrumentals over the titles: Dr. No, From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's believed the last case was so because John Barry couldn't figure out how to put in all nine syllables into a coherent song.
    • Although From Russia with Love does have a vocal version by Matt Monro, heard on a car radio in the film itself and over the end credits.
  • Um, hello? Star Wars?
  • The infamous "da-dada-da-dada-da-dada-DA" of Indiana Jones certainly counts, too!
  • The Pink Panther. You could never forget the saxophone punctuated piece by Henry Mancini, could you?
  • The Three Stooges had a couple of different themes.
  • Laurel and Hardy had a famous short theme.
  • Love Story has an incredible instrumental theme that was also turned into a non-instrumental sung by the legendary Andy Williams. Both versions are way too good for such a crappy movie.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Most orchestral pieces for operas or musicals or thematic music. And some pieces for children.
    • Peter and the Wolf
    • Beethoven's Sixth Symphony - The Pastoral
    • Grieg's Incidental music for Peer Gynt.
    • A Child's Guide to the Orchestra

  • Sport "series" on television will sometimes have short themes, usually memorable riffs from songs.

  • Victor Herbert's The Red Mill is one of the few musicals to have an instrumental theme running through the show.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • Though Welcome to Night Vale features plenty of eerie background music and a new guest song during the "weather" section, it always opens with The Ballad of Fiedler and Mundt by Disparition.
  • The Nostalgia Critic (an instrumental of "The Review Must Go On")

    Western Animation