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- The Sonic OVA had an intense, islandy, techno track known as "South Island". And it was only used for about five seconds, through a crackling stereo no less. It was used in trailers for the OVA too, so, luckily, people managed to rip the entire track.
- Most of Cowboy Bebop's score can qualify for this, but a particularly blatant example is "Adieu," a smoky torch song based off of the recurring music box melody "Memory." On the soundtrack CD, it's a full-fledged, six-minute song. In the show, all we get is the very last stanza at the beginning of "The Real Folk Blues, Part I" and the opening verse at the beginning of "Speak Like A Child." One episode also treats us to the very beginning of an opera rendition that wasn't even put on any of the CDs!
- "Car 24" plays for about 30 seconds of screentime.
- "Farewell Blues" is another one to that list. It uses another frequently-used melody (also heard in "The Singing Sea," and "Stella by Moor") but without lyrics that make the song much more emotional.
- "Young Knight of the Lance", Erio's theme in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. A piece that lasts around two minutes... and only used during his Transformation Sequence that lasted around twenty seconds.
- Tiana Lanster's "Comet Shooter" similarly got cut back; even though it gets reprised later in the series, they still don't use the longer version of it.
- "I Shinji" of Neon Genesis Evangelion: the series only uses the song once and only about twenty seconds of it.
- "Rei III", a more powerful version of Rei's leitmotif, was never even used.
- Just about every track in Rebuild of Evangelion seems to be considerably longer on the soundtracks than they are in the movies themselves, though mostly this just accounts for the track looping a lot more in the soundtrack-version. There is one clear example of this trope in the movies though; The song "Gods Gift" in 3.33, which in the movie pretty much skips the verse and jumps straight into the chorus.
- The one-off Pokémon Mystery Dungeon anime special Explorers of Sky: Beyond Time & Darkness have renditions of the track "Sacrifice". The first, which plays when Grovyle, Chimchar and Piplup cross the boundary of the the ocean and head into the Hidden Land, is a fully orchestrated version of the track but with triumphant horns and drums added in. The second version, which plays when Grovyle suplexes Dusknoir, then suplexes him again through the portal to the future, is a fully orchestrated version of the track but it is played much slower pace, giving it a mournful instead of triumphant feel. Both pieces are played during sections where there is a lot of speaking and background noise, in addition, they only last a few seconds (22 seconds in the case of the first instance and roughly 10-15 seconds in the second instance).
- One of the OSTs for Samurai Champloo contains a track called "World Without Words". The song got less then 20 seconds of playtime in the entire series, used only for a brief fight between Mugen and Okuru.
- Several songs from Code Geass, mainly its sequel, qualify. Many tracks are only used once, and even if they are heard in their entirety, they are never heard again. The first season had numerous tracks that showed up regularly, with only a couple of unused ones on the OST. However, R2 is filled with tracks that are either heard once (or twice at most), such as "Le Repos Du Guerrier", "Check Mate", "Siegfried" and "Love is Justice", and some that didn't even get used at all such as "Prodigy" and "Dark Activity".
- The famous Burger-kun of Darker Than Black's second season had a rockin' guitar theme that was oddly reminiscent of The King of Fighters. It never played again.
- The soundtrack for RahXephon was composed by big name jazz artist Ichiko Hashimoto. A lot of the three OSTs worth of music she created didn't even appear on the show. Some of the most outstanding tracks, like "Fate of Katun" and "Flying Fighter" were only heard as snippets of music listened to by characters.
- There was a melody that played about 10 minutes into the final episode of Wolf's Rain. It may have been based on a backwards midnight sonata.
- The second ending song to Hanamaru Kindergarten fits along with the ending's theme—the show recast as a space drama. In the ending itself, it's a little under half a minute long and truncated. The full version is nearly seven minutes long, operatic, and has several epic guitar solos.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has this in the early episodes. For the first 15 or so episodes, whenever Yusei started to get serious in duels, a very different version of "Yusei Battle" begins playing. Neither version of the Sound Duel CDs have this version of the track on them. Although there's a chance that the third one will have it.
- Another song, apparently called "Hopeless Battle", was played a few times during emotional moments early on. The ripped song was removed from Youtube and not released on any of the soundtracks.
- Similarly, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has a TON of BGMs that never made it to the two Sound Duels it had. Camula's theme needs to be released.
- Angel Beats! has the "Theme of SSS", which is played more than once but never in its entirety (which is under two minutes to begin with). Additionally, multiple other songs included on the OST were never played once.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind only used this catchy theme in its original Japanese trailer.
- The ending for the second season of Queen's Blade is sung by the Terrible Trio and has 3 variations, one for each girl. While Melona and Menace got to sing their variations several times, Airi's only appears ONCE, and on the second to last episode at that (The finale doesn't have the ED). Clearly a ploy to sell more CDs, since Airi's the Ensemble Dark Horse, but still.
- Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Inspectors got an awesome new opening on episode 24... out of 26. At this point might as well stick with the first one. Oddly the second ending came on the series' midway point like usual.
- A similar deal happened to Dancougar, which got their second, beautiful opening and ending themes on episode 34 out of 38. Not as bad as other examples, but kinda wasteful to give new songs to a series about to end.
- "VISION" from the NEEDLESS soundtrack might as well count, because it is only heard for less than thirty seconds in the entire series.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, each of the five Gundam Pilots has his own theme song. However, only Heero'snote and Wu Fei'snote appear more than twice. Trowa'snote plays once, Quatre'snote twice, and Duo'snote never shows up at all...unless you play SD Gundam G Generation.
- Similarly, a battle theme for Zechs ("Zechs Comes"), only has tiny excerpts from it get played here and there.
- In the English dub of Digimon Frontier we have the song "Darkness In My Heart" as sung by Crispin Freeman. It's a really cool song, but it's utterly impossible to get outside of a muddled clip from the show.
- And in the last episode of the Japanese version of Digimon Adventure 02, there's a three-minute edit of the nearly seven-minute "Bokura no Digital World".
- There are two versions of the song Only A Memory Away, from the English dub of Sailor Moon. The original was a sombre, somewhat sad song that played during a pivotal moment. The version released on the soundtrack was more upbeat with different lyrics.
- The American Dragon Ball Z soundtrack had Episodic Trunks a surprisingly slow, calm song that was never heard in the show proper.
- From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, we have Numquam vincar, which is dark and epic and combines dramatic violins with an electric guitar bridge and drums all throughout. It could easily pass as the music for a Final Boss, but it's only played in one episode, for a grand total of maybe thirty seconds, against a minor Witch who Homura kills with no effort.
- In Monster, during the first half of the anime, there's a theme that sounds like an insane marching theme that plays on occasion when a character is realizing what a danger Johan actually is. Oddly, it never appeared in either OST.
Films — Animation
- In AKIRA, as per the usual Geinoh Yamashirogumi treatment, most of the songs in the soundtrack run for about ten minutes with different movements, feels, and sometimes genres strewn about. However, most of the songs play for only a few seconds. For example, the song "Shohmyoh" is possibly one of the best songs on the soundtrack, but it only plays during a shot which lasts a couple seconds. What's also funny is that in the same scene, there was a background image that was extremely detailed to the point where you could see the individual windows on each of the buildings, yet it's only used for about six seconds, and the full image is never shown. Katsuhiro Otomo seems to love this.
- Rugrats in Paris has three: the version of T-Boz's "My Getaway" played in the plane (which is less R&B-ish and more pop-ish than the one in the soundtrack), the babies' travel song, and the Princess' song.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks (a Music Story as a whole) has two. Indeed, the official Hasbro music videos featuring the full songs use lots of unrelated footage from the shorts and movies as padding.
- Rainbow Dash's "Awesome as I Wanna Be" is interrupted mid-song by Sunset Shimmer tackling her, because she is starting to show off her magic to the Dazzlings.
- As for Trixie and the Illusions' song, "Tricks Up My Sleeve", we gets the tail end of it the first time they sing it, and then at the concert just the beginning and end, while the gist of it is muted and in the background as the scene focuses on the Rainbooms.
Films — Live-Action
- Star Wars:
- The music when Luke finally goes after Vader after threatening to turn Leia, "The Dark Side Beckons" (On this video), was apparently not in the first soundtrack release. The 1997 release of the soundtrack includes all the music from the movie (except for the end music from the original theatrical release), including this cue. It is found in the track "The Battle of Endor II". It gets its glory in the game Jedi Outcast, where it is used as the final battle's theme.
- The Special Edition victory music at the end of Return of the Jedi. Not even named or featured on the soundtrack, it can be found here, though it was clearly ripped from the movie (credit riff kicks in at the end).
- The Max Rebo Band number "Lapti Nek", which was replaced by "Jedi Rocks" in the special edition, was only released on the original 1983 soundtrack, the master tapes since having been lost, and the film version, which has different lyrics, was never released at all.
- "Navras" from The Matrix Revolutions is a chilling but energetic piece with haunting Sanskrit lyrics. It's not played at all during the movie, it's played during the credits and the song is 9 minutes long.
- "Show Me Your Spine" from RoboCop (1987). To quote The Other Wiki, "In the Nightclub scene of the movie, the song by P.T.P was played. P.T.P was a short lived side project consisting of members of the band Ministry. However, this song was not available in any official form and could only be heard in the film. It was eventually released in 2004 on a compilation album called Side Trax by Ministry."
- In The Good Shepherd, there is an arrangement of "Oh Shenandoah". Of course, we only hear part of it, and in the background behind the dialogue. It is MIA on the soundtrack, and hours of aggressive searching on the internet have turned up fruitless.
- "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi" from Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na became extremely popular among Bollywood fans. However, some of these same fans were dismayed that its picturization pretty much just shows Aditi sulking and Jai following her around.
- And similarly, a techno song from The Replacements (no, not that football movie) called "Heart," played during the final huddle and line of scrimmage for about 15-20 seconds tops. Shown on the credits, absent from the soundtrack.
- "Sway" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" from Dark City, or at least the versions from the Director's Cut, with Jennifer Connelly singing. The theatrical cut has Anita Kelsey singing these songs—these were the versions that appeared in full on the soundtrack album.
- Indie musician Sufjan Stevens made an art film called The BQE. The Stinger at the end of the film featured two songs—an untitled noise-music piece, and "The Sleeping Red Wolves"—which are completely omitted from the soundtrack album.
- Disturbed recorded "This Moment" as a straight-forward fight song with the intention of putting it in a film. They chose Transformers, who played it for a few seconds, then later during the end credits, and not during the fight scene the band was probably hoping for.
- Another example would be "Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" by The Goo Goo Dolls, which they wrote specifically for the film (it only got a brief instrumental segment in the actual film). These two songs showed up in the soundtrack as the only two pieces of original material, which was otherwise made up of popular licensed songs (in particular, "What I've Done" by Linkin Park, which got far more focus of these).
- Highlander has during the scene where the Kurgan is recklessly driving through New York a version of "Theme from New York, New York" by Pop-Star Composer Queen. That isn't available anywhere else, and the film doesn't even play the full song. According to the movie commentary track, Freddie Mercury absolutely hated the song, and the director had to pretty much force him to sing that bit, so it's quite likely that there never was a full version recorded to begin with.
- Hans Zimmer felt this way about the short cue underscoring the parasail scene as Jack and Elizabeth escape the Flying Dutchman towards the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The composer lamented the fact that he'd used up such an amazing melody on a single scene. It didn't appear on the official soundtrack release, though a subtly-altered version is part of the "Marry Me" suite from the four-disc collector's edition release of all three soundtracks (meaning fans would likely have to re-purchase three OS Ts they already owned just to get hold of the bonus disc of new material).
- Ghostbusters (1984) originally had a different theme song, performed by Hughes/Thrall, before being replaced with the now-famous Ray Parker Jr. song. The original song was only ever featured in a 1983 teaser trailer. There's also the music that plays for about 30 seconds over the scene where the containment grid is shut down and the ghosts escape - it's from the second half of "Magic" by Mick Smiley, a full length song with two completely different halves - the full piece appeared on the soundtrack and even had a video made for it.
- In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Jo (Doris Day) doesn't get to sing "We'll Love Again" in its entirety, and what little viewers do hear from it gets mostly drowned out by the confrontation between Jo's husband and their son's kidnappers. On the other hand, "Que Sera Sera" sounds longer in the movie than on the soundtrack.
- "The Meek Shall Inherit" from Little Shop of Horrors runs over two minutes longer on the soundtrack than in the movie. "Some Fun Now" and Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" also have some lyrics on the album that didn't make it into the movie. Plus, for years, the album marked the only way people could hear "Don't Feed the Plants" (albeit shortened), due to the addition of a Focus Group Ending.
- Elliot Goldenthal's score for Batman Forever was cut down from over two hours of music to just forty-five minutes, in order to accommodate more licensed singles on the soundtrack. Until recently, even all of the album releases have failed to include the entire track listing, instead splicing multiple pieces together and leaving others out entirely.
- The Muppets has extended versions of "Rainbow Connection" (both the Muppets' and the Moopets' versions), "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Forget You", "Mah Na Mah Na", "Me Party", and "Let's Talk About Me" included on its soundtrack. The longer "Let's Talk About Me", in particular, goes into more detail about Tex Richman's Start of Darkness. The whole song was filmed and included on the Blu-Ray as a bonus feature.
- Follow-up Muppets Most Wanted has extra verses for "We're Doing a Sequel" and "The Interrogation Song", as well as the full versions of three cover songs, "Working in the Coal Mine", "Moves like Jagger" and "Macarena", that were all performed during in-universe stage shows.
- A less extreme form of the trope appeared in Iron Man 2. The film had a soundtrack album by AC/DC, with 15 songs remixed for possible film inclusion. In the film proper, however, only less than two minutes of "Shoot to Thrill" following the opening credits (which still earned the song a Video Full of Film Clips, and a return in The Avengers in a similar scene), while "Highway to Hell" accompanied the last scene and end credits.
- The Sound of Music had its reprise of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" shortened for the movie, then restored to its full length on the soundtrack. However, while the title song also experienced trimming during the transition to the big screen, its deleted portion (which Julie Andrews probably didn't even record) did not appear on the soundtrack.
- South Pacific had "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" greatly trimmed for the 1958 movie, but the soundtrack has a longer version of it (which still runs shorter than the number from the original play). The soundtrack also has a recording of the "Some Enchanted Evening" reprise (combined with the final performance of "Dites-Moi", and labeled, "Finale") that exceeds the length of the general release's scene, but matches the duration seen in the longer roadshow version.
- Bill Bailey laments in his stand-up routine that the theme tune from the BBC's snooker coverage ("Drag Racer" by Doug Wood) never gets played in its entirety.
- Doctor Who:
- In the episodes "The Doctor's Daughter" and "Turn Left", an unspeakably epic, heroic theme plays near the end of each episode. It's on the series four soundtrack as "A Dazzling End", but the end of the song has been completely changed.
- The original version of "Song For Ten" from "The Christmas Invasion" was never released.
- "Evolution of the Daleks" was only put on the soundtrack in a slowed-down way, instead of the fast, hectic version used in the show.
- "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel" had several tracks never released on the soundtrack including many variations of the Cybermen theme that are even more awesome than the one released on the soundtrack.
- In Takeshi's Castle a final battle theme plays for the Final Showdown. But due to the commentary it can be hard to hear and as it's generally a curb stomp battle it's often cut short. Might never have even been played fully. Could be averted however, as the Theme Song is also used for the Final Showdown, combined with the fact that it's more or less played in a loop, and it depends on how many contestants are left.
- Pokémon Smash has an ending theme, "Endless Fighters", which is something its successor Pokémon Sunday lacked for a while. However, the reason Sunday stopped having an Ending theme was because the credits made very short and the announcer would talk over them, and that's exactly what happens to Endless Fighters.
- Most of Fat Segal's contributions to the Skins soundtrack suffer this. "Whitecap Widow" is an astonishing five minutes of music, but you wouldn't know it from the half dozen distinct chunks it gets sliced into during Emily's S4 episode. (And that's only if you can find the full song before it gets yanked off his Myspace page...)
- Battlestar Galactica had Black Market from the episode with the same name. It was barely heard in the background as Lee walked into the Prometheus. These days, it is considered the only thing good about the episode and, by some, one of the best songs of the Season 2 soundtrack.
- The John Williams composed theme to NBC Nightly News, "The Mission", the first 10 or so seconds of which nearly anyone who watches NBC is familiar with, the rest of which is essentially left on the cutting room floor.
- Five Iron Frenzy felt their album Electric Boogaloo ran too long, so they cut three songs. One of them got significantly reworked and appeared on their next album; the other two wound up on Cheeses (of Nazareth), FIF's collection of b-sides. One of these songs relegated to Cheeses was "Kamikaze". Reese Roper (and possibly some other FIF members) eventually came to the conclusion that "Kamikaze" was one of the best songs the band ever wrote, and that it should have been released on a better album.
- Johann Sebastian Bach's church cantatas and other religious works, while beloved today, remained very obscure for more than a hundred years, as they were written to be performed just once. The cantatas were only rediscovered after Felix Mendelssohn revived interest in Bach's music by conducting the first performance of the St. Matthew Passion since the mid-1700s in 1829. A great many of Bach's works were lost forever when his wife decided to use his older scores to wrap fish.
- The Beatles relegated the otherwise unreleased "Can You Take Me Back?" to a brief snippet seguing "Cry Baby Cry" and "Revolution 9." The actual recording was a full three-minute song.
- Inverted with "Revolution 1" - as originally recorded, take 20 of "Revolution 1" went on for ten minutes, its ending jam being overdubbed with numerous chaotic sound effects. When John's idea to release this as a single was shushed by his bandmates (in favor of "Hey Jude"), John separated the chaotic ending, removed the musical bed, and retitled the remaining sound collage "Revolution 9." (Reasonably enough, someone with skill can actually synch "Revolution 9" to the original bootlegged ending - elements such as John's "RIGHT!" screams match up perfectly.)
- "Trigger Cut / Wounded At :17" has an instrumental outro with the band playing a catchy riff, which lasts about 30 seconds, fading in from the last note of the main part of the song and then very quickly fading back out. A decade later, the bonus tracks on Slanted And Enchanted: Luxe And Reduxe revealed that this was actually a small part of "Nothing Ever Happens", a full two and a half minute song sung by Scott Kannberg.
- "Filmore Jive" has a minute long intro with much lower production quality than the rest of the song: As it turns out, this is an excerpt from a pre-Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain demo recording of a song called called "Dark Ages": The full "Dark Ages" lasts two minutes and forty seconds, but has No Ending and just abruptly cuts off right around the point the album version segues into the main section of "Filmore Jive". The full "Dark Ages" later appeared on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins.
- Similarly, "3 Inch Horses, Two-Faced Monsters" was left off Modest Mouse's The Moon And Antarctica, appearing only as a 10 second segue between "A Different City" and "The Cold Part". The full song is a little over four minutes long, and appeared on the outtake/B-Side compilation EP Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks.
- On DJ Keoki's Ego Trip, the intro of the extended version of "Majick" is mixed with the album's opener "Madness", but the proper track heard later in the album is a cut-down radio edit.
- The version of Magmoor Caverns in Metroid Prime Pinball can only be heard when waiting for a signal from another DS to start the multiplayer table.
- In musical theatre, it's common for underscoring, scene change music and sometimes dance music to run longer in the score than it will in actual performances where the orchestra is supposed to fade out or immediately segue on cue. One example is in Allegro, where the utility version of "You Are Never Away" used as a scene change (before the actual song) is printed in the vocal score with a footnote which points out that the second ending is never played.
- Disney Theme Parks have literally thousands of individual audio elements, many of them music that is heard all too briefly.
- Splash Mountain at Disneyland CA in particular has several, including "Laughin' Place" — of which only 0:41 of its 1:27 loop will be heard on any one ride-through, and then there are multiple versions heard in that time, including a surprisingly addictive versions with bees "singing" the song - and "Burrow's Lament," a slow minor-key version of "Laughin' Place" with new lyrics, plus an alternative, shorter instrumental piece based on Burrow's Lament (revealed by files that have turned up on the Internet to have been made by cutting down a full-length alternative version of Burrow's Lament). Burrow's Lament is heard for around 15 seconds at most, and the alternative version is mostly drowned out by the final lift hill.
- Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World uses a bluegrass soundtrack different from Disneyland's, which includes a catchy steel-guitar-accompanied instrumental version of "How Do You Do" between the end of the first set of lift hills and the first descent, and a similarly styled version of "Laughin' Place" which has to compete with vocals to be heard. The singing bees were also re-recorded specifically for WDW. But WDW's "Splash Mountain Medley" Official Album track is not nearly as complete as Disneyland's.
- The Haunted Mansion at Disney World has a piano version of its "Grim, Grinning Ghosts" theme tune that is barely audible due to weak speakers playing it, the standard organ-dirge version of the song playing nearby, and the "Ghost Host" narrating loudly all through the piano room scene.
- The queue/"area" music for any ride that either has a very short wait or which one uses Fast Pass to skip the lines for becomes Wasted Music. Some of it is very good, but will only be heard briefly. Sometimes even the long normal line provides little help in hearing it, as the speakers may be placed poorly and leave it inaudible from certain points in the queue. Only a handful of tunes are available on park CDs, and many have never been released, even on the "Forever" CD kiosks that allowed people to take home an impressive amount of park music.
- Mission: SPACE has its own theme song, called "Destiny," which is heard only in the ride's exit hallway (and not, as one might expect, in the game room at the end of that hallway, or the gift shop after that). There's a cut-down version (argh!) on the park soundtrack album, which is generally the first time people realize it even exists.
- The more upbeat songs in Swan Song are generally left unplayed later on in the game due to the dark atmosphere. There is a BGM player, but it's only available after going through the lengthy game.
- Yarudora series vol.3: Sampaguita has track n°40 "Ending 6", played at the very last scene of Good Ending 2. A track lasting 1 minute and 45 seconds before looping, only the first 30 seconds of it are played during that scene, before the protagonist's last line and the credits cut it short.
- In Little Busters!, the song 'Let's Return' is played only twice in the entire VN, and only for a very short scene each time. The song is 2 and a half minutes long, while at normal playing speed, most scenes will go for less than half that. What really makes it qualify, though, is the fact that the song fades out and then back in on a drastically different sound at 1:40, going from slow and trancy to staccato and with a beat, as though it's a completely different song. Most players will never hear that unless they fire up the music player.
- Homestuck has generated about a dozen albums of music, and without counting all the remixes less than half of the songs have been played in the comic's flash sequences. A few others have only played shortened versions. Any of these may get their screentime in the future, but likely not all of the best produced so far.
- The song At the Price of Oblivion is cut short right at the end of its introduction.
- This is lampshaded at one point, when something cuts a flash animation short and the text even points you to the Bandcamp page to see how much of the music (and therefore the flash) you missed.
- This rendition of the Dungeons & Dragons theme song is heard very briefly in Karena's debut episode.
- Metalocalypse does this quite frequently, as songs that briefly appear in an eleven-minute episode will have 3-5 minute long album versions. Though a few have been excluded from the albums in favor of original songs: the instrumental "Crush my Battle Opponent's Balls", "I'm Downloading Your Soul", and "My Inner Child Tied and Beaten in My Trunk", though the latter has an extended demo version uploaded on the official Youtube page.
- Right before the final episode of Moral Orel was shown the creator (Dino) plays a song about a man hating himself during Christmas. A title card by the creator even says "This song isn't in the episode. It should be." or something like that.
- In South Park commentary it is revealed that full songs were written for the Cartman's band "Faith+1". However due to lack of time they only played a small amount of each song. Word of God says they may be release the full songs on a CD, so far they haven't.
- Ember McClain's song was never played fully in her debut episode of Danny Phantom.
- Spongebob Squarepants takes this to a whole new level with the "Freeform Jazz" scene. For reference, here is the original scene, and here is the full song. It's over 63 TIMES shorter than the original song.