Music Soothes the Savage Beast
Music, magic or not, can soothe savage beasts.
Original quote this title originates from is, "Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast." The phrase was coined by the Playwright/Poet William Congreve in The Mourning Bride
See also Magic Music
, Mind-Control Music
and The Power of Rock
Anime and Manga
- Hobbes stops the Clawracks in Retro Chill by singing "The Best Song Ever" (an actual song by Chris Rice).
- The Monster in Young Frankenstein can be attracted to and lulled by music.
- In Bringing Up Baby, the tame leopard Baby can be subdued by singing "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"
- In Help!, Ringo is threatened by a tiger which can be tamed by singing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
- Inverted in The Three Stooges short "Idle Roomers", which features a Wolf Man who is relatively tame until he hears music. The stooges, mistakenly believing in this trope, decide to play music when confronted by him, activating the Wolf Man's Berserk Button.
- The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996): The title character momentarily soothes the rebellious man-animal hybrids with his piano playing. But when Dr. Moreau decides to follow this up by activating their pain implants, he discovers the hard way that they've already been removed.
- In The Book of Life, Xibalba lets Manolo challenge him to a wager at which he is allowed to pick the task. The dirty cheater chooses bullfighting — which he knows Manolo hates. As if that weren't bad enough, the task is that Manolo must defeat every single bull every Sanchez before him has ever faced — all at once. And when Manolo succeeds at that, Xibalba combines them into one mega-bull and still the hero does not flinch, instead playing an apology song.
- The killer in The Hills Run Red is shown to be momentarily calmed when the nursery rhyme "Hush, Little Baby" is sang to him. When another character attempts to repeat the process later, she realizes that she doesn't know the lyrics. The killer then mocks her for it, indicating that it wouldn't have worked for her in the first place.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Bombadil's singing subdues Old Man Willow and causes him to release the hobbits.
- Harry Potter: Fluffy the giant three-headed guard dog is lulled to sleep when music is played (a harp or a flute in this case), as a nod to Greek Mythology.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, Sandor Clegane a.k.a. The Hound hides in Sansa Stark's room, drunk and badly wounded mentally and physically. When she comes in, he holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill her unless she sings. She sings such a sweet song of mercy and peace that he cries. Apparently her song lulls the beast inside him to sleep and touches something human in him, possibly preventing him from raping and/or killing her.
- In The Last Days, the band formed by the main characters has the ability to bring out the giant worms lurking under the surface of New York City, allowing them to be killed.
- In The Wheel of Time, the Finn can be charmed by music.
- Flood by Andrew Vachss. Burke and Flood go to meet a snuff-film producer called Goldor with the intention of getting information from him. Things go wrong and Flood kills Goldor. After Burke has finished destroying the evidence and creating an alibi, he enters the Abandoned Warehouse where he's staying to find Flood doing a martial arts kata, recreating the kicks that killed Goldor again and again. In order to end her Heroic BSOD, Burke plays "Angel Baby" by Rosie and the Originals on his car's cassette player and invites Flood to dance.
- Here and there in Dinoverse characters can get dinosaurs they've met to relax and like them better by psychically projecting music.
Mythology and Religion
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Lazarus Experiment", the Doctor plays a modified organ to defeat the Monster of the Week.
- In "A Christmas Carol", Abgail's singing calms both the storm and the flying sharks inside it, letting the spaceship land safely.
- John Pertwee sings a Venusian lullaby to soothe the monster on Peladon.
- Merry, the Queen of Years, has to sing to keep the old god "Grandfather" peaceful.
- On Top Gear, Matt Smith's practice runs on the guest lap had been full of driving errors but Clarkson was impressed by his intensity. On the video of the actual lap, Clarkson wonders aloud whether he's still channelling all that aggression. Cut to the inside of the car and:
Right... stay calm, concentrate... I'm siiinging in the raaain...
- In 1st Samuel of the Old Testament, King Saul was afflicted by "an evil spirit of the Lord" and asked for a musician who could cause that spirit to depart from him. David was that selected musician, and so often played for King Saul when he was afflicted. However, on a few occasions, the "evil spirit" got the better of King Saul, causing him to throw a javelin at David which he avoided.
- In Greek Mythology, Orpheus was able to get past Cerberus (the guard dog of the underworld) by playing music to soothe it.
- In Japanese Mythology, the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu was in a mix of a snit, fume and a snotty, bratty-like frump. To get her out of the cave she had hidden herself in (and, therefore get summer back), a whole set of activities were devised - including music. But, only the Sumo with the music really worked. Not so much calming the beast as trying to apply antidepressants to the fuming, injured ego, but the principle is the same.
- In the Old Norse legend of the Niflungs, related in Prose Edda, Poetic Edda and Völsunga saga, King Gunnar of the Niflungs is thrown into a Snake Pit by his treacherous brother-in-law Atli and his sister Gudrun gives him a harp which he plays with his toes. His music puts all the snakes to sleep except one, which remains awake and kills him.
- The bard's fascinate ability in Dungeons & Dragons does this. "If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate."
- Pokémon: the move Sing makes the target fall asleep if it is accurate. The Pokémon Lullaby from the Poké Gear works by decreasing the chance of Random Encounters.
- Averted with the Poke Flute and Blue Flute, which awaken sleeping Pokemon.
- In Dragon Quest, the Fairy Flute is the only reliable way to defeat the ridiculously overpowered Golem boss, which puts it to sleep.
- Super Paper Mario: Piccolo can be used to put the Underchomp to sleep, making the boss battle incredibly easy.
- This concept may have originated in Super Mario Bros. 3, where the music box power-up puts Hammer Bros., piranha plants and other wandering mini bosses on the map to sleep.
- In Zelda II The Adventure Of Link, the flute you obtain from the Palace on the Sea is required to get past the River Devil in Eastern Hyrule.
- Referenced in Spyro: Ripto's Rage in the Fracture Hills by the bagpipe-playing satyrs. In the final cutscene, the earth-shapers can be seen covering their ears from the music with one of them losing his red eyes and deciding to dance along.
- To quote one of the satyrs:
"Music can calm the savage beast. And bagpipe music
can break solid rock!"
- In Jables's Adventure, the dreaded SCUBA bear is said to be invincible and chases after Jables. However, after evading the bear and receiving a strawberry from the lady in the house, Jables is suddenly inspired to sing the Strawberry Shortcake theme song. This song calms the bear, which makes it safe to swim back past him.
- Romeo's Ballad from Final Fantasy V inflicts Stop on enemies.
- This plays a key role in breaking the "spiral of death" in Final Fantasy X. This particular incarnation of Sin will briefly become calm when it hears the Hymn of the Fayth since its own Fayth Jecht always loved that song. In the final push to defeat Sin, people from all across Spira sing the Hymn, distracting Sin long enough for the party and their airship to attack.
- In Ar tonelico, EXEC_HARMONIOUS/. is capable of calming those who hear it and making them happy; EXEC_HARMONIOUS_FUSION/. is a variation with similar effects. Both songs are used against bosses for whom such a soothing effect would be beneficial.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, the only way to pacify the Marionette is by winding up a music box that plays the refrain from "Grandfather's Clock".
- Looney Tunes: Taz can be easily calmed with music, whether by instrument or singing. (Just don't try the bagpipes)
- Titano in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun".
- The plot of the Tex Avery-directed Chilly Willy cartoon "The Legend of Rock-a-bye Point" concerns a polar bear trying to get fish from a fishing boat, getting the Angry Guard Dog off his back by putting him to sleep with a lullaby, while Chilly sabotages him at every turn.
- In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Down Beat Bear", the titular bear ends up at Tom's house and Tom tries to call the authorities, but every time the bear hears music he starts to dance with Tom. It's also played with; they make it clear from the beginning that the bear is a trained circus bear and completely harmless.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Leatherhead invokes this trope by listening to a record player.
- Francis X. Bushlad discovers he has this ability in the Taz-Mania episode "The Pied Piper of Taz-Mania".
- On Celebrity Deathmatch with Paul Reubens vs. George Michael, a hungry tiger is unleshed and Paul Reubens talks George Michael into invoking this trope. It works and the tiger falls asleep ... that is until Paul Reubens utters the secret word of the day, and you can guess what happens next.
- Cow and Chicken has an episode where the two deal with a vicious jackal—that turns into a friendly, refined animal when Cow sings. It's only temporary, as Chicken discovers when Cow steps out, but luckily, his attempt at singing scares the jackal away.
- Ella, from Total Drama, can calm and attract any animal using her beautiful voice. In fact even her team realises the power her singing holds over animals and even requests her to sing to the bear in order to subdue it in "Mo Monkey Mo Problems".