Just for Pun
and Exactly What It Says on the Tin
: Doing work to the tune of music. Disney musicals love this one: "Whistle While You Work" practically defines it. Could go all the way back to using drums to synchronize rowers in galleys, depending on your definition of music.
Truth in Television
, though usually with lower production values. See also Mickey Mousing
- "The Work Song" in Cinderella is actually sung by the mice and not Cinderella herself, while the make her first party dress (the one that is later destroyed). Cinderella did sing a song while she worked ("Sing Sweet Nightingale") but it wasn't about work - she was just singing along while her ugly sisters got a music lesson upstairs and did a much better job of it whilst cleaning the floor. "The Work Song" had an earlier version which was to be sung by Cinderella but it was reworked into the mouse version.
- "A Spoonful of Sugar" from Mary Poppins
- Sleeping Beauty: The Good Fairies do some chanting and singing while using their magic to set up for Briar Rose's birthday party. The whole sequence is set to (instrumental) music which is called "Three Good Fairies Sing a Smiling Song" on the soundtrack.
- On a different release of the soundtrack, this music is called "Magical House Cleaning - Blue or Pink."
- The Sword in the Stone: Merlin sings "Higitus Figitus" while packing to move. The song is also a spell, which shrinks all his belongings so they will fit into a single suitcase. An instrumental reprise of the same tune plays when he enchants the castle dishes to wash themselves.
- The first song in The Brave Little Toaster is all about cleaning the cottage. (Though it's not totally part of this trope since they're simply cleaning the cottage to Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti")
- The Smurfs sing an unnamed working song in The Smurfs Andthe Magic Flute, when they are creating a second flute, by getting wood from cutting down a giant oak tree, which takes two days.
- "Happy Working Song" in Enchanted is a parody of this kind of song.
- "Brazzle Dazzle Day" in Pete's Dragon (1977) isn't about the chore of whitewashing the lighthouse, but that's what they're doing as they start singing, and the dance break of sorts is based around characters breathing on the windows so the other characters can clean them.
- The classic Morecambe and Wise Breakfast Sketch.
- "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Early in the film, Snow White sings "I'm Wishing" while drawing water from the well—what she is wishing for is a lover to take her away from her life of drudgery.
- The Dwarfs also sing a song, "Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum" (an onomatopeic reference to blowing bubbles underwater), as they wash themselves for dinner.
- The first half of "Heigh Ho" is sung by the dwarves as they work in the mines.
- "Happy Workers", from Toys.
- In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, Alexa and Liana sing as they clean up the damage done to their garden during a storm.
- "The Bitch of Living" from Spring Awakening is an angry/angsty song that interrupts the students' working. "All That's Known" can also qualify.
- "It's the Hard-Knock Life" from Annie is sung during the orphans' chores...and they are not happy about it.
- "Scrubbing Day" from The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.
"Laundry Day" "Freeze Ray" from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog combines this with an "I Want" Song, as he encounters his crush, Penny at a laundromat.
- Although not (yet) appearing in a musical or film, "Sweatshop" by De Staat is obviously some kind of send-up of this trope.
I'm packing that meat meat
Workin' long hours on the count of the beat beat
I'm packin' that meat meat
Goin' long hours gonna grow a lotta wheat
- The Secret Of Roan Inish has chores done to a song on the soundtrack.
- "The Well That Divides Life and Death" from Sound Horizon's Märchen is based on the Fairy Tale of Mother Hulda'', and thus spends a good deal of time focusing on the hard-working girl's, well, work.
- In The Wiz, the Wicked Witch of the West is the owner of a sweatshop. She sings a song called "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News" while she makes sure all her slaves are working.
- The first song of the musical Les Misérables is even called "The Work Song". The setting is Toulon prison, 1815, where the convicts are typically breaking rocks or rowing a galley.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features a few examples. "Winter Wrap-Up" has the eponymous song, with an instrumental version of said song playing as the Ponyvillers finally get organized with Twilight Sparkle's help. "Apple Family Reunion" has the song "Raise This Barn", which Applejack and her family sing as they work together to rebuilt the wrecked barn at Sweet Apple Acres. Also, whilst it's her profession not housework Rarity's Song "Art of the Dress (Stitch by Stitch)" is very much as case of this, especially the reprise section as she isn't enjoying it at that point as the other ponies are so demanding, and have a much poorer sense of design.
- Quite a few African-American spirituals started as work songs. On the white men's side, there are the sea shanties, which are often either inspired by African-American spirituals or songs from the highly popular blackface musicals of the time.
- "The Song of the Volga Boatman"
- Pretty much every famous sea shanty ("Blow the Man Down", "Haul Away Joe", "Drunken Sailor", etc.) were sung by workers on old sailing ships as they performed various repetitive group labor, such as weighing the anchor. They were sung to keep everyone in rhythm as well as to liven up what would otherwise be a rather dull, monotonous task.
- In an episode of Kung Fu Caine joins up with an extremely pacifist religous group (basically Mormons with the serial numbers filed off). They don't believe in music, so when Caine starts singing a song to keept the rhythm of some work he's doing they insist he stop.
- The Big Bang Theory: Penny makes "Penny Blossoms" to sell online and Sheldon convinces her to use a sea shanty to keep the rhythm of making them.
- Frozen opens with the song "Frozen Heart", which a band of ice merchants sing as they harvest ice blocks. The lyrics also provide a fair amount of Foreshadowing.
- Parodied in The Simpsons episode "Bart Gets an Elephant", which has Marge put on the radio and tell Bart to "work to the music" when doing chores. Every song the station plays is about how much work sucks (Starting with "Sixteen Tons" and continuing with "Take This Job and Shove It!").
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: You can collect song-sheets in cities, and the crew of the Jackdaw will sing shanties while you're sailing around. They are all real songs, but usually from about a century or so after the game is set.
- Rapunzel's first song in Tangled is "When Will My Life Begin?" which shows Rapunzel going about her day-to-day chores and activities in the tower.
- "Auf Wiedersehen Augustus Gloop" in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a dark spoof of this trope that serves as "The Villain Sucks" Song for the first of the bratty kids to meet disaster in the Wonka Factory: Imagine a melody as merry and toe-tapping as "Heigh-Ho" or "Whistle While You Work", sung by a race of Little People no less, used to taunt a helpless kid via a description of what they will do to him when he reaches the Fudge Room! Sample lyrics:
Sift, shake, then we bake
And stick it with a fork
Don't throw away the scraps today
'Cause we love candy pork!
- "Racing With The Clock" in The Pajama Game.
- In Hope For The Heartless, while tending to Mitternacht the day following her arrival to the Horned King's castle, Avalina sings a slightly altered version of S.J. Tucker's "Ravens in the Library".
- Given how musical Bear in the Big Blue House is, this isn't a great surprise. "Clean Up the House" is a full-on song number about Bear and the kids cleaning up the Big Blue House and was even included on one of the show's music albums. "Surprise!", in which Bear sings about cleaning the bathtub, is another example.
- Working, Stephen Schwartz's musical about individuals in occupations such as newsboy, millworker, cleaning lady, etc., could in some ways be said be "Musical Chores: The Musical."