Musical Theme Naming
"A set of guns masterfully crafted by the famed demon-smith Rodin, waiting for their time to finally be put to use. Individually, their names are Prelude, Minuet, Toccata and Nocturne."Ah, music. Everybody likes some form, and so it's only natural that many authors name their characters after the sounds they like. Musical Theme Naming comes in a few flavours. A common form is to name the characters after a well-known musician. Others name characters after musical genres, instruments, or concepts. The particular entity after which a character is named sometimes reflects their personality. For example, someone named after a rock star tends to be hard-drinking, hard-partying, and hard-living, while one named after a classical composer will be more refined, intellectual, and graceful. However, it's also not uncommon for these names to simply exist for the sake of keeping a theme and just so happen to be musical, and may only exist purely for the audience's amusement.
— Description of the weapons 'Love is Blue' from Bayonetta 2
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Some of the characters, all of the cities and countries, and every last one of the magical spells in Bastard!! are named after heavy metal and hard rock bands. For licensing/trademark reasons, this has been extremely obscured in the official North American release — for example, the kingdom of Metallicana becomes Meta-Ricana, the nation of Judas Priest is referred to simply as Judas, etc.
- In a more thematic theme naming, Dark Schneider is named after Udo Dirkschneider, and the spell to release the seal on him is named after Dirkschneider's band Accept.
- Those three recurring old geezers on Cowboy Bebop had thematic names — Antonio, Carlos and Jobim. Put them together and you get the name of a famous brazilian musician.
- Also, every episode title has either a genre or musical reference.
- From the original Dragon Ball series we have Demon King Piccolo and his henchmen being named for musical instruments, Tambourine, Drum and others.
- In Fairy Tail, main character Lucy and her family have names from songs linked to The Beatles: while she and her father take their names from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Hey Jude" respectively, her mother shares her name with Eric Clapton's "Layla", a song inspired by an unrequited love who happened to be George Harrison's wife. Other than Lucy's own, however, the author has yet to acknowledge the reference.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its sequel Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny combine this with Merchandise-Driven, having several of the Humongous Mecha named after licenced music that appears in the anime's soundtrack. Examples include the Mecha Expansion Pack METEOR units ("Meteor" is a song by TM Revolution, which is unsurprisingly used as the device's theme song), the Akatsuki ("Akatsuki no Kuruma," the sad song that plays when Nicol bites it) & the GOUF Ignited ("Ignited" is one of Destiny's title themes).
- Almost everybody in Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure is named after a band, movie, or rock star. Dio Brando, the main villain, is named after both Ronnie James Dio and Marlon Brando. When the author ran out of tarot cards and Egyptian gods for the Stands, he fell back on the musical theme, naming them after bands, albums or songs (Crazy Diamond, Goo Goo Dolls, Superfly, Killer Queen).
- Many of the fairies in Ojamajo Doremi are named for the notes of the musical ladder (Dodo, Rere, Mimi, etc), and even those that don't fit this mold have the same syllable repeated twice as their name (Baba, Hehe etc.). In the English dub, this was also extended to the dub names for Doremi, Hazuki and Aiko (respectively, Dorie, Reanne, Mirabelle).
- RahXephon has all of the Dolems named after musical terms, and there's a fair amount of people getting Mayan-mythology-inspired nicknames. However, these names are much more intentional than normal; art (particularly music) and Mayan mythology are central elements to the show.
- In Rave Master, a lot of the cities are named after music genres: Garage Island (garage rock), Punk Street (punk rock), Hip Hop City, Ska City, the main continent Symphonia and others. What planet does this series take place on, the Planet of Music Genres?
- Violinist of Hameln has just about everyone named after musical instruments and terms (Guitar, Bass, Cornett, Oboe). The only exceptions are the hero, Hamel, who is named after the violinist of legend (and who plays a huge violin), and Pandora (who opens the box that sealed the Mazoku inside). Places are also named appropriately, such as Stacatto Village and the kingdom of Dalsegno. Additionally, the four generals of the Mazoku are named Bass, Guitar, Sizer (Synthesizer, or keyboard) and Drum, the main instruments of a rock band; the heroes are Hamel (violin), Raiel (a kind of piano, which he carries on his back — a mean feat, since it's made of gold and weighs 500 pounds!), Oboe, Flute and Trom Bone — all instruments of classic music. Big Bad Kestra (or Chestra, depending on translation) could mean orchestra or simply refer to the chest he was trapped in (pictures of him depict a chest with an eye glaring out of the darkness). Others include Vocal and his partner Orgel, a German loanword that in the Japanese language means 'music box', and in German means 'organ'. The writer even manages to further the themey-ness with sibling pairs like Lute and Flute, and the Net siblings Clari Net and Cor Net.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, three villains are named Jose, Placido and Luciano, after the Three Tenors.
- Suite Pretty Cure ♪, obviously. There are very few characters that don't have either a kanji relating to sound or music in their names, or names that directly relate to music in general.
- Ditto for Senki Zesshou Symphogear which has several Shout Outs to Suite Pretty Cure ♪.
- Many characters and special attacks in Soul Eater have music influenced names. Examples include Maka Albarn (from Damon Albarn, of blur and Gorillaz fame), probably Soul himself, Sid Barett (Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd) Kim Diehl (Kim Deal, The Pixies), Blair's Smashing Pumpkin, Kilik's Aphex Twin, the list goes on...
- Pokemon 2000 features a girl named Melody and her older sister Carol. Carol is known as Yodel in the Japanese dub.
- The English DVD release of Simoun gave each volume a musical title: Choir of Pairs, Orchestra of Betrayal, Rondo of Loss, Crescendo of Lamentation, and Song of Prayer.
- In Amagi Brilliant Park, many characters have names that are puns on musicians. These include Sento Isuzu (50 Cent), Latifa Fullanza (Queen Latifah), Ashe (Usher), and Kyuubu Aisu (Ice Cube).
- In That Wilkin Boy published by Archie Comics, Bingo Wilkin's bandmates are Teddy Tambourine and Buddy Drumhead.
- The loyal henchmen of Batman villain Bane are named Bird, Trogg and Zombie, all 60s rock groups. (Unfortunately, there's no such band as "The Banes" to complete the set.)
- The villains in the three strands of the Judge Dredd / The Simping Detective / Low Life Cross Through "The Cold Deck", are Dirty Judge Carolyn Bachman, Church of Simpology leader Turner and Corrupt Corporate Executive Enormo Overdrive.
- In the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Cyborg, the main characters are all named after models of guitars and other instruments.
- In the Prehysteria movies, there are five dinosaurs named after singers and musicians: Elvis, Madonna, Jagger, Paula and Hammer.
- The three main characters in the John Hughes film Some Kind of Wonderful all have names that relate to The Rolling Stones. Watts after Charlie Watts, Keith after Keith Richards, and Amanda Jones after the song Miss Amanda Jones.
- The movie Transylvania 6-5000 has a pair of servants named Radu and Lupi, named after pianist Radu Lupu.
- The entire cast of Across the Universe has names taken out of The Beatles songs. There is (Hey) Jude, Lucy (In The Sky With Diamonds), Max(well's Silver Hammer), (Dear) Prudence, (Sexy) Sadie, and Jojo (a reference to the song "Get Back").
- All the between-chapter dialogues in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid are titled after musical works by Johann Sebastian Bach or puns thereon.
- In the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, we have the triplet princesses (whose magical talents incidentally are related to music) named Melody, Harmony, and Rythmn.
- In the Animorphs book ''The Secret', Cassie rescues a litter of four skunk kits. The Animorphs take over tending the kits, with Tobias doing much of the skunk-sitting while the other Animorphs are in school. Marco ends up naming the skunk kits after members of The Ramones - Joey, Johnny, Marky and C.J.
- Bumped by Megan McCafferty has this trope combined with Theme Twin Naming in the case Separated at Birth identical twins Harmony and Melody.
- A (very) minor character in Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey is named Floyd Pinken. Doubles as a Punny Name.
- While the starships in the Luna-class in Star Trek: Titan fall under Stellar Name (named after moons in the Solar System), Titan's shuttles were named by Captain Will Riker, who is big into 20th-century jazz...and thus named his shuttles after 20th century jazz musicians. He has to tell a Vulcan subordinate that the shuttlecraft Armstrong is named after Louie, not Neil (she assumed he'd continued the theme of the starships).
- The majority of episode titles for Degrassi The Next Generation are songs from (usually) the 1980s. Just look at all of them. It's a friggin' iPod playlist. ...Damn, that's a good idea!
- That '70s Show had seasons with episode titles named after songs by Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Queen.
- When choosing an alias, Sam and Dean Winchester like to name themselves after classic rock stars. The episode titles, too, are often references to classic rock.
- The names of The Traveling Wilburys (that is, their names in the liner-note fiction that they're a group of half-brothers, sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr.) sometimes reflect other musicians: In Volume 1, George Harrison was Nelson Wilbury; Jeff Lynne was Otis Wilbury; and Roy Orbison was Lefty Wilbury (after his personal hero Lefty Frizell). In Volume 3, Harrison was Spike Wilbury and Tom Petty was Muddy Wilbury (as in Waters).
- Apart from their leader Destiny, all the Angels in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons have musical code names: Harmony, Melody, Symphony and Rhapsody.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The low-level Melodius monsters are named after musical terms, while the high-level monsters are named after famous music composers.
- The New York African-American girl singers in Little Shop of Horrors are named after New York African-American girl groups of the 1960s — the Crystals, the Ronettes, and the Chiffons.
- My Melody and her family from the Hello Kitty universe.
- In the English version of Chrono Trigger, the Goldfish Poop Gang are named Ozzie, Flea and Slash. Its sequel Chrono Cross has Nikki, who actually is a rock star. In the original Japanese, they were named after condiments, while in the Japanese version of Cross Nikki was named... Slash. His name was changed since the aforementioned three appear as a Bonus Boss.
- Characters in Eternal Sonata, except Chopin and other real-world people, are named after musical terms. In addition, each main chapter is named after one of Chopin's famous works.
- Hurdy and Gurdy from the Ivalice Alliance and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles were named after the Hurdy-Gurdy Instrument; this is especially appropriate for the Tactics A2 Hurdy, who is an actual musician, and even has his namesake as a weapon which teaches one of his Bard abilities.
- The characters of the Guilty Gear games, and sometimes even their attacks, are named after rock groups and artists, especially Queen. Sol Badguy, for example, is named after Freddie Mercury's Solo album, Mr. Bad Guy. Sol's real name also happens to be Frederick. Similarly, the character Axl both resembles and is named for Axl Rose (at the prime of his career). Not to mention Sol's favorite band, according to his profile, is Queen. Go figure.
- From BlazBlue, Carl Clover's movesets are named after musical terms.
- Kingdom Hearts has a colourful music theme of the 'bell' type Heartless (Red Nocturne, Blue Rhapsody, Yellow Opera, Green Requiem and Black Ballade in the first game and Chain of Memories; Crimson Jazz, Silver Rock, Spring Metal and Emerald Blues in Kingdom Hearts II; Scarlet Tango, Grey Caprice, Sapphire Elegy, Turquoise March, Pink Concerto, Striped Aria, and Emerald Serenade in 358/2 Days).
- Also in Days, nearly every one of Demyx's weapons is named for a musical reference; there's even one named after the game's English theme tune (as in, it's still called 'Sanctuary' in the Japanese version, in which 'Passion' was the theme). The ones that aren't are his joke weapons (a broom and a tennis racquet) and one sitar called the Million Bucks... but the last might just be a missed joke.
- The moves used by Mature and Vice in The King of Fighters are all named for heavy metal groups. For obvious reasons, some were tweaked for the English release (e.g. Deathrow->Death Downer, Deicide->Deceaser or Da Cide, etc.). Oddly enough, one of the names—Vice's Misanthrope (mi-sa-n-su-ro-pu)—was apparently mistransliterated even in Japan. It consistently gets called "Mithan's Robe" (mi-sa-n-su-ro-BU).
- The Mega Man series uses a musical theme for the main character robots. Dr. Light's first creation is Blues (officially Proto Man in English, though Mega Man 3 used Break Man as an alter-ego to fit in the music theme), and then the brother-sister pair Rock and Roll are built. Rockman's support robots include Tango and Beat. Mega Man 8 sees the main character assisted by one Duo, who is also in the second arcade game. Dr. Wily adds to this theme by naming his evil counterparts Forte and Gospel (Bass and Treble, respectively). Present in other games were the robots Punk, Ballade, Enker ("enka" being a type of Japanese folk music), Quint (from the term "quintet"), and the Elvis-esque King. This is largely dropped in the subsequent Mega Man X series, but reappears in X5, where the bosses are all named after members of the band Guns N' Roses, although this was only added for the US release, on the suggestion of Claire Redfield's voice actress.
- In Mega Man X8, Lumine's One-Winged Angel form's attacks are named Refrain, Legato, Bel Canto, Gravé , Unison and Oratorio. And Paradise Lost.
- A group of singing enemies in Mega Man Star Force are named after famous singers...Lupinatra (for Frank Sinatra), Lupelvis (for Elvis Presley), Lupavarot (for Luciano Pavarotti), Lupadonna (for Madonna), and Lupbach (for Johann Sebastian Bach).
- The 7 Magypsies in Mother 3 are named after the 7 modular scales in music theory (Ionian, Aeolian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian and Locrian), as suggested by the composer of the game's soundtrack.
- Nearly every character from Ontamarama has a musical term attached to his/her name (Beat, Alto, Coda, Aria, etc.)
- The Koopalings of the Super Mario Bros. games are all named after popular musicians at the time: Iggy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa, Ludwig Von Koopa (sharing his hairstyle), Roy Koopa (sharing his horn-rimmed sunglasses), and Wendy O. Koopa. Exceptions were talk show host Morton Koopa Jr. (though that one also sung and worked as a DJ, andalso has a star over one eye, probably referencing the band KISS), and Larry Koopa - "he’s not Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 or Larry King—he just looked like a Larry.
- Actually, Morton Downey Jr. may have recorded a few songs in the 50s and 60s, but he was much more famous for his obnoxious radio-show (where he was fired and replaced by Rush Limbaugh) and later talk-show that later set the standard for Jerry Springer.
- In addition, the fortress bosses from Super Mario World are called Reznor, after Trent Reznor of course. And Boos were at first known as Boo Diddley, after Bo Diddley.
- Some of the characters in Tales of the Abyss are named after musical terms, such as "Arietta" or "Largo".
- The Capacity Cores have names based on various speeds and styles of musical notation.
- Military ranks also contain references to the various musical Modes, such as "Dorian General", "Locrian Sergeant", and "Ionian Sergeant". By the same token, Fon Master Ion may well be an other reference to the Ionian mode.
- Most if not all of the shops are also musical terms, such as A Capella (Sheridan), Crescendo (Grand Chokmah), Virtuoso (Baticul) and Serioso (Chesedonia). The game runs circles around the concept of this trope. It's stated that other positions in the military are the Grand Maestro, the just plain Maestros, and Dist's title is that of a Conductor. Five of the Six God Generals (save Asch) are theme named by music- Syncopation, Distortion, Allegretto, Largo, and Aria. The original sixth, Cantabile, follows the theme as well, and his/her name can be seen in a book in Daath as the Commander of Special Operations.
- Pretty much every breed of Noise in The World Ends with You has a music reference in its name, and almost all of these are genres. Big Band Frog, for instance. Each different animal type actually has its own self-contained theme; for example, penguins are all pop-music themed and wolves are rock-themed. Really, the UG as a whole is largely music-themed, with the Reaper hierarchy including a Producer, Composer and Conductor. As well as the brother sister duo, Beat and Rhyme.
- Axl and Slash in Final Fight. Sexy transvestites Poison and Roxy also count... and when they were censored and turned into generic male mooks, those mooks were renamed Sid (as in Sid Vicious) and Billy (as in Billy Idol)!
- In keeping with the game's emphasis on music, every character in Banjo-Kazooie was originally named after an instrument. For some reason, this naming scheme was abandoned, and only the title characters keep their musical names.
- Mordekaiser, a Champion in League of Legends, has abilities named after metal songs.
- Taken Up to Eleven and through the roof with Ar tonelico, which is an entire world that has almost literally runs off music. Anything that has to do with the technology can and will be based off something from music.
- Fallout: New Vegas uses this for a lot of quest names. Examples: "Come Fly With Me" (help some ghouls rocket their way to paradise), "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" (character creation, after you've been shot in the face), "Heartaches By The Number" (Cass' companion quest), "Nothing But A Hound Dog" (Rex the dog's quest), "I Put A Spell On You" (stop or assist a Legion spy in an NCR base).
- In Pokemon Black And White, Ghetsis Harmonia, the true mastermind behind Team Plasma, and his foster children, Anthea, Concordia and N Harmonia all have names based on musical terms. Harmonia is the Greek goddess of harmony, and N Harmonia is a play on "enharmonic", which is two differently named notes that play the same tone (such as C sharp and D flat). Meanwhile, Anthea's name comes from "anthem" and Concordia is the Roman equivalent of Harmonia. Ghetsis' name comes from the G and C-Sharp (or Cis) notes, which even get used in his battle theme's kettledrums. G and C-Sharp form a tritone, notes that are three full tones apart, and as a result are prone to dissonance if not handled carefully. Even better, in medieval Europe, tritones were nicknamed "Diabolus en Musica", or "Devil in Music". So, G/Cis Harmonia, Tritone Harmony...disharmony.
- All the dancers in the Dance Dance Revolution Wii games (save for the Bemani Trio, obviously) are named after something to do with rhythm and music.
- Action Girl Rhia from Sands of Destruction has her special moves named after musical term, ranging from Sonatta to Requiem.
- In the Famicom game Holy Diver (obviously Titled After the Song by Ronnie James Dio), the protagonist and his brother are Randy R. and Zakk W., of the King Crimson family.
- Final Fantasy IX gives us the Black Waltz #1, #2, and #3 bosses. Zidane was right on the money in guessing how many of that threat they'd have to face.
- Almost everything in HarmoKnight is either named after or has a Punny Name based on a musical term or instrument.
- Cadence, the heroine of Crypt of the NecroDancer. It's a trend in her family; her mother's name is Melody, her grandmother is Aria, and her father is Dorian. The Necrodancer himself was originally known as "Octavian".
- Most of the Steam achievements in Divinity: Original Sin are named after famous and obscure rock/metal songs. This probably has something to do with Larian Studios being utter geeks and having a Heavy Mithril veteran for a chief composer.
- Baten Kaitos: Lyude's finishing moves have music-related names: Overture, Concherto, Sfrozando, Creshendo, etc.
- In Dark Ball 2 - Kharma, every level set is named after a metal band album (and usually follow a theme according to their literal meanings): Ghost Reveries, Since The Day It All Came Down, Ashes, Orbit Dance, Timeless Departure, Dark Matter Dimensions, Karma Code and Come Clarity.
- From the Bayonetta series, the Fallen Angel weaponsmith, Rodin, crafts a musically named set of four guns for the titular character in both games. In the original he crafts the 'Scarborough Fair', with each gun individually named Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. In the sequel, he crafts 'Love is Blue' (named after the song by André Popp and Pierre Cour), with the individual guns being named Prelude, Minuet, Toccata and Nocturne.
- In Cucumber Quest, characters have names that relate to where they live, so characters who live in the Melody Kingdom have names related to music.
- In Vatican Assassins, every Assassin character is named after a musical instrument. Particularly, the di Largolinios are all named after string instruments (Basscello, Cello, Harp, and Viola).
- In Coga Nito, Niko is clearly trying to go for this, naming both her and Eric's Pieces [their fighting forms] for musical references [hers is Smooth Criminal, Eric's is Red Special]. Matt realises what she's doing, though, and deliberately names his Super-8 to break the pattern. Later on we get Apex[sic] Twin and Delirium Trigger, though it's not yet clear exactly who named those.
- According to Linkara all versions of Liz's alter ego are named after some kind of hard rock act, the main being Iron (Maiden) Liz. Judas (Priest) Liz has shown up and there has been mention of Lita (Ford) Liz on the forums from Linkara.
- In What You Are in the Dark, each blog post during the final arc is the name of a song by The Beatles.
- The SCP Foundation has Alto Clef. According to his file, he insists his "true name is that of an A major chord played on a ukelele, which it carries around with it at all times should other entities wish to address it by name."
- In one of the Foundation Tales, we're told that the "Clef" name is kind of a Legacy Character: when Alto dies, the next agent to take the designation becomes "Treble Clef."
- Clef's former boss at the Global Occult Coalition is a "Scary Lady" named "D.C. al Fine."
- In MyMusic, most of the characters are nicknamed by their favorite music genre. (Metal, Indie, Dubstep, etc.)
- We Are Our Avatars: Roxie's Pokémon are named after members of the Ramones. Also, Melody, the demon who's teaching Roll how to use some demonic power, fits into the music theme of Mega Man, but she's less than a Mega Man character (due to supernatural origin). Interestingly, the name fitting into the theme was an accident.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bebop and Rocksteady are named after styles of jazz.
- In Oggy and the Cockroaches, the cockroaches are named after members of The Ramones (Dee Dee, Joey and Marky).
- In an episode of Sealab 2021, the Bebop Cola vending machine has different flavors, each named after jazz musicians, including Mingus Dew.
- Many Honda cars have this theme: Prelude, Concerto, Quint(et), Ballade, Beat, Jazz, and Domani (the last one being the name of a song).