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.
open/close all folders
Anime and 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.
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.
Gundam SEED and its sequel 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 JoJo's 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, 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! 5Ds, three villains are named Jose, Placido and Luciano, after the Three Tenors.
Suite Precure, 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.
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 Douglas Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach 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.
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).
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 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 are Rush, 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'sOne-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 is named after Iggy Pop, Lemmy comes from Lemmy Kilmister of the band Motörhead, Ludwig Von is obviously named after Ludwig van Beethoven (sharing his hairstyle), Roy is named after Roy Orbison (sharing his horn-rimmed sunglasses), Morton Koopa Jr. is named after Morton Downey Jr. (and also has a star over one eye, probably referencing the band KISS) and Wendy O. takes her name from Wendy O. Williams. Larry Koopa is named after Larry Mullen, Jr. of U2. (Although some have speculated that he was named after Larry King despite him being a talk-show host.)
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.
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.
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.
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).
Pokémon Black and White have fun with this with regard to the archons of Team Plasma, N and Ghetsis. First of all, their family name is "Harmonia". N Harmonia implies enharmonics; two intervals very close to each other in tone, in fact very nearly the same in tone, differing only in their "spelling". Then there's Ghetsis. His 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.
According toLinkara 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.
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."