A soundtrack can be very useful for setting the scene. The style of music tells you what the mood's going to be, and awesome moments need booming soundtracks with lots of instruments making up the sound to be even more awesome.
But with depressing moments, it's the other way around: you only need a slow and soft melody with very few instruments to know that what's happening or has just happened is supposed to be a Tear Jerker
- if not for the audience, then for the characters at least.
include Nostalgic Musicbox
, Lonely Piano Piece
, Playing the Heart Strings
and One-Woman Wail
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Anime and Manga
Film - Animated
- "Sally's Song" from The Nightmare Before Christmas is noticeably softer and simpler than the rest of the movie's soundtrack. In the song, Sally talks about how she's afraid Jack will never notice how she feels about him.
Film - Live Action
Live Action TV
- In a show that wasn't afraid to break out the electric guitar for fight scenes, it's worth noting that Buffy and Angel's love theme pretty much always sounds like this. Especially when Buffy has to send Angel to hell in order to save Earth.
- The Incredible Hulk's "The Lonely Man" closing theme - piano solo.
- The third act of Tristan und Isolde has Tristan waking to the sound of a shepherd's pipe playing a long, unaccompanied and very mournful old melody.
- RuneScape has a lot of these: "All for the Pest", "Sad Meadow", "Citharede Requiem", "Love Lost", etc.
- "Moon" and "Fortitude" from Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
- Likewise, a simple piano solo from "Rush" in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey when Faith dies.
- "At The Bottom Of Night" from Chrono Trigger is a rather simple piece for the amount of emotion it evokes.
- "Theme of Sadness" from the first Suikoden game.
- "Requiem" from Alundra is also a good example.
- "Midna's Desperate Hour" from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
- The music for "Abandoned Ebon Keep" in Secret of Evermore.
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness - an entire game full of peppy, upbeat songs... and then there's "Sorrowful Angel".
- "Painful Memories" from Heavy Rain.
- "Heartbeats" by Broove in the newgrounds game "Colour your World" and other works by Silverstitch.
- "15 years ago" that plays during the nuclear explosion flashback and the quiet drama scene in the last mission of Ace Combat 5.
- From the unnamed tracks of Ace Combat: Joint Assault, we have the final music against Sulejmani when he reveals his past, a stark difference from the music right beforehand. Whether it actually evoked sadness on the other hand...
- "Homesickness" from Tsukihime.
- Fond Memories from Secret of Mana. The description for the video says it all.
- Ezio's Family from Assassins Creed II probably counts.
- Enclosure and The Best Is Yet To come from Metal Gear Solid.
- The Eight Melodies, Smile and Tears and ESPECIALLY the Theme of Love from the MOTHER series.
- Emotion and N's farewell from Pokémon Black and White .
- Mass Effect 3 brings us I Was Lost Without You (at least for the first part of the song, which is also the game's love theme, it builds up towards the climax).
- As well as Leaving Earth, which has a sad piano tune backed by a bass section doing a convincing imitation of the Reaper Horn. The song is played in the beginning of the game when our heroes are forced to flee Earth in the face of the Reaper invasion.
- And of course, An End Once And For All, which is a reprise of both Leaving Earth and the Normandy theme.
- The Final Fantasy series count several:
- A Return, Indeed (Piano Version) from Lost Odyssey is another excellent example by Nobuo Uematsu.
- The Walking Dead has a score of simple yet sombre songs, setting up the mood for the apocalypse and human drama quite well.
- "Prayer" from Breath of Fire IV.
- "Too Late" from I Miss the Sunrise.
- "Lost, Broken Shards" from Xenogears.