Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a tone poem composed by Richard Strauss in 1896 (named after the book by Friedrich Nietzsche). The melody of the "Sunrise" movement is undeniably epic, so it's a perfect way to tell the audience, "This is where you're supposed to be impressed."Stanley Kubrick certainly thought so, and used "Also Sprach Zarathustra" as a leitmotif for several key scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It worked. In fact, it worked so well that these days the composition is better known as "that song from 2001" than by its own name.note Specifically, it was meant to symbolize the moment where mankind (or its proto-ape equivalent) achieved enlightenment — first when apes figured out how to use tools, then when Bowman becomes the Starchild. Likewise, most people will probably only recognize the first minute and a half; the entire piece is about half an hour.Consequently, usage of the composition as a Standard Snippet seem to have been eclipsed by its usage as an Homage or Affectionate Parody of 2001. It's also far more likely to emphasize something painfully mundane than to be used straight. (Arguably, the only place it's been used straight since 2001 was in 2010: The Year We Make Contact.)Also see The Monolith.Compare "Ride of the Valkyries".Any resemblance to The Three Stooges' "Hello... hello... hello! Hello," is probably coincidental. Not to be confused with the third game in the Xenosaga trilogy, also titled Also Sprach Zarathustra. (All 3 games are titled after Nietzsche's works.)
As mentioned above, 2001: A Space Odyssey is the Trope Codifier. It's particularly amusing to note that the most dramatic part of the score is not for the title or the on-screen vista, but for the appearance of Kubrick's name.
Its use in 2001 is rather apropos. The main theme of Nietzsche's book was the "Übermensch", which was what Dave Bowman becomes when this music plays at the end of the film.
Danny Elfman's score for Tim Burton's Batman has some musical Shout-Outs here and there, perhaps most obviously at the very end of the film, just before everything fades to black. Those three notes that play as Batman is standing on the cathedral roof looking out at the Bat-Signal may not have been intended to evoke Also Sprach Zarathrustra, but it sure sounded like Elfman was trying.
In the Buzz Lightyear videogame at the beginning of Toy Story 2, the hover-platforms over the bottomless chasm play this melody as Buzz leaps across them.
Which fall immediately after the melody is finished.
Used in Magnolia to introduce Tom Cruise's character. In this case, it is diegetic sound, chosen by his pompous character.
Zoolander used it in comedy homage to 2001 when Derek and Hansel were trying to figure out how to turn on Mugatu's computer. As the computer's workings confound them, their behavior grows increasingly ape-like, culminating in Hansel grabbing an appropriately-shaped bone that just happened to be nearby to smash the machine.
Being There: Slight variation, with Deodato's funk-jazz version of Also Sprach Zarathustra playing on the soundtrack as Chance makes his first journey into the city.
May possibly double as a subtle Actor Allusion hearkening back to Sellers' arguably most famous role(s) in Dr. Strangelove, directed by Mr. Stanley '2001' Kubrick himself.
Parodied in Hot Stuff. Briefly, the movie is about a police sting operation, focusing on capturing thieves. The police involved in the actual sting set up a pawnshop, and due to a distinct lack of support from their department supervisors, have to bankroll the operation by actually selling some of the items people have sold them. The theme comes about halfway through, when the police captain demands to see what they've actually accomplished with their 'little scheme', and they take him into the rear warehouse... which is stacked ten feet high with stolen goods and a crowing rooster, for some reason.
Richard Dawkins once put together the Blind Watchmaker program as a sort of Cliff Notes evolution synthesizer. According to the book The Blind Watchmaker, when he began producing little monochrome 2D insects instead of the trees that were all he'd been expecting, he immediately thought of this music.
The jingle accompanying Viacom's "V of Doom" Vanity Plate somewhat resembles it, and the logo itself echoes The Monolith.
A number of the musical themes in Power Rangers Time Force borrow from Also Sprach Zarathustra. Notably, it's the only Power Rangers series to have been nominated for an Emmy... for sound editing.
One Foot in the Grave. Victor is unpacking a new fridge, which is presented in Hitler Cam as the Monolith, surrounded by the styrofoam formers looking like bones. Cue ASZ playing as a Slow Motion Victor smashes up the formers with a distinctly ape-like demeanor.
On at least one of her tours, Jann Arden would be backed by musicians from the orchestra of the city she was currently playing in. When she'd introduce them with her trademark humourous banter, she'd always ask the timpani player "can you play the '2001' theme on those things? Well of course you can, what else are they good for?"
Dream Theater used it for intro music in at least one of their live shows, such as several gigs of the "Chaos In Motion" (the promotional tour for Systematic Chaos) tour.
Similarly, Green Day used this as intro music during their 2005 American Idiot tour.
And let's not forget about the man who predated them all: Elvis Presley, who used it as his entrance music starting around 1972.
The old Lifespring Basic Training Program, back when they still gave it, used this music to convene every session.
This was played for the unveiling of the B-2. It was a sunny day and because of that nobody could see into the shadowed hanger that the plane was in, and as the song started the B-2 slowly rolled out into the light.
Russians will mainly know it from the trivia show What? Where? When?.
Used as the entrance music for the University of South Carolina football team.
Likewise used when the teams take the field at Portsmouth Football Club's ground.
Was intended to be the background music of Apollo 13's television broadcast before Fred Haise secretly switched songs on them. And then the broadcast didn't air anyway. (though there is still a snippet of mission video where the song can be heard playing).
Spore: At the end of the Creature stage, your creature gains sentience, and a general parody of the entire scene from 2001 occurs (although the stick falls back down and hits your creature on the head)
Final Fantasy VI: A similar theme accompanies the final boss as he descends from the heavens.
Used in the Futurama episode "Godfellas", when Bender floats into view, with a colony of Shrimpkins (and their brewery) living on him. This is a parody of the floating monolith scene in "2001".
And in "Near-Death Wish", when the crew enters the room with the retirement boxes. ("Duh-Dun" is replaced with "Ding-Dong", though.)
Bender: My god, it's full of geezers!
Used in a couch gag in The Simpsons where the camera zooms out from the house into space and into Homer's head, ending where it started.
Also parodied in Little Girl in the Big Ten. Long story short, it plays when Lisa is thrown off the roof of Springfield Elementary in a plastic bubble, landing in a massive cake and splattering Skinner with it.
Again, also parodied in Deep Space Homer at the end when Bart throws the marker pen in the air, like the ape throwing the bone in the air scene in "2001".
Used in the episode "Illegal Booze" from a Finnish animated series Pasila in the scene the rioters suddenly get drunk despite not having had any alcohol.