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Adventurous Irish Violins

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This is a popular musical motif found throughout the scores of adventure movies and TV shows.

The classical stereotype of the Irish Immigrant throughout the colonial era (and by extension, the Irish farmer) is an earthily honest man who is one with the world around him, simultaneously able to accept the hardships of life and take any hardship life throws at him, resulting in a robust, innocent and pure optimism that anything is possible through joyful, honest hard work.


Therefore, if a composer wishes to evoke that spirit of optimistic idealistic wonder (especially through montage of True Companions working together for a common cause), the joyfully whimsical strains of the Irish fiddle are invoked to stir similar emotions in the audience.

Note that this musical motif does not always have to apply to settings in Ireland or even have any Irish characters; regardless of the presence or absence of Irishmen in the story, it will subconsciously take the audience on an emotional level back to the classical romanticism of the colonial pioneer era, where there is still an unknown adventure in every horizon, ready for your bravery and optimism to challenge.

Obviously, a popular staple of the Hard-Work Montage.



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     Anime and Manga  


  • The Lord of the Rings does this with music thematically linked to Rohan. Variations of this main "Rohan theme" pop up throughout The Two Towers and The Return of the King whenever the people of Rohan are doing much of anything noteworthy or dramatic.
  • The score of the late James Horner for the James Cameron film Titanic (1997) celebrates the resilience and optimism of the Irish spirit with liberal and frequent use of this trope. It becomes especially heartwarming when you remember that Horner was himself Irish, and the RMS Titanic was an Irish ship. Having been built in Belfast, like its sister ships the Olympic and Britannic, many of the ship's crew and third class passengers were from that community, and the sinking hit them hard.
  • The Boondock Saints main theme "Blood of Cuchulainn" fits the two working-class Irish protagonists like a glove.
  • Far and Away, scored by John Williams, underscores The Determinator spirit of the Irish-battlers played by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman with this trope.
  • Similarly, the musical score for Master and Commander (starring Russell Crowe) loves using this in its more optimistic sequences, though justified as it is set in the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Braveheart is in love with this trope; its a wonderful example of its flexibility. For although the heroes are Scots (plus an Irishman), the passionate strains of said trope still do much to evoke the energetically violent and rapacious spirits of many Irish and Highlander-Scots sub-cultures.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009) features Irish violins in some scenes, notably a version of "The Rocky Road to Dublin" during Holmes' boxing match, performed by the veteran Irish ensemble The Dubliners.

     Live Action TV  

  • Used in the second episode of Better Call Saul to accompany a montage of Jimmy McGill doing mundane work as a public defender.



  • Unsurprisingly, this features prominently in the musical score of the stage show Riverdance.

     Video Games  

  • This is invoked in the heartwarming musical score of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland to accentuate Totori's youthfully enthusiastic idealism.
  • The most notable part of the classic Halo theme behind the Gregorian chanting is the prominent adventurous string section. Admittedly though, it lost some of its jauntiness after the first game.
  • The The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker intro theme features a nice violin melody later into the song, fitting a story about sailing away to adventure.
    • The same melody shows up again during the second half of the game, and it turn out to be The Wind God's Aria, a song that can be directed with the Wind Waker to reconnect the current Earth Sage (in this case, Makar the Korok) with their mystic ancestry. The sage then can play the song to open the seal on the Wind Temple, which is vital to restore power to the Master Sword.

     Western Animation  

  • Befitting the adventurous setting, the musical score of Pixar's Brave makes use of it in its soundtrack.
  • Tangled has this scene to "Kingdom Dance", you can even see the violin and its player at 2:25.


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