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Circus Synths

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When you think of circus or carnival music, you probably imagine something old fashioned, like a calliope or a brass band. While these instruments are a staple of circus music, sometimes creators want to give their circus setting a more modern edge. To do that, they need a more modern style of music.

And so, sometimes circuses, carnivals, and clowns in fiction are associated with more modern genres of music, including funk, dance, pop, and anything involving synths or other electronic sounds. Despite utilizing digital sounds, these songs will usually have certain qualities of traditional circus music, like being fun, bouncy, and creating a sense of wonder.

Wikipedia mentions this phenomenon on one line of its page on circus music.

Clowns and circuses in fiction can use electronic music for a variety of effects. For example, clown characters with synth-y leitmotifs can be cheerfully eccentric and quirky, exceptionally powerful in magic, or utterly terrifying, with an edge that can't quite be communicated with only traditional instruments. When a fictional circus uses electronic music, it might be because the performers are trying to appeal to modern audiences (In-Universe or not.) Singers who specialize in pop, hip hop, and similar music genres might make songs or even albums with a circus theme as a way of trying a new aesthetic without breaking away from their signature sounds too much.

May overlap with Freaky Electronic Music and Creepy Circus Music, or with Happy Circus Music.


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    Films — Animation 

  • Christina Aguilera's pop album Back to Basics features the songs "Hurt" and "Enter the Circus", which make great use of circus music.
  • Panic! at the Disco's album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, most notably the song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," the music video for which has the band crashing a wedding of circus performers.
  • P!nk's circus-themed pop album Funhouse. Impressively, P!nk herself is a skilled gymnast and acrobat, something she put to great use to capitalize on the circus theme when she did tours for the album.
  • Britney Spears' "Circus" has Spears compare her career as a pop singer to a circus performer. Shortly after the release of the song, Spears also went on a tour called "The Circus Starring Britney Spears", which featured stages set up to resemble a traditional circus.
  • Take That (Band)'s appropriately titled pop-rock album The Circus. Their tour Take That Presents: The Circus Live featured a circus-like set and costumes, with clowns, balloons, and other props as well.
  • T-Pain's album Thr33 Ringz uses the theme of a three-ring circus, portraying the rapper as a confident ringmaster.
  • Eminem uses elements of Creepy Circus Music as part of his macabre Subverted Kids' Show style, and his The Eminem Show tour was themed around a circus, with a ferris wheel on stage, firebreathers, a ringmaster and an acrobat. (This set can be seen in the music video for "Sing For The Moment", which ironically is one of the least circusy tracks on the album.) He would come out on stage to "Square Dance" at this time, which definitely fits this trope description.
  • The middle section of Jean-Michel Jarre's "Fifth Rendez-Vous" incorporates a circus arrangement of the main melody from the preceding "Fourth Rendez-Vous" with chiptune-esque synth instruments.

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    Visual Novels 
  • In Sin With Me, the Night of Sin circus has electronic music playing during performances.