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"And as 'Superman' came on the screen, I swear to God, if you listen carefully, it literally, the music speaks the word."
Richard Donner (on the opening theme for Superman: The Movie)

A type of Mood Motif that was traditionally used in medieval Europe to celebrate the arrival of a royal person. The form usually involved trumpets played in a bombastic and stirring manner.

Today, it is still present in music as a form of celebrating something. A fanfare today also uses brass instruments, or the closest digital music equivalent, and if not bombastic, it is still meant to be stirring and uplifting.

A Sister Trope to Victorious Chorus. May often accompany a "Hell, Yes!" Moment or a Moment of Awesome.

Compare Orchestral Bombing, Dramatic Timpani, Drum Roll, Please, Ermine Cape Effect (having the same effect for royalty, but with clothes).

Contrast Losing Horns.


    open/close all folders 

  • In commercials for Imperial margarine, whenever someone ate something spread with the product, a fanfare would sound and a crown appeared on the person's head.
  • The theme song for Segata Sanshiro begins with a triumphant fanfare.


    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek 2: The traditional fanfare is followed by one guy playing the Hawaii Five-O theme. "Enough, Reggie!" indeed. In fact, the traditional fanfare was itself a stylized portion of the Hawaii Five-O theme.
  • In The Little Mermaid (1989), Triton first appears to a fanfare. Sebastian is introduced with the same fanfare, only played on a kazoo.
  • The recobbled version of The Thief and the Cobbler has many, most memorably:
    "Beautiful! Princess! Yum Yum!"
  • A Boy Named Charlie Brown. "Champion Charlie Brown" is such a triumphant, catchy tune, the instrumental is used for the production credits bumper.
  • After Genie makes Aladdin into a prince, "Prince Ali" is given a burst of fanfare when being introduced to Agrabah before the horns become a full-on musical number.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Hands of the Emperor: The imperial salute that has to be played when the emperor enters a building/room in official capacity.
  • Robert E. Howard's Kull story The Shadow Kingdom opens with "the blare of the trumpets."

    Live-Action TV 

  • Several Leitmotifs in Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle have a fanfare-like character, such as the Sword motif and the Valkyries' theme (exploited in the famous "Ride of the Valkyries"). Of Siegfried's two themes, one is only slightly fanfare-like; the other (the famous horn call) is much more so.
  • The theme to Masterpiece Theatre is actually an old piece titled "Fanfare for trumpets, timpani, violins and oboes". It's on the more relaxing and graceful end, but it is a fanfare.
  • The Triumphal Chorus from Verdi's Aida.
  • Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland. Composed in WWII, it even got a rock version by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
  • Gustav Mahler started off his Fifth Symphony with a trumpet solo. He grew up in a barracks town, so bugle calls and bits of military marches often find their way into his compositions.
  • Symphony No. 4 in F Minor by Pyort Ilyich Tchaikovsky begins with a stark fanfare in the horns and bassoons that is then taken up by the trumpets. It abruptly comes back in the final movement.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada has the "Procession of the Nobles".
  • The Moody Blues' Days of Future Past.
  • Mirdautas Vras by Summoning. Perhaps the only example of a fanfare for a villain. Listen here.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov's arrangement of Night On Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky features a fanfare that announces the entrance of Chernobog/Devil.
  • Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" opens with a fanfare that is repeated at intervals, though the main body of the piece relies rather more heavily on strings than the other examples here.
  • In settings of the Requiem Mass, "Tuba mirum" is a good place to look for fanfares combined with Ominous Latin Chanting. Mozart's only has a relatively tame trombone solo, but the Berlioz and Verdi Requiems pile on the brass magnificently.
  • Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien opens with the reveille call that he heard while on vacation in Spain.
  • Gustav Mahler's music is filled with fanfares and marches, thanks to growing up in a town with a barracks.
  • "Fanfare" from Kiss' Music from "The Elder".
  • John Williams again, for his Olympic Fanfare and Theme. He has made other contributions to the Olympics in years to come; this one was his first.
  • The classic Doctor Who theme gets revamped as a fanfare for the intro to Doctor Who: The TV Movie.

  • Camelot has a recurring fanfare derived from the title song ("Ca-me-lot!").
  • Of Thee I Sing has a trumpet fanfare derived from its title song, which plays before various important entrances and announcements. This is subverted in the final scene by Rule of Three.
  • Da-da-da-DAH! Arguably the best overture of a musical ever written, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy revolves around four notes and four central words: "I had a dream!"
  • Candide:
    • Similarly, the overture of Leonard Berstein's version is so epic and widely regarded it is performed by symphonies as a modern classical piece completely separate from the musical. Its opening fanfare is instantly recognizable.
    • There's also the Governor's fanfare, derived from his song "My Love", and a shofar-like Inquisition fanfare which sounds quite scary.
  • In Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein), "The Prince Is Giving a Ball" opens with a trumpet fanfare based on the first line of the song; a variation on this fanfare is repeated throughout.
  • Two examples by Gilbert and Sullivan, in both cases played on trumpets and sung by the chorus:
    There is nothing brings it 'round
    Like the trumpet's martial sound,
    Like the trumpet's martial sound, tarantara!
    • "Loudly Let The Trumpets Bray" from Iolanthe
    Bow, bow, ye lower-middle classes!
    Bow, bow, ye tradesmen! Bow ye masses!
    Blow the trumpets! Bang the brasses!
    Tatantara! Tzing! Boom!

    Video Games 
  • Numerous games released by Apogee Software in the early-to-mid 90s opened with a screen displaying the company's logo accompanied by the "Apogee Fanfare."
  • Part of the Baldur's Gate II main theme, from about 0:15 to 0:50 here.
  • Cave Story has "item acquired" and "boss defeated" fanfares.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • "Lucca's Theme." In fact, one of the things that annoyed some gamers about Cross was that even though that tune was upgraded to a full victory tune, and given two remixes, both of them slowed the tempo down.
    • A different sort of fanfare is "Courage and Pride", the castle theme — there is a remix of it that plays it as it would be in "real life", outdoors with chattering voices.
  • The Dragon Quest overture (especially obvious in VIII). It also has several triumphant themes mostly heard when scoring in the casino. Finally, the series consistently uses the same fanfare for when a character gains a level.
  • Fallout has always had a subdued ambient soundtrack, so the short drumroll and fanfare that plays when you level up might not seem very amazing, but in context of the game, it is nothing short of triumphant.
  • Listen to the theme that first plays when a character is promoted in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and swell with pride. It doesn't matter who you are or even if you've ever played this game... You'll find a reason to be proud.
  • The aptly-named Victory Fanfare, which has appeared in almost every game of the Final Fantasy series.
  • Frozen Free Fall Icy Shot uses the chorus of "Let It Go" when you win a level, as an instrumental with triumphant brass horns.
  • The theme to Golden Sun. Which was rearranged for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Yo dawg, I heard you like fanfares, so I put a fanfare in your fanfare...
  • From 1:40 onward, "The Greatest Journey" from Halo 3 is a Fanfare version of the original Halo Theme.
  • The victory music (especially the "defended town" one) in Heroes of Might and Magic III.
  • Kessen is absolutely overloaded with sweeping fanfares, both for victory and for battles. Kessen III replaced some of the fanfares with odd rock/techno orchestral mixes though, which sort of worked, but didn't make your hair stand on end like some previous songs in the series did.
  • The victory tune in Capcom's Knights of the Round. Oddly, it's just the SNES port, not the arcade version, which sounds more like chimes than trumpets.
  • In Luftrausers, the normal wubs in the soundtrack will eventually change to a synthetic fanfare sounds while you hear an army marching in the background. It does really give you the War Is Glorious feel of the game, while you mow down enemies as an ace dogfighter.
  • The theme to The Legend of Zelda series may have been intended as a fanfare at first, but the audio limitations of the Famicom/NES made it difficult to make clear. The The Legend of Zelda (1989) series made it clear that the theme is a fanfare, and was also played as one in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. There is also the major item-finding cues in the games.
  • Rise of Nations plays victorious fanfares whenever you're winning a battle, as well as during the victory debriefing screen.
  • The Classic Mega Man games feature jingles used when introducing the Robot Master bosses and after defeating them. The pieces frequently used for this originate respectively from the original game and its sequel. The individual iterations also feature their own fanfare, such as the weapon obtained, password/load/save, and fortress map screens.
  • The Metroid series has two regular appearing fanfares that debut in the first game, one that plays after selecting a save file as Samus appears, and another that plays when picking up a major upgrade.
  • "The Musashi Legend" from Brave Fencer Musashi.
  • Mother 3 has "LOG-O-TYPE," which plays at the conclusion of the prologue. It later becomes the Leitmotif of the Pigmask Army rearranged as "His Highness' Theme."
  • The title screen music for the original Pok√©mon has been a recurring fanfare and main theme for the series. There are few various victory fanfares as well, but this is without the most recognizable one from the games.
  • The victory music in the first Star Fox game. The reprise during the Credits also qualify, as well as the Super Smash Bros. Brawl remix.
  • Super Mario Bros. has the music played whenever Mario/Luigi touches a flagpole at the end of a level. A different fanfare is used at the end of each Castle level after he defeats a Fake Bowser (or the real one at the end of the final level) and rescues a Toad (or Princess Peach, again at the end of the final level).
  • The Super Smash Bros. series has a fanfare for whenever a fighter wins a match. Each of these vary depending on the fighter, reflecting their series. Interestingly, Kazuya Mishima does not have a traditional music fanfare, which instead has the Smash announcer gets replaced by the announcer from his own series accompanied by no music.
  • Wing Commander has an especially memorable one as its main theme. In the second game, the Kilrathi get an evil minor-key fanfare of their own.

    Visual Novels 
  • And Great Revival from the Ace Attorney series also qualifies. Even if you weren't a fan of Edgeworth, this song got your attention.

    Western Animation 
  • The openings to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and She-Ra: Princess of Power.
  • Justice League:
    • The show has one, enhanced by the fact that there is a few seconds of darkness as the fanfare begins, before the outlines of the heroes slowly come into view.
    • The old Superman and Batman: TAS themes also come in whenever Superman or Batman do something incredible; like Batman taking on Kalibak.
  • Beast Wars introduced the character of Silverbolt in its second season. His statements concerning his honor code, and knightly actions were often accompanied by a medieval-style fanfare. Even his first appearance has him silhouetted in the moon as his fanfare played.
  • From Season 2 on (when they started Flash animation), Johnny Test overused fanfares.
  • TaleSpin has one that plays during the heroic and triumphant moments.
  • Total Drama:
    • Two of the interns blow trumpets in "Brains Vs Brawn: The Ultimate Showdown" to announce the arrival of Chris McLean. They do not actually have the lung capacity to produce anything more than an exaggerated spitting sound and so they bring along a boombox to produce the fanfare.
    • The human soundboard Beardo provides the triumphant trumpets to inaugurate the wizard's tower the Wâneyihtam Maskwak built in "So, Uh, This Is My Team?". Dave tells him to quit it.

    Real Life 
  • The Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud is the most famous of the various songs used as themes for the Olympic Games. The version linked was arranged by John Williams and added to the beginning of his Olympic Fanfare Medley, which as indicated by the title follows it up with a fanfare of Williams' own.
  • Williams' "Summon the Heroes", the 1996 Atlanta Olympic theme, also draws heavily on the fanfare.


20th Century Fox

The fanfare of 20th Century Fox is one the most iconic of all time, as heard in the opening of the "Star Wars" films here, to name just one example.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / Fanfare

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