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Heartbeat Soundtrack

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"Can you feel my heartbeat?"
2PM, "Heartbeat"

Thub-thub... thub-thub... thub-thub...

For added atmosphere, play this video while reading on.

The human heartbeat is an evocative sound, one with literal life-and-death significance, so it comes as no surprise that songwriters and composers frequently co-opt the sound to inject a little gravitas into a song or a scene.

The beep-beep of an electrocardiogram, or a drumbeat intentionally meant to mimic a heartbeat, also count for our purposes.

When a heartbeat is used in a soundtrack, it's common to partially or completely mute every other sound. The heartbeat then serves either as an indicator that a character is near death, or as an audible indicator of shocked silence.

The beat can increase greatly in speed if the characters are in a nervous state. When it becomes very fast and loud, it usually means someone is about to die or suffer a nervous breakdown.

May overlap with Songs in the Key of Panic in games that use it to symbolize low health. When used properly, it can amount to Paranoia Fuel.

Occasionally overlaps with Artistic License – Biology, as it's virtually always a human heart's sound that plays, even if the heart in question belongs to a non-human creature that would have a much faster (small animals) or slower (giant ones) pace. This is likely a result of Most Writers Are Human.


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  • In Dragon Ball Z the first seconds of Frieza's theme of death "A Chilling Elegy" gives a slow heartbeat with a bell of death sound.
  • In the first season of Sailor Moon, an ominous heartbeat is heard in the core of the Dark Kingdom (Negaverse in the DiC English dub), with Queen Metallia looming over it.
  • In the Pokémon: The Original Series episode "A Chansey Operation", an unusual heartbeat sound can be heard when Dr. Proctor listens to Pikachu's heartbeat with his stethoscope.
  • There is a heartbeat sound from within Susano-oh's chamber in Blue Seed.
  • In Mahoromatic, a "mechanical heartbeat" is heard when Mahoro feels her chest.
  • In the last two episodes of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, a heartbeat sound can be heard; one being in the elevator to the core of the Dark Gundam (Devil Gundam in Japan), and another in the core itself.
  • In the Halo Legends short Homecoming, when Daisy is running back home, Halo: Combat Evolved's "Under Cover of Night" plays. The unexpected heartbeat-like drums when Daisy suddenly sees her clone is quite appropriate.
  • Right before Zeref kills Zancrow in Fairy Tail.
  • Weaponized by the hero Earphone Jack (real name Jiro) in My Hero Academia. She can put the jacks on her earlobes into an amplifier she wears on her shins to amplify her heartbeat to levels loud enough to paralyze opponents.
  • One-Punch Man: The King Engine creates rhythmic sounds that follow the S-class hero King around, accelerating when he's about to get into a fight and intimidating his opponents into surrendering or whenever King starts to get annoyed at someone mouthing off at him (with the same result), represented by a DOOM-DOOM-DOOM sound effect in the manga and a regular drumbeat in the anime. As King is a reluctant Fake Ultimate Hero with zero fighting skill, the "King Engine" is just the sound of his heart beating faster in a stressful situation, loud enough for other people to hear it.
  • Cells at Work!: Episode 12 features regular accelerating drumbeats due to a massive hemorrhage causing blood to be pumped faster.
  • Episode 12 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has the sound of Kaguya's heartbeat drowning out the sound of the fireworks show the Student Council is watching as she stares at Shirogane in complete awe of everything he did to get her there (thus the title of the segment, "I Can't Hear the Fireworks").

  • Comedian Pablo Francisco employs this to humorous effect in a routine mocking movie trailers.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dinosaur begins with the sound of Aladar's heart beating from inside his egg.
  • Finding Nemo: Heard very briefly during the fight in the dentist's room when Marlin sees what he thinks is Nemo lying belly-up and dead.
  • Princess Mononoke has a loud, dull pulse invade the soundtrack when Ashitaka struggles to subdue The Corruption in his arm after glimpsing the Forest Spirit.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: When Puss senses the presence of the Wolf, he starts having a panic attack and the soundtrack fills with a rapid heartbeat, which slows down when Perrito arrives to comfort him.
  • Turning Red:
    • Mei's heartbeat is heard, right before she changes into her panda form, after finding out that the 4*Town concert is taking place on the same night as her family's ritual to remove the panda.
    • After Mei defies her mother and refuses the ritual, Ming's rapidly-increasing heartbeat is heard as her anger intensifies so much that her talisman breaks and she gets possessed by her own Panda spirit.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Terminator soundtrack had, according to the DVD release, a "robotic heartbeat".
  • The soundtrack to The Monkees' film Head features a loud heartbeat sound in a spooky scene leading up to the “Happy Birthday” sequence.
  • Used in La Jetée at a few points during the experiments.
  • A subtle heartbeat sound can be heard throughout the film Alien whenever the xenomorph is about to appear. Pay particular attention when the crew is eating Chinese food.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, "21st Century Cure" has a constant pulsing sound all the way through. Other songs in Repo! have that motif, including that one scene in "Depraved Heart Murder in Sanitarium Square".
  • John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) uses background music, most notably in the beginning, that is nothing more than an electronic instrumental heartbeat. An imitation of a heartbeat, if you will.
  • Sucker Punch features a heart beat during the "Sweet Dreams" introduction.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the scene of Lupin's werewolf transformation features heavy usage of heartbeat-like sound effects.
  • The Shining, during the infamous "Room 237" scene.
  • 28 Days Later, with "In The House, In a Heartbeat".
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Davy Jones's theme in the films is played to the rhythm of a heartbeat.
    • The heartbeat rhythm also shows up in the song "Tia Dalma" on the soundtrack, which is a clue to that character's identity...
  • In Cloud Atlas, the audience finally hears Hae-Joo's heartbeat as Sonmi~451 does as it slows to a stop.
  • The sound of heartbeat accompanies the shots from the killer's point of view in The Prey. When he runs, the beat becomes faster.
  • Sinner's Prayer by Sully Erna, which is the opening theme from the Extended Director's Cut of The Expendables.
  • Accidentally employed in The Perfect Storm. During the funeral scene, a faint thumping sound can be heard while Linda Greenclaw delivers the eulogy. That sound is actually actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's heartbeat, which was picked up by the super-sensitive microphone used to record up her dialogue. When director Wolfgang Peterson reviewed the footage he loved the effect and kept it in the final audio mix for the scene (rather than re-shoot or over-dub Mastrantonio's dialogue).
  • Often accompanying the Murderer P.O.V. in The Burning.
  • In Blackenstein, the soundtrack features a heartbeat as the monster approaches. The heartbeat gets faster as it prepares to attack. At the end of the film as Eddie is ripped apart by dogs the hearts slows down, eventually stopping as he dies.
  • In Doctor Sleep, the tempo of the heartbeat is used frequently to increase or decrease tension. A prime example is the death of the Baseball Boy, where the heartbeat sound slows down and comes to a halt as the life force escapes his body. Also accompanies the voyage back to the Overlook.
  • Used in Kal Ho Naa Ho during the ending scene where Aman dies in hospital. It feels especially significant given that he’s dying of heart failure.
  • In The Green Knight, heartbeat sounds play as Gawain finds the titular knight in the Green Chapel and waits for him to awaken.
  • In The Suicide Squad, a loud heartbeat is layered on top of the soundtrack after Peacemaker stabs Rick Flag in the heart and kills him.
  • When Eurydice is killed in Shredder Orpheus, a heartbeat sound plays over shots of her body and the guests reacting to the fall, ending as Hades' goons carry her away. Earlier, the EBN programming includes a heartbeat as part of the soundtrack as Axel and Razoreus watch a Grey Zoner's soul being taken.
  • The Wasteland (2021): A heartbeat noise starts playing when the beast appears in the house.

  • Edgar Allan Poe "The Tell-Tale Heart"...although of course it's only in the mad mind of the narrator.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The finale of 24 Season 2 replaces the usual ticking clock at the end of the episode with President Palmer's heartbeat as he is the target of an assassination attempt.
  • The opening credits sequence for Are You Afraid of the Dark? features a heartbeat alongside the eerie music.
  • Lampshaded in the Boy Meets World horror movie-themed episode:
    Thub-thub... thub-thub...
    Angela: Alright, you're the horror film expert, what's that?
    Shawn: That's the sound of our beating hearts. It signifies our heightened fear, and the fact that something horrible is about to walk in that door, right NOW!
    *door opens, revealing Eric and Jack standing there*
  • The Chair (2002): A Game Show where players must keep their heart rate under control while answering trivia questions. The player's heartbeat and the beep-beep sounds of the monitor are heard throughout their game.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master's theme is made up of a repeating "boom-boom-boom-boom" sound, most often in drums. It's the heartbeat of a Time Lord's twin hearts, and the "sound of drums" in his head.
    • Donna can hear a heartbeat in "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End", a presage of the Clone Doctor that is going to be born.
    • The heartbeat sound made by Dalek technology, mildly averted as attention is never drawn to the sound.
    • In "The Last Day", a minisode featuring Gallifreyan soldiers, this is heard, but it's noticeably a standard one-heart heartbeat. So they aren't Time Lords, then.
    • The trailer for Zagreus has a creepy heartbeat in the background while the Ironic Nursery Rhyme is recited.
  • In the Eat Bulaga! segment Jackpot En Poy, the sound of a heart beating plays before people decide whether to throw rock, paper, or scissors.
  • The theme for ER, naturally, is reminiscent of the various sounds you'd hear sitting in an emergency room, including the sound of a heartbeat both in the background and foreground.
  • In an episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Chris goes on a rant and accidentally mouths off his mother. A heartbeat is then heard, with the camera cutting back and forth between Rochelle's expression of anger and Chris' expression of horror with each beat; with the last beat, the scene cuts to Chris lying in a hospital bed, all bruised up with Rochelle's shoe lodged in his ass.
  • This happens in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop whenever Chi Soo goes into kiss Eun Bi. She asks her friend (Dong Joo), after the first time, if it's common to hear your heartbeat and bells when somebody is about to kiss you.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
    • "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self": The newly fledged vampire Louis is famished for human blood, so as he's staring at the tractor salesman's neck at the bar, his Super Hearing becomes fixated on his prey's pulsing heart rate.
    • "Is My Very Nature That of a Devil": Louis begins to listen closely to Alderman Fenwick's erratic heart rate after the latter deprecatingly says, "And your pale lover, with his seemingly endless supply of capital." The sound continues for the rest of the scene, and the rhythm varies depending on how the fearful Fenwick is reacting to Louis.
      Louis: Why is your heart beatin' so fast?
    • "The Thing Lay Still": During the tram ride scene, as Claudia psychically tells Louis, "You spend an hour alone with [Lestat] and you're breathing in sync together," the sound of heartbeats becomes mingled with the dialogue, although it's not made clear whose it belongs to. It may be Lestat listening in on Louis or vice versa, or it could be Louis and Lestat's hearts thumping together as one because they're vampires in love.
    • Later, when Louis and Claudia enter the venue for the Mardi Gras ball, they are overwhelmed by the heartbeats of the guests because they had starved themselves of human blood for three consecutive nights before the event.
      Louis: The blood was everywhere. The veins and arteries of a few hundred hearts ringing out like air raid sirens, drowning out the rhythm section of the hired band.
  • The Keepers in 1991, twelve years before Peter Jackson's adaptation, already seem to be using Heartbeat Soundtrack as Déagol is being strangled, although an actual influence is unlikely to the extreme.
  • Happens in Kyle XY, when Jesse flashbacks to when she met her next door neighbor in a hotel. She hears a heartbeat as it slows and dies, which happens to be her mom's heartbeat, as her neighbor brutally killed her.
  • "Teardrop" from Mezzanine by Massive Attack was remixed, to play up the heartbeat sound of the drum beat, when it was made the theme to House. There's also an alternate theme when it's shown on Channel 5, apparently because they couldn't afford the music rights, which also has a heartbeat motif.
  • In The Mickey Mouse Club skit called Paperboys in Countdown to Maple Street as the paperboy tries to leave the front yard in slow motion while the sprinklers were active.
  • In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode "Love in Bloom", one of the symptoms of the witch disease "Candy Heart Syndrome" is that the affected witch's heart turns into a giant candy heart that beats loud enough that anyone in the same room can hear it, or "louder than the bass on a Deadhead's boombox!" as Salem puts it. And that's before it starts beating outside her chest, though no less noisy.
  • Seen in the trope image, The Sesame Street song, The Heart of the Frog does so with Kermit the Frog and his doctor (played by Dave Goelz). The doctor remarks that the sound Kermit's heart is music to his ears and breaks into the song:
    Oh, Baby, Baby, Listen to the heart of the frog. Yeah! Baby, Baby, Listen to the heart of the frog.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A pulsing heartbeat sound can be heard in the background during encounters with the Prophets.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Remembrance", Dahj's heartbeat is heard briefly after the commandos place a bag over her head.
    • In "Absolute Candor", the steady heartbeat of a comatose Ramdha is heard when Soji visits her.
    • In "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", Picard's slow heartbeat is heard while he's dreaming, and it's also accompanied by the sound of what is probably the chime of a triangle.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Folsom Prison Blues", after the ghost squeezes Dean's heart.
  • The opening theme to Torchwood: Miracle Day has an electrocardiogram beep over it.
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? uses it extensively from around the middle of the game (£32,000 under the old system) onwards to crank up the suspense. In most incarnations, the final question's music gets rid of everything except for the heartbeat and a drone.
  • The American version of Winning Lines, which shared the same composer, used this when a contestant hit the critical "bail-out" portion of the Wonderwall round, down to their final strike or fifteen seconds left to play.

  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono did this twice. On Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions "Baby's Heartbeat" is a heartbeat monitor recording of their unborn child mixed with John Lennon's own heart palpitations, their baby would soon die in a miscarriage. During "John and Yoko" from Wedding Album John and Yoko say each other's names to a recording of their heart beats: for almost half an hour!
  • Prince did this on "Sex in the Summer," from disc 2 of his triple album Emancipation. The heartbeat was taken from an ultrasound of the unborn child he'd conceived with his then-wife, Mayte Garcia. The tragedy of this is that the child died at six days old, due to a rare skull disease.
  • Orbital's "The Girl with the Sun in Her Head" (from the album In Sides) opens with a heartbeat, distorted into a low rumble.
  • Starflyer 59's "First Heart Attack" ends with a drumbeat imitating a heartbeat; playing over it is a recording of a doctor operating.
  • Metallica's "That Was Just Your Life" from the album Death Magnetic starts with this, then gets heavier.
  • The original version of "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tommy James and the Shondells uses a bass guitar to imitate a heartbeat sound after the chorus.
  • The start and end and various points between of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. When played along to The Wizard of Oz, the heartbeat at the end of the last track syncs up with Dorothy and the Scarecrow listening to the lack of The Tin Man's heartbeat.
  • Huey Lewis and the News has "Heart of Rock 'n' Roll" which ends with a drumbeat that turns into a human heartbeat. And it starts with one too.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Like a Surgeon" uses a heartbeat monitor throughout the entire song, which turns into a single, long flatline tone after the final lines, "I can hear your heartbeat/For the very last time."
  • The Creature Feature song "Buried Alive" uses a heartbeat during the final repetition of the chorus. Used to expectedly creepy effect when it stops mid-pulse.
  • "Meaning of Life" by Disturbed starts with a rhythmic double bass drum closely in line with a heartbeat that slowly loudens into a think, distorted power chord.
  • Teardrop by Massive Attack from "Mezzanine" has a drumbeat in it reminiscent both of a heartbeat and a ticking clock. It is used as the theme tune to House.
  • The beginning in Jethro Tull's 1973 Concept Album, A Passion Play.
  • "Ron's Piece" a.k.a. "Last Rendez-vous" by Jean-Michel Jarre (1986) has a sampled heartbeat in lieu of a drum machine for the entire more than five minutes. His 1993 album Chronologie starts and ends with presumably synthesized heartbeats which also appear after part 1; they were also used during the countdowns before his concerts from 1993 to 1995.
  • The end of Avenged Sevenfold's "Unbound (The Wild Ride)", continuing into the next track, "Brompton Cocktail".
  • South Korean boy band 2PM's hit single, "Heartbeat".
  • Utada Hikaru's "Hikari" and "Simple and Clean", the Japanese and English versions of the Kingdom Hearts theme.
  • The Protomen:
    • They have a heartbeat in Act II, which changes to a drumline representing a heartbeat. In "The Fall", it flatlines.
    • "This City Made Us" echoes it in some parts, but with multiple instruments in unison - not all of them percussion, possibly representing a robotic heartbeat.
  • "Ode to Divorce" by Regina Spektor opens with the sound of a heartbeat.
  • "Cry for You" by Korn has a faint heartbeat sound in the background when the singer says "feel it beating".
  • Hilary Duff's song, "Beat of My Heart".
  • Creed's "With Arms Wide Open" begins with a faint heartbeat sound.
  • British pop band Scouting for Girls has a song titled "Heartbeat" which uses an actual heartbeat at the beginning and end of the song. It also uses a heartbeat rhythm throughout the song.
  • David Usher uses this to great effect in "Black Black Heart".
  • Zeromancer's "Dr. Online" has heartbeat-like tones in the background and uses electrocardiogram beeps which flatline at the same point the music stops.
  • Deftones's song, "Pink Maggot" at 6:20 has an atmospheric heartbeat that keeps going on until the end (even being the only sound heard at the very end)
  • Rick Springfield's song "My Depression", ends with three heartbeats before stopping. This is made even more atmospheric by the last line in the final verse with the character questioning if he is "ready for the second half" and a scream before the close of the song, suggesting the heartbeat is the character's final moments of life.
  • The aptly named "Cardiac Arrest" by Madness features a heartbeat at the beginning of the song. It flatlines at the end.
  • "The Endless Enigma (Part One)", the opening track from Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Trilogy album, begins with a heartbeat sound effect in the left channel, and a synth doodle in the right.
  • Florence + the Machine's song, "Cosmic Love", uses a heartbeat sound in one verse, coming in at the "And I heard your heart beating" line.
  • The most famous example of this from classical music is a 15-bar stretch of the third movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, where the movement's theme is reduced to its rhythm played quietly on a kettledrum against an even more faintly sustained chord.
  • Kamelot's "The Human Stain" uses this pulsing sound throughout the song, rather fittingly as mortality is one of its themes, also Love You To Death.
  • Nearly the entire length of Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" has a recording of her heartbeat as its main beat.
  • Emilie Autumn's Opheliac, Subtle but there.
  • Taana Gardner's "Heartbeat" used the pulsing heartbeat sound at various points, particularly at the beginning and the end.
  • The Nine Inch Nails song "Closer" from The Downward Spiral uses this as well as a tapping sound to serve as the main beat. The video also starts out with an actual human heart tied to a chair, drumming out the rhythm.
  • "Broken Arrow" from Buffalo Springfield is an angsty minor-key number typical of Neil Young with a couple of false stops, that finally crossfades into a jaunty, jazzy instrumental, which crossfades into a heartbeat into the fadeout.
  • America's "Daisy Jane" begins with a faint heartbeat, created by the session bassist hitting muted strings on his instrument.
  • "Heroin" by Velvet Underground from The Velvet Underground & Nico has a heartbeat-like percussion throughout the song, speeding up until the crescendo, then slowing down to a snail's pace afterwards. It all serves to evoke the feeling of one shooting up on smack.
  • "Beyond Belief" by Epica, a song about death and what might or might not come after, uses a fading heartbeat as a Last Note Nightmare.
  • U.S. DJ Armand Van Helden did a remix of Jimmy Somerville's 'Heartbeat' that basically combines this trope with House Music. The remix made the idea of taking a feel good love song about hearing a lover's heartbeat and made it into something disgustingly literal.
  • New Order's "Guilt is a Useless Emotion" has a low heartbeat thudding throughout. It's most audible at the beginning and the end.
  • Appears in the chorus of "Artificial Heart" by Jonathan Coulton.
  • "Headstrong" by Trapt:
    I said your motive's inside...
    Decisions to hide...
Also, the ending of the song has more heartbeats.
  • Britney Spears uses it in Heart at the end as a finale. This song is written to her heart.
  • Delta Goodrem features this to create artistic tension in "Extraordinary Day". A song about her dealing with her mortality to say the least.
  • The intro of the trance track "Return from Flatline" by Nexus uses this along with an EKG beeping and flatlining, hence the name.
  • During the "sound effect" section of AC/DC's "Jailbreak" the first sound mentioned is "Heartbeats... They were racing". A bass heartbeat then continues under the remainder of the section.
  • Kraftwerk used this for "Elektro Kardiogramm", as part of their Tour De France album. The song's music video for Minimum-Maximum and subsequent live concerts, fittingly, show the song's beat and sound as if reading from an EKG.
  • Swedish band Kent uses it to great effect on "Cowboys."
  • Nelly Furtado opens "Try" with the sonogram of her daughter Mavis.
  • The beginning and end of "This Is Gospel" by Panic! at the Disco.
  • The beginning of "Third Eye" by tool.
  • "Six feet Under" by Funker Vogt.
  • The album Sucker by Charli XCX begins with the sound of a heartbeat which then transitions into the sound of a heart monitor flatlining. That says a lot about the tone of the album.
  • Muse uses a sample of a fetal heartbeat through an ultrasound on the track "Follow Me" on their album The 2nd Law.
  • J.S. Bach's Cantata 105, Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht, is known for its soprano aria, where the strings evoke a heart beating rapidly from anxiety and fear (the singer's "character" (in this case, is that of a sinner whose "anxious conscience is torn apart by its own torment"), and its ending chorale, where the strings also evoke a fast-beating heart, but one which calms down in the end (the first two lines of the chorale are "Now, I know, You shall quiet in me my conscience which gnaws at me".)
  • Hubert Kah's aptly-titled Sound of My Heart album has a heartbeat in the intro of the first track, "Welcome, Machine Gun".
  • Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" opens with this.
  • The brief quiet interlude in Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring that falls under the long heading "The Kiss of the Earth (The Oldest and Wisest One)" consists primarily of a heartbeat rhythm played on timpani doubled by a contrabassoon and a muted solo bass.
  • Cole Swindell's duet with Dierks Bentley, "Flatliner", uses the heart monitor variant.
  • Iggy Pop "Lust For Life", also with heart monitor, flatlines at the end.
  • The Rain Within's "Android Hearts".
  • Cledus T. Judd's "(Weight's Goin') Up Down, Up Down", a parody of Morgan Wallen's "Up Down", also uses the "heart monitor that flatlines at the end" variant.
  • Ty Herndon's "Heather's Wall" opens with a heartbeat played on a synthesized drum, which is appropriate as the first verse is from the POV of a dying man experiencing a flashback.
  • Sturgill Simpson's "All Around You" ends on a heartbeat to signify The Power of Love.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the original attic of Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion, the only sound effects were screams of various ghosts and the loud beating of the bride's heart. Made for a great Mood Whiplash between the madcap ballroom song and the catchy "Grim Grinning Ghosts" number.

  • In lieu of any theme music, Gorgar has a heartbeat that speeds up as the game progresses.
  • In Scared Stiff, a similar sound plays after making a shot in the "Stiff-O-Meter" wizard mode.
  • A variation appears in Gottlieb's James Bond 007, a time-based pinball game. A rhythmic background beat plays throughout the game, speeding up as the player runs out of time.
  • Rescue 911 has the "Life Force" Wizard Mode, available after rescuing fifty lives. The entire game goes silent except for a single heartbeat that gets faster and faster as the player runs out of time to finish the mode.
  • An operator setting in Stellar Wars allows the game to play a "Sweep" sound that beats faster as the player gets closer to spelling STELLAR WARS.
  • In Stern's Pirates of the Caribbean, opening the Dead Man's Chest causes one to play, in time with the beating of the heart inside the chest.
  • Fathom continuously plays a low, rhythmic pulse that speeds up during the game.
  • Krull has a rhythmic thrumming sound that builds in speed as the game progresses.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Tazz's WWE entrance theme started with a heartbeat... then went into an electrocardiogram... which then flatlined.

  • Richard Wagner often used Dramatic Timpani this way in his music dramas: e.g., in Die Walküre, at the opening of Act I, Scene III and the opening of Act II, Scene IV; and in Goetterdaemmerung, in Waltraute's monologue and Siegfried's funeral march.
  • City of Angels has heartbeat-like incidental music cues framing Oolie's phone call in the Show Within a Show, just before Stone's final confrontation with Alaura.
  • Samiel's Leitmotif in Der Freischütz combines a dull timpani pulse with sustained dissonance.
  • The Emperor Jones by Eugene O'Neill does the accelerating-with-nervousness version with the Jungle Drums of the angry natives out to kill Jones. The stage directions specify that the drums start "at a rate exactly corresponding to normal pulse beat—72 to the minute" and grow gradually louder and quicker with each scene. The operatic adaptation by Louis Gruenberg painstakingly notates this.
  • In Albert Herring, much of the manhunt for Albert is scored to a very fast and slightly irregular side drum beat that continues prestissimo under recitatives and spoken dialogue to maintain tension.
  • "Stay Alive (Reprise)" from Hamilton which has Philip's heartbeat throughout till the end of the song when Philip dies and in The World Was Wide Enough there's a section of the song after Burr shouts WAIT! followed by a gunshot, the bass thumping in TWWWE resembles Hamilton's heartbeat till the bell tolls indicating his death. The rest of the heartbeat resembles Burr's till the end of the song.

    Web Animation 
  • Done for a few times in Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers; these examples are listed below:
    • In part 3 of "Mushroom Wars", the first time Vader uses the power of the dark side on Mario, if you listen closely, you can hear a heartbeat sound.
    • In "Retarded64: Mario Simulator", when Mario contracts Goomba Diabeetus, a heartbeat is heard, although again if you listen closely.
    • This one can be heard even if you're not turning up the volume much. It is heard in "Retarded64: Freddy's spaghettiria" when the finale begins with Freddy and Mario having Swapped Roles.

  • Homestuck uses it a few times:note 
    • Almost always when Jack Noir flips the fuck out.
    • The opening of "Black", the theme from the one year anniversary update.
    • Part three of "Cascade" tapers out onto a heartbeat, then silence, before the fourth and final section begins; this transition corresponds with the Tumor going off in the flash.
  • In Alice and the Nightmare, it's presented via sound effects when Alice wakes up after a nightmare and tries to calm down.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The penultimate episode of Bojack Horseman ends with the sound of a flatline... only for the ECG to start beeping again over the credits.
  • Occasionally, in Code Lyoko, a heartbeat track will play with the background music as it closes in on an activated tower.
  • Occasionally, on Dave the Barbarian, Twinkle the Marvel Horse's more nihilistic lines are underscored by a heartbeat sound while the other background music goes mute.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy's Run For Your Ed, after Edd discovers the ship-in-a-bottle is the Kanker sisters', a heartbeat track plays over everything else, getting quicker as Edd slowly closes the door, locks it, turns around, and looks on in shock for a couple of seconds before...
  • Futurama parodies this in the climax of "A Big Piece of Garbage", when the Planet Express crew have one shot at repelling an incoming garbage meteor that could destroy all of Earth. As they anxiously await the results, Fry's heartbeat is naturally beating quickly, but the extremely elderly Professor Farnsworth's heart barely beats... and Bender's "heartbeat" is a lively drum solo.
  • In the Marsupilami / Raw Toonage episode "Jungle Fever", Marsupilami uses his tail as a stethoscope to listen to his poor sick gorilla friend, Maurice's heartbeat.
  • In the first generation of My Little Pony, of all places, a heartbeat sound is heard during the first appearance of the series' first villain, Tirek, during his Blofeld moment that replaces the cat with the Rainbow of Darkness, which seems to be what is making the sound.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Baljeatles", Doofenshmirtz's evil plan involves broadcasting his heartbeat over the Tri-State Area. At the same time, Baljeet is performing a rock song, which suddenly has a cool beat—and which speeds up during the second verse as Agent P fights with Doofenshmirtz.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Who's For Dinner?", Rocko inadvertently reveals to Heffer that he's adopted while having dinner at the Wolfe residence. A heartbeat is then heard, which eventually turns out to be from the heart of the deer carcass the Wolfe family was eating (which is promptly slurped up by Peter).
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Second Contact", Ensign Boimler's heartbeat is heard for several seconds as he nervously walks on to the bridge, drowning out Commander Ransom's voice as he asks what Boimler is doing away from his post.
  • It happens in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) episode "Casey Jones vs The Underworld", when Casey notices the Shredder having dinner with a powerful Mafia boss. Casey decides to eavesdrop on the conversation by posing as the waiter serving their table. But the Shredder is a ninja master and he notices what Casey is doing, so the boy gets pinned at the table and questioned. The audience sees the scene through Casey's eyes, and the only sounds that can be heard are the Italian music playing in the room and Casey's heart pounding with terror as the Shredder looks him in the eyes. He eventually lets Casey go and the boy rushes out of the restaurant to inform the turtles about his findings, lampshading how fast his heart was beating during that moment.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Smeagol vs. Deagol

In the flashback with Smeagol and Deagol, the beat replaces the soundtrack as Deagol is strangled, and stops as he dies.

How well does it match the trope?

4.8 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeartbeatSoundtrack

Media sources: