Follow TV Tropes

Following

Instrumental Theme Tune

Go To

A Theme Tune without lyrics. Often, there is some attempt to thematically match the instrumentals to the tone of the show; a noble, orchestral theme for high drama, something brassy and mysterious for Speculative Fiction, something fast and powerful for an Adventure Series, something quirky and odd for a comedy show. Often, such a theme tune will be adapted from an obscure old symphony piece.

Far and away the most common style of Theme Tune for American drama series.

Advertisement:

Note that some Instrumental Theme Tunes actually possess Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics. Subtrope to Instrumentals.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano! has Gun's & Roses by Paradise Lunch.
  • Cowboy Bebop's theme song, "Tank", has a few spoken words in the beginning, but is mostly a Charles Mingus-esque big-band jazz number.
  • Crest of the Stars and its sequels use a brass-heavy symphonic theme, as composed by the late Katsuhisa Hattori.
  • Deltora Quest (the American version only)
  • Devil May Cry: The Animated Series has "d.m.c." by rungran for its opening song, NOT to be confused with Run–D.M.C..
  • Divergence Eve has a lyric-less metal/techno/rock opening.
  • Aside from a narration courtesy of Dan Green, the opening for the 4Kids dub of F-Zero: GP Legend goes like this.
  • Fushigi Yuugi has some instrumentals itself, but in a subversion: What seems like the backing track to an Image Song with lyrics is actually an entirely different song. (i.e. "Inoru You Ni Aishiteru"/"Romantic", "Ai To Iu Na No Tatakai Ni"/"Sassou To...", "I Wish"/"Music Box")
  • Gungrave's theme song, "Family".
  • Like Cowboy Bebop above, Gunsmith Cats also opens its episodes with a jazzy instrumental.
  • GUN×SWORD opens with what can only be described as a spaghetti western theme played with traditional Japanese instruments.
  • Haibane Renmei's "Free Bird", later becoming a Leitmotif.
  • The anime adaptation of Hetalia: Axis Powers has an orchestral opening theme.
  • The Marvel Anime adaptations of Iron Man and Wolverine both have instrumental rock themes as opening and ending songs.
  • There are several versions of the theme song of Lupin III, both instrumental (the majority, including the original second-series one) and vocal (the second opening of the second series, and various Lupin-related jazz albums). The original 1971 series had a completely different theme, but it's not as memorable, and hasn't been used since the new one was written in 1977.
  • Najica Blitz Tactics has a jazzy/big band instrumental opening theme.
  • The OVA of Read or Die opens with an instrumental piece that sounds like a James Bond homage.
  • Robotech featured an instrumental theme by composer Ulpio Minucci, which helped distinguish the series from those of the decade and hinted at the show's ambitions.
  • Space Dandy, although only for the initial broadcasts in the US, before switching to the vocal version of "Viva Namida"
  • The American release of Speed Grapher uses an instrumental opening theme ("Shutter Speed"), though the Japanese release uses Duran Duran's "Girls on Film".
  • Street Fighter II V (the American version only)
  • Tamagotchi Friends, a webtoon adaptation of Tamagotchi condensing the first seven episodes of the Yume Kira Dream story arc into shorts that are about four minutes long, uses an Extremely Short Intro Sequence with a song that has no audible lyrics.
  • Trigun has, essentially, a long guitar solo as a theme tune.
  • Tweeny Witches opens with an orchestral instrument theme by composer Tamiya Terashima.
  • Yona of the Dawn: An orchestral instrumental piece.

    Asian Animation 
  • The theme song for Akis does not have vocals.
  • Cupid's Chocolates does not have vocals in its theme song for the first season. The second season's opening does have lyrics, however.
  • The short nature of Lamput episodes (15 seconds in the first season, two minutes and five minutes for later seasons) doesn't leave too much time for vocals in what little it has of a theme song, as the intro was made to be about three seconds long.
  • The classic Motu Patlu series (not the 2012 one, but the 80's/90's one that came first) has an instrumental opening made using an electronic synth.
  • The Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Around the World in 20 Days opening has no singing.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • Fantasy Patrol has this in season 1. Season 2 has a completely different tune with lyrics.
Advertisement:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • John Carpenter's classic Halloween theme is a good example of a modern version of the trope: a nearly non-musical electronic sound beat designed to create tension whenever it is heard in the movie.
  • There are only three James Bond films with instrumentals over the titles: Dr. No, From Russia with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It's believed the last case was so because John Barry couldn't figure out how to put in all nine syllables into a coherent song. * Although From Russia with Love does have a vocal version by Matt Monro, heard on a car radio in the film itself and over the end credits.
  • Star Wars, while not the only example from John Williams's catalogue, is undoubtedly the most famous, used in every opening crawl and appearing several times as a Leitmotif for the series.
  • The infamous "da-dada-da-dada-da-dada-DA" of Indiana Jones certainly counts, too.
  • The Pink Panther. You could never forget the saxophone punctuated piece by Henry Mancini, could you?
  • The Three Stooges had a couple of different themes.
  • Laurel and Hardy had a famous short theme.
  • Love Story has an instrumental theme that was also turned into a non-instrumental sung by the legendary Andy Williams.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • Most orchestral pieces for operas or musicals or thematic music. And some pieces for children.
    • Peter and the Wolf
    • Beethoven's Sixth Symphony - The Pastoral
    • Grieg's Incidental music for Peer Gynt.
    • A Child's Guide to the Orchestra.

    Podcasts 
  • Though Welcome to Night Vale features plenty of eerie background music and a new guest song during the "weather" section, it always opens with The Ballad of Fiedler and Mundt by Disparition.

    Sports 
  • Sport "series" on television will sometimes have short themes, usually memorable riffs from songs.
Advertisement:

    Theatre 
  • Victor Herbert's The Red Mill is one of the few musicals to have an instrumental theme running through the show.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

Hilda

An electronic instrumental piece performed by Grimes opens every episode of Hilda. The song throughout lacks lyrics, minus Grimes singing Hilda's name and vocalizing at one point.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstrumentalThemeTune

Media sources:

Main / InstrumentalThemeTune

Report