Follow TV Tropes


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.

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


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 2004 ADV distribution of Area 88 has Mission: Fuga, a remix of Bach's Little Fugue.
  • Baccano! has "Gun's & Roses" by Paradise Lunch, a jazzy instrumental track that fits with the series' Prohibition era setting.
  • 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.
  • Emma: A Victorian Romance's opening theme, "Silhouette of a Breeze", is an orchestral piece accompanied by piano. The second season's theme is "Silhouette of a Breeze: Celt version", which is a different arrangement using Celtic instruments like the flute and harp.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Anime: Iron Man and Marvel Anime: 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.
  • The first opening of Shadows House is a classical and somewhat jazzy instrumental piece.
  • 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 for its first opening.

    Asian Animation 
  • The theme song for Akis does not have vocals.
  • The theme song for Andy Pirki does not have any 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 very Turkish-sounding theme song of King Shakir has no lyrics.
  • 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 80s/90s 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.
  • The theme for Stitch & Ai doesn't have any vocals save for a brief moment of male singers saying "Woo!" in the background and a couple(?) female singers lightly singing "Ah!" at the very end.
  • Tobot Galaxy Detectives: The opening and closing theme tune for the series is played on a rock and roll guitar.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • Fantasy Patrol has this in season 1. Season 2 has a completely different tune with lyrics.
  • Hungarian Folk Tales has a short tune played on flute and cello accompanying its title sequence.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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 
  • AstroLOLogy and its signature theme tune of whistling. The Japanese dub has its own additional opening and ending themes.
  • Bonus Stage
  • CAPTAIN YAJIMA, aside from a Narrator introducing the show's title.
  • CartoonMania, with creator Matthew Littlemore admitting that he just simply couldn't think up any good lyrics for the opening.
  • Gobblety Tobblety: The opening theme is a wordless piece consisting of a few different instrument sections.
  • Over The Hills
  • Talking Tom And Friends


    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic (an instrumental of "The Review Must Go On")
  • The Oddity Archive theme song from episode 6 onwards, "Pavanned", does not contain any spoken lyrics.
  • SinceThe Guild centers on an MMORPG guild, and the opening sequence shows drawings of everyone's in-game avatars, the title theme is an instrumental modeled after video game music.

    Western Animation 


Tom and Jerry Tales' theme

The intro only shows Tom and Jerry's antics. There aren't any lyrics.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstrumentalThemeTune

Media sources: