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Instrumental Weapon

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Someone: Tchaikovsky, cannons are not instruments.
Tchaikovsky (probably): Yes they are and I'm going to use 21 of them.
"tchaikovsky no," a Tumblr post narrated by ProZD

The inverse of Instrument of Murder and Musical Assassin, Instrumental Weapon is where someone uses their weapon as if it were a musical instrument. In rock music, the guitar is nicknamed the "axe", so this idea has some foundation. In a comedy, it may be Played for Laughs.

Compare Air Guitar. If you pack your weapon as if it were an instrument, that's Senseless Violins. If your weapon is an instrument, you're an Improbable Weapon User or using an Improvised Weapon. Sub-Trope of Everything Is an Instrument.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • From SD Gundam World Sangoku Soketsuden, both Da Qiao Gundam Artemie and Xiao Qiao GN Archer wield guqins (Which is a plucked seven-string instrument of Chinese origin) that double as rifles.
  • Brook from One Piece uses his sword as a bow for his violin.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • A common trope in 90s Wuxia films, for some reason...
    • The Magic Crane have two sisters who owns magical weapons, respectively a flute and a pipa, which can cause explosions and disorientate opponents. The sister with the flute notably kills the Big Bad by overwhelming him with its powers and blowing him into pieces.
    • Deadful Melody: The MacGuffin of the movie is a magic lyre, whose powers are finally unveiled in the final battle... to being able to create exploding waves as powerful as grenade launchers, which the main character uses to wipe out an entire courtyard of enemies, killing maybe hundreds in one fell swoop.
  • Kung Fu Hustle have the musicians, a pair of Musical Assassins whose harps can decapitate their opponents and summon skeleton warriors.

  • In War of the Spider Queen, Hallistra Melarn loots a sword from a priestess of nature. The hilt of which is basically a flute. Hallistra, being a bard, uses this power to the fullest.
  • In The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany, Lo Lobey has a machete which has been modified to work as a flute.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • The Green Ranger calls his Dragonzord using his sword as a flute.
    • One episode has a monster defeated by Tommy playing his dagger and Kim playing on her bow (with extra strings to turn it into a makeshift harp).
  • Horrible Histories: During the musical number "Literally", two of the Vikings are playing guitars that are really axes.
  • Ultra Fight Victory features the debut of the Knight Timbre, a flute-sword powered by Victorium crystals, which serves as Ultraman Victory's deadliest weapon.

  • Vocaloid: Kamui Gakupo and his katana, which makes music when it is swung.
  • The 1812 Overture uses cannons.
  • Jackyl's "The Lumberjack" uses a chainsaw as an instrument.
  • Walk Off the Earth: One of the earlier videos uses a cocked handgun as a beat in the drum loop.
  • Sabaton uses the sound of a .50 caliber machine gun firing in place of drum beats on The Lost Battalion.

    Video Games 
  • The Shadow Axe from The Bard's Tale can be played like an electric guitar in lieu of one of the eponymous Bard's equipped instrument to summon helpers. The Ego Sword can be used in a similar fashion, only by singing instead of being played.
  • In Battleborn, Rath's "The Artist" taunt has him play one of his two main swords like a violin via using the other sword as its bow.
  • The bard epic weapon in Everquest was a sword that "sang". The graphic literally had notes coming out of it.
  • The Final Fantasy series frequently includes harps and bells as the primary weapons of Bards and Geomancers, respectively. Flutes are also a recurring weapon type, showing up in several installments.
    • Played with in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn; Archers/Bards use their bows as instruments to "play" their various song buffs; however, the Relic weapon Artemis Bow has an actual harp built in, and Heavensward introduces Berimbau and the Anima weapon Gandiva, both of which look less like bows that can be used as harps and more like harps that can be used as bows.
  • There's at least one Guitar Hero game where you can unlock Frostmourne and use it as a guitar.
  • There's a glitch in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that allows Link to play his sword as an ocarina. This can be applied to any item used while back-flipping after dropping and recapturing a fish.
  • In LEGO Star Wars II, when infiltrating Jabba's palace, you can build several stereos throughout the level that blast a rock version of the Imperial March theme, to which the Gamorrean guards will drop their fighting and rock out, playing their battle axes like guitars. The guards are also playable and you can do the same thing with the press of a button.
  • Monster Hunter has the Hunting Horn, which can provide various status buffs to the player and the rest of the party through playing various melodies. It can also pack quite the wallop.
  • The Pyro from Team Fortress 2 taunts with his melee weapon by strumming it as if it were a guitar while making guitar-esque sounds. If the Medic has a melee weapon that isn't the Ubersaw or Solemn Vow, he will play the weapon as if it were a violin. A Medic with a Vita-Saw will play a slightly different sound when he taunts, while a Pyro with a Third Degree or Neon Annihilator will play a shredding guitar riff and bass guitar riff (while making guitar sounds), respectively.
  • World of Warcraft has the rare (and no longer available) Arcanite Ripper item which is an axe in both senses of the word. The handle is a spinal column attached to the skull in the middle of the blade, and has a use ability that turns you into a member of the Elite Tauren Chieftains, where you play a short solo.

    Western Animation 
  • Wile E. Coyote of Looney Tunes fame once played a bow and arrow like a harp while trying to figure out why it wouldn't fire. Of course, the plucking eventually did cause it fire at the worst possible moment.
  • In Adventure Time, Marceline plays an Axe-Bass, which is a war axe converted into an electric bass guitar.
  • In "Californy'er Bust", an old Goofy cartoon, some Indians start playing their bows like string instruments when they notice the sounds they make when firing.
  • In the first episode of Storm Hawks, Ravess invokes the appearance of this trope, using an arrow to mime playing on her bowstring as if it were a violin while the actual music comes from her violin-playing henchman.

    Real Life 
  • Bows were used this way quite often; in fact, there is an entire class of instruments called 'Musical Bows', mostly found in Africa, which come from this.
  • The MIDI standard, among other "sound effects" has a "Gunshot" instrument, and it can be used to play melodies like any other.
  • "Gunstep" or "gunsync" is the idea of creating songs (mainly the percussion) by firing weapons. This is mainly done in video games.
  • The 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky was written to be performed with live artillery as part of the music. It is possible to see this done today as more than a few orchestras will occasionally partner with military units or military reinactors to perform the piece as intended.
  • At least one German folk song uses the cracking of whips.


Video Example(s):


Ravess's bow

Ravess plays her bow like a violin before firing an arrow.

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Main / InstrumentalWeapon

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