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Magic Music

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Customer: Ah, but you forget: I have a green clarinet that makes you tell embarrassing truths.
Waiter: Ah yes. But now I have a red tuba which makes you shit yourself!

A type of Functional Magic that works via music, where singing a certain song or playing a magical instrument causes spell-like effects to occur. This may be derived from the notion of words containing legitimate power when spoken in the right way (somewhat akin to true name magic).

A Wandering Minstrel, Magical Flutist or Music Meister may have this as their primary method of fighting. The Musical Assassin is a particularly nasty variant. Often shows up as the Sub-Trope Mind-Control Music, or it can buff allies in a justified Theme Music Power-Up.

Villains who use magic like this are often foiled by would-be victims who are hearing impaired.

Ocarinas are a popular instrument for this. Perhaps this is due to their ancient history or simple yet exotic sound. Maybe it's because Link used one in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It certainly doesn't hurt that they are easily portable, which justifies their use in a more action-packed adventure.

Speaking of "ancient history", this trope is definitely Older Than Feudalism (the tales of Orpheus date as far back as 5th century BC), and possibly Older Than Dirt.

Disco Tech is the tech equivalent. Compare with The Power of Rock, Brown Note, and Magic Dance. Also see the Sub-Trope, Mind-Control Music.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Ah! My Goddess manga and movie, particularly powerful and/or complex magical effects can be accomplished through singing (such as the reversal of a spell with both heavenly and demonic components and the recreation of the The World Tree), often but not always in combination with Hermetic Magic.
  • Kahono's Song Magic in Black Clover works through songs, letting her sing a sleep-inducing lullaby, relieve fatigue, and even produce shockwaves and air barriers.
  • Diva's song from Blood+. It's beautiful, it's heartbreaking, and it transforms innocent people into horrible bloodthirsty bat-demon-things. It's worth noting that her song is mainly the catalyst for the transformation; the potential is given by having people unknowingly digest her processed and altered blood.
  • Azmaria Hendrich from Chrono Crusade has the power to heal anyone who hears the song she sings. In the manga, all of the Apostles have the ability to control the Astral Line through music—all of them are shown singing, except for Joshua, who channels his powers by playing an Ominous Pipe Organ instead.
  • In Corrector Yui, Yui and her friends Haruna, Reiko and Akiko were rehearsing a song for their School Festival. it becomes a plot point later, when Yui's "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight speech to a Brainwashed and Crazy Haruna includes her singing the same song instead of fighting her, breaking through Haruna's brainwashing and reverting her back to who she usually is. Later, Professor Inukai uses Yui's singing as a part of his battle strategy against the Big Bad, who is weak against certain sounds, and Haruna returns the favor to Yui by singing the song to her when she's about to lose the battle against Grosser, giving Yui her strength back so she can keep on fighting.
  • In Cross Ange, a Ragna-Mail's Golden Super Mode is activated by singing certain songs. It's also the way for a pilot to access the powerful Spacetime Convergence Cannon.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • There was a magical ocarina in the thirteenth Dragon Ball Z movie. It can potentially be used to either seal or unseal the Big Bad.
    • In Dragon Ball GT, the Para Para Brothers used speakers that were built into their body armor that would cause their opponents to dance non-stop, thus leaving them vulnerable to attack.
  • Vidaldus from Fairy Tail possesses a spell named "Rock of Succubus" — by playing a certain song on his guitar, he can take control of someone and transform them, giving the chosen target rock-oriented clothing and a rough personality.
  • When Amiboshi of Fushigi Yuugi takes out his flute, be thankful if he's on your side. If he's not, run.
  • In GaoGaiGar, 3G's American branch/NASA created a G-Stone Powered robot known as Mic Sounders the 13th, which runs on this trope. It's armed with various disks that, once installed and he's equipped with the Dazzling Double V Keytar and/or the Thundering Break microphone, can unleash amazing effects. The Disk M, which plays the instrumental to the series' theme, cancels out certain enemies' electronic functions; the Disk P, which plays "Power of Desire", recharges other G-Stone Powered Machines; the deadly Disk X, which is tuned directly to Zondar Metal and, theoretically, anything else it knows its atomic structure of; and Disk F, which summons a gigantic GaoFighGar!
  • Reiko's power in Gate Keepers is half using this, half being a Master of Illusion.
  • Healer Girl is about a 3rd branch of medicine that enables healing by singing. It had aid mental health, reduce inflammation, and heal small scrapes, but doesn't replace things like surgery.
  • Bolorenof in Hunter × Hunter combines this with Magic Dance: His body has holes in his flesh that, when he dances, vibrates the wind going through them, making him a woodwind instrument. When dancing in certain ways, he produces songs that summon things to attack for him.
  • Witches from Lapis Re:LiGHTs perform "Operas", live performances where they harness magic from non-magical humans through music and dance.
  • In A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, the Season Fairies control the weather with magical instruments.
  • In Log Horizon, players of the Bard class in the MMORPG-turned-reality Elder Tales are able to utilize music to buff their allies or de-buff their enemies for set duration of time.
  • Macross introduced in later series the concept of Fold Waves and Fold Receptor Factors. The former are superdimension waves that form the basis of the series' Faster-Than-Light Travel and communications. The latter is the discovery that certain people have the ability to sense and produce these, usually while singing. Specific examples follow:
    • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: It's debatable whether Minmay's effect on the Zentraedi is a product of Fold Waves or just cultural exposure, but Expanded Universe materials have given Minmay a powerful Fold Receptor Factor.
    • In Macross II, the Marduk have developed their own morale-boost-giving singers, the Emulators. The plot gets definitely kickstarted when one of them, a girl named Ishtar, is retrieved by Intrepid Reporter Hibiki and starts learning about humanity...
    • Macross 7 has this (called "Song Energy" in series) as a fundamental part of the premise. The alien life energy draining antagonists ("Protodeviln") experience literal pain when exposed to music, due to the protagonist's "Anima Spiritia". Sure, it's not genuinely magical, but you wouldn't know that from the laser speaker pods and light show Fire Bomber puts on. And the ultimate resolution of this is that, right at the last moment before the leader of said aliens uncontrolably sucks out the life of the entire galaxy, the protagonist sings at them so hard that the species learns that they can generate their own life energy by singing, then decide to move on to another dimension.
    • Sharon Apple, the artificial idol from Macross Plus, took control of the Macross' computer network and sang mankind into a blissful stupor. Granted, she was given the tools to do exactly that by one of her creators... while the other, female lead Myung, is stuck trying to fight her.
    • Macross Zero has the quasi-magical effects of the female lead's singing explained through Fold Receptor Factor: the rocks she levitates contain Fold Quartz, and the Protoculture superweapon known as "the bird-man" runs on it. She herself is genetically inclined to have a high fold Receptor Factor specifically attuned to the "bird-man".
    • Macross Frontier explored Fold Waves more fully: it introduced Fold Quartz (a mineral that reacts to Fold Waves), and Ranka as well as Sheryl is able to communicate with the Vajra, at least on a basic level, through her songs thanks to this phenomenon.
    • Macross Delta has as a central premise the main cast combating a Hate Plague through song. All the singers of the idol group Walkure have a high Fold Receptor Factor. Additionally, it turns out that said Hate Plague itself is activated by the singing of Windermere's Wind Singer.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Most Magical Girl anime have some fighting scenes where weapons, beams of energy, balls of light, or what-have-you are the norm. This one has idol singers... singing their songs against their opponents.
  • All over the place in My Bride is a Mermaid, as magic music is apparently a mermaid's greatest ability.
    • There's a song that causes all listeners to engage in bloody combat, a song that acts as the main character's Theme Music Power-Up, a song that puts everyone to sleep, and a song that causes everyone within earshot to dance uncontrollably.
    • There was also that incident when both Sun and Lunar were singing at the same time, which caused all humans present (except Nagasumi) to... well, we don't know, because every single person was covered under a wall of Censor buttons.
  • Mon Colle Knights has Utahime/Kahimi (whose song causes gigantic moving plants to grow) and the Merboy Choir (whose songs cause tidal waves and transformation).
  • Naruto:
    • Menma, in a filler, obtained various effects, including repelling fire and smoke and boosting Naruto's strength, by playing an ocarina.
    • Tayuya, who can control three summoned demons and cast illusions by playing tunes on her flute.
  • Ojamajo Doremi probably has the most musical references and motifs of any anime series. Even the magical sparks are shaped like musical notes.
    • When the witches reach a certain level, their "Poron", or wand, is fused with a musical instrument of their choice. When casting magic, a tune played with said instrument can be heard. In fact, most magical artifacts play short musical tunes in-universe when used, including the transformation taps.
  • The first two seasons of Onegai My Melody: the magic powers of My Melody and her rival Kuromi are recharged through music, and each season centers around one musical instrument that brings about the end of the world.
  • One Piece:
    • Brook's attacks after the Time Skip count as an example. While the power doesn't come from the music but from the power of his Devil Fruit, he can use his music to "move people's souls" effectively influencing them (e.g., made them believe they are in a party instead of a battle). Even before then he demonstrated the skill to lull people to sleep with a gentle lullaby even while they were in pitched combat (unless that was an early demonstration of the same "soul moving" power).
    • Seems to be behind Scratchmen Apoo's powers as well. He can turn his own limbs into musical instruments and play notes that cause explosions or Razor Wind.
  • The Dantists in the world of Polyphonica specialize in magic music to calm spirits.
  • The manga version of Prétear gives Sasame, the Knight of Sound, the ability to play any musical instrument—and he also seems to be able to soothe people by improvising songs to sing their feelings back to them.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ revolves around this, with much of the magic items and attacks being music-themed.
    • HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! has Cure Honey sing a song about eating rice to purify villains. Later on in the series, all four girls get to sing a song called "Innocent Harmony" that purifies villains.
    • Pretty Cure All Stars: Everyone Sing - Miraculous Magic has a very interesting case. Cure Miracle and Cure Magical are constantly lured around by a mysterious song, which they end up finding being hummed by the younger version of the movie's Big Bad. She never understood the meaning of it except that her teacher used to sing it to her all the time. At the end of the movie, she realizes it's the ultimate magic she sought for so long - her teacher had given it to her and she was so blinded by her desire for power that she never realized she already had it. She ends up using it to empower the 11 teams of Cures.
    • Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure has the girls sing to transform into Cures.
  • In RahXephon, both the title mecha and its enemies the Dolems utilize singing as an attack method.
  • Symphogear has the power of song literally be the Key to using Ancient relics from The Time of Myths, acting like Ki for their users, called Phonic Gain.
  • Aria of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee has the ability to heal people's hearts with music played on her violin. It works on Gaichuu as well.
  • Fai D Fluorite of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- can summon up a magic shield by whistling.
  • Violinist of Hameln, a Shōnen parody manga based on the Pied Piper about a guy with a BFS version of a violin who fights demons with magical music. Classical music has never been so badass.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Yuma uses three Xyz Monsters called Djinns, cute-looking Fiend-Type monsters that use music to fight opposing monsters. (There are actually four of these monsters in the card game, but Yuma has yet to use one of them.)

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Blockheads is about a young rapper who bends reality with his magic rhymes.
  • The Fiddler, Golden Age baddie from DC Comics.
  • The Pied Piper, The Flash foe (and later ally) from DC.
  • In Heroes Against Hunger, the Master wears a keyboard on his chest that lets him play music that allows him to do anything he wants... in particular, to stop Superman and Batman from helping the Ethiopians in their effort to alleviate their hunger problem.
  • Phonogram: Magic is intricately bound up within pop music, and "phonomancers" are magicians who can tap into this for power.
  • The original Smurfs comic book story The Smurfs and the Magic Flute had the title flute.
  • Long before Astro City was even called Astro City, there was an enigma of a man known only as Silverstring, who would wander the land and ward off the things that went bump in the night with nothing but the music from his guitar.

    Fan Works 
  • In Background Pony, Luna's elegies have powerful magic effects such as instilling paranoia or joy, or causing blindness and freezing cold, and they seem to be the only key to unlocking Lyra's curse. Also, the Cosmic Matriarch's song is what created the world in the first place.
  • In The Best Revenge, Hagrid mentions that playing music to the crops on the Hogwarts gardens can make their grow up to three times their size if one plays just right. In the sequel, this is one of the elements in the ritual to remove the horcrux on Harry's scar.
  • The capabilities of Sonic's Mystic Melody in The Blue Blur of Termina range from healing the souls of the lamenting dead to outright time manipulation.
  • The Cadanceverse is an Alternate Universe where the Element Bearers are various musicians (Octavia, Vinyl Scratch, Lyra, Bluenote, Medley, and Fluttershy) and the Elements themselves take the form of their preferred instruments, allowing them to defeat the corrupted Princesses with a magical concerto.
  • Child of the Storm discusses the trope, pointing out that 'chant' and 'enchant' come from the same etymological root, and has magical music as an oft-overlooked, fiddly, but potentially incredibly potent form of magic, with its multi-layered nature allowing even an amateur to cast several spells at once - and a master to cast many. To take but one example Taliesin, now better known as Doctor Strange, is the greatest bard in human history (he's described as being to music what Da Vinci was to painting) and teaches classes in this. He also demonstrates that with a sufficiently large amplifier, he's capable of casting spells across the entire world in the sequel's side-story, Unfinished Business.
  • Codex Equus has a number of mortals and deities who are capable of wielding magical music:
    • As the Alicorn god of Music, Blue Suede Heartstrings holds an extremely impressive mastery over music in general, which isn't surprising considering his origins as a musician. While he can use his music to calm and soothe listeners like Mier does, Blue's entry notes that he can also inspire joy and hope in his listeners depending on what song he plays. Other techniques include empowering people physically and magically, dispelling the effects of fear and hatred-based spells, generating solid magic constructs of musical bars and notes to slam and crush enemies, growing soundwave "tentacles" to restrain and strangle his opponents, firing beams of musical energy, and healing. While he does run into the problem of people suffering from deafness and/or hearing problems, Blue is creative enough to try get around this disability by stomping the ground (or any surface, really) so they could "feel" his music and allow the magic to take effect. For wide-scale effects, he can generate an energy-based stage and extra magic instruments for fellow musicians to play with, allowing his magic to reach farther than ever. The Dazzling Divas' entries reveal that he can turn people into his Clerics and grant them the ability to use music-related magic through his Music domain, allowing the Dazzling Divas to perform greater feats when calling upon his power.
    • Like his mentor, Prince Healing Song embodies Music as a concept, and holds an extremely impressive mastery over music in general due to originating as a mortal music prodigy. His entry notes that Healing Song has the same capabilities as Blue, but true to his name, his Martial Pacifist beliefs made him focus on the healing/supportive aspects of his Music domain. He specializes in (and is skilled in) both healing allies and empowering them with music, and he can protect people from spells fueled by fear and/or hatred with music.
    • Many Trimortidae members are Music deities due to being former musicians in their mortal lives, allowing them to wield music and sound-related magic.
      • Much like his younger twin brother, Bossa Nova Heartstrings is capable of wielding this since he embodies Music. Due to the nature of his job, he is very good at calming and soothing listeners with music, and is capable of playing lullabies to achieve that effect. However, he can also empower and heal his listeners, and dispel effects created by fear and hatred-based spells. His musical healing in particular was how he saved Blue from a monster that severely injured him during their first encounter pre-Ascension.
      • As an Alicorn god of Music, Blue Goldstone has similar powers as Blue Suede Heartstrings and other fellow Music deities. He can create a magical drum set with his own magic and do various percussion-based spells, such as empowering/invigorating listeners, compelling his enemies to dance to his rhythms, and healing his allies. He can also wield sonokinetic magic, allowing him to unleash powerful, disorienting screams, nullify sound indefinitely and send destructive shockwaves through the air or through the ground to make earthquakes. The fact that most of his spells are percussion-based really comes in handy with deaf people, as he can help them by stomping his hooves on the ground and send music-based vibrations to them.
      • Moon Ray Vaughoof possesses some degree of this, which is ironic because he didn't gain a Music domain post-Ascension, despite being a legendary blues musician in life. His entry notes that through music, specifically playing his guitar-scythe hybrid, Pride and Joy, he can bend souls to his will (including living people) and manipulate water in more complicated and intricate ways.
  • The Conversion Bureau: Metal Ripper has the Power Metal musicians cast spells by either shouting out a lyric from their music or by singing.
  • In Everqueen, for both Isha and the Emperor, singing is an important part in making Dreamstones.
  • Game Theory has magic styles in which the spells are formed with music, and the magitech weapon systems on the Garden of Time are controlled via song.
  • In the Harry Potter fic Hephaestus Harry invented a craft called metaldancing, in which a skilled practitioner could shape metal and give it certain properties by singing while manipulating it with their magic.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, John Lennon and George Harrison encounter a really bad bard with a magic lute that fools everyone except them into thinking he's wonderful. George is so offended that he performs the musical equivalent of a Curb-Stomp Battle by pulling his own (non-magical) guitar from his "closet" and proceeding to get much the same reaction from the audience.
  • In My Little Balladeer there are two examples:
    • This is how the Mane Six summon John to Equestria in the first place, through what is heavily implied to be the original My Little Pony 'n Friends theme.
    • As a Bard, this is how most of John's magic works.
  • Dame Lyra Heartstrings of RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse specializes in spellsongs.
  • This is Baroness Adagio Dazzle's magical specialty in The Rainsverse.
  • The music played by Hurdy of The Tainted Grimoire can cause a variety of effects. Examples include giving a boost to his allies, curing others of status ailments, and do damage to an opponent.
  • The Wizard in the Shadows takes a cue from Lúthien, and by extension, The Silmarillion. How? Eirian is of half-Maia heritage and uses her magic mostly via singing.
  • In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, Rikku's Songstress Dressphere is the definition of this.
  • With Strings Attached ironically averts this - despite featuring the The Beatles as the main protagonists, much of the story consists of the British quartet trying to adjust to being in a different world after being teleported there by a mysterious force.
  • Fractured Sunlight: The Rainbooms can activate their magic (and in particular their pony forms) through music. That makes it pretty simple to prove everything to Twilight.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Abominable, Everest has the ability to control plants and the weather by humming. Yi gains access to these powers when Everest uses his fur to help repair her violin.
  • The villainess of Barbie & The Diamond Castle uses a flute to work evil magic spells, including mind control and turning people to stone.
  • Coco: Subverted. Miguel strumming Ernesto's guitar in his tomb seems to be what causes him to cross over between worlds. However, it's later revealed that he crossed over due to being cursed, for stealing from the dead when Dia de los Muertos is a day for gifting to the dead.
  • The magic harp uses this to make the giant fall asleep in the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment of Fun and Fancy Free.
  • The eponymous protagonist of Kubo and the Two Strings plays a shamisen (a traditional 3-stringed Japanese lute that uses a plectrum) primarily to make paper come to life in the form of living origami, though it can be used to cast other spells as well.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the Rainbooms discover playing their music together can turn them into their "pony-like" forms from the previous movie. Furthermore, the villainous trio that is the Dazzlings use their singing voices to stir up feelings of anger and feed on them, with their goal being to use a Battle of the Bands to gather enough power to Take Over the World. The climax of the movie involves a quite literal battle between the Rainbooms and the fully powered Dazzlings.
  • Pokémon:
  • The Nelvana film Rock and Rule involves the Mick Jagger/David Bowie-esque villain searching the world for the one voice that can sing a tune to invoke an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Pied Piper is one of the best Bounty Hunters in Shrek Forever After. His flute has a dial that can be set to any known creature and makes them dance uncontrollably when he plays. He is first shown riding on the backs of rats into Rumpelstiltskin's palace. He then demonstrates his skill to the witches by making them break-dance. He single-handedly defeats the ogre La Résistance by luring them into a trap and forcing them to dance to "Shake Your Groove Thing". Fiona is not immune, even though she's not a real ogre.
  • Tangled has the magic of the flower activated whenever Gothel sings to it. When the magic is transferred to Rapunzel's hair, Rapunzel and Gothel singing the healing verse has the same effect.
  • Turning Red: The ritual to seal away the red panda spirit involves singing from the heart. The priest, Gao, says any song will do, but Mei's grandma is old-fashioned and has everyone do a Cantonese chant. In the climax the ritual is successfully pulled off with Mei's friends singing 4*Town's hit song "Nobody Like U", with 4*Town themselves later joining in.
  • Music repels the Blue Meanie invasion in Yellow Submarine. Especially during All You Need is Love, where the lyrics to the song take physical form as they are being sung.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mothra and any subsequent films with the moth goddess make use of music via the shobijin faeries singing. Often it's to either awaken or empower Mothra.
  • Tony from Escape to Witch Mountain can manipulate objects via telekinesis, but only when he focuses his psychic power by playing a harmonica.
  • In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Captain Manzini eventually tries to get the Garbage Pail Kids back into their garbage pail prison by singing a rhyming incantation. This approach doesn't work, but at the end of the film, he gets the idea to get the Kids into the pail by playing their Leitmotif backwards. Unfortunately, the Garbage Pail Kids take the opportunity to escape, which results in Manzini getting his behind stuck in the pail.
  • Hocus Pocus:
    • Sarah Sanderson sings to get the kids of the town to come to her so she and her sisters can suck the life/youth out of them.
    • Winnie also performs a rendition of "I'll Put A Spell On You" at a party where all the adults in town are that enchants them to dance all night (and incidentally make them unable to stop their children from being kidnapped).
  • The Harpists from Kung Fu Hustle fight using a guzheng, or Chinese Harp. They can manipulate the vibrations into shapes such razor sharp swords capable of cutting through stone. They are homages to "Six-fingered Fiend of the Zither", a famous villain in old Chinese swordplay films.
  • Masters of the Universe has music with the power of opening up pathways between dimensions. The scientist who first discovered this uses a strange-looking instrument that looks roughly like a miniature high-tech pipe organ with crystals in place of the pipes, but a common keyboard synthesizer works just as well when you know the right notes.
  • In Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the band instruments kept Heartland U.S.A. a Sugar Bowl. Once they are stolen the town falls into decay.
  • Shredder Orpheus has Orpheus armed with a Gibsonian Lyre-Axe Guitar, said to unlock new realms of human consciousness. Its melody is so powerful it opens the door to the Underworld, energizes even the realm of the dead, and upstages Hades.
  • In The Three Stooges short Punch Drunks, Curly is sent into a violent frenzy by "Pop Goes the Weasel". Moe takes advantage of this by making Curly a boxing superstar and having Larry play the song on a violin during fights.
  • In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange's duel against Sinister Strange involves both sorcerers manipulating musical instruments and notes written in sheets to form projectiles to attack each other. With each strike, different sounds are produced.

  • The Fighting Fantasy series of books have plenty of Minstrel characters who can play enchanted music:
    • The Minstrel from Caverns of the Snow Witch is a neutral servant of the titular witch, and one of the non-Chaotic Evil inhabitants of Icefinger Mountains. If you try conversing with him, he'll demonstrate his powers by playing a healing song that brings up your Stamina. But if you try attacking him, he'll play a Mind Control song and turn you into his servant.
    • City of Thieves (1983) has one of the few non-hostile residents of Port Blacksand, a musician who will play a "lucky" song for you at a small fee of 2 gold pieces. His music can bring up your luck stat.
    • Spectral Stalkers has a Wandering Minstrel named Cerod living in one of the Ziggurat's many worlds, whose harp can talk can either curse or bless you. His magical music makes him a formidable threat to the hostile pig men living in his world.
    • The player themselves becomes this in the Sorcery! series of books, where one of their spells can force enemies into an Involuntary Dance by playing a bamboo flute. There's also an optional encounter with a Snake Charmer in the third book, whose music can turn humans into snakes.


By Author:

  • Piers Anthony:
    • Apprentice Adept: It's made explicit that, although Blue's magic can be invoked simply with rhyme, the spells are dramatically stronger if sung (and stronger still if he uses a musical instrument before reciting his chosen spell).
    • Xanth: Features triplets named Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm, who can "sing and play things real". This can mean anything from turning a girl into a sentient castle to time travel, and they can even identify (though not counter) the magic of the Demons, Xanth's equivalent of gods. Nona, from the Mode series, is fated to overthrow her world's rulers; she can convert others to her cause with a song. Later, she teaches a dragon to stun rats by singing, allowing it to feed on them instead of villagers and completely overhauling a planet's social structure (although Nona didn't come up with the idea). And, as mentioned above, Being a Green Mother in the Incarnations series is magic music incarnate.
    • The Gutbucket Quest: Involved a musician transported to a parallel Earth where music and magic were the same thing. The plot involved going on a quest for a magical electric guitar and invoking the loa of Voodoo with the power of Rock and Roll to defeat a corporate demon. (Simple, straightforward storytelling - gotta love it.)
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: As explained in The Silmarillion, Arda, the world in which Middle-earth exists, was literally sung into being through the Ainulindalë, or the Music of the Ainur. The Ainur - a race of angelic beings created by the deity Eru Illuvatar - actually laid out the shape and destiny of the universe by singing, so it makes sense that music would continue to have power within the physical world. As such, anyone with the genealogical clout - typically an Ainur or an exceptionally skilled/powerful elf - and lyrical ability can perform a lot of subtle and overt magic, literally shaping the world around them through words and song:
    • The Two Trees of Valinor - colossal lumionus flora and precursors to the Sun and Moon - were created by the chanting and singing of Yavanna, the Ainur who ruled over all plant life.
    • In Beren and Lúthien, Finrod Felagund, an elf of the Noldor clan and the eldest brother of Galadriel, dueled with Sauron by chanting songs of power. He lost.. Later, Lúthien Tinúviel, the direct ancestor of Arwen Evenstar, used her own music to bring Sauron's fortress down and to put Morgoth and all his minions in his fortress to sleep.
    • Other characters who could exercise magical abilities through singing include Tom Bombadil and Old Man Willow.

By Work:

  • Anansi Boys: In this Neil Gaiman creation, music was used to create the world, and a sufficiently gifted singer can use songs to cause a Reality Warp. (It helps that the characters in question are the spider-god Anansi and his descendants.)
  • Bardic Voices: Most of the protagonists have this ability.
  • Bedlams Bard: The main character in ths series by Mercedes Lackey is a Bard, which in that universe means he is possessed of fairly powerful Magic Music.
  • Book of a Thousand Days: Shannon Hale's character Dashti uses this to heal various ailments.
  • Chanters of Tremaris: A central element of the trilogy, where virtually all magic is performed through songs, called "chantments".
  • Chrestomanci: In The Magicians of Caprona, this is how most spells work. A particularly amusing example occurs when one of the children decides to use the most powerful song spell ever created, used to drive out an evil devil centuries ago, but with the words changed around to clean the dinner dishes. While it did make the dishes look clean, it backfired when for weeks afterward, anything eaten or cooked with those dishes wound up having a greasy, soapy taste. Oops.
    • This has interesting consequences for Angelica Petrocchi, who knows dozens of spells by heart but can't get them to work as intended due to her tone-deaf singing. She's somewhat infamous for turning her father green.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • The Magician's Nephew: Aslan creates Narnia with a magic song. This may have been inspired by Middle-Earth, as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were good friends.
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Mr. Tumnus plays a tune on his flute that has an apparently magical effect on Lucy Pevensie: In the film from Disney/Walden Media, this literally puts her into an enchanted sleep, whereas the music's power is more psychological and ambiguous in the book; Lucy herself is not entirely sure what happened, only that a great deal of time seems to have passed.
    • The Silver Chair: The Lady of the Green Kirtle uses magic music (and fire) to work her More than Mind Control.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain: The bard Fflewddur Fflam carries an enchanted harp. His music is not normally magical, but in the last book, The High King, he uses the harp to keep the party from freezing to death. It starts to play by itself when he burns it, giving them the courage to finish the journey. The harp also tends to stretch its strings whenever its owner stretches the truth. As Fflewddur is a born storyteller, many broken strings ensue.
  • Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: In Lord Fouls Bane, the Giant Saltheart Foamfollower uses singing to control the boat he is riding down a river. Lord Mhoram also uses a song to summon the Forestal Caerroil Wildwood.
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia: Some of the Witches' spells are sung rather than spoken, however this seems to be the exception.
  • Deathsong: This obscure pulp horror novel by Douglas Borton is about a Lovecraftian cult that practices music-based black magic. Havoc ensues when they make enemies with a professional singer smart enough to learn songs by ear...
  • Discworld: In Soul Music, the Guitar has some kind of magic, being the embodiment of The Power of Rock. Several other magical instruments appear in The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday or are mentioned by Glod as "things that turn up occasionally". In these cases, the magic is purely in the instrument; Maskerade says magic and music are so similar that you can only do one of them.
  • Dora Wilk Series: The Elves can use music to compel minds to their will. The example shown, an elven boy, uses guitar music to keep people away from him and his sister, but makes Dora come to them.
  • The Dresden Files: In Dead Beat, we learn that necromancers require a steady rhythm to maintain control of whatever corpses they've raised. Typically, this can be done by beating a drum or just tapping a book against your thigh. Or you could use a huge sub-woofer mounted on a car. Necromancy aside, magic can be powered by emotion, and music can inspire emotion; therefore, music is one of many tools available to magic users.
  • Forgotten Realms: The novels are based in a Dungeons & Dragons setting, and therefore have a lot of these.
    • Elfsong deals with magic that springs from music, though it's rare and limited to elves (or so we think).
    • War of the Spider Queen from the same universe has two:
      • Omraeth, a spellsinger and Evil Genius from Book One.
      • Hallistra Melarn, a major character who carries a lyre and a sword/flute. She uses the lyre to amplify the power of her bae'qeshel songs, which can do anything from heal wounds to weaponized sonic blasts.
  • The Echorium Sequence: The Singers of the titular Echorium use five "Songs of Power" to heal, manipulate, punish, or induce living death.
  • Eludoran: Hardly unsurprising that the Lanorei race could achieve magical effects through singing, as the work in question is an Affectionate Parody of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Notable examples include Faolan, who could shatter mountains with a whisper; and Malachi who is reputedly even stronger. Also, his cousin Lorelei created a physical disguise for her friend by singing an illusion spell, which was apparently so realistic it made their enemy die of fright on the spot. It makes sense in context as the Lanorei are a race of anthropomorphic canines (mostly wolves) who have raised song and music into communication and artform.
  • The Enchantment Emporium: Charlie Gale, a member of an entire family of magic users, uses a guitar to help her focus her on-the-spot casting (Rather like Stile in Apprentice Adept, above). She can also travel through 'The Wood'note , by finding an appropriate shadow or mirror to enter and 'following the song', which can change depending on what she's trying to find; person, place, or time to get home without being late for dinner.
  • Exiled Clan Of The Claw: The Dancers of the Mrem use drums, dance, and, in at least one case, bagpipes to strengthen their psychic powers.
  • Felix Castor: The main character gets rid of spirits with cantrips played on his tin flute. However, he has to "get the feel" of the ghost first by spending time around it and learning its habits.
  • The Fife Of Bodhidharma: In this Cordwainer Smith short story, the fife can cause either serenity or madness, depending on how it is played.
  • How to Talk to Girls at Parties: Contains a poem that is either magical or eldritch science so advanced it might as well be, which walks up to the narrator in the form of a beautiful redhead named Triolet. The narrator hears part of it, giving him visions of the doomed world where it was crafted, although his friend drags him out of the party before he can hear it all — and, given that it is indicated to be infectious and capable of rendering a species extinct in only a few generations, this is probably for the best.
  • Incarnations of Immortality: In Being a Green Mother, the character who becomes Gaea discovers she can control nature with a particular song. (In the next book, For Love of Evil, another character learns that same song for... other purposes.)
  • Inheritance Cycle: The elves have mastered a form of this that crosses over with Green Thumb: they can cause plants to grow into specific shapes by singing to them in the Ancient Language; it's the reason their cities are mostly made of trees shaped like dwellings. One elf woman in particular, Linnea, was able to merge herself with the Menoa Tree by singing to it for three days straight until they became one entity.
  • In the Company of Ogres: In this work by A. Lee Martinez, the fish-like sirens can use a variety of songs to do things, the main one for seducing people, but there are others, including a song rarely used that can destroy almost anything in its way.
  • In Joel Suzuki, Spectraland is pervaded by a magical force called Aura that can be manipulated with music by a small number of people called wavemakers who have the right brain waves for it. Joel and Felicity learn how to make magic by playing chords on an instrument called a wavebow while thinking about what they want to do. Different chords have different effects - for example, an F chord creates light, and an A chord induces sleep. More advanced players can play riffs or melodies called casts that have more complicated effects, and the most powerful spells are song-length pieces called incantations.
  • The Kalevala: The sage Väinämöinen. All magic in the Kalevala is done through singing. A natural choice, as the entire epic is done in poetic verse designed to be sung, accompanied by playing a kantele (a wooden harp).
  • King Rat: An evil Pied Piper uses music to wrest control of whole classes of animal, by taking control of those animals' totemic leaders. He also uses music to control humans. And that's before he gets the idea of cutting a mix tape, so he can control more than one creature-type at a time...
  • The Laundry Files: Dominique O'Brien plays an Erich Zann violin to fight eldritch horrors. Unfortunately for her (not to mention the world), the violin isn't exactly on her side or under her control.
  • In Lost Voices, girls turned into mermaids are granted enchanted voices that they use to lure sailors to their deaths. Luce discovers other uses for her voice, such as Making a Splash and healing damage to humans' minds done by the mermaids' singing, which she teaches to the other mermaids.
  • Lythande: The titular character is a Wandering Minstrel and mercenary mage.
    • In the story "Sea Wrack", Lythande is able to enthrall an inn's worth of people with the lute and help heal someone who had been caught by the song of a Siren, unable to think of anything else.
    • In the same story, the Siren's song has enough power to cause men to come to it to be eaten, so the fishing village is struggling. The song is powerful enough to even get to Lythande.
  • The Music of Erich Zann: H. P. Lovecraft used this trope. Though strange, bizarre, or unearthly music often features in his works, this is the only case of the music itself having power.
  • My Wife Is a Witch: Uses a non-musical poetry variant. The protagonist, Sergey, is a humble poet who finds out that the Hot Librarian he married is a powerful witch. After she vanishes into the dark worlds, he goes to find her, only to discover that his poetry now works like (sometimes devastating) spells. He later discovers that there is a prophecy about a "witch's husband", since witches never marry, who is supposed to be the most powerful sorcerer who ever lived.
  • Neverwhere: There is a tune that causes anyone who hears it to give money to the person playing it. Of course, they end up nearly killing the guy, but still... The Magnificent Bastard who taught it did warn that a little went a long way... and picked up a second favor for teaching the street musician the counter ditty.
  • Old Kingdom: Necromancers' bells can do some dangerous stuff. Different bells give different effects, and the effect also depends on how the bell is rung. The seventh and final bell, Astarael, kills everyone who hears it — including the player. More significantly in a setting with functioning necromancy, it sends them "deep into death", killing all but the most powerful victims Deader than Dead so they cannot return, and at least delaying the return of the rest longer than other methods. Besides the bells, it's mentioned that necromancers and Abhorsens have to be good at music to be able to use their power.
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: The Pied Piper used his piping to first lure the rats of Hamelin to their deaths, then later to abduct the children of the town after the people refused to pay him for his services.
  • Rachel Griffin: The three main protagonists learn music as their branch of magic: Nastasia plays a violin, Rachel a flute, and Sigfried a trumpet.
  • Raine Benares: In this Lisa Shearin series, spellsingers are a specialized type of magic user who can channel magic through their voices and cast spells through song. They are particularly effective at influencing emotions.
  • The Riddle Master Trilogy: Other than just being an exquisitely made instrument, the lowest note on Morgon's harp shatters steel.
  • The Saga of Erik the Red: To perform her soothsaying ritual, the seeress Thorbjorg requires women who can sing a certain chant called "Varðlokkur". Gudrid is the only one present who can sing the song, and she does so. Thorbjorg is very pleased and says that the song has attracted many spirits, because Gudrid has sung so beautifully, and it are the spirits who supposedly reveal the future to Thorbjorg.
  • Shaman Blues: Essential to death magic. Necromancers can hear "Earth's song" and raise the dead by singing back, and pretty much entire shamanism revolves around right rhythms and songs, used to send ghosts back to the aether, to manipulate them, and to call them in.
  • Shannara: Has the wishsong, in which several protagonists, all elven descendants, can create potent melodies of creation and destruction.
  • In the Siren trilogy, siren song can be used to hypnotize or steal energy from human men, as well as to exert dominance over other sirens.
  • So This Is Ever After: Bards like Bethany have magic in their music, such as making its notes carry far beyond the ordinary limits of sound.
  • Spellsinger: When college student and amateur rock musician Jonathan Thomas (Jon-Tom) Meriweather is pulled into another world by an errant spell, he discovers that in this world, he is a spellsinger: a wizard who works magic through music. Jon-Tom quickly finds that his spellsinging is very powerful, but also unpredictable: sometimes it works as intended, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it gives him what he needs, not what he wants. In one particularly extravagant case, he's trying to conjure up a way to attack the Plated Folk, and chooses to sing "Fly Like An Eagle" by the Steve Miller Band. What he actually gets is the elemental personification of the universe itself.
  • The Spellsong Cycle: In L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s series, if you sing it, it happens, but the energy to make it happen comes from your body. Being accompanied by instruments or other spellsingers helps you do more impressive things without passing out due to exhaustion or starving to death. Most people in that book's universe never learn how to sing, because most wizards don't like having potential rivals around.
  • Strega Nona: Tomie dePaola's tale involves a cooking pot that can produce unending amounts of cooked pasta when sung to.
  • Symphony of Ages: Rhapsody is a Singer, meaning she can use magic channeled through her voice... possibly (the effects of her voice and the definition of "Singer" seem to vary from scene to scene, let alone book to book).
  • Tortall Universe: In the last book of the Protector of the Small quartet, Numair Salmalín uses a flute tune called the Sorcerer's Dance (stated by Word of God to refer to the Sorcerer's Apprentice music) to move boulders for strengthening a wooden palisade. Although the spell is said to be absurdly simple, Numair jacks it up several orders of magnitude by bringing particularly large boulders from ten miles away.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: In Fantasyland, this is very common but only on the Good side. Sometimes it's actually the only Good magic. Music is used to enhance spells, summon aid or inspire extraordinary strength.
  • The Treachery of Beautiful Things: The piper can whip up storms and cause roses to entangle Jack.
    • Also, the nix is a harpist and lures Jenny with it.
  • The Ultimate Melody: This Arthur C. Clarke story revolves around a scientist attempting to reproduce the primal tune from which all music is derived. He succeeded, but on hearing the song, caught it in his head for the rest of his life, rendering him catatonic. On discovering him, his assistant shut off the machine playing the tune, and it was dismantled before it could be reactivated; the assistant was immune to the effect due to being tone-deaf.
  • War for the Oaks: Ends with a duel between the lead singer of a rock band and the Queen of the Unseelie Court for the fate of the city. By this point, the singer's discovered how to use her music to fuel the "glamour" that faeries can use naturally.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts:
      • In the novel First & Only, the Chaos forces they face use drums for summoning.
      • In Necropolis, the Chaos forces use chanting to try to corrupt their opponents.
    • In Dan Abnett's Horus Heresy novel Horus Rising, Horus's forces come upon a system where xenos transmitters are broadcasting recognizable music.
  • Wars of Light and Shadow: Bards are capable of some remarkable feats of magic through their music, be it with an instrument or voice alone. Effects range from manipulating emotions, to activating ancient power sources capable of destroying a city, to redirecting surges through those power sources and restoring natural seasonal patterns, to making half an army stand down. According to hints dropped so far, this is the lower end of what's possible.
  • The Wayfarer Redemption: Has magic by music. Its only limitation being that you can't heal anyone unless they're on the brink of death.
  • Wayward Children: Christopher's flute can animate skeletons with motion and a shadow of their old intelligence. It was carved out of his own ulna in a Day of the Dead-themed Otherworld, and its music is only for the dead.
    There was never any sound when Christopher played the flute, not as far as the living were concerned. There was only the idea of sound, the sketchy outline of the place where it should have been, sliced out of the air like a piece of chocolate pie.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: The rookie witch Maura Dettweiler has a magic guitar which she uses to help cast her spells.
  • Wody Glebokie Jak Niebo: Some mages write their demon binding spells in the form of songs to make it harder for others to steal their work. Sirocco can control demons through her singing without binding them permanently.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 4400: Noah discovers an ability to make things happen just by singing, like putting people to sleep with "Rock-a-bye Baby".
  • Angel has a bit of a variation: Lorne's singing abilities (great though they are) don't confer any magical effects, but when he hears other people sing, then he is able to read their destinies. Well, he is able to sing high enough to cause physical pain to people and incapacitate them. And even ordinary singing is too much for most inhabitants of his dimension.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the episode "Once More with Feeling". A musical demon causes life in the entire town to be a musical. Doesn't seem too bad, until it's revealed you uncontrollably spill your deepest secrets in songs sooner or later. And sooner or later, you will dance and sing yourself into a fiery death (the demon is stopped before more than a handful of Sunnydalians burn). Relatedly, the demon claims to have given a certain Roman emperor "his very first fiddle", thus also dovetailing with the trope.
  • While there are several other aspects to the show, this is the entire premise around the titular characters in the Japanese drama Daimajin Kanon. The song that was passed down to Kanon from her grandmother is actually a spell that awakens the giant magical evil-fighting statue, Daimajin, from its slumber to save humanity from a demonic invasion. It only works when it's sung "with all of one's heart".
  • Doctor Who: In "A Christmas Carol" a woman's singing calms the storm around a planet, as well as its flying fish. When the Doctor tries coming up with a Techno Babble explanation, the fish bite him in irritation.
  • The Monster of the Week in the Haven episode "Harmony" can temporarily cure and cause mental illness by playing music.
  • Emma from Heroes has this power; so far we've seen her use her cello to summon people she is thinking about and make a crack in her apartment wall.
  • Idol x Warrior Miracle Tunes!: Along with dancing, Miracle Tunes sing to purify Sound Jewels. The Sound Jewels they recover (particularly the Hip Hop, Rock, Techno, and Enka Jewels) help them change music genres and defeat their enemies.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Most seasons only use music as incidental sound effects during transformations or special attacks, but Kamen Rider Kiva has a violin-playing protagonist, and one episode had him playing the mystically-created violin built by his father to force himself into shapeshifting. His sentient Transformation Trinket, Kivat, uses whistles to summon weapons, call Castle Doran, or even start Kiva's Rider Kick.
    • Then there's Kamen Rider Hibiki, where the enemies can only be fought using "pure sound". The Transformation Trinkets are weaponized instruments, as well, and each Rider carries a set of Disc Animals, which when not in use fold up into compact discs.
    • Kamen Rider Brave uses the DoReMiFa Beat Gashat, based on rhythm-dance games, letting him use a chiptune version of the show's theme song as a weapon.
  • In an old The Kids in the Hall sketch, Satan is driven back into Hell by the "Holy Trinity" of guitar chords (E-A-B, or the opening chords of Smoke on the Water).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Disa is capable of communicating with the mountain itself through her powerful Melismatic Vocals and aids in saving four dwarves that were trapped in a collapsed tunnel.
  • In the premiere of the BBC series Merlin (2008) a witch, magically disguised as a famous singer, sings a song that causes the entire court of Camelot to fall into an enchanted slumber so she can assassinate Arthur. Luckily Merlin instinctively recognizes the magic and covers his ears in time.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Spells to call up storms involve the witches singing.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Music of the Spheres", the titular music is a signal from space which, in addition to being extremely addictive, ends up causing a series of dramatic physical transformations in listeners. Notably, unlike most Brown Notes, the changes the music causes ultimately turn out to be beneficial.
  • Super Sentai / Power Rangers occasionally summon their Humongous Mecha with music. The Green Ranger from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had a dagger that doubled as a flute, and Power Rangers Ninja Storm's Samurai Ranger had a guitar that could be used to bring in a mammoth zord.
    • A couple Monsters Of The Week used music too, such as the Gnarly Gnome and Guitardo. (There was an ironic twist with the first one; he used his music to hypnotize some teenagers, hoping to lure the Rangers into an ambush, but the plan had a Fatal Flaw that he didn't count on: one member of the group he targeted was hearing impaired, managed to escape, and warn them, ruining any chance of a surprise attack.)
  • A sketch from British TV comedy series That Mitchell and Webb Look had a man being given a green clarinet which, when played at someone, caused them to dance and sing an embarrassing truth about themselves. He used it to live a life of luxury until another person was given a red tuba which caused... well, an unfortunate comeuppance.
  • The series Threshold involved an alien audio signal that was able to alter the genetics of anyone who happened to listen to it.
  • Warehouse 13:
    • Used when a group of bank robbers commit crimes by playing a specific song that sends the listener into blissed-out ecstasy, then taking the money while they're incapacitated.
    • Later cropping up again several times in the show's final season. First, Frances Farmer's Music Box. Sends its winder into easily provoked, telekinetically powered outbursts of pure rage.
    • Then there was Oliver Sacks' Record Player, which puts listeners into comas as long as it's playing, comas so deep muscles and organs atrophy and fail within hours.
    • Finally, Chuck Yeager's Favorite LP. Combined with the above Record Player, produces sonic booms strong enough to throw a person backwards if anyone tries to turn it off.

  • "I Wish There Were Still Dinosaurs" by Ken Ashcorp follows three individuals going back in time to see the dinosaurs through a vortex created by a song they put together.
  • "Loreley" by Blackmore's Night, naturally.
    Oh, the song of Loreley
    Charms the moon right from the sky
    She will get inside your mind, loveley Loreley
    When she cries "Be with me until the end of time"
    You know you will ever be with your Loreley
  • "The Lyre of Orpheus" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
    Look what I've made, cried Orpheus
    And he plucked a gentle note
    Eurydice's eyes popped from their sockets
    And her tongue burst through her throat
  • "The Heat of the Blood" by Tom Smith; a duet where his song is an attempt at magic seduction, and hers is an attempt to fight it off.
  • Nautilus Pompilius: In the song "Music on the Sand", a boy, drumming on a tin barrel, creates an effect similar to that of a flute in The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
  • Subway to Sally:
    • In "Die Trommel", the sound of the drum hypnotizes the narrator and makes him act against his will.
    • In "Grausame Schwester", a harp is made of the body of a murdered girl, so she can reveal the name of her murderer.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, the walls of Jericho fall after the Israelites spend seven days marching around the city, blasting trumpets and shouting in turn. Hebrews 11:30 attributes this to faith in God rather than any magical power the army's music had, however.
  • Not just The Kalevala, traditional Finnish magic in general consisted of spellsongs that were either sung or chanted, depending on the context. This makes sense because most spells were essentially short stories relating the mythological origin of things like fire, iron, living things, and such because knowing the primordial nature of a thing was thought to give power over it. As such, spells were passed down by teaching them as songs, often as part of larger epics or stories, with the poetic meter ensuring the fidelity of the oral transmission. Notably, sages also apparently engaged in contests of magical knowledge which were conducted by singing as many spells as they could remember; many thousands were recorded in the 19th and early 20th century.
  • Similarly, the Ancient Greeks actually believed music was magical. They had a single word that meant both "to sing a song" and "to cast a spell." This is most obvious in the story of Orpheus, mentioned above. It also shows up in the teachings of Greek philosophers - Plato's writings appear to be in a 12-note chromatic scale, and most famously Pythagoras first realized he could predict things using math (physics, basically) by observing the strings of his lyre, and went on to incorporate divine music into his belief system.
    • This then carried over to the Latin language: the verb "incantare", meaning "to cast a spell", derived from "cantare", "to sing". Both have descendants in modern Romance languages and even in English: that's where "enchant" and "chant" come from.
  • Orpheus, who sang so well he (almost) restored his wife to life. And made the Furies weep. And made trees pick up their roots and rocks roll over to him just so they could listen.
    Orpheus, with his lute, made trees and the mountain tops that freeze, Bow themselves when he did sing: To his music, plants and flowers Ever sprung; as sun and showers There had made a lasting spring. Ev’ry thing that heard him play, E’vn the billows of the sea, Hung their heads and then lay by...
  • The Sirens of Greek mythology were creatures with hypnotic singing voices; their singing enchanted sailors to crash to their deaths on the rocks. Orpheus was able to counteract them with his lute in the myth that inspired Jason and the Argonauts. Over the years, this has caused myths to bleed together and people to associate this trait with mermaids instead - to the point that we now have a trope for it.
  • The Neck in Scandinavian mythology is a shapeshifting creature that plays enchanting music.
  • The Irish legend of the harp of Daghda, which could cause pain, laughter, or peace through music.
    • The Irish filidh could also do that. Accordingly, they were held on the same level as the kings of Ireland, since they could destroy their reputation (and potentially maim them) with a song.
  • In the Swedish legend of the Hårgadance a mysterious fiddler turned up one day in the village of Hårga during a celebration and started playing a song on his violin that made everyone dance enthusiastically. Too late, the people realized that the man, who they now saw had a goat's leg, was the Devil himself. They were unable to stop dancing, and kept doing so while the fiddler led them up the nearby Hårgamountain. There, he kept playing until everyone had been killed and their bodies torn to bits by the intense dancing. The top of Hårgamountain is still flat to this day because of the wild dance.
  • In "The Loreley" by Heinrich Heine, the fairy lady Loreley lures skippers on the Rhine to their doom by the power of her song.

  • Cacophony in Jemjammer can do this with her viol by virtue of being a bard.
  • Vivaldi from Sequinox plays classical music (or covers of Kesha songs) on his violin in order to boost the strength of the Sequinox girls.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: In "The Day the Music Died," the Ditzies, the source of light in Fraggle Rock, are dying, and no one knows why. The caves of Fraggle Rock have all gone dark and, without the light of the Ditzies, everyone but Gobo has entered a Forced Sleep. But as he sings "Shine On, Shine On Me," Ditzies begin to appear. The other Fraggles wake up, joining in the rousing song, and Gobo realizes it's music that keeps the Ditzies alive.
    • In "A Tune For Two," Wembley and Cotterpin sing a duet: "Children of Tomorrow." Not only do all the Fraggles join in, but so do the Doozers, Junior Gorg, and Sprocket. And Sprocket's singing revives Doc's wilted plant, Lucinda, leading Doc to comment about the healing powers of music.

  • D.B. Humphries' Dragon Song, Rina used a form of song magic as a method of conceiving children.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Hyeon has the ability to converse with animals. As he discovers during one of his concerts, playing music amplifies his power, allowing him better control over animals in the area.
    • This is one application of Ivan's power to manipulate real events via media. Theoretically, he could take a piece of music, re-arrange its tune, and in doing so change how the corresponding event plays out.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, bards know how to sing and play songs of power, and the magic of the songs can affect the target in various ways such as making them feel relaxed or disoriented among other things. The more complex the song is, the stronger its effect.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Ars Magica the Enchanting Music ability fits the mold as do the "Holy Music" (Holy) Method and the magic of the Hyperborean Hymnists. Certain applications of Performance Magic and the Enchantment (Faerie) Method also work.
  • Bard classes are also popular here, based on the original Dungeons & Dragons bard.
    • In 3rd Edition D&D, Bards can not only play magical music, but can also cast spells — but unlike any other class, every spell they cast has a vocal component, and also unlike any other class, they cannot cast silent spells as a bard even if they would have the ability to do so otherwise. It does not strictly have to be music, but magical recitation (Perform (Oratory), Perform (Comedy) and Perform (Acting) all qualifies the bard to use their abilities) is close enough.
    • The 2nd Edition sourcebook Player's Option: Spells and Magic introduces the Song Mage, who faces the same restrictions.
    • Supplemental 3rd Edition material results in new ways to "spend" bardic songs, alternate bardic music to learn, ways to further combine music and magic, prestige classes like the Virtuoso and Lyric Thaumaturge, new instrument types, and bayonets to suit lutes, flutes, and fiddles of every size.
    • The 3rd Ed Dungeon Master's Guide features a number of magical musical instruments, such as bells, lyres, drums, flutes, and pipes that have helpful or harmful effects. Satyrs' pipes are especially fun.
    • Any monster with a hypnotic song, like harpies or cloakers.
    • The alternate magic system Spheres of Power has the Skilled Casting drawback, which has you use a Perform, Profession, or Craft check to use your magic, so you can literally walk on walls by singing Dancin' on the Ceiling.
  • In In Nomine reality is controlled by something called "the Symphony;" the setting's "magic" consists of manipulating the Symphony in a couple of different ways. The most direct, used by angels and demons (and some special humans) are Songs, which are basically specific melodies which (when coupled with Essence expenditure) produce all sorts of special effects from healing to blowing stuff up. The less experienced have to actually vocalize the Song (and perform specific movements/gestures), while the more skilled can just invoke them mentally. The use of Songs creates "disturbances" in the Symphony which can be tracked down to their source (both the place and the person) by anyone with supernatural abilities who is close enough and perceptive enough to "hear" them.
  • The premise of Jazz Voodoo from Beyond the Storm: Shadows of the Big Easy.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: Many Inspire Charms require the Princess to put on a performance of some kind (play a song, do a dance, recite poetry, etc), as part of the Charm activation. There are also a couple of Inspire Charms, like Fight Song, which generate ongoing magical effects that last as long as the Princess can keep the song going.
  • This is the Argent Adept's thing in Sentinels of the Multiverse. Mechanically, he uses both Equipment (his instruments) and Ongoings (his songs); by activating an instrument's power, he can trigger the effects of the songs, which are divided into Rhythm, Harmony, and Melody, with Rhythm and Harmony additionally having both Perform and Accompany effects that are activated separately. It's all rather complicated, so he's a lot easier to run in the digital version, but the results speak for themselves: while the Adept's setup time rivals that of the Great Wall of China, he can get some truly ridiculous power loops when he gets going, distributing heals, buffs, cards, plays, and power uses to allies. He does have some damaging effects; he just rarely uses them, because who needs to inflict small amounts of ice, fire, or sonic damage when you could massively buff your teammates, who are better at that?
  • In Shadowrun/Earthdawn, Thayla's singing was so beautiful it could keep the Horrors at bay.
  • Siren: The Drowning has the Sirens' equivalent of magic, Verses, work on this concept. The Verse is composed with three different parts, all required to have it function. The Introduction describes what or who the Siren is targeting with the Verse and its duration, the Opus is what she's using to affect the target or affecting within the target, and the Conclusion dictates how much she can wield the Opuses. It should be noted that a Siren may need to use a Performance to help the Verse, but if she tries without one then she may find her Verse significantly depowered.
  • Pavane of Slaanesh ability (and its big brother, the Grand Pavane) of Chaos Daemons in Warhammer 40,000 is described as magic music that forces those who hear it to start dancing and fall under the daemon's control.

  • Many, many witches, wizards, sorcerers, and sorceresses sing incantations.
  • In Hadestown Orpheus's song, even in its incomplete form, makes flowers bloom from nothing, and is so powerful it splits the wall around Hadestown open to let him in.
  • Tamino's flute and Papageno's glockenspiel in Mozart's The Magic Flute. The Queen of the Night casts spells, arguably, with her dazzling coloratura passages.
  • Peer Gynt: Solveig defeats The Boyg by singing hymns.
  • In Wicked, Elphaba sings "Eleka Namen Atum Atum Eleka Namen; Eleka Namen Atum Atum Eleka Namen" in an attempt to magically save Fiyero's life, and then proceeds to lampshade this with "What good is this chanting? I don't even know what I'm reading!" It does save him, but she doesn't learn this until later.

    Video Games 
  • MMORPGs often feature some sort of game mechanic or class that utilize songs with some kind of power:
    • Ragnarok Online features the Bard and Dancer, both of whom can use a plethora of magically musical skills to aid their allies and hinder their enemies.
    • In the original, scrapped version of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa dating from 2004, the Damage Typing system involved a wholly unique of weapons for each damage type. Spirit weapons involved dancing and music — one featured weapon, for example, rotated like a hula-hoop when not in use and transformed into a harp when attacking.
    • In Kingdom of Loathing, the Accordion Thief can play various songs that will provide buffs to themselves or other players—for example, "Ode to Booze" increases the adventures you get from drinking alcoholic beverages, "Fat Leon's Phat Loot Lyric" boosts item drops, and "Polka of Plenty" increases Meat drops.
    • Tiara Concerto takes place in a World in the Sky where all magic is based around this principle.
  • In Aquaria, the protagonist Naija sings songs to change her form or to cast spells. As well as this, a twelve-note motif, foreshadowed throughout the game's soundtrack, turns out to be an important part of The Reveal: the Verse, the Sentient Cosmic Force from which Naija draws her abilities, is in fact a literal verse, from a song that the mother of the Creator used to sing to him. He couldn't remember the song's chorus, so he clung so tightly to that verse as a means to preserve her memory that it imprinted onto the world he gave life to.
  • Poco of Arc the Lad is a member of his country's military. Specifically, its drum corps. He brings several instruments into battle that he can play to create magical effects: harp music heals, a snare beat powers up allies' attack, trumpets create painful aerial bombs, and so on.
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt Series: The Muse is an incredibly powerful Septima with the ability to act into other Adept's subconsciousness, often pacifying them or increasing their combat powers. Therefore, it's sought over by many antagonistic factions for different purposes — Sumeragi wants to use it to prevent Adepts from causing further mass destruction, Eden wants to use it to create a group of ultra-boosted Adepts to plunge the old society into chaos, and Asimov was already using it to glue himself into power. It turns out the original bearer of this Septima is Copen's seemingly Muggle sister, Mytyl — the Muse was actually killing her from the inside out until her father extracted it out from her, keeping her alive but frail and mute, which was then transferred into an Artificial Human named Joule. Once the truth gets out to Copen and he personally sees Mytyl in action, he was understandably shocked, that he breaks relations with her while he continues his journey to exterminate all Adepts.
  • The eponymous Bard from The Bard's Tale is able to summon up to four magical creatures and/or people at a time with the music he learns (and can play on a variety of instruments, including a lute, a flute, and the Shadow Axe). Also, if you can find the Ego Sword, it can sing to summon them as well.
  • Bravely Default has Praline (full name/title Praline a la Mode, Diva of the Battlefield), holder of the Performer asterisk, who uses her singing to buff her allies' stats. You can do it too once you defeat her and gain the Performer job.
  • The magic system in Brütal Legend is based around playing Heavy Metal solos on an enchanted electric guitar. In fact, everything in the game world runs on heavy metal, not just magic.
  • There is a story arc in City of Heroes that involves recovering "The Dirge of Chaos" before it can be broadcast over Paragon City's airwaves.
  • A mermaid song is used to rid a town of monsters in Chrono Cross. And then of course, there's the song that defeats the final boss and gets you the Golden Ending.
  • Digital Devil Saga has Sera's music, which can calm down victims of the Horror Hunger... but it has its limits.
  • Dishonored has the Overseer's music boxes, which actually act as anti-magic music - whenever they're played, Corvo, Daud, Emily, and any other assassins in the area will be disoriented and unable to use any magical powers (guns and swords are still fair game, however). The music also slowly drains the player's health, although it's usually drained much more rapidly by the numerous guards who have been alerted to the player's presence by the music.
  • Most of the combat system in Double Dragon Neon revolves around collecting mixtapes to gain stat boosts and new abilities and attacks, and using the Tapesmith to make them stronger via mythril.
  • In Drakengard 3 the power of the Intoners is based around songs. If they enter Intoner Mode they begin singing along with the background music and become ridiculously strong. They can also use their singing to help their disciple summon giant magical creatures without paying a price. If they are sufficiently strong they can summon them by themselves. However their songs seem to have unintentional side effects.
    • Note that under most circumstances, calling some of the noises they make "singing" would be a stretch. Zero begins with a berserk scream of bloodlust, Three with a blood-curdling shriek, and Five sounds like she's enjoying herself way too much.
  • The Bard class from Eden Eternal uses their music to attack enemies and buff themselves and their teammates, playing either a lilting melody or a death metal ballad.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The extinct Dwemer practiced a form of this. They were a race of extreme Naytheists who created advanced Magitek Steampunk technology. They were also known to bend the "Earth Bones", essentially dead gods whose bodies became the laws of nature and physics in the mortal world. They accomplished this by altering the "tonal architecture," or the sounds and vibrations, of the Earth Bones, which allowed them to hijack the fundamental laws of the world and used them for their own ends. After discovering and attempting to tap into the power of the heart of a not-so-dead god, they did something which caused their entire race to disappear from the Mundus (the combination plane of existence/solar system most of the games take place in most of the time) in a single instant, leading to their presumed extinction.
    • Other races also discovered techniques that allowed them to similarly alter reality. To note:
      • The ancient Yokudans (ancestors to the modern Redguards) had a Samurai-like order of warriors known as Ansei ("Sword-Saints" or "Sword-Singers"). The Ansei were able to summon swords made from their very souls, known as "Shehai". Ancient accounts suggest that with their Shehair, Ansei could cut through waves of traditionally armed-and-armored warriors like a "scythe through wheat". Their most powerful technique was known as the "Pankratosword", which allowed them to "cut the atomos" — a literal Fantastic Nuke. It is said that misuse of this technique caused their original homeland of Yokuda to sink beneath the sea and that it has been lost to time as a result. The Ansei have similarly declined, as there has not been a reliable account of someone using the Shehai since the 2nd Era.
      • Nirn's Dragons are capable of bending reality with their Language of Magic, known to mortalkind as the "Thu'um". As seen most prominently in Skyrim, the ancient Nords were taught this technique during their Merethic Era war against the dragons, who were seeking to be worshipped as gods. They not only defeated the dragons using the Thu'um, but expanded their empire across all of northern Tamriel. It took a coalition including the aforementioned Dwemer for their expansion to finally be halted. One of their leaders, Jurgen Windcaller, experienced a Heel–Faith Turn and preached that the Thu'um should only be used to honor the gods, preaching pacifism and founding the Greybeards. Use of the Thu'um as a weapon of war would drop drastically in the centuries to follow.
  • Joelle from Eternal Eden uses music-based skills, which affects the entire party. Her songs can heal and buff up allies, while debuffs, or put status effects on, enemies.
    • The all-female race of Reyvateils was created with the ability to create various magical effects through their songs. This includes things like healing, creating elemental bursts, summoning beings to attack, or even (on the upper scale of things) creating entire continents. Songs can sometimes be in upwards of 6 minutes in song length and can either be sung solo or in combination with other Reyvateils. What makes this particularly interesting is that a single song can have multiple voices in it at any given time, but it is still being sung by one individual capable of singing in multiple voices at once. [1]. Additionally, most of the music has very computer-style names usually including EXEC or some variation. The implication of many of these is that the music is similar to some kind of computer executable that is executed by the goddess of the land.
    • "Magical languages" (Hymmnos, Pastalia, Risshizentsukyomi, and Ar Ciela) are used to create the really earth-shattering effects. The Nosurge prequel duology also introduces Emotional Song Pact and REON-4132, the latter of which is pretty much a programming language that can be sung.
    • Note that the entire setting of the franchise depends on song magic. Airships run on symphonic power, item crafting is due to applied "Wave Theory" (yes, fictional physics), the initial singularity sung the universe...
  • Several Servants in Fate/Grand Order can do this:
    • David and Tristan played ordinary music in life, but as their music was a part of their legend, they both receive the Harp of Healing skill as Servants. When they use this skill, their music invigorates allies, removes negative mental influences, and deflects attacks.
    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a magus who specializes in casting through music. At one point it's mentioned that he sold his soul to music, which made him immune to Demonic Possession.
  • In Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark, the Templar class learns magical Chants which they can sing to damage enemies or support their allies.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The recurring summon Siren inflicts non-elemental damage and the Silence status effect by playing music on her harp.
    • Edward in Final Fantasy IV can inflict damage on enemies, as well as confuse them and put them to sleep, with his harp-playing. He can't be considered a terrible musician; just one that knows his audience, given in the DS remake he can learn Life's Anthem, which rapidly restores the HP of the party as long as he isn't interrupted. And then there's the songs available to the Bardsong Augment...
    • Speaking of Edward, another song used in the game, though not in combat, is one he learned to dispel evil spirits. Coupled with Whisperweed, this is how he cripples the Dark Elf's magnetic powers.
    • Hurdy in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is pretty much the moogle version of Edward, including the ability to hide. His abilities are a mixed bag, the best being a song that restores MP. Learning that song is another matter.... Fortunately, he can learn other jobs like everyone else.
    • Edwards revamped abilities are likely inspired by the Bard class of Final Fantasy V, which could use several useful songs, for instance to speed up the other party members, restore mana over time, or deal heavy damage to undead enemies.
    • The Bard class has existed for a while in Final Fantasy, including Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy Tactics; in fact, Hurdy's ability list, other than Hide, is taken practically verbatim from Final Fantasy Tactics.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 has the Songstress class, which is a pop star combination of the standard bard and dancer. It combines magic music to buff the party and magical dances to screw with the enemy.
    • As mentioned in the brief blurb regarding MMORPGS above, Final Fantasy XI has had the Bard class since its initial release. The most powerful support class in the game; it applies anywhere from 1 to 4 magical music songs, depending on instrument used, to allies giving almost any conceivable buff, and can also apply many powerful debuffs to foes. A skilled Bard can even keep a different set of songs active on melee and ranged players.
    • Final Fantasy XIV brought back the Bard class, although they are primarily bowmen they still have several songs for various purposes such as Regenerating Mana, a Damage-Increasing Debuff, a Charged Attack song, a movement buff, and shield from debuffs.
    • The player can use Deuce's flute-wielding fighting style in Final Fantasy Type-0 offensively or defensively. She can make risky close-range or slow-moving long-range attacks or use debuffs on enemies. She can also buff and heal allies including herself.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Elena in Grandia II sings a song that seemingly lifts the spirits of everyone in the world, brings Ryudo back from oblivion, and gives the heroes the power to defeat a dark god.
  • Hearts Like Clockwork: Melodies are the game's magic, which consumes MP to inflict buffs and debuffs on an entire party. The effects of the Melodies are stronger when used on fewer targets.
  • In Infinite Undiscovery, Capell obtains a flute from a claridian named Saruleus, which allows him to play music that can dispel illusions among other effects. It's just a pity that the one song that really counts, the one that stops them from hitting the Lunar-induced Berserk Button, turns out to be pretty ineffective unless played constantly, which is impractical.
  • An ocarina and its music were also the source of your power in the Jade Cocoon games.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Demyx (the Melodious Nocturne of Organization XIII) uses a blue sitar that's bigger than he is to summon water-clones. It also makes for a really effective club.
    • There is also the Symphony Master from "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep" that attacks by summoning a trumpet, a drum, and a violin and near blows Terra to Kingdom Come before the fight.
  • In Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, when Laphise sings her Song of Rebirth, the world of Phantomile is magically restored to the way it was before, and any remaining nightmare creatures and other non-Phantomilians (including Klonoa) are sent back to their own worlds.
  • Knight Bewitched: Stray can equip various different types of flutes and harps all of which give him different magic skills he can use in battle and out of it, usually in some sort of support role.
  • In La-Mulana, an ocarina is required to speak with the Sages.
  • Sona from League of Legends uses this for all of her abilities, with a touch of Musical Assassin.
  • Legend of Mana lets you cast spells using magical instruments. Each instrument has its own spell, and you gain stronger ones through Item Crafting using elemental coins and a variety of materials.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Most spells require Link to use an instrument and a certain tune to cast them. This tradition was started in the original The Legend of Zelda, which had a flute with certain magical effects.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the Magic Flute can magically summon a bird anywhere in the Light World.
    • Very prominently used in Ocarina of Time (of course), Majora's Mask, and The Wind Waker, with several varieties of magical effects available through music, but nearly every game has at least one example of Magic Music, most often as the Warp Whistle.
    • Taken to the fullest extent of the trope in Link's Awakening, where the 8 Instruments of the Sirens were required to wake the Wind Fish and leave the island, in addition to having an ocarina which had 3 plot device songs.
    • While Twilight Princess doesn't have an instrument per se, Link can blow (or howl in wolf form) on grass whistles to summon Epona or birds, and late in the game gets a whistle that can also call Epona. And in his wolf form, Link can also howl at Howling Stones to summon the Golden Wolf/Hero's Spirit and learn new moves from him.
    • It was obvious that Spirit Tracks would go with this Trope ever since it was revealed that the game's Japanese name was "Earth's Whistle". The "whistle" was revealed to be the Pan-flute like "Spirit Pipes", which are played by using the touchscreen and microphone in tandem. They work almost identically to magic instruments from earlier games. You also play duets with the Lokomo and Zelda with instruments such as bass, shamisen, flute, drums, and oboe, and to some extent... a pair of vocal cords. Which are held by Gage, Steem, Carben, Embrose, Rael, and Zelda, respectively.
    • Skyward Sword has the harp, which is stated from the very beginning to have been passed down by the goddess. Fi also dances along to the songs that Link plays. Oracle of Ages also has a harp, which is used to travel through time. Notably, the Goddess harp is the same harp Sheik uses in Ocarina of Time to teach Link that game's magic music, having been held onto by the Royal Family of Hyrule after it's founded by Skyward Sword Zelda or some descendant. Sheik uses the harp as a weapon in Hyrule Warriors as well, and Zelda is shown holding it in the first cut scene of that game.
  • The Adventure Game Loom is all about this; Weavers can hear the supernatural sounds of the world around them and then play them on their distaffs to produce supernatural effects.
  • Luna from Lunar: The Silver Star has special moves that all revolve around her singing ability.
  • In Mabinogi, ranking musical skills high enough gives characters the ability to play music that can buff teammates, debuff mobs, and even mind-control single enemies.
  • The Maestro series of hidden object games from ERS Studios all revolve around either melodies that create magical effects or instruments that do the same when played.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The Hunting Horn weapon in the series can bestow its player and their allies with a huge variety of different beneficial effects that emulate those of various items and equipment skills, such as healing, status ailment removal, and immunity to monster roars. Each horn has a limited selection of songs it can play for the sake of keeping it balanced, though.
    • Monster Hunter 3 (Tri): The Qurupeco is able to produce similar benefits for itself and other monsters in its vicinity by singing. However, hitting its throat sac before it finishes a song can cause it to mess up and heal/buff you, instead.
  • In Monster Sanctuary, a Bard's music is the only way to open the gates to the Forgotten World. In battle, its music can also heal wounds.
  • Mother:
    • The Eight Melodies (Queen Mary's Song) from EarthBound Beginnings is an interesting example of this trope. While you learn each melody from some really interesting places (including a singing cactus), the song itself is not magical. The real power of the song comes from the memories associated with it, which is why it only has an effect on Queen Mary and Gigyas.
    • At the start of Earthbound, Buzz-Buzz gives Ness the Sound Stone and tasks him with journeying to the eight 'Your Sanctuary' locations, each of which conferring part of a song. In a similar vein to the prequel above, this song relates in some way to Ness' early childhood, and, with every melody gathered, Ness experiences a nostalgic sensation, such as the smell of his favourite food, or an image of his mother from when she was younger. When all of the melodies are recorded on the Sound Stone, Ness is whisked away to Magicant to face off against his Nightmare.
  • As the title suggests, OPUS: Echo of Starsong utilizes "starsongs", songs emitted by asteroids and the like. They resonate with the singing of witches, who use them to locate or activate lumen.
  • Overwatch has Lucio, who is an international DJ support character who heals or speeds up his allies using the power of song! His gun also produces "sonic projectiles", a soundwave with severe knockback, and a projected sound barrier that adds temporary health to his allies, although these are described as being simply "sonic" rather than the powers of his music.
  • Pokémon: The Pokéflute/Pokémon Whistle can magically wake Pokémon up. In Pokémon Gold and Silver, in lieu of a Pokéflute, you can tune to a certain radio station to wake your Pokémon up. Another radio station, depending on the day of the week, an increase or decrease encounter rates with the Pokémon March and Pokémon Lullaby respectively. In Diamond and Pearl, the event item Azure Flute is used to awaken Arceus. In fact, a good number of the sound-based moves in the game are musical.
  • Remnants of Isolation: Celesta's starting spell is creating a keyboard out of magic, then there's the final spells, "Dutiful Melody" and "Loyal Melody", with "Dutiful Melody" being described:
    Power flows into the melody through your fingers
  • This trope is the central mechanic of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. The heroine Cornet controls her puppet army by playing her magical trumpet.
  • RiME: The main character activates all manner of items in his environment by singing or shouting at them.
  • The 5 Instruments of the bard from Romancing SaGa 2 they are required to meet with the Iris race.
  • Both non-numbered installments of the Rune Factory series involves Spirit Songs.
    • In Frontier you can ask Candy to sing in order to manipulate the weather or create Rune Stones in exchange for some Runeys. In fact, Spirit Song was the reason Whale Island was able to stay in the sky.
    • Tides of Destiny has Odette singing it to communicate with the Arch Dragon. It was used by the Big Bad to control shrine bosses and Dark Spirits, and later on, the protagonist has Odette and her sisters sing a variation of it in order to summon someone from the past.
  • RuneScape has the elven crystal-singers, who shape and empower divine crystals for specific effects with music. The player learns a little crystal-singing, but is stated to not be as good at it as the elves are.
    • The sea-singers of the East are sirens who train to use their music to control sea animals. Sirens also have the natural ability to hypnotize others with their song, which is the case in the quest "Song From The Depths".
  • Crops up at several points in The Secret World. The siren song near the beginning is produced by some artifact that keeps the Fog away. Later, in Egypt, the song of the Sentinels keeps the Black Pharaoh sealed inside his pyramid. Later still, you find out that the Gaia engines that you encounter towards the end of the New England and Transylvania main stories act as music boxes to keep the Dreamers asleep.
  • Ricardo from Shadow Hearts: From The New World can play songs with his guitar for various effects, from casting positive status effects on the party, sans himself. More songs can be composed when Ricardo finds new items as his inspiration.
  • Shining Resonance features this in spades — it goes so far that most if not all party members actually fight with weapons that double as musical instruments known as Armonics used to play "legendary scores" left behind by ancient dragons known as Rune Songs. These songs work by manipulating draconic energy (itself a shorthand for the natural magical energy of the world that in large enough concentrations can collect and create dragons) to perform magic spells. The most powerful song of all even functions as a World-Healing Wave, though only if all seven Armonics are brought and played together.
  • This is Jimmy's speciality in South Park: The Stick of Truth. It replenishes power-points, applies buffs and debuffs, puts enemies to sleep, and makes them shit blood.
  • The moodhorn in The Spellcasting Series, which can alter people's moods in a number of ways. Only one song is required for one puzzle, but almost every character in the game has scripted responses for each song in the book.
  • Splatoon has the Calamari Inkantation. It isn't outright called magic, with characters just noting that the melody has mysterious properties. Nevertheless, it has the ability to do everything from negate both figurative and literal brainwashing in the first two games to summon the spirits of the sea to transform your Smallfry companion into a giant salmon in the third.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame Call of the Goomba has all players attempt to lure as many Goombas as possible by turning a crank to play the Super Mario Bros. Ground theme with an organ-like instrument. The exact speed and tempo the song has to be played at are shown at the start of the minigame (it can be slow, medium or fast). The more accurate a player's performance is, the more Goombas will be lured into them. Whoever has the largest Goomba crowd after 30 seconds wins, though it's possible for more than one character to win if the amount of Goombas is the same for them; however, if this happens with two players in Duel mode, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: The Dreambeats cause any ordinary person who hears them to immediately fall asleep. Antasma and Bowser use their power to knock out the population of Pi'illo Isle and use their dream energy to power the Dream Stone.
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star: The Mariachi Guys are able to provide enemies with a variety of stat boosts using their guitar tunes. While they never attempt to engage Mario in combat on their own, they'll Flash Step over to him and join in on any battles that are started within earshot of their music. Made more annoying by the fact that they'll run away if they're the only enemy left in battle, plus they're usually hiding in the field, which can make getting rid of them for good rather difficult.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, Super Robot Wars Destiny and Super Robot Wars Z2: Saisei-Hen have Basara from Macross 7. The following songs in Z2: Saisei-Hen give the corresponding buffs to his allies:
    • Planet Dance: Heals HP
    • Totsugeki Love Heart: Raises Morale
    • My Friends: Heals SP
    • Try Again: Raises Stats
    • Dynamite Explosion: Gives Spirit Commands (Fortune, Effort, Accelerate, Flash)
  • Tales of the Abyss
    • Mystearica "Tear" Grants uses this in six of her spells, the pieces of Yulia's Grand Fonic Hymn. It in and of itself is not used in combat, nor is the Seventh Hymn. They do provide Cutscene Power in the fight with Van though.
    • Some magic is sound based in this game, namely the Seventh Fonon, the Fonon of Sound. Unlike the six other Fonons which are based on your typical Elemental Powers, the Seventh Fonon was created as a mutation of the other six in the Planet Storm combined with memory particles. The Seventh Fonon can be used for reading the Score, Healing Hands, Daathic Artes, and, you guessed it, Fonic Hymns.
    • It's noted that most fonic hymns are actually weaker than other fonic artes. Yulia's Hymns are a sole exception as they are actually stronger than normal fonic artes. This is because the Grand Fonic Hymn is the "proof of pact" between Yulia and Lorelei.
  • Maybe it isn't magic, but the Soldier's Buff Banner, Battalion's Backup, and Concheror from Team Fortress 2 has got to count for something. After all, ordinary music doesn't normally give you and your teammates mini-crits in attacking, reduced damage from enemy attacks, or healing from the damage you and your teammates deal. There's also the Medic's Amputator, which can heal his teammates when he taunts with it (read: playing it like a violin).
  • The girl in Tombs & Treasure for the NES could create various magical effects, primarily directing the sun's rays and turning flesh to stone, by playing a set of golden panpipes.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Mystia's singing can cause night blindness.
    • The Prismriver Sisters, a trio of musical poltergeists who use their instruments for Bullet Hell, is also said to have an emotional impact on the listener: Merlin's makes you peppy, Lunasa's makes you depressed, and Lyrica's deadens your feelings altogether.
  • The theme of Magic Music comes through several times during Wandersong, because there's more than a few examples of power through song.
    • Eya, the goddess who created the world, did so through song. To bring about The End of the World as We Know It (a necessary precursor to remaking it), she'll destroy it again by singing.
    • The bardic protagonist can communicate with wildlife, ghosts, and plants, and enter the worlds of the Overseers just with the power of song. They’re on a quest to learn the Earthsong, which, if sung by every living thing in the world together, is said will convince Eya not to destroy it.
    • In Mohabumi, music is revealed to be a primitive form of magic, meaning the Bard can activate platforms by singing simple tunes.
  • Wario Land 3 has several treasures that release off-key, broken, strange melodies that unlock events in other stages. These short melodies come together during the credits music and create a full track.
  • In the NES version of Willow, the Magic Ocarina summons the dragon Po.
  • In Ys I, one purple-clad area of Darm Tower has creepy music that hurts you until you smash the pillar where it is coming from.

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Doc finds himself in a bind when he is attacked by ghosts and runs out of holy weapons to use. Sucked into his own mind by one of the ghosts, he receives advice from his dad and spends the next 3-4 pages doing nothing but humming the catchy Ghostbusters theme, which (of course) enables him to punch, chop, and finally stab the final ghost.
  • In The Challenges of Zona, Mentl, a second-rate busker from our world finds himself, like Jon-Tom in the Spellsinger series, transported to a magical world where he finds that his skill at and knowledge of modern music has devastating effects both on the ladies and on his enemies.
  • All the bards in Court of Roses seem to have the ability to cast spells with the power of their music.
  • One of the trademarks of the Heterodyne family in Girl Genius is their way of "Heterodyning", or humming in a very complicated way which helps the Spark at work to concentrate by cancelling out the background noise/disturbances. While not music that causes magic by itself, certainly a side effect and assistant to the Sparkiness.
  • This is Duzz's ability in Luminary Children.
  • The Bard Elan in The Order of the Stick naturally uses this trope. As per Dungeons And Dragons rules, his songs give actual bonuses to his allies. Slightly Downplayed, though, as when he learns to cast conventional spells, he does not sing them.
  • Soul Symphony: In the Soul World, music can be used as magical spells. Olivia, a musical prodigy, gains flight and barrier powers from playing scales and trills on her clarinet.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: A possible part of the Finnish magic package according to Chapter 13. Onni is seen playing the kantele as part of a summon, but the exact purpose of that step has yet to be specified. The Encyclopedia Exposita giving basic information about the two magic traditions shows the generic Finnish mage to have a small kantele on its belt.
  • Wooden Rose: Aidan is playing it in the dream.

    Web Original 
  • In The Magnus Archives the narrator of the episode "Strange Music" finds a calliope organ in her dead grandfather's loft. It somehow works without air being blown in. Leanne enjoys playing it, but when she plays it to her visiting boyfriend it distresses him and he tells her to stop. A few weeks later they break up, and not long after that he is found dead.
  • Siren's powers in Phaeton.
  • SCP-1987-J, creates a memetic effect, repulsing people, when played on most instruments (it is written for the electric guitar), and can be played on an electric guitar by anyone who knows how it is supposed to sound, even if they have never been known to be able to play the guitar. When played on the guitar as it is supposed to be, it has been known to cause seemingly magical, and apparently permanent, effects, to no currently-known pattern:
    • Genital enhancement and/or increase in players' perceived sex appeal;
    • Lightning, fog, and other stage effects;
    • player may become immune to bullets;
    • Some observers may have their faces melted off;
    • Album cover cliches, such as dragons, swords, and female angels may appear;
    • Females in the area of effect may regress (or progress) to around 18, in 68% of cases their clothing will change into leather fetish gear, lingerie, and G-string bikinis;
    • Vehicles caught in the area of effect may polymorph into vintage muscle or custom hot rods and hogs;
    • Spontaneous pregnancies may occur in fertile females... infertile females... males...
    • Dead people may rise, either simply brought back to life or reanimated as zombies loyal to the player.
    • If you play too long, a character labelled SCP-1987-J-1 (calls himself names like "Count Rockula" and "Lord of the Strings") will appear and demand you stop playing or challenge him to a guitar duel, which he invariably wins, causing the player to polymorph into a middleaged white guy named Earl who works in a garage. These are now being treated as D-class due to there being far more than is needed to maintain the site's motor pool.

    Western Animation 
  • The similarly-named Music Master from the Justice League two-parter episode "Legends", who uses an accordion to generate repellent sonic waves.
  • This trope is a major component of Little Einsteins.
  • In Peppermint Rose the Peppermint Glow song transforms the evil beetles into good ones and their weapons into roses, with the bonus of making them smell better.
  • Phineas and Ferb had this in "Phineas and Ferb's Musical Clip-tastic Countdown", where Dr. Doofenshmirtz tried to brainwash the audience with a song deliberately designed to get stuck in people's heads. "My name is Doof, and you'll do what I say! WHOOP! WHOOP!"
    • In "Bubble Boys", Doofenshmirtz does this again with the song "Yodel Odel Obey Me".
  • Roberon in Robotman And Friends uses a magical flute. He uses it to activate his power using an eerie, atonal six-note little tune (which some compare to the Spider-Man theme song!). This is despite the fact Roberon hates music because it causes him physical agony and he needs to have his sidekick Sound-Off cover his ears for him. Or, well, whatever a robot has which passes for ears. So he's a music-hating villain with music-based powers! This runs the gamut from mind control to eye-lasers to opening portals to the Land of Shadows.
    • The titular Robotman and his friends do this trope a little differently. They don't need musical instruments and instead produce magic music from their mouths, which can perform a variety of functions from levitating objects to healing wounds to a musical robotic version of the Care-Bear Stare for use against villains.
  • Rose Petal Place is built around Rose Petal's magical singing voice, which invigorates the garden and helps it grow.
  • Samurai Jack:
  • In Scary Larry, Carnages turns women into his slaves through song.
  • The Owl House refers to these techniques as Bard Magic. Witches in this Coven channel their magic through their music and performances to either put people or objects under their sway, disrupt the magic of others, or just straight-up fire sonic blades at their enemies. It can be channeled using any instrument, which Bard witches can summon at will, though some bard spells can also be channeled through singing or whistling.
  • The Smurfs love magical music.
    • One episode has Harmony Smurf playing a magical bagpipe that puts all the other Smurfs into comas.
    • In another episode, Harmony just plays his ordinary horn, and it has the effect of attracting the Explosive Breeder Fuzzles toward him. Papa Smurf has Harmony use the music to lure the Fuzzles away from the village, where they get captured by Gargamel instead of the Smurfs.
    • Indeed, the original Smurfs movie, The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, was about them cutting down a huge tree to carve a tiny little magic flute... and that's for stopping somebody who has another magic flute that they made.
  • In South Park's Imaginationland trilogy, it's necessary to sing the Imaginationland song to travel from the real world to Imaginationland.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Magical Flutist Wilykit uses her flute music to put people into a trance. Her Artful Dodger brother Wilykat then picks their pockets while they're out of it.
  • Winx Club: Musa is the fairy of sound and music. Besides using those concepts in her spell, she usually uses attacks that are disco themed and can create disco-ball force-fields, distracting musical blasts, and virtual speakers which enclose an enemy and immobilize them through incredibly loud bass music. Musa can also create walls and barriers of the musical scale and explosive musical notes.
  • W.I.T.C.H.:

    • In "Walk This Way", Cedric uses a magic instrument called the Horn of Hypnos to take control of the rebels. The Mage tells Caleb of a musical note that can counter the horn's power, which he plays using Matt's guitar.

    • The Horn of Hypnos returns in "G is for Garbage" where it is used to hypnotize Matt and all of the Guardians except Irma.

    Real Life 
  • Cracked shows us a more mundane version of this trope with the 7 Insane Ways Music Affects The Body (According to Science). While certain music can't cure cancer, they can cure Parkinson's.
  • Music can have a profound, if temporary, effect on neural performance. This is frequently referred to as the Mozart Effect and possibly qualifies as a real-life version of a buff or debuff. Alternatively, sound of the wrong kind can increase stress and even cause health issues (see Brown Note).
  • Shortly after the folk song Fhear a bhata had been composed, the mentioned boatman came back and married the composer.
  • If you're willing to stretch the definition of "music," there's acoustic levitation, by which a loud sound can be used to lift a small object.
  • There is also the story of the Marine Electric, where one sailor clung on for dear life off the coast of Canada. When he was about to give in, the refrain of The Mary Ellen Carter by Stan Rogers began to chime in his head: "Rise again, rise again". This gave him the strength to carry on until rescue arrived.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Music Magic


Siren (FFVIII)

Siren is a Guardian Force that can be summoned when junctioned to a playable character. Her attack is Silent Voice, where she plays her harp and blasts enemies with her music and does non-elemental damage and inflicts the Silence status effect on them. (Gameplay done by GoSpeedGamer) (

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