Music, magic or not, can soothe savage beasts.
Original quote this title originates from is, "Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast." The phrase was coined by the Playwright/Poet William Congreve in The Mourning Bride, 1697. note
- Macross Delta: Central to the series' premise: a Hate Plague known as the Var Syndrome causes a subset of people to suddenly turn psychotically violent and try to slaughter anyone around them. The only known cure is the singing of a group of Idol Singers, which calms those afflicted. Thus the formation of the Walkure and Delta Squadron, a combination concert group and combat squad to counter the Var outbreaks.
- In Today's Cerberus, Cerberus falls asleep when she hears good music, just like in the original Orpheus myth.
- Violinist of Hameln: Since it's a series with Magic Music, music can tame the savage beast and then some.
- In the Domino Lady miniseries from Eros Comix, the villains discover a tribe of Indians in South America who can control dinosaurs with a flute. The villains learn the secret of the flute and bring a deinonychus back to America with them to use as an Animal Assassin.
- Inverted in a Donald Duck Comic, "The Call of C'Russo", where Donald encounters an Eldritch Abomination-type monster which dreams about the world so long as it remains dormant. Because its tastes are so alien, a beautiful singing voice will actually annoy it to the point of waking up and cause The End of the World as We Know It, but it finds a truly awful singing voice soothing and sleep-inducing.
- In The Bridge, the Sirens normally trigger a Hate Plague with their singing. However, when Aria Blaze was being attacked by Kaizer Ghidorah, she subconsciously managed to sing a song that calmed him down. Even she has no idea how she did that. It is revealed that she sung a song her mother Hymnia used as a lullaby, which draws on The Power of Love.
- Heart of Ashes: When Smaug's body first tries to turn itself back from human to dragon, he's locked in a painful half-state and driven animalistic. His Love Interest Kathryn manages to calm him enough by using her melodic singing voice he has always loved and then magically help his body to fully complete the transformation through their bond.
- Hope for the Heartless:
- When the Horned King hears for the first time Avalina's beautiful piano playing and singing, he notices that it has a soothing effect on him. He makes her play for him for an hour daily. This months-lasting routine helps the girl get inside the lich's scary and cold shell.
- Four years earlier, when Avalina encountered for the second time her future Cool Horse, she realized that he acted savagely because of the loss of his rider. She managed to get near him by singing "Adiós" by Jesse y Joy.
- Hobbes stops the Clawracks in Retro Chill by singing "The Best Song Ever" (an actual song by Chris Rice).
- This Bites!: While sailing through the Florian Triangle, disturbed by the deadness of the sea, the Straw Hats sing Binks's Brew to fend off the gloom. The final part of the arc reveals that the Florian Obelisks took notice of this, and the result is that the Triangle itself is revealed to be a Genius Loci that absorbs emotions, and it becomes an ally in exchange for continuing the songs and celebrations.
- In The Book of Life, Xibalba lets Manolo challenge him to a wager at which he is allowed to pick the task. The dirty cheater chooses bullfighting — which he knows Manolo hates. As if that weren't bad enough, the task is that Manolo must defeat every single bull every Sanchez before him has ever faced — all at once. And when Manolo succeeds at that, Xibalba combines them into one mega-bull and still the hero does not flinch, instead playing an apology song.
- In Cat City, Lazy Dick is caught by vampire bat Banditos, who prepare to suck his blood. As a last request, Dick asks them to let him play a final song on his trumpet. He's so good at it, that not only the entire gang joins him (playing on their weapons), but their leader is moved to tears, and decides to spare him.
- In The Chipmunk Adventure, Brittney and Jeanette sing "Getting Lucky" to distract a horde of cobras so they can get their dolls and escape the Egyptian castle.
- Moana: At the climax, Moana manages to return Te Fiti's stolen heart to her and transform her back from the terrible lava monster she's become. This process involves Moana singing directly to the goddess about who she truly is.
- In The Mousehole Cat Mowzer's singing tames the Great Storm Cat.
- In Army of Frankensteins, Ginny is trapped in a balloon with an enraged Frankenstein Monster bearing down on her. Thinking she is about to die, she starts singing a hymn and this calms the monster down.
- In Bringing Up Baby, the tame leopard Baby can be subdued by singing "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby".
- Dance of the Dead (2008): The zombies are entranced once the band starts playing music, making it easier for the group to escape.
- Ghostbusters II: Certain kinds of music can make the negatively-charged "mood slime" positively charged. At the climax, The Power of Rock gives it a positive supercharge just in time for New Years' Eve, and "Auld Lang Syne" at the stroke of midnight handily disrupts Vigo's powers. note
- In Help!, Ringo is threatened by a tiger which can be tamed by singing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
- The killer in The Hills Run Red is shown to be momentarily calmed when the nursery rhyme "Hush, Little Baby" is sang to him. When another character attempts to repeat the process later, she realizes that she doesn't know the lyrics. The killer then mocks her for it, indicating that it wouldn't have worked for her in the first place.
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996): The title character momentarily soothes the rebellious man-animal hybrids with his piano playing. But when Dr. Moreau decides to follow this up by activating their pain implants, he discovers the hard way that they've already been removed.
- In Onmyōji II, Hiromasa's flute playing helps stop the possessed Susa in his tracks on more than one occasion.
- In The Outlaws IS Coming!, Curly Joe has a hunting horn that can attract any animal to him if he plays the right tune. Of course, he can never remember which tune attracts which animal, and so has to resort to trial and error every time he uses it: resulting in such errors as summoning a flock of chickens and a pack of dogs into the magazine office while attempting to lure a skunk out of its cage.
- The Story of the Weeping Camel: A camel mare refuses to nurse her newborn colt, which is a big problem for her Mongolian nomadic shepherd owners, as the colt will starve to death, and camels are an expensive asset. After bottle-feeding the colt fails, the family decides they have to perform a "hoos" ceremony. They bring a musician, who plays music on his morin khuur, a stringed instrument resembling a fiddle. One of the women sings to the mare. It works, as afterwards the mare stands still and lets the colt nurse.
- Inverted in The Three Stooges short "Idle Roomers", which features a Wolf Man who is relatively tame until he hears music. The stooges, mistakenly believing in this trope, decide to play music when confronted by him, activating the Wolf Man's Berserk Button.
- Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact: When Psycho Baltan, being driven into retaliating, attacks Earth at the end of the film, the SRC managed to pacify the alien by playing soothing, gentle music through loudspeakers mounted on their airplanes, together with the citizens of Tokyo singing a lullaby together. That actually works, and Baltan stops its rampage, slowly dropping off to sleep... but then the resident millstone Commander Shigemura orders a drone attack on the sleeping alien.
- White God: Lili calms down the rampaging pound dogs led by her former dog Hagen by playing Tannhauser on her trumpet. Hagen had previously heard her practice the song while living with her.
- In Wild America, the Stouffer brothers are surrounded by hungry bears, but put them back to sleep by singing together.
- The Monster in Young Frankenstein can be attracted to and lulled by music.
- In A Clash of Kings, Sandor Clegane a.k.a. The Hound hides in Sansa Stark's room, drunk and badly wounded mentally and physically. When she comes in, he holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill her unless she sings. She sings such a sweet song of mercy and peace that he cries. Apparently her song lulls the beast inside him to sleep and touches something human in him, possibly preventing him from raping and/or killing her.
- Here and there in Dinoverse characters can get dinosaurs they've met to relax and like them better by psychically projecting music.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Bombadil's singing subdues Old Man Willow and causes him to release the hobbits.
- Flood by Andrew Vachss. Burke and Flood go to meet a snuff-film producer called Goldor with the intention of getting information from him. Things go wrong and Flood kills Goldor. After Burke has finished destroying the evidence and creating an alibi, he enters the Abandoned Warehouse where he's staying to find Flood doing a martial arts kata, recreating the kicks that killed Goldor again and again. In order to end her Heroic BSoD, Burke plays "Angel Baby" by Rosie and the Originals on his car's cassette player and invites Flood to dance.
- Harry Potter: Fluffy the giant three-headed guard dog is lulled to sleep when music is played (a harp or a flute in this case), as a nod to Greek Mythology.
- In The Last Days, the band formed by the main characters has the ability to bring out the giant worms lurking under the surface of New York City, allowing them to be killed.
- In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lay of Leithian, when Beren and Lúthien shapeshift into Morgoth's lair, Lúthien sings a song so beautiful that Morgoth and his entire court fall into a deep sleep. Morgoth is so deeply asleep that Beren is able to carve out a coveted Silmaril from Morgoth's massive crown.
- Inuit throat-singing calms the monster in The Terror, but as the spirit-governors who communicate with the creature have their tongues removed, the monster has to literally breathe down their throat. Nerves of Steel is a job requirement.
- In The Wheel of Time, the Finn can be charmed by music.
- Bounders: On Paleo Planet, the Bounders are almost trampled by an Animal Stampede of thousands of wildeboars. Mira uses the bounding gloves to manipulate the atoms in the air to create music. Some of the other cadets join in, slowing down the stamped enough for everyone to fly to the hovers and escape.
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Curse of Peladon", The Doctor sings a Venusian lullaby to soothe the monster terrorizing the kingdom.
- In "The Lazarus Experiment", the Doctor plays a modified organ to defeat the Monster of the Week.
- In "A Christmas Carol", Abigail's singing calms both the storm and the flying sharks inside it, letting the spaceship land safely. The Doctor tries to provide a Technobabble explanation for it, but young Kazran insists the fish just like it. Given that fish keep biting the Doctor for talking (and as such, making it harder to hear Abigail), Kazran is probably right.
- Merry, the Queen of Years, has to sing to keep the old god "Grandfather" peaceful in "The Rings of Akhaten".
- The Goodies: In "The New Office", the Goodies are attacked by dinosaur-like construction equipment. They are eventually cornered at the door to their office by a looming throng of lethal construction equipment. However Bill has a bright idea just in time and he quickly ducks inside the office and re-emerges with a saxophone, trumpet and drum. Working on the 'music soothes the savage beast' theory, the Goodies play a jazzy conga rhythm, which lures the machines to initially follow them in a conga line and then to continue over the edge of a cliff to crash heavily to their doom in a quarry below.
- M*A*S*H: In one episode, a North Korean soldier was wheeled into the O.R. only to reveal he had a live grenade under his arm. Hawkeye and the rest of the staff ended up singing "Hush Little Baby" to calm him down long enough for someone to find the grenade pin. Lampshaded at one point:
Hawkeye: What do you want me to do, sing to him?
B.J.: Music hath charms, Hawk.
- Pixelface: In "Bored to Undeath", the gang are able to tame the zombies that escape from Claireparker's game by using Kiki's dance training program and a personal stereo playing Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
- The Storyteller: In "Fearnot," the title character is a fearless fool whose only skill is in playing the violin. This skill saves him from a terrible sea monster whose only goal in life is drowning people; enchanted by the music, the monster leaves his pond and goes in search of Ireland, where the song came from. Much to the joy of everyone who lived near the pond.
- On Top Gear, Matt Smith's practice runs on the guest lap had been full of driving errors but Clarkson was impressed by his intensity. On the video of the actual lap, Clarkson wonders aloud whether he's still channelling all that aggression. Cut to the inside of the car and:
Matt Smith: Right... stay calm, concentrate... I'm siiinging in the raaain...
- A few Ultra Series have applied this idea to their Monsters of the Week.
- In Ultra Q, the Ragon is normally aggressive towards humans, but when it hears the sound of calming music being played from a radio it calms down and becomes distracted by the music, which the characters use to draw the creature away from civilization. This fact is later brought up in Ultraman when a giant mutated Ragon appears, only for the music to have no effect this time due to the creature having gone insane from the mutation.
- The Ultraman Ace choju, Sphinx, can be pacified by the music from a piccolo-like alien instrument, played by a good Alien Orion lady who decided to ally with the humans. This unfortunately doesn't last as the good alien is quickly killed by her superior over her HeelFace Turn.
- Ultraman 80: When the tiny lizard-like space creature Myu is experimented on by a cruel scientist, turning it into a giant rampaging beast, only Emi's singing is able to calm it down due to her bond with the creature when it was being raised by her more ethical father Professor Jouno.
- Human-turned-Monster Tsuchikera from Ultraman Gaia was only able to retain what was left of his human mind thanks to his friend Hirano playing a music box that once belonged to his daughter Chie in order to keep him from attacking people.
- Taken to the extreme in Ultraman Max when DASH accidentally unleashes a monster called IF whose Resurrective Immortality and Power Copying-based Adaptive Ability makes it completely undefeatable. The thing that ultimately stops it though? A little girl playing her piccolo, transforming the creature into from an engine of destruction a living orchestra. It's one of the most beautiful moments in the franchise's history.
- Quoted almost verbatim in the spoken intro "Time to relax" of the album "Smash" by The Offspring.
- This trope is referenced by name in The Ballad of Tom Jones by Space and Cerys Mathews. The premise is that of a married couple who hate each other to the point that they actively try to murder one another, but are calmed whenever they hear a Tom Jones song.
Tommy: It was lucky for us I turned the radio on.
Cerys: They say that music soothes the savage beast.
Tommy: There was something in that voice that stopped us seeing red.
Both: The two of us would surely have ended up dead!
- Referenced in Mel Mc Daniel's "Real Good Feel Good Song":
They say music charms the savage beast and I believe it's true.
Man's had it down through history when he's had the blues.
He'd find a drum to beat on or a horn that he could blow.
You know it worked for the children of Israel at the walls of Jericho!
- In 1st Samuel of the Old Testament, King Saul was afflicted by "an evil spirit of the Lord" and asked for a musician who could cause that spirit to depart from him. David was that selected musician, and so often played for King Saul when he was afflicted. However, on a few occasions, the "evil spirit" got the better of King Saul, causing him to throw a javelin at David which he avoided.
- In Greek Mythology, Orpheus was able to get past Cerberus (the guard dog of the underworld) by playing music to soothe it.
- In Japanese Mythology, the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu was in a mix of a snit, fume and a snotty, bratty-like frump. To get her out of the cave she had hidden herself in (and, therefore get summer back), a whole set of activities were devised - including music. But, only the Sumo with the music really worked. Not so much calming the beast as trying to apply antidepressants to the fuming, injured ego, but the principle is the same.
- In the Old Norse legend of the Niflungs, related in Prose Edda, Poetic Edda and Völsunga saga, King Gunnar of the Niflungs is thrown into a Snake Pit by his treacherous brother-in-law Atli and his sister Gudrun gives him a harp which he plays with his toes. His music puts all the snakes to sleep except one, which remains awake and kills him.
- The bard's fascinate ability in Dungeons & Dragons does this. "If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate."
- In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, EXEC_HARMONIOUS/. is capable of calming those who hear it and making them happy; EXEC_HARMONIOUS_FUSION/. is a variation with similar effects. Both songs are used against bosses for whom such a soothing effect would be beneficial.
- In Bloodborne, the music box can be used during the Father Gascoigne boss fight to temporarily subdue him.
- In Dragon Quest I, the Fairy Flute is the only reliable way to defeat the ridiculously overpowered Golem boss, which puts it to sleep.
- Romeo's Ballad from Final Fantasy V inflicts Stop on enemies.
- This plays a key role in breaking the "spiral of death" in Final Fantasy X. This particular incarnation of Sin will briefly become calm when it hears the Hymn of the Fayth since its own Fayth Jecht always loved that song. In the final push to defeat Sin, people from all across Spira sing the Hymn, distracting Sin long enough for the party and their airship to attack.
- In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, the only way to pacify the Marionette is by winding up a music box that plays the refrain from "Grandfather's Clock".
- "Music tames the savage beast..." is written on the back of the cover of Gitaroo Man.
- In Jables's Adventure, the dreaded SCUBA bear is said to be invincible and chases after Jables. However, after evading the bear and receiving a strawberry from the lady in the house, Jables is suddenly inspired to sing the Strawberry Shortcake theme song. This song calms the bear, which makes it safe to swim back past him.
- While they're hardly "savage" beasts, playing Epona's Song for the cows in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time makes them outright say the music makes them feel happier and they want to produce extra milk, which Link can keep if he has a bottle to store it in. As the Real Life header points out, this is Truth in Television (well, minus the "talking cow" part).
- Pokémon: the move Sing makes the target fall asleep if it is accurate. The Pokémon Lullaby from the Poké Gear works by decreasing the chance of Random Encounters.
- Inverted with the Poke Flute and Blue Flute, which awaken sleeping Pokemon.
- Referenced in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! in the Fracture Hills by the bagpipe-playing satyrs. In the final cutscene, the earth-shapers can be seen covering their ears from the music with one of them losing his red eyes and deciding to dance along.
- To quote one of the satyrs:
"Music can calm the savage beast. And bagpipe music can break solid rock!"
- To quote one of the satyrs:
- Super Paper Mario: Piccolo can be used to put the Underchomp to sleep, making the boss battle incredibly easy.
- This concept may have originated in Super Mario Bros. 3, where the music box power-up puts Hammer Bros., piranha plants and other wandering mini bosses on the map to sleep.
- In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the flute you obtain from the Palace on the Sea is required to get past the River Devil in Eastern Hyrule.
- In an alternative universe in Nodwick where Yeager never had a certain Artifact of Doom removed from his arm, he tried to distract himself from the urge to start wars it gave him with music. It doesn't seem to help much.
- In Sinfest, Slick tries it on Cerebus.
- Suggested in Irregular Webcomic!, but it ends up as Talking the Monster to Death.
- An underplayed example with Derek the Dalek in The Cult of Scratchwood, who was convinced to not blow up Earth when he first heard music. A rather idiosyncratic fellow, he admires rock and J.S. Bach in equal measures.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, bards can use their songs of power to calm down beasts. The young bard Arcturius uses his songs several times to to this effect such as when he pacifies the panicking kitsune Haruko.
- In the "Big Trouble" webisode, The League of S.T.E.A.M. put a troll to sleep with a clockwork singing Robot Girl.
- Whateley Universe: While loud noises are a Berserk Button for the saurians-seeming Razorback (Jack Carlyle), music is one of the few things that can calm him, and he is an expert guitarist himself.
- During the Outcasts' trip to Jack's home in Darwin, Australia, Eldritch finds a magical music box note , whose music can calm anyone, which she gives to Razorback to help him stay in control. Razorback then uses this to stop a giant rampaging monster in the midst of a city-wide battle.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: A pair of angry badgermoles turn out to be tamable with the sound of a guitar, discovered when Sokka accidentally steps on it.
- Celebrity Deathmatch: In Paul Reubens vs. George Michael, a hungry tiger is unleshed and Paul Reubens talks George Michael into invoking this trope. It works and the tiger falls asleep ... that is until Paul Reubens utters the secret word of the day, and you can guess what happens next.
- Chilly Willy: "The Legend of Rockabye Point" concerns a polar bear trying to get fish from a fishing boat, getting the Angry Guard Dog off his back by putting him to sleep with a lullaby, while Chilly sabotages him at every turn.
- Cow and Chicken has an episode where the two deal with a vicious jackal—that turns into a friendly, refined animal when Cow sings. It's only temporary, as Chicken discovers when Cow steps out, but luckily, his attempt at singing scares the jackal away.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): In "Song of Celice", the eponymous song is the only thing that keeps a monstrous creature asleep in the caverns deep beneath a city. Since her song unfortunately can soothe/hypnotize anything, it causes her to become the target of Skeletor and Evil-Lyn, who use her to enchant the Sorceress. As a result, the B plot of the episode revolves around He-Man finding a way to deal with the beast when he no longer has any means to soothe it.
- Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: In "Cactus Town", Kipo calms a rampaging giant mutant by playing music on a guitar.
- The Legend of Korra: Bumi calms a dark spirit by playing the flute. However, it doesn't work with all dark spirits.
- Looney Tunes:
- Taz can be easily calmed with music, whether by instrument or singing. (Just don't try the bagpipes)
- In "Hurdy-Gurdy Hare", Bugs Bunny got a gorilla to stop chasing him by playing the violin. He even calls this trope's name.
- The third Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid cartoon "Congo Jazz" has Bosko do this to the tiger who was chasing him in the beginning. Once he has distracted the tiger long enough, he promptly kicks him off of a cliff.
- In Noah's Ark (1959), the animals start fighting each other after being cramped inside the Ark for too long. Naamah calls out this trope by name, inspiring Noah and his sons to form a band to play music. Soon the animals stop their fighting and start dancing.
- In an episode of The Smurfs, the Smurflings meet a monster that calls itself "Beastie" who loves their music and follows them everywhere as they play it. Eventually, however, Grandpa Smurf does some research and finds out that Beastie is the literal Savage Beast that inspired the phrase, meaning the Smurflings don't know until it's almost too late that without the music, it will fly into uncontrollable rage.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Jellyfish Jam", the jellyfish calm down thanks to the funky beat of Gary's eyes clacking. Inverted by Squidward's clarinet-playing, which just drives them berserk.
- Titano in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun".
- Francis X. Bushlad discovers he has this ability in the Taz-Mania episode "The Pied Piper of Taz-Mania". He is forced to resort to a series of increasingly unlikely musical instruments to keep the mesmerised Taz under control.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Leatherhead invokes this trope by listening to a record player.
- Thomas & Friends: In Big World! Big Adventures!, when Thomas is cornered by a vicious-looking elephant when taking a long line of trucks to Dar es Salaam, the trucks sing a Swahili lullaby to get the elephant off the track and fall asleep.
- In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Down Beat Bear", the titular bear ends up at Tom's house and Tom tries to call the authorities, but every time the bear hears music he starts to dance with Tom. It's also played with; they make it clear from the beginning that the bear is a trained circus bear and completely harmless.
- Ella, from Total Drama, can calm and attract any animal using her beautiful voice. In fact even her team realises the power her singing holds over animals and even requests her to sing to the bear in order to subdue it in "Mo Monkey Mo Problems".
- While not to the degree it does in fiction, this is true in real life. Cows and bulls are drawn to soothing music and it makes them much calmer and less aggressive, and the cows even produce more milk. So much so that an entire sub-genre exists on Youtube of musicians playing music for these animals — you can actually approach the fence with an instrument and begin playing for grazing cattle, and within minutes they'll have all crowded at the fence to listen.
- Dogs are known to be much calmer when listening to classical music, and studies have shown they prefer soft rock and reggae music. It's common practice for keepers of stressful dogs to leave music on for them to help keep them calm.
- Some studies have shown that other animals, such as cats, elephants, horses, etc., like music, too, but most human music is the wrong pitch for them. Animals tend to respond better to music that is closer in pitch to the animal's own vocal range, so cats prefer higher-pitched music. Using this information some people have created music specifically for cats.