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Musical Assassin

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When it comes to annoying the Flash, the Fiddler doesn't fiddle around.

"I remember every little thing as if it happened only yesterday. I was barely seventeen... and I once killed a boy with a Fender guitar. I don't remember if it was a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, but I do remember that it wasn't at all easy. It required the perfect combination of the right power chords and the precise angle from which to strike."
Jim Steinman, "Wasted Youth"

Musical assassins are hitmen with style. Who needs guns when you can lay waste to your enemies with a carefully-calculated concerto? Techniques start out at Brown Notes and only get more ridiculous from there. These assassins are especially popular in old Chinese martial arts movies. Advantages of such a combat style include invisible attacks that move at the speed of sound (Duh) which makes it difficult to be blocked by conventional methods like other weaponry. However, this is normally traded off with a high required skill level, especially when it comes to aiming sound waves.

And why stop at Professional Killers? Video games, for one, are rather fond of improbable music-powered weaponry. Note that weapons (like guns) merely disguised as instruments don't count; that's cheating. Neither do instruments that double as weapons or weapons used as instruments.

Sub-Trope of Art Attacker and Weapons of Their Trade.

Compare Magic Music, Disco Tech, The Power of Rock, Gale-Force Sound, Make Some Noise, and Super-Scream. See also Brown Note, which can be used by a Musical Assassin to cause insanity or death; Dreadful Musician, for musicians who merely make you wish you were dead; and Instrument of Murder, which is used by musicians for physical attacks.

Not to be confused with Assassins, the musical.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Arata: The Legend, there's Kikutsune, whose hayagami Kisaru manipulates sound. His whistling once brainwashed Hiruha, and he used soundwaves to obliterate not just an airship, but also Yataka's zokusho. Then there are his zokusho, who used their hayagami's to steal the hearing of the people in their domain.
  • Bleach has the Visored Rojuro "Rose" Otoribashi, who can kill you by playing his electric guitar.
  • Fou Lafine of B't X, whose weapon of choice is a violin. Unlike Kurumada's examples in Saint Seiya, disabling X's auditory sensors did block the attack. Unfortunately Fou was no slouch in combat either.
  • Darker than Black features an opera singer who can use resonance to destroy objects and stop hearts.
  • Noise Marie from D.Gray-Man uses this, his innocence binds Akuma in a net of holy string that summons the hymns of angels, causing a Brown Note on its victims. We also had Daisya earlier in the series, whose Miracle Bell's chimes utterly ruined his foes after he kicked it into them like a soccer ball. Doesn't help him any against Tyki though.
    • General Cross also uses one, or more specifically his second weapon, The Grave of Marie, does. Marie was an exorcist whose voice could paralyze every Akuma who hears it regardless of how strong they are. Cross "repurposed" her after her death, making him even more powerful than he already is.
  • Digimon Adventure's Etemon used music to control his Dark Network, which can influence anything electronic (including those pesky transformation trinkets, keeping all the Mons stuck at Child level (Rookie in the dub)).
    • Digimon Adventure 02's Arachnemon (spelled Arukenimon in the dub, but pronounced the same way) could control insect Digimon with her flute, sending swarms of them as Mooks and temporarily turning Stingmon and Digmon against the rest of the team.
    • Shoutmon of Digimon Fusion is themed around rock music, so most of his attacks are named after types of rock, he uses a microphone as a staff weapon, and his Soul Crusher attack turns his singing into his microphone into a blast of fire.
  • Fairy Tail has two. Vidaldas, a freakish rocker modeled after a KISS member, who takes control of people with music and makes them fight, and Lullaby, a sentient, soul-eating flute that devours the souls of those who hear its melody... and also turns into a giant wooden demon.
  • Neon in Flame of Recca uses a Madogu in the form of a flute that manipulates sound waves.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, Amiboshi can use flute music to soothe, hypnotize, and even kill people.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden has celestial warrior Urumiya. Whenever he sings, he disables his enemies' powers and drains their energy.
  • GaoGaiGar's Mic Sounders the 13th (and his 12 preceding brothers) has music-based powers. He can use Disc M to cancel out an enemy mech's abilities, use Disc P to empower other GS-Ride-based mecha, and use Disc X to destroy things. In fact, the reason Disc X isn't used to destroy every enemy mecha that shows up is that, unless it is precisely tuned to perfectly match whatever he's dealing with, he runs the risk of destroying everything with it, including the Earth.
  • Kodame Azawa in Hand Shakers is a wannabe Idol Singer. Fittingly her weapons become more powerful when she puts on a performance mid-battle. Despite it leaving her wide open, this power-up can be very devastating if her opponent isn't expecting it.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Bonolenof plays music that either summons or creates weapons and fighters at his disposal. His body is punctured with holes and reeds making him a living woodwind instrument, so he's also a Dance Battler as this is how he plays himself.
  • Nonon Jakuzure, one of the Elite Four members in Kill la Kill. Unusually, instead of using an instrument, she utilizes a tank/airship armed with enormous speakers that fire music-themed projectiles such as sonic booms, razor-sharp music notes, recorder missiles, etc.
  • Azami from Knight Hunters uses a violin as his weapon.
  • The finale of the first Lupin III manga series has Lupin up against a conductor whose assassins and explosives are in sync with his music.
    • A later Lupin III: Part II episode would have a conductor who could control the minds of people listening to his music by waving his baton.
  • The Black Beauty Sisters in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch sing to stun the Mermaid Princesses. Likewise, Yuri plays a piano.
    • The Winged Ones in Pure sing as well with various effects. Lady Bat can put his victims to sleep, Lanhua can split into twelve mini-musicians and force her listeners to dance until they die, and Alala can shoot stars that strike her targets.
  • In Mononoke one of the monsters uses a biwa (Japanese lute) to inflict dangerous hallucinations on the unlucky humans it comes across.
  • Shiho Munakata's Element in My-HiME is a flute that lets her control sound waves and give orders to her CHILD, Yatagarasu.
  • Tayuya from Naruto has a flute that can make illusions and control summoned demons.
  • Shirabe of Negima! Magister Negi Magi who is also a Dreadful Musician.
  • One Piece:
    • Scratchmen Apoo. What's his instrument? His own body - he has a Devil Fruit that turns his body parts into instruments. He is a living orchestra. What can he do with his music? How about cymbal crashes that dismember people, and drumbeats that cause explosions?
    • A somewhat lesser example is Brook of the Straw Hats. Prior to the Time Skip, his music only served as an accompaniment (no pun intended) to his fighting style, creating his epithet, "Humming Brook." The most he could do with it offensively was instantly put his foes to sleep. But two years later, when he's tapped into the full power of his Devil Fruit, this trope intersects with Master of Illusion.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, music is an instrumental part of Nando's battle style.
  • Early on in R.O.D. The TV, the Paper Sisters face off against an enemy whose weapon of choice is... a huge pipe-organ. Which projects walls of sound that breaks down their Papermaster powers, and just generally knocks them around. (It can also conduct psychological warfare by using 'infrasound' to distract and stress out the intruders without them realizing.)
    • Let's not forget about Beethoven's suicide orchestra in the Read or Die OVA.
  • In Reborn! (2004), one minor villain - M.M. - uses a clarinet that functions as a microwave, by using sound vibration to agitate water molecules and thus rapidly heating objects.
  • Kanaria from Rozen Maiden attacks by playing her violin.
  • Sailor Moon
    • Sailor Mercury plays a magical harp to perform her Mercury Aqua Rhapsody, which attacks the enemy with water.
    • In the manga version Sailor Neptune plays a violin to perform the Submarine Violon Cord. Differently from the Mercury Harp, this is a completely ordinary violin (as much as a Stradivarius can be, at least.
      • Sailor Moon Crystal gives her another unnamed attack that can stun multiple opponents with the sheer pain caused by the music.
    • Ail from the Makaijuu filler arc of the first anime uses his flute to awaken the Cardians and give them instructions. However, this has its limits - when An isn't around to pick out a Cardian for him, Ail tries to summon one randomly and accidentally summons a Cardian that doesn't obey him.
    • In the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Zoisite uses the piano to compose attack songs and then, by playing the completed piece, creates various effects, including summoning a youma, allowing an ally to teleport, and long-distance targeting of various people and objects (e.g., princess-related, including a visitor to Tokyo, a picture-book, and a girl who merely identified too strongly with the princess in a storybook) with effects that range from unexplained sickness to Spontaneous Combustion. Good thing the Big Bad is patient, because Zoisite sure doesn't rush the process.
    • In Codename: Sailor V multiple youma disguised as idol singers use songs to hypnotize people and drain their energy. Mimete would later do the same in the main series of the manga.
    • The anime also has quite a number of Monster of the Week who attack with music, such as Octave the violin and her ear-splitting voice, Chikuon and her lethal phonograph, and U-Tahime and her deadly songs, all from the third season.
  • Saint Seiya has several characters:
    • The Ghost Saint Lyra Orpheus from the first non-canon movie and his two Expies: the Benetnasch Mime (lyres, though Mime's armor can turn into a harp) from anime-only "Asgard Arc" and the Silver Saint Lyra Orphée. All three use a lyre as a weapon, share the same music and a similar attack where the lyre's strings trap and shred anything. Plus, Mime and Orphée have Magic Music abilities. Mime can create illusion while Orphée can put to eternal sleep his opponents.
    • The Spectre and Orphée's rival, Sphinx Pharaoh. He uses a harp as a weapon. His attack "Balance of Curse" technique rip opponent's heart and evaluate if is good or bad man.
    • The Mariners Siren Sorrento use a flute to weak and destroy opponent's mind. His music is so powerful that it leads directly to the brain; destroy your eardrums is useless.
  • In Samurai Champloo Sara is a travelling minstrel and a secret assassin tasked to assassinate the protagonists.
  • Kidaf Gillot from Scrapped Princess uses an instrument to command robotic bugs for assassination.
  • Lena from Shamanic Princess plays a flute to control vine-like magic tendrils. She doesn't usually attack with them directly, though she can do so in certain circumstances.
  • Soul of Soul Eater uses his skills as a pianist and general musical knowledge in order to, well, orchestrate the black blood and control his own insanity to increasingly devastating effect.
    • Also, when he and Maka were fighting Arachne, he was able to use her own spider webs to transmit Maka's anti-demonic wavelength into everyone to prevent them having their heads torn apart and also to injure Arachne herself.
  • A villain in Speed Grapher would count as one of these; when he used his powers, his body essentially turned into a speaker system.
  • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ uses this a few times, first with Cure Muse (the masked version) conjuring a magical piano keyboard for some of her spells and later with Cure Beat's Love Guitar Rod, the magical guitar which turns into a battle ax and shoots exploding rings of magical death.
  • Symphogear has the leading cast, collectively called "Valkyries", as Magic Idol Singers fighting partially with their voice. During battle, they sing their Leitmotif in order to weaken enemies and fight properly against them. Even the background music changes actively to fit the theme of the situation. The "Assassin" portion comes as part of their Limit Break: a solo that creates a near-infinite amount of strength at the cost of their life.
  • Midvalley the Horn Freak from Trigun uses the music from his saxophone to tear people apart. It also has a machine gun in it.
    • A flashback in the manga reveals that he used to be part of an entire band of Musical Assassins. Their modus operandi was to take out the entire audience to hit their target.
  • Florsheim once used a musical assassin monster with a paralysing flute in Tentai Senshi Sunred. Sunred kicked him in the shins and made fun of him, ruining his concentration.
  • Nearly every major character in Violinist of Hameln has some sort of music-derived powers.
  • The witch form of Sayaka, who was already music-themed because of her music-related wish, Oktavia von Seckendorff from Puella Magi Madoka Magica sucks out her prey's souls with her music.

    Comic Books 
  • The Piper in Adventures In The Rifle Brigade is a Scottish bagpipe player of over 100 years of age whose talent with the instrument (his current set was crafted from the flesh of the fellow who broke his last one) is unnatural to the point of tipping the scale all the way back into unbearable. Men have torn their own heads off to escape his music.
  • The Flash villains the Fiddler (pictured above) and the Pied Piper can wreak havoc with a violin and a flute, respectively. In the Countdown to Final Crisis series, Pied Piper even destroyed a Brother Eye/Apokolips hybrid with Queen's "The Show Must Go On." Probably one of the best examples of a Musical Assassin ever.
    • The Fiddler had a female successor named Virtuosa who has only ever appeared in books featuring the Secret Six, which is fitting since she was created by Gail Simone. Virtuosa claims that she's an ardent admirer of the original Fiddler and took up his violin and legacy after his death in honor of him. She in fact had something of a fangirl moment when Fiddler was revived as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night and offered his violin back, though he was more interested in ripping her heart out.
  • Johnny Guitar and Dr. Sax in Avengers: The Initiative can level entire buildings with their guitar and saxophone, respectively... but they've been losers as supervillains, being passed over for every possible team-up because they were either too gimmicky, not mutants, or not gimmicky enough.
  • Teen Titans member Herald (Mal Duncan) can use his Gabriel's Horn to open portals or create sonic attacks.
  • Dr. Crescendo in Tomorrow Stories' Greyshirt happens to be a Mad Scientist in addition to a violinist - and attempts to use his sinister music to prove his long-mocked theories true.
  • The antagonist seemingly destined to cause The End of the World as We Know It in The Apocalypse Suite arc of The Umbrella Academy is the appropriately-named White Violin. It turns out to be Vanya Hargreeves.
  • One Usagi Yojimbo story featured a series of killings with a flute-playing ghost as the primary suspect. It wasn't him.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: The 1440s German legend about a rat-catcher who, back in 1284, freed the city Hamelin (Hameln in German) from rats by luring them with magical pipes into the Weser River. When the townspeople wouldn't pay him for his services he used it to lure their children into a cave, from which they were never seen again.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Graduation Class, a Discworld fanfic in which the author has several characters who fall into the Ascended Extra category, after their names are given in canon, one with a very slight elaboration. And they are all Assassins. This trope was used by Emmanuelle les Deux Epées from Quirm who kills someone by playing a certain set of cords on a violin, firing a crossbow bolt. The author chose a violin deliberately, as the character was working as hitperson for the Troll crimelord Chrysoprase, to spoof 1930's tropes of the killer taking an unexpected tommy gun out of a violin case to play the music with.
  • Used in Manchester Lost, as a cross between this and The Power of Rock. Beating up Satan with nothing but Don't Stop Believing by Journey, albeit performed by Archangels.
  • In Naruto: Melody of the Shinobi Naruto takes up playing the shamisen as a hobby. His elderly tutor, Otoshiki Koushino, turns out to be a renegade Sound jounin who abandoned Oto when Orochimaru took over to go into hiding and can use his shamisen to unleash devastating sonic attacks. As a bonus, he's actually the above-mentioned Tayuya's grandfather. Unfortunately, he refuses to teach these techniques to Naruto.note 

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas has Big Bad Maestro Forte. The enchantment turned him into an Ominous Pipe Organ, and he literally tries to bring the house down when his plan to put a wedge between Belle and the Beast fails.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks climaxes with "Welcome to the Show", which becomes a literal battle of the bands between the Dazzlings and the Rainbooms (plus Twilight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer, and DJ Pon-3), with the two sides firing blasts of Magic Music at each other.
  • The Pied Piper in Shrek Forever After, whose flute lets him control other creatures (mainly making them dance uncontrollably and go in a certain direction), hires himself out as a bounty hunter.
  • Sour Note from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is a weaker version of this: the loud, shrill sound waves from his clarinet are able to send people running, but Burger Beard holds the fort.
  • In Trolls: World Tour, the Rock Trolls use weaponized instruments to fight the other Tribes. Chaz and the Ultimate Power Chord are also capable of possessing Trolls under a specific music genre (Smooth Jazz and Rock, respectively).
  • Yellow Submarine: "They hate music that much, do they?" "They shrink at the very sound!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson Sisters are able to use music to further their evil plots:
    • In the opening sequence, as the people of Salem prepare to hang the witches, Winifred leads her sisters in a song that sounds suspiciously like a hex. The townsfolk immediately cover their ears—"LISTEN TO THEM NOT!"—and prevent them from going any further, but not before Winnie is able to lay a Dying Curse on the village.
    • Once the Sandersons are revived in the present day, they perform a catchy Villain Song rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" to enchant every adult in Salem into "dancing until they die" while at a Halloween party. Sure enough, the parents are out of commission for the rest of the film, dancing without thought while their children are nearly captured and killed.
    • Youngest sister Sarah has a siren song as her unique power, which she uses to perform an unsettling nursery rhyme to hypnotize every child in Salem to come to the witches' cottage.
  • The Blind Musicians (well, only one of them was totally blind, the other had very rudimentary vision) in Kung Fu Hustle can tear people apart with their guqin music, in the form of invisible blades and fists, and at the height of their performance they're summoning hordes of Chinese zombie warrior ghosts out of their instruments.
  • In The Punisher (2004), Frank has to face a hitman by the name of Harry Heck in one scene. He first sees Heck in a diner as the man sings and plays what appears to be an original song and is then informed, "I'm gonna play it at your funeral". He waits until the vigilante leaves the diner before trying to kill him and never incorporates his guitar in his actual killing.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:
    • The bass battle between Scott and Todd Ingram where Scott gets blown through three walls by the power of Todd's bass. He winds up landing in a coffee shop where he tricks Todd into drinking half and half, sapping him of his vegan powers.
    • A Battle of the Bands turns quite literal, with Sex Bob-omb and the Katayanagi Twins blasting each other with waves of sound from their amps. Eventually those sound waves turn into giant energy beings, twin dragons and a yeti, and fight it out over the heads of the audience.
  • The low budget movie Six String Samurai sums it all up in the title. Most of the characters are this.
  • Wild Zero features real-life Japanese rock band Guitar Wolf fighting hordes of aliens and zombies with homing guitar picks, samurai swords in the necks of their guitars, and the pure POWER OF ROCK AND ROLL.

  • In Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society series about various types of psychic talents, book 5, titled Running Hot, features a Siren, a singer who channels psychic energy through her voice. She can lightly mesmerize a large audience with lower notes but needs to be able to sing a D, E, F, or higher to focus her song on killing a person. The Siren in question is a trained opera singer who takes out enemies of her wealthy, well-connected family.
  • The Asterisk War: Rusalka are an all-girl rock band that together wield the Orga Lux Lyre-Poros, which takes the form of their musical instruments and blasts opponents with sound waves.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Bardic Voices, Rune and Sparrowhawk get trapped "underhill" by elves who force them to play for them. Rune turns the tables on them by using her fiddle to force them to dance until they drop from exhaustion, then starts playing laments to make them cry until they nearly die from depression. She threatens to keep on playing until they DO die unless they release the two of them. In her "Valdemar" books, many bards have projective empathy that can make their audiences feel the emotions of their music; although we never see any of them use it to harm or kill anyone, it is implied that a Bard with a strong enough Gift could do so.
  • Michael Moorcock's The Cornelius Chronicles: Jerry Cornelius features in various stories (including team-ups with Elric, Jimi Hendrix, and the Sex Pistols) is always described as a Musical Assassin. In particular, Norman Spinrad's Jerry Cornelius short story "The Last Hurrah of the Golden Horde" arms Jerry with an electric violin with built-in amps which made the high notes ultrasonic, the low notes infrasonic, and the audible frequencies suppressed. When Jerry pops in his earplugs and plays various songs (ranging from "Wipeout" to "God Save the Queen") weird things happen to the minds of his audience.
    Seven hundred chanting kindergarten children achieved satori and began to eat a huge American flag drenched in soy sauce.
  • In Simon R. Green's Deathstalker books, there's the rogue Investigator Topaz, of the "Siren" class of esper, who kills by singing. She took out the five hundred men chasing her with one song.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • Each Nac Mac Feegle clan has a bard known as a Gonnagle whose music/poetry is so terrible that it can be used as a weapon. Since they're based on William McGonnagle, this overlaps with Suckiness Is Painful.
    • The Llamedosians had battle-choirs whose singing could decimate enemies and win wars.
    • The Guild of Musicians have enforcers of the guild, who threaten to do creative things with the instruments of unlicensed musicians, although crossing the line into murder would get them into trouble with the Guild of Assassins.
  • The 'death flutes' of the Zoromen in the Doc Savage novel Murder Melody can induce either unconsciousness or death in the listener depending on the tune played.
  • When they care to, the Lanorei race in Eludoran can use song as a weapon. It's potent enough that their oppressors have to collar and muzzle them to keep it under control.
  • Possibly played for laughs and possibly played really, really weirdly straight in Libba Bray's Going Bovine with the trumpet battles between Junior Webster and the Wizard of Reckoning, with a jazz battle literally being a final face-off between the two.
  • Indexing: A Pied Piper can, as discussed in the first chapter, induce with their music, such as with tons of rats via a "descending trill".
  • Jake and the Dynamo: This is Magical Girl Tuneless Ramona's schtick. Both her singing and dancing are so abominable that they're essentially weapons of mass destruction. They're just as dangerous to the innocent bystanders and her allies as they are to the monsters, though.
  • In the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, music written in certain modes can have a powerfully harmful effect on anyone who hears it- fatal, if played correctly. A historical Evil Overlord and Evil Sorcerer, the Black Jester, was noted for assembling orchestras and choirs for this precise purpose, so skilled they could wipe out whole cities; Prince Robert in the present storyline is also fond of this technique, with the added bonus that he's immune because he's actually undead.
  • Michelle West's Kallandras is an assassin who happens to be "bard-born". He can make people feel emotions through music and can speak in a voice that makes anyone who hears it obey, although he doesn't like to use it.
  • The Laundry Files by Charles Stross has (from book #2 on) an assassin codenamed CANDID. She bears an "Eric Zahn Special," a violin specially built from the bone of twelve murder/torture victims and tuned to frequencies human beings can hear but not mentally process. The case bears a sticker saying "THIS MACHINE KILLS DEMONS," and it does so exceptionally well, but it's hardly that specific... At one point she plays a "song of unbinding" on it—which, among other things, unlocks doors, breaks geases, and, when specifically focused, opens skin. Naturally, the above-described terror is more commonly known as our hero's beloved wife 'Mo'.
  • In Lullaby, we have the Culling Song, which enables the user to kill anyone it's sung to, or even thought at.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Mule": The Mule has psychic abilities that grant him Emotion Control and Mind Control, and he has a musical instrument. He uses this instrument/hologram generator, called a Visi-Sonor, in his identity as Magnifico because it amplifies his powers. Using this instrument allows him to affect entire planets merely by giving a concert.
  • In the Old Kingdom series, the Abhorsen uses seven bells to control and banish undead. Each bell has a different power.
    • Sleeper, Waker, Walker, Speaker, Thinker, Binder, Weeper. AKA Ranna, Mosrael, Kibeth, Dyrim, Belgaer, Saraneth, and Astarael. If you hear Ranna, you'll just go to sleep. If you hear Astarael, the most powerful bell, you and the wielder will be hurled deep into Death.
  • In Pact, Johannes Lillegard, a sorcerer, uses a set of pipes as his magic implement. He uses them to exert control over rats, dogs, and children, drawing upon the Pied Piper mythology.
  • In Peter and Max, a spin-off novel of the Fables comic series, you have Max. His flute is imbued with enormous eldritch power, so while he wreaks large-scale havoc like disease and mind control, he can also kill people individually just by playing his flute.
  • A Shapechanger assassin attacks Morgon in the night by playing a deadly song that takes his breath away in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle Master Trilogy.
  • Erica Hayes's Shadowfae urban fantasy series features a variety of supernatural beings getting involved in a crime-ridden underworld, including vampires, succubi and various types of fae. In this setting, banshees have magical voices that can cast spells through song, shatter glass or physically harm/kill enemies with a scream, and persuade/seduce humans. They have supernaturally sharp hearing, but their magic lets them filter all sounds so they are not overwhelmed by them, and the magical enhancement of their inner ear apparently also gives them perfect balance and enhanced coordination. The third volume of the series, Poison Kissed, is narrated by a banshee who is employed by supernatural mobsters as a bodyguard/enforcer.
  • In Stephanie Draven's Siren Song, the protagonist is a siren who can control men by singing. Although the heroine does not want to harm anyone, most sirens are described as serial-killer-types who compel men to drown themselves and enjoy the feeling of power it gives them. The villain is also a siren, and by singing, can even compel a man to shoot himself with his own gun.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series, the main character is a man sucked from his own world into one where animals are big and can talk. There, he finds out that he can do magic by singing about what he wants. KISS' "God of Thunder" would probably result in an awesome incendiary finish to his enemies. Guess what Pink Floyd's "Money" generates.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lorne from Angel has a tendency to emit ear-piercing and glass-shattering shrieks whenever he finds himself in danger. Also, regular singing apparently causes great pain to others of his kind.
  • The '60s Batman (1966) series was fond of this. There was the Siren, a woman whose voice could make men do her bidding, and the Minstrel, whose guitar was a weapon.
  • Sweet, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Once More, With Feeling" could use his singing to make people dance to the point where they caught fire.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In the Friday The 13th: The Series "The Maestro", the cursed antique of the week was a music box whose melody forced the listener to dance themselves to death. Death occurred either through strain on the body or dancing into deadly situations, such as out a window.
  • In The Goodies episode "The Stolen Musicians", singer Cilla Black is capable of literally 'bringing down the house' with her singing voice.
  • In Heroes volume 5, Emma starts out as just a deaf woman able to see sound as colors. Later, she discovers the true powers of her ability - she can focus the sounds that only she can see into a devastating shockwave, and she can concentrate on people while she plays music to force them to come to her.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Musical weapons are the gimmick of Kamen Rider Hibiki, where they use the ultrasonic vibrations of their music to shatter the Monster of the Week. The main Rider uses drumsticks (creating a drum on the surface of the monster), the second Rider uses a trumpet-slash-machine gun and the third Rider uses an electric guitar. All three styles are apparently relatively common among the various Oni. Another present-day Rider uses a harp, while four movie-exclusive Riders from the distant past use a flute/machine gun, a gong stuck, a triangle, and a pair of cymbals.
    • Kamen Rider Decade: Decade and Diend get in on the act during the finale of the Hibiki arc of their show, each using a set of drumsticks (joined by several other Riders using trumpets and guitars) against the final monster there.
    • The main gimmick of Kamen Rider Ghost is that the Riders use forms powered by the spirits of famous dead people. One of these forms is based on Beethoven, which uses music to attack its enemies.
  • British sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look featured one skit with a green clarinet that made its targets sing and dance an embarrassing truth about themselves, which its owner abuses to do whatever they want. It could only be countered by a red tuba that makes you shit yourself.
  • In The Middleman, there's a cursed tuba that anyone who hears it play will "drown in the icy waters of the North Atlantic." Naturally, there's an immortal guy who wants to play it to a large crowd.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' original weaponized instrument, the Dragon Dagger. Of course, this is more of a dagger with a flute design, so...
    • Zen-Aku from Power Rangers Wild Force also had a dagger-flute.
    • For an instrument that's not deliberately weaponized, Dr. K of Power Rangers RPM plays the violin to help her with her brainstorming, and has it linked to her software so that it responds to the music played. She fended off Tenaya 7 twice with that same violin: in "Ranger Yellow Part 2", she simply lured her directly beside an amp, but in her eponymous episode, she used the playing both to deafen Tenaya and turn the room's A/C fan into a tornado machine, sucking her out of the base, to the tune of Niccolò Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): Just like in the comics, Viktor is not quite an assassin, but does cause a lot of damage with his violin, including slashing Allison's throat and nearly collapsing the Icarus Theatre.

  • "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
    O Mamma O Mamma

    "O God, what have I done?" he said
    As her blood pooled in the sheets
    But in his heart he felt a bliss
    With which nothing could compete
    O Mamma O Mamma

    Orpheus went leaping through the fields
    Strumming as hard as he did please
    Birdies detonated in the sky
    Bunnies dashed their brains out on the trees
    O Mamma O Mamma
  • "Broken Radio" by Italo Disco singer Den Harrow is about alien invaders who cannot stand music with rhythm. It literally drives them insane. Making every portable radio a weapon.
  • The Linkin Park song "Step Up" has two spoken interludes in this vein, one about music as a martial art to paralyze opponents, the other about a "reliable audio weapon system" to destroy "the cellular structure of the human body"
  • Lindsey Stirling has one video, "Roundtable Rival", where she uses her violin to protect a Wild West town from guitar-wielding bandits.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Sirens in The Odyssey sang so beautifully sailors dashed their ships on the rocks around them.
  • God told the Israelites to march around the walls of Jericho, and shout and sound trumpets on the seventh day. On the seventh day, the walls were breached.
  • 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.
    • There is also the Swedish myth of Näcken, sort of a male version of the sirens. Näcken is a nude man with long hair who sits in the middle of a raging river (or occasionally a lake) and plays the fiddle, luring people to drown with the music. There are stories about musicians who have bargained with him to learn his skill at the fiddle, but these contracts usually have a terrible prize, as Näcken is a trickster at best, and outright evil at worst.
  • In the Finnish national epic Kalevala, Väinämöinen, a wise old man with the gift for magical singing. engages in a battle in the said craft with Joukahainen. Väinämöinen almost sank Joukahainen in a bog with his song, but decided to take Joukahainen's sister instead.
  • The harp of the god Angus Og, in Irish mythology, held great power. It was captured in battle by the hideous troll race of the Fomorians. One night, Angus and a comrade crept into the Fomorian camp and were discovered stealing the harp back. Undeterred, Angus played the harp and even the foul trolls were overcome by the beauty of his playing. Legend has it he played the harp three times. First he played the notes of joy that caused the enemy to rejoice. Then he played the notes of sorrow that caused them to be overborne with tears. Finally he played the notes of sleep, that rendered them insensible. Thus was he able to return unscathed to the Tuatha de Danaan having won back the harp.
  • Christian tradition is that evil creatures (including witches and wizards) cannot bear the sound of church bells.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Bard can hypnotize people with a musical performance, and there are prestige classes in Third Edition that will let him summon fire or lightning with the sound of music. Bardic songs are also good for debuffs.
    • Not to mention multi-classing into Rogue or Assassin in 3e/3.5/Pathfinder. Then it's a bit more literal. Fascinate and Death attack can be a killer combo.
  • Exalted wouldn't be a proper anime-based RPG if it didn't have one of these (it's a Dragon-blooded Performance charm, natch). The Abyssals also have a Performance charm that can deal damage, and there's a Celestial martial arts style based on this trope: the Silver-Voiced Nightingale Style.
  • The Pathfinder bard's highest level ability is called "Deadly Performance". Hear or see the bard perform and fail your save and you die, either from joy or sorrow.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 setting, 2nd edition Slaaneshi Noise Marines use sonic weapons whose destructive sound waves can tear humans and even tanks to shreds and looked like electric guitars. It's not so much 'music' as 'flesh-rendingly loud noise', and were replaced with less fitting guns.
    • There were also troops belonging to the Ork Goffs clan that wielded electric guitars. Their name? Goff Rockers, of course.
    • And on the 'good' side, we have the Exorcist of the Sisters of Battle, the holy fusion of a Macross Missile Massacre and a pipe organ.
    • In the background novels of the "Horus Heresy" series, the Space Marines encounter Warsingers, leaders of a xeno race who use their song (literally) to kill even Astartes with lethal swiftness. Their song was described as serenely intoxicating.
    • Let's not forget Eldar Bonesingers, who use music to shape 'psychoreactive' wraithbone into a variety of weapons and tools. Their songs may not be literally lethal, but the gravitic induction shuriken launcher they just sang out of a lump of plastic is.
    • There was a 3rd-ed upgrade for Chaos vehicles attached to Noise Marine units which would give them similar abilities, by having speakers and organ pipes sprouting from all over the vehicle.
  • Weapons Of The Gods has a martial arts style called Music of War which lets you attack and debuff enemies from a distance by playing a musical instrument.

  • Schunard in La Bohème is hired to play his violin to a parrot until it dies. It works.
  • B-Flat Bart from Peter Schickele's Hornsmoke: A Horse Opera, who appears to mow down the rest of the cast (all of them musicians) with his trumpet.
  • RENT, which is based on La Bohème, features a similar plot point, with Angel (Schunard's equivalent) playing his drums (pickle tubs) to a rich woman's neighbor's dog in hopes that it will die. The dog eventually jumps from the window ledge of a twenty-third-story apartment.

    Video Games 
  • One of the many frankly insane weapons in the Aqua Teen Hunger Force spin-off golf/combat game, Zombie Ninja Pro-Am, alongside the chainsaw, golf club, and sword, is the Red Electric Guitar. Rather than hitting your opponent with it, you can stun and injure enemies ranging from malevolent walking adjustable spanners to robot turkeys from the future, and even pull off a 360 of destruction by charging it up.
  • A newly-added class in Atlantica Online uses a guitar as a weapon. Despite very obviously being an acoustic guitar, it makes electric guitar noises, likely because of Rule of Cool. The same reason there's a class that uses what appear to be modern chainsaws in an apparent pre-20th-century Anachronism Stew setting — there were Chainsaws in the 19th century, but they don't look anything like what a modern viewer would expect.
  • Most of Achmed Khan's special moves in Backyard Skateboarding live off this trope (and an Air Guitar).
  • Lyude from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, used a type of weapon called a "sound shock gun", which was something of a cross between a trumpet (or other instrument) and a machine gun. Oh, and all of his finishing moves were musical terms.
    • A particularly conspicuous card for Lyude: "Assault Trumpet". Description: "Designed for covert use by assassins."
  • Bloody Spell has the priestess enemies, some of them who uses a pipa as a weapon. Said pipa can create a powerful shockwave that stuns you while draining your health, besides leaving you vulnerable to other enemy attacks.
  • As the above quote suggests, Brütal Legend loves this trope. Three people have electric guitars that they can play to use magical attacks: Eddie Riggs, Drowned Ophelia, and Emperor Doviculus. Also, the Drowning Doom's Organist unit plays a funeral dirge that weakens enemy troops while Ironheade's Thunderhog plays bass riffs to heal wounded allies, and General Lionwhyte's metal screams can shatter glass and mirrors.
    • It's worth pointing out that in combat, Eddie has access to both combos featuring guitar chords that create effects anywhere from lighting to fire to actual stage pyrotechnics, as well as powerful solos that create numerous battle-changing abilities—particularly one that literally melts faces off of nearby enemies.
    • Also, the Roadies of Ironhead can destroy enemy buildings by blasting them with sound waves from the giant speakers they carry, and the Rock Crusher buffs friendly units with The Power of Rock.
  • Captain Silver has the Pied Piper in Stage 1, who attacks by summoning rats with his music. In the Sega Master System version, he also directly attacks with musical notes.
  • In at least one Carmen Sandiego game, ACME good guide Renee Santz plays a mean saxophone...and with enough buildup, the musical notes sweep the perp off their feet and pin them to the ground by their ankles and wrists.
  • One of the bonus weapons in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is a badass-looking skull guitar that would make metalheads envious. Hector attacks by RAWKIN' OUT DOOD! The screen shakes and vibrates for every uninterrupted riff he plays, though some larger enemies aren't staggered by the playing, ditto for those which can move underground or 'phase out.'
  • Chrono Cross had Nikki. His weapon was, of course, a guitar (the guitar pick, if you wanna get technical), and his basic attack was playing it. His first special was to bludgeon someone with it, Hendrix-style.
    • Irenes did something similar with her harp. And of course, there's bunnygirl Jan, who beats on a drum with a carrot.
  • The Musician in Citizens of Earth can use one of three musical attacks. Each has a different duration, and the attack's damage output increases for each turn.
  • Cocoron, a Japanese-only video game, in which you build six characters to play as, including the weapon they use. One of the weapons is musical notes, and the characters generally launch their attacks from their heads. DeceasedCrab, a YouTube celebrity, made this famous through his Let's Play of the game, with the third character he made being Tasian, the Singing Ninja Tank. .
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars has the sonic emitter as the GDI's high tier defensive structure, which is basically a gigantic loudspeaker. In the expansion, the weaker but mobile version is also available, known as the Shatterer.
    • Tiberian Sun also has the sonic tank, which is the prototype of the above-mentioned weapon.
  • Every single' character in Crypt Of The Necrodancer is more or less this as they slay their opponents on the rhythm of the music. The straightest examples include Melody who kills her enemies by playing the Golden Lute and the Dead Ringer who summons enemies by ringing a bell.
  • Darkstalkers has Lord Raptor/Zabel Zarock, who has a guitar counter-attack, in addition to looking like a zombie rocker.
    • From the same game, Lilith also has a special, the Gloomy Puppet Show. When the move input is completed, she tosses a top hat at the opponent. If it connects, she switches outfits, while the opponent is put upon a makeshift stage. A mini-game then starts, where you need to tap the right keys in the right rhythm. Depending on how well you perform, the opponent could take massive amounts of damage, or very little.
  • The Big Bad of DeathSpank , Lord Von Prong, uses singing as a smart bomb (and at the end of first act of the game, ends all of his sentences with a falsetto high note). Why he uses singing as a power despite being otherwise a generic evil knight, like many other things in the game, is never explained.
  • Densetsu no Stafy 4 has Geishachi, a geisha-ish fish whose main method of attack is playing notes from her shamisen.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Nevan, a succubus boss character, becomes an electric guitar after you defeat her as Dante. She is arguably the most difficult to use yet most powerful weapon in the game, easily allowing SSStylish combos if used properly. It electrocutes enemies by shooting lightning at them and summoning bats to attack them.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Donkey Kong 64: Each character can obtain a musical instrument that can be used as a limited-ammo special attack to destroy nearby enemies (Donkey Kong has bongos, possibly inspiring his Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, while Diddy, Lanky, Tiny, and Chunky have an electric guitar, trombone, saxophone, and triangle, respectively).
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns: The villains of the game are the Tiki Tak Tribe, who combine Mind-Control Music and plain old soundwave-based attacks to lead a takeover of Donkey Kong Island. The Mooks of the group all look like bongo drums, while the seven lieutenants of the tribe each resemble a different musical instrument: Kalimba the mbira (a kind of small Zimbabwean keyboard), the Maraca Gang (take a wild guess), Gong-Oh the gong, Banjo Bottom the banjo, Wacky Pipes the panpipes, Xylobone the xylophone, and Cordian the accordion. Their leader, Tiki Tong, resembles a gigantic drum.
  • A mod for Doom lets you use the Rick Roller, a stereo that plays "Never Gonna Give You Up" and deals more damage than the BFG. Not even doom monsters can withstand Rickroll!
  • Drakengard 3 has an "Intoner mode" that powers up all of your attacks and adds vocals to the music. The bosses also have same ability, letting them sing and create devastating attacks.
  • Dubloon features the Quartet of the Seas, a band of four superbosses, composed of a rapper Vypa, guitarist Standish, flutist Captain FC and a pianist Sparkles.
  • The Atreides in Dune II have the Sonic tank, a tank which 'fires' sound waves to destroy everything in its path.
  • Dynasty Warriors:
    • In all games except for 6 and 9, Zhenji's weapon is a flute which she uses both for soundwaves and as a club.
    • Cai Wenji wields a spike fiddle in her debut spin-off game and a harp in the main installments. In 9, however, she discards the harp in favor of a chain whip.
    • Sister series Samurai Warriors has Motochika Chōsokabe, who wields a shamisen (a Japanese guitar, more or less).
  • A few of the weapons that can be acquired in Enter the Gungeon are musical instruments that fire projectiles as you play them, such as the Really Special Lute and the Gunzheng. Apparently, this is an anomaly to the Gungeon itself, based on the ingame description of the Face Melter:
    Unfortunately, musical talent and Gungeoneering skill do not often overlap. Any damage caused by this "gun" has little to do with the Gungeon.
  • Ephemeral Fantasia may as well be called Lute Hero: The RPG as a lot of story segments require you to play along, for serenading your girls, to annoying the main villain. Sadly, in normal combat, you just pull a sword from the spine. Music instead takes the place of healing and support magic, and the occasional song-related attack spell. The hero plays these automatically though.
  • How Sweety Belle works in the EarthBound (1994) ROM Hack EquestriaBound. Her main weapons are microphones and she uses Magic Music as opposed to PSI.
  • Eternal Fighter Zero has Mizuka Nagamori, who can create exploding music notes with her cello.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The game has Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart as a playable Caster whose Noble Phantasm, "Requiem for Death", summons an orchestra of decapitated angelic figures to perform a song inflicting status ailments on the enemies. His regular attacks are balls of light that he directs with a baton while yelling musical phrases.
    • The Phantom of the Opera is an Assassin with a pipe organ made of human bones, which he has of course named "Christine, Christine!"
    • Antonio Salieri later joins the cast, as an Avenger whose attack animations include things like using his sword/conductor's baton like a violin bow on strings made of blood to produce harmful sounds.
  • The Bard class from the various Final Fantasy games uses a variety of instruments, the most popular of which is a trusty harp. Sometimes they induce Status Effects, but the chances of doing so are very low. Because of this, they're often also a Quirky Bard.
    • In Final Fantasy V songs are extremely effective when used right. One of them causes massive damage to undead, for example. Another can consistently cause confusion to the right kind of enemies.
    • Final Fantasy IX plays with this. Eiko's weapon class is a flute that she hits people with it for her standard attack. The real reason she has it is to do Summon Magic. She's a White Magician Girl.
    • Also subverted in this manner in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2, where the Beastmaster, Animist, and Bard classes all equip musical instruments such as flutes and harps to learn appropriately musical and monster-based skills (Music Soothes the Savage Beast, get it?), but when used in an attack, the unit in question simply brains the enemy with it (Kabong!). Suddenly, the descriptor from Final Fantasy Tactics A2, "Ill-tuned Instruments", makes much more sense.
      • The original Final Fantasy Tactics and its rerelease War of the Lions also featured Bards, whose songs affected every ally with a positive effect such as buffing speed or strength or restoring HP. Their female counterpart, the Dancer job, did the opposite, debuffing enemies.
  • Also by Square Enix, the IOS game Song Summoner. The Hero LITERALLY fights with music - that the player actually has on their device. You can even level your songs up by listening to them often.
  • Gaia Crusaders have Chinese ladies playing an erhu capable of releasing fireballs as enemies. You can stop their projectiles by attacking them before they can play, but they will retaliate by revealing the strings of the erhu to be Razor Floss and use it to slice your health away.
  • God Hand: one of the bosses is a guitarist. With lightning projectiles. And he has a return battle where he pulls in a drummer, too.
  • I-No from Guilty Gear is armed with a guitar and knows how to use it. Explosive notes are the weakest of her weapons. Her ultimate attack, Megalomania, projects horrifically powerful bursts of sound from a pair of miniature amplifiers.
  • In Gungrave: Overdose, the rockabilly Rocketbilly Redcadillac (yes, that's his name) implies that he was once one of these assassin types. Now, though, he's The Atoner and a ghost, possessing an electricity-shooting guitar.
  • In Halo 3: ODST, there is an achievement (Vidmaster Challenge: Classic) for completing a level without firing a weapon. Beware: tooting vehicle horns counts.
  • Heroes of the Storm:
    • Elite Tauren Chieftain (ETC), named after a Warcraft-based band, is a Tauren rockstar and his moveset has him utilizing his electric guitar-axe hybrid to send shocking melodies to the enemy for various effects.
    • Lúcio from Overwatch appears here too, and he gains additional abilities like placing down a boombox to support his allies over a larger area or blasting his music at enemies to slow them or damage them over time.
  • Hyrule Warriors has Sheik, who uses a harp that generates both sonic shock waves and various elemental attacks. Zelda, who can use a conductor baton that shoots electricity and wind. Skull Kid who uses an ocarina to command both Tatl and Tael as well as sinister puppets. Medli, whose harp shoots air blasts and light energy, and Marin who uses a bell that shoots water as well as being able to summon the Wind Fish.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The iconic example in the franchise is found in Kingdom Hearts II. Organization XIII's number IX, the Brilliant, but Lazy water-manipulating That One Boss sitar player, Demyx. One of the reaction command moments in the fight has him playing away, seemingly completely oblivious to Sora, who looks like he is either preparing an attack or trying to get his attention. But that's the extend of taking him lightly; anyone who faces him dreads hearing his catchphrase: "DANCE, WATER, DANCE!"
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep gives us the Symphony Master Unversed, which not only attacks with its conductor baton but also controls a floating trumpet, violin, and drum at the same time.
    • The Necho Cat and Frootz Cat Dream Eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] mix this with Dance Battler, launching various types of painful musical notes (Like exploding f-minors) with elements or Status Effects attached to them by dancing.
  • The Accordion Thief of Kingdom of Loathing have various accordions as weapons, and as of a class revamp in late October 2013 they gained a variety of combat skills using their accordions. There are also many, many instruments — accordions, banjos, drums, guitars, flutes, horns, and one axe-type weapon — which have hit messages that are this, Instrument of Murder, subversions or double-subversions of either/both.
    • The Accordion Thief's nemeses, the Mariachis, are NPC examples, though players can wear their clothing and equip their musical weapons.
  • La Tale has the Pop Star class line. They start out as Wizards and become Bards at Level 50, and although they heavily revolve around buffing and healing, their primary form of attack is playing their guitars to create noise that deals area-of-effect damage to enemies around them. They later become Minstrels at Level 100, before finally advancing into Pop Stars at Level 170.
    • The Maestro subclass (accessible at Level 140) is also an example that revolves more around offense, in that they can regain HP by attacking enemies, but as a downside, they are also huge Glass Cannons.
  • Sona, the Maven of the Strings from League of Legends attacks by firing waves of sound from a guzheng-like instrument. She can also amplify her attacks by playing songs, sending out discordant waves of sound to hunt down opponents, and her ultimate ability forces opponents to dance to her song while their health drains.
    • Not only this but if you play Sona as APC on the midlane (have luck finding a team that doesn't bash you for it though) and you build Lichbane on her, you can pretty much kill other squishy champions with two repetitions of her Q-Q-Q-Autoattack+Lichbane proc.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask gives us Sharp and his Melody of Darkness, which slowly drains Link's health away.
  • The entire plot (such as it is) of LEGO Rock Band is that your band uses the power of music to achieve everything from fighting off a monstrous squid to obliterating an asteroid on its way to hit the planet.
  • In Lollipop Chainsaw, each member of the Dark Purveyors represents a style of music in their fighting style and uses it to power their magic.
  • Lord of the Rings Online: Not an assassin per se, but the Minstrel class uses instruments and voice to deal respectable damage.
  • In Luminous Arc 2, the Brilliant Witch, Dia, uses a conducting baton as a weapon. Kaph, who later joins the party, subverts this trope with a guitar...that fires bullets (one of his best weapons for illustrating this trope is the Keyguntar, which is one-third keyboard, one-third gun, and one-third guitar). Also, Sadie uses horn as her weapon and actually has a spell to emphasize that fact.
    • Amusingly, Dia is rumored to be tone-deaf, and Sadie has to play badly to do any damage - she can play well, but that only stirs up a light breeze. Meanwhile, the guy who doesn't actually play an instrument on the field is a multi-talented and highly respected artisan.
  • The pink-haired mini-bosses from Magical Cannon Wars use their guitars as weapons and their bullets are music notes.
  • Vulturon the Condoroid of Mega Man ZX Advent is capable of repulsing melee attacks (and even some ranged attacks), discharging waves of scrap parts, and animating defunct Mechaniloids. While these do sound like ordinary powers to many a medium, what makes it noteworthy is that he does it all...with power chords. He also occasionally simply swats you with his guitar. (His Japanese name is Condorrock the Vulturoid. Go figure.)
    • Tech Kraken of Mega Man Zero 4 did something of the sort. At least, one of his attack calls is "!"
    • Harp Note from Mega Man Star Force. Contrary to her name, her weapon is more like a guitar.
    • Shade Man's Noise Crush in Mega Man 7.
  • The Pop Stars in Miitopia can use their voice to inflict damage upon their enemies. Their weapon of choice is a microphone.
  • Monster Hunter games of late have adopted a Hammer subclass called the Hunting Horn, which induces Status Effects by entering what's called Recital Mode and then pressing attack buttons to play different notes. Different note combinations got you different effects. In a nice change of pace from your standard self-buffing classes in an action RPG, they're also good for clocking a monster over the head without a Recital beforehand.
  • The giant Punk Rocker from Monster Party. "Face the music!"
  • The whole battle system of Mother 3 revolves around Rhythm Combos. If you select your basic attack and press the A button to the beat of the music, you can link together combos. Almost every enemy has their own special song to combo to.
    • Also, whenever you do hit the enemy, each playable character has a different kind of musical note played upon attacking. (Flint = Saxophone, Duster = Bass, etc.)
    • New Fassad (and Miracle Fassad) also counts, using off-key music as an attack.
    • In a more literal application of this trope, the attic of Club Titiboo houses some hostile musical instruments that attack with solo or jam sessions, including Gently Weeping Guitars, Beaten Drums, and the Jealous Bass.
  • The Archon from Nexus Clash can sing the Song of the Word, which harms any being not sufficiently holy to hear and understand it. Some Archons may have dramatically different interpretations of just who is and is not holy enough to hear their particular Song unharmed.
  • There's a mod for Neverwinter Nights 2 actually called Lute Hero. It makes you play a Guitar Hero style rhythm game that is used to power your spells in combat. It has to be seen to be believed.
    • In the original campaign, Bards have a variety of songs. While most of it is just buffs or debuffs, the ultimate song, Hymn of Requiem, is a very nasty attack that deals sonic damage (which is unavoidable) that is twice your Perform skill to either one enemy, or splits it across multiple enemies...and then heals your whole party by the amount of damage dealt. It does this every turn for five turns (ten if you took the Lingering Song feat). Quirky Bard the Player Character is not.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge has an attack that is nothing more than Jack singing and dancing, but shoots musical notes at the enemy that are devastating compared to Jack's normal attacks. In fact, this is the only way you can defeat the final boss (and is even powerful enough to summon giant balls of snow to rain from the sky and fire to shoot from the ground).
  • Kurow in Ōkamiden attacks by playing his flute, at which point damaging music notes come out of it. He uses it differently in the boss fight against him.
  • Onmyoji: Yōkinshi who kicks ass with style using the sound of his guqin.
    • Kochō-no-sei and her tambourine is a much cuter example, but no less dangerous.
  • Violette from One Step From Eden uses her violin as a primary means of attacking and spell channeling. When faced as a boss, she combines this with Musical Gameplay - one of her special moves is an Unblockable Attack that deals massive damage unless you mirror her movements as she plays to generate enough Shield to protect yourself against it.
  • The main character in Otocky collects musical notes which he then uses against large boss notes.
  • Lúcio from Overwatch fights his enemies and supports his teammates through various sonic-based devices that play his music. He can either heal or increase the moment speed of any allies within range, blast enemies backward with Gale-Force Sound and create soundwaves from his gun that wrap around and protect his allies from incoming damage.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has the Hair Metal Gargantuar. During a Metal Jam, his guitar smashes cause sonic music shockwaves that travel the lawn and decimate the first plant it hits.
  • Pokémon:
    • Sure, all that Sing does is put the opponent to sleep, but there's always Perish Song, which kills anyone who hears it within three turns. Not to mention Hyper Voice, Echoed Voice, Bug Buzz, and other sound-based attacks. Heck, enough of them exist to warrant the Soundproof ability (which blocks them outright).
    • Of course, we do have a few Pokémon who fully embody this trope. Examples include Chimecho, a windchime-shaped Pokémon with a powerful voice behind its delicate appearance; Chatot, a bird with an eighth note for a head, a metronome for a tail, and powerful voice-based attacks; Meloetta, a Mythical Pokémon based on a muse who uses mostly sound-and-music-based moves; Primarina, a siren who controls water through singing and whose Hidden Ability, "Liquid Voice," turns all sound-moves into Water-type moves; and Toxtricity, a Pokemon with two forms based on a bass guitar and electric guitar respectively. In a case of Shown Their Work, the different forms both thrum the marks on their torsos in very similar manners to their respective instruments; which allows them to generate electric attacks.
  • Princess Maker 5: Gateau, a villain. He’s one of the evil rebel forces’ assassins sent to kill all the princess candidates (fortunately only one survived). He is also responsible for killing the daughter’s biological parents/family) using his magic guitar. He’s the only assassin who uses it, and every time the daughter encounters him in her adventure, he will attack her using his magic guitar that shoots sparks.
  • In Puyo Puyo, Harpy's spell theme consists of her awful singing. Her skill in Puyo Quest causes a power reduction on blue-colored cards, while Songstress Harpy's skill, Shivering Chant, outright does direct damage. As a party member in Madou Monogatari Saturn, she has two spells that weaponize her singing: Grand Song, her Limit Break, and Shock Voice, which stuns enemies.
  • Ratatan: All hero units seen so far in the trailer use musical instruments called Meloduims as weapons.
  • Cornet from Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure uses her horn as a weapon, although it's more often the channel through which she controls her helpful puppet/monster friends.
  • Bards in Rift, who usually use their assortment of instruments to buff allies, can also strum their lyre to channel a damaging cadence.
  • Yurika Kirishima from the Rival Schools sequel Project Justice is a subdued variant, her signature weapon being a violin.
  • Saints Row IV has a dubstep gun firing exploding wubs that may be a Shout-Out to the below Corridor Digital video.
  • In SINoALICE, the Minstrel class has the characters wield a musical instrument that they use as a weapon to slay the Nightmares that infest the Library. Hameln in particular wields a variety of musical instruments in all of his classes.
  • Apollo in Smite takes the title of 'God of Music' and aside from attacking with finger bolts, his skills involve about weaponizing his singing voice or playing his lyre to damage the enemy. He's a Hunter-class God, so he's more likely to 'assassinate' some oppositions with his music.
  • The whole point of Space Channel 5 and its sequels.
  • One Spongebob Squarepants game allows him to play a guitar riff so awesome that its sound is a guided missile.
  • The Suikoden series also have this trope. Particularly the DoReMi Elves that attacks by singing a note, and Cornelio in Suikoden V who uses a conducting baton.
  • Super Smash Bros.. Brawl has several. Donkey Kong uses bongos for his Final Smash (the damage and range of which depend on your rhythm); assist trophy Barbara the Bat jams on an electric guitar for a wide-range attack; Jigglypuff and Peach put enemies to sleep with song; Luigi uses a dance number to summon the Negative Zone; and King Dedede has a dance.
  • Episode 1 of Tales from the Borderlands features a music-obsessed bandit chief named Bossanova, who can fire blasts of amplified techno and dubstep from the speaker mounted on his armor.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Tear Grants makes her first appearance by singing all the guards in Luke's house to sleep so she can get in and assassinate Van. All of her highest-level fonic artes, including a couple of very powerful magical attacks, are cast by singing the Yulian Fonic Hymns.
  • The Magic Harp weapon in Terraria allows the player to attack by strumming the hall and sending musical notes at their enemies.
  • Touhou Project doesn't have just one of these, it has 6.
    • The Prismriver Sisters, a trio with each one associated with a different instrument. In the ninth game, their EX attacks involve them sending over their instrument to your side and having it launch bullets at you.
    • The fourteenth game adds the Tsukumo Sisters and Raiko Horikawa, each with a different of their own.
  • Warframe has Octavia, whose abilities can damage enemies and provide buffs to teammates while playing parts of player-composed songs.
  • Biwa the demon monk from Yokai Hunter Shintaro uses a pipa as his preferred weapon, to summon skeletons and spam projectile attacks on you.
  • The "Devil's Wind" music on the 12th floor of Darm Tower in Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, which drains your HP.

    Web Animation 
  • The episode "Never Miss A Beat" from RWBY introduces Flynt Coal, a Huntsman student modeled after a jazz musician who fought with a trumpet that could create large sonic blasts.
  • The Something About episode Something About Mega Man X: Storm Eagle's Revenge features the titular character himself, Storm Eagle (as Storm Eagle L) performs most of his attacks (both controlling his Death Rogumer and when attacking X directly) through his Keytar. In the same episode, X himself also applies, using his keyboard to fight back.

    Web Comics 
  • Axe Cop: If bad guys listen to our songs, they die. For them, it's poisonous hearing.
  • Guilded Age: Payet, if you can call fighting with a half-instrument half-axe killing with music.
  • Soul Symphony:
    • Protagonist Olivia's weapon of choice against monsters is a clarinet that allows her to fly and create magical shields, among other things. Once John joins her in the fray, he uses a trombone as a sword and a cannon.
    • In Movement 2, the giant Gnarlequin that acts as the 'boss' of Charlie's soul attacks John and Olivia with soundwaves from a giant electric guitar.
    • In Movement 4, Ashley's embodiment of Tom Mustaine in her Soul World also attacks with electric guitar strums.

    Web Original 
  • In Arkn: Legacy, Ryael from Bard of the Black Violin almost certainly counts for this trope. In their Arkn life, it was mentioned they had killed with the powers of the titular Black Violin.
  • In the Corridor Digital video Dubstep Guns this trope is combined with some lasers for interestingly devastating results.
  • BLOKHEDZ features The Dungeon, an underground tournament of literal rap battles... to the death.
  • Siren from Phaeton can manipulate both people and the universe with music, she also has a weapon/instrument that doubles as an instrument/weapon. No one is entirely sure which it is and which it doubles as though.
  • SCP-298, a pipe organ that will expel blood right out of the audiences' bodies.
  • In Super Stories, the Host weakens and hurts his opponents with music. His partner, Cabaret, is immune.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold has fan-favorite Music Meister who uses his singing voice to hypnotize his victims. He doesn't need to kill people with his voice, as he can easily order them to kill themselves by dancing into a rocket blast.
  • Biker Mice from Mars has Hard Rock from the episode of the same name. While reformed prior to the series' start, a flashback in the episode shows that when he was still a minion of the Plutarkians, he leveled entire cities on Mars just by playing his guitar.
  • Danger Mouse:
    • Wufgang Bark, from the episode "Play It Again, Wufgang," has stolen all the music in the world (including the episode's background music). He manipulates it from a pipe organ, causing DM and Penfold to lapse into slapstick when he plays the bridge from Spike Jones' "Cocktails For Two."
    • "The Odd Ball Runaround" had DM and Penfold attacked by one of Greenback's minions—Mad Manuel, the flamenco assassin.
  • Ember McLain from Danny Phantom. Her guitar is her main weapon, containing both shock vibes and love impulses. Her voice is hypnotic, entrapping people who hear her, and the more people say her name, the more power she has. Her #1 hit has as part of its chorus:
    "Oh, Ember, you will remember
    Ember, one thing remains
    Ember, so warm and tender
    You will remember my name."
  • Floatzart, whose music could control ghosts in Filmation's Ghostbusters.
  • In G.I. Joe, Metal-Head was capable of destroying a skyscraper with the amplified sound of his metal music.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Yumyan Hammerpaw axe doubles as a guitar, for which he was known to play very well.
  • The 1929 Krazy Kat short Ratskin (the first one with sound) features an Indian shooting arrows at Krazy. He retaliates by using the arrows to create a makeshift harp, playing it to produce musical notes and firing them at the Indian.
  • An interesting twist is the old Looney Tunes cartoon "Now Hear This", in which a man finds a 'horn' which creates strange and magical (and which would be violent in other circumstances) occurrences throughout the 'toon. In the end, it turns out to have been the devil's horn! He screws it back onto his head and explodes away, leaving the man in confusion.
  • There's a villain in season 2 of Loonatics Unleashed with this power.
  • Coop in Megas XLR: "Re-routing all power to... the Jammer."
    • Note that The Jammer is considered to be the most lethal weapon on Megas. It has more systems preventing its use than anything else.
  • In the second season finale of Metalocalypse, the Revengencers attack Mordhaus, first disabling its defensive forcefield with sonic weaponry. Dethklok themselves are also quite capable of using The Power of Rock in a fight.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Toys of Doom", the Toyman uses a calliope that plays music capable of crumbling a skyscraper.
  • Variant: Quick Draw McGraw's alter-ego El Kabong uses a guitar as his weapon. KABONG! (In this case, the sound is a largely irrelevant consequence of him using it as a club.)
  • While we only meet him in a stinger, Concerto in Rick and Morty qualifies.
    "And now...for the E splat!"
  • Scaramouche from Season 5 of Samurai Jack, who initially uses a magic flute to telekinetically move rocks and create a gigantic stone golem to fight Jack with. When the flute is broken, he uses scatting to swing around a scimitar instead. He also has a tuning fork (or perhaps a reverse tuning fork) that causes objects it hits to vibrate until they explode. He destroys both of Jack's Dual Wielding daggers in this way, but Jack takes the tuning fork from Scaramouche after defeating him.
  • In the Pixar short "Sanjay's Super Team", a Hindu goddess rings a prayer bell in order that the sound waves it emits might kill an attacking monster. This attack fails, but Sanjay then uses the prayer candle holder as a bell, and this succeeds.
  • "Music Land", a 1935 Disney Silly Symphonies short, features a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between the saxophone prince of the Isle of Jazz and the cello princess of the Land of Symphony and briefly leads to a literal musical war between the parents of the couple.
  • Bluegrass and Melodia are opposing musical assassins on SilverHawks.
  • The Rat King in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon uses a flute to control rats, including the turtles' master Splinter.
  • The Lost Episode of Teen Titans had the teens facing off against Punk Rocket whose music was destructively loud.
  • Soundwave from Transformers: Animated. He uses Laserbeak and Ratbat as a powerful electric guitar and keytar respectively.
  • An episode of Wander over Yonder features a musical Beam-O-War between Wander with his banjo and Dr. Screwball Jones and his accordion in the middle of the latter's Villain Song. One of the strings on Wander's banjo breaks and Screwball lets him have it!

    Real Life 
  • There is a sonic projector called LRAD which can put out incapacitating noise up to 1000 feet from the device. It can also be used as a bullhorn on steroids, to allow people to hear announcements in the middle of a riot or other loud environment.
  • While not actual instruments, hitmen do in fact sometimes still use musical instrument cases to hide guns or other murdering equipment. Some actually do take the instrument they supposedly carry as a hobby as it makes the whole musician thing more plausible.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Weaponized Music


Hibiki and the Seven Senki

The Oni from Kamen Rider Hibiki use the ultrasonic vibrations of their music to shatter the Monster of the Week.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / MusicalAssassin

Media sources: