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Musical Nod

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A subtrope of Continuity Nod. Most often seen in video games, this is music from a related work that is used at some point. Differs from Recurring Riff in that a Musical Nod is used far less, and generally not under the same circumstances it was originally used. However, the new use may be related; one game's random battle theme could be used for a single boss battle in a later game.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the first episode of Ultimate Battle: The Next Generation, one of the simplistic synth tunes that often played in the show's earlier seasons can be heard as the goats dig up their box of memories. It's very rare to hear the show's classic Background Music tracks in the later seasons, so this was probably a deliberate choice to help hearken back to the goats' previous adventures.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The Doctor Who mini episode "Time Crash" wherein the Tenth Doctor meets his Fifth incarnation has a leitmotif reminiscent of the music of the Fifth Doctor's era play intermingled with the music more typical of the newer series.
  • In the Mr. Bean Christmas episode, the music Bean hums while playing with the toy marching band is clearly the opening march from Blackadder Goes Forth.
  • While it was not used in the televised episodes, the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale "All Good Things..." would have featured a reprise of composer Dennis McCarthy's theme for Judge Q's entrance in "Encounter at Farpoint". The composition did appear in an album later on.
  • The theme music from the original Battlestar Galactica plays over a human-interest news piece featured in an episode of the reimagined series.

  • In the long form David Bowie music video Jazzin' For Blue Jean, the riff playing while Screamin' Lord Byron does his makeup is from Bowie's 1977 song, "Warszawa".
  • Occurs in at least three music videos by the band Foo Fighters.
    • At the beginning of the "Monkey Wrench" video, a muzak version of "Big Me", a single from their eponymous debut album, plays in the elevator.
    • At the beginning of the "Learn to Fly" video, a muzak version of "Everlong", a single from The Color and the Shape, plays while the plane is being cleaned.
    • The "Breakout" video opens with "Generator", from the same album, playing on a car radio.
  • The organ lead-in to George Michael's "Faith" is the melody to his earlier Wham! hit "Freedom".
  • Many arrangements for the Florida State University Marching Chiefs incorporate the school's famous "War Chant".
  • The distinctive guitar riff from Meat Loaf's "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)", written by Jim Steinman for Bat Out of Hell II, was remade for piano and used in "Carpe Noctem" from Steinman's musical Tanz Der Vampire. When Meat Loaf covered the latter song on Bat Out of Hell III as "Seize the Night", the riff was restored to guitar.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • The first episode of Reboot features a distinctive theme for the Space Game in its first episode. The theme is brought back much later on in the episode "System Crash" when the User from that game emerges in Mainframe.
  • Episode 4 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has Daphne humming the theme from The New Scooby-Doo Movies as she knits an ascot for Fred.
  • A cool shout out to Robin's origins is used in Teen Titans when Slade taunts Robin — who has temporarily become his Dragon to protect the other Titans — by claiming that eventually Robin might start to see him as a sort of father figure. Robin responds with "I already have a father" as the screen pans up to show bats rising to the sky while music from Batman: The Animated Series plays.