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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 
  • In Monster, "Over the Rainbow" is referenced as the song Vardemann's father played on his radio station. When Vardemann finally faces the fact that his father was a spy, and decides to deal with the trust issues this inspired in him, an instrumental version of the song is played in the background.


    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 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy I for the PSP does this. The game features four bonus dungeons, with each one having a collection of bonus bosses from III, IV, V, and VI. Each one has their appropriate boss theme from the game they are from, with only Gilgamesh of V breaking the rule, using his own Leitmotif instead.
    • Mog's leitmotif from Final Fantasy VI later appears as the theme song of Moogles in general in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. Mog's theme itself is a remixed version of Final Fantasy V's Moogle Theme. Variations of the same song are also found in IX, XIV and Type-0
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy features music from previous games in the series, usually as battle music. However, the Overworld or Map themes from every game in the series are used in the every character's story mode.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the boss battle theme Premonition begins with a snippet of the main theme to Final Fantasy VII. Also, the Balamb Garden background music contains a line from the opera from Final Fantasy VI.
    • It's also used in Final Fantasy IX at least once; the Castle Pandemonium theme in that game is a slower organ version of the Castle Pandemonium theme from Final Fantasy II.
  • Fire Emblem has a few of these, in addition to the themes for arena battles being the theme's from previous games, the 6th game's "Wyvern Generals" battle theme includes both first and second games battle themes, Light and Dark from FE4 reappears as the trail map theme in FE9.
  • The Super Mario Bros. franchise loves doing this. Much of the music from modern installments contains throwbacks to earlier games.
    • The Superstar Baby Mario theme is heard in Super Mario 64 whenever you use either the Vanish Cap or the Wing Cap.
    • Super Mario Sunshine features an acapella remix of the Super Mario Bros. overworld theme for its 2D-inspired obstacle courses.
    • Super Mario Galaxy reuses the "Koopa's Road" theme from Super Mario 64, and the "Battleship Raid" theme from Super Mario Bros. 3. The Athletic Overworld theme from the same game as the latter and a bouncy remix of the original Super Mario Bros. theme also show up. The Underground theme of Super Mario Land is heard during the Mecha Bowser sequence is Toy Time Galaxy.
    • The sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, reuses the Koopa's Road theme, plus the Athletic Overworld and Haunted Mansion themes from Super Mario World, the Bob-omb Battlefield and Rainbow Ride theme from Super Mario 64, and several pieces of the soundtrack of the original SMG.
    • New Super Mario Bros. Wii has a nod to the Super Mario World Castle theme in its own Castle theme. The secret world's map melody also contains the melody from Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road.
    • The final world of New Super Mario Bros. U, which is Peach's Castle under Bowser's control, features a Dark Reprise of the Overworld theme from Super Mario 64.
    • Super Mario 3D World plays a remix of the Character Select theme from Super Mario Bros. 2 during the slot machine minigame.
    • When you revisit the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey, you collect Power Stars instead of Power Moons. The "course clear" fanfare from Super Mario 64 plays when you collect them instead of the usual fanfare. And in the postgame, you can play a recreation of World 1-1 from the original Super Mario Bros., complete with the original Overworld and Underground themes.
    • Super Mario RPG:
      • The battle theme for the Bonus Boss Culex is a remix of the Final Fantasy IV boss music — the boss himself is essentially one big reference to the Final Fantasy series. Also, after beating Culex, you can hear the "Victory Fanfare" and the "Prelude" from the Final Fantasy series. In addition, Bowser's battle theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 is used when he is fought at the start of the game, and it is also incorporated into the background music for his castle later on. A riff from that castle's theme would in turn make it into the music for the final board of the original Mario Party, Bowser's Magma Mountain.
      • Before going into its own rendition of the classic theme, the "Mario's Pipe House" theme plays a little bit of the world 1 map theme, also from Super Mario Bros. 3. This exact theme was later used in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga.
      • Here's an obscure one: the file select theme contains a snippet of the high score theme from Vs. Super Mario Bros. (i.e., the slightly-more-difficult arcade version of the original NES game).
    • Paper Mario:
      • The music that plays on the Bullet Bill bridge in Koopa Bros. Fortress is the airship theme from Super Mario Bros. 3.
      • The music that plays during the train ride between Toad Town and Mt. Rugged is a remix of the Kalimari Desert theme from Mario Kart 64.
      • The music for Yoshi's Village is the title theme from Yoshi's Island.
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga features the theme of 'Luigi's Mansion, as well as the theme for Super Mario Bros. 3'''s music box.
    • "Victory in the Dream World" from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team uses the opening melody of "Fight Against Monsters" from Super Mario RPG. Not coincidentally, both games were composed by Yoko Shimomura.
    • Fortune Street contains several previously unloved themes, including the Map Screen and Final Boss theme from Super Mario World.
    • The later games in the Mario Kart series occasionally feature musical references to tracks from earlier in the series or from other Mario-centric games:
      • The intro to Rainbow Road in Mario Kart: Super Circuit is taken from a part of the one in the original.
      • The Rainbow Road music in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features snippets from the Rainbow Road music from both Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64.
      • In Mario Kart Wii, the music for Bowser's Castle opens with a musical nod to the castle theme from the original Super Mario Bros., and the Rainbow Road music references both the Rainbow Road music from Mario Kart DS and the Good Egg Galaxy music from Super Mario Galaxy.
      • In Mario Kart 7, the title screen music references the main theme from Mario Kart Wii (as well as the series' Recurring Riff, the title screen music from Super Mario Kart), while the Rainbow Road music features several references to the Mario Kart 64 version of the track. Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi spectator music is based on the Mario Kart 64 title screen.
  • Pokémon:
    • A version of the bicycle theme from Pokémon Red and Blue/Yellow was used as the Pokemon Catching Contest theme in the Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions. Similarly, the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald versions had the Marine Museum, the background music for which was a slow version of the S.S. Anne theme from RBY.
    • Inexplicably, the theme that plays when you're first starting a new game in Pokemon Battle Revolution is a more upbeat version of the Relic Forest theme from Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness.
    • Upon reaching Kanto in the Gold/Silver/Crystal versions, the Trainer battles start using the Red/Blue/Yellow theme as opposed to the new one used in Johto. This was retained in HeartGold and SoulSilver.
    • All but the first three of the Sevii Islands in FireRed and LeafGreen have music from Gold/Silver/Crystal — Azalea Town's theme on islands Four and Five, Violet City's on islands Six and Seven, and the Route 42 theme on the interconnecting routes.
    • The Platinum/HGSS Frontier Brain battle themes have Emerald's Battle Frontier "main theme" stuck somewhere in the middle. Start listening around 0:50.
    • Pokémon Channel has the player putting together an episode from the anime over the course of the game. The end of that quest finishes with a viewing of the entire episode projected onto the night sky, and as the episode ends, the game plays the 'End of the day' music from Hey You, Pikachu!.
    • Pokémon Rumble features the Viridian Forest Edge theme from HYP as its lobby theme.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky uses the background music of Ravaged Field, Magnetic Quarry, Thunder Meadow, Mt. Discipline, Furnace Desert and Jungle (all from Red/Blue Rescue Team) as the dungeon music for Southern Jungle of Team Charm's special episode.
  • In the MOTHER/EarthBound series of games, many of the songs are either outright recycled, or make a cameo appearance in one way or another. Pollyanna, Snowman, and Humoresque of a Little Dog to be specific. The Plot Coupons from the first two games, (Queen Mary's Song/Gigyas's Lullaby, and the Sound Stone Melodies, both known as The Eight Melodies in each of their respective games, due to each melody being split into 8 parts) are frequently remixed into other songs related to the Mother Franchise. (Queen Mary's song appears in the battle theme for Onett in Super Smash Bros., and the two themes are mixed into a song called Sixteen Melodies for MOTHER 3.) It's justified in the latter game, since most of the songs heard from MOTHER 2 are there due to Porky's nostalgia.
  • Castlevania does this a lot. For instance, the first-level musics from the first three games frequently get remixed and used again in later games in the series.
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was notorious for this; only three or four songs in the whole soundtrack were actually original, the rest being from previous games in the series. It's also used in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, in the game's intro. When the opening text scroll mentions the Belmonts, a little snippet of "Vampire Killer" (the first level music from the original game) plays.
    • Death's theme in Castlevania: Judgment is a combination of the music from the first time he was the final boss ("Evil's Symphonic Poem" from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence) and the music from the first time he was a boss ("Poison Mind" from the original game).
  • Uninvited for the NES featured a room with an old phonograph. If the player used the phonograph, they were treated to a bizarre, off-key rendition of the Shadowgate theme.
  • Oddly, the level 8 theme from Descent quotes "The Death of Åse" from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite. Huh.
  • This occurs in The Legend of Zelda series.
    • The witch Syrup's theme is rearranged from her shop music in the Oracle series, also appearing as the Witch's Hut song way back in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.
    • In the King's Tomb in The Minish Cap for Game Boy Advance, a remix of the original NES dungeon theme plays. And, more importantly, the NES's five-note "item appears" jingle appears here for the first and only time in the game.
    • Wind Waker does this several times, such as on Outset Island and Forest Haven (contains variants of the Kokiri Forest theme, as well as Saria's Song for the latter) and the Ballad of Gales (Minuet of Forest). Also, at least one NPC hums the "item get" music when giving you a piece of heart.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Listen very carefully, and one can hear a snippet of the Goron Lullaby from Majora's Mask in the background music of the Goron Mines dungeon. The Howling Stones also use a few tunes from the previous games, like the Song of Healing, the Requiem of Spirit, and the Ballad of Gales (itself based on the Minuet of Forest). The Sacred Grove music, which is Ocarina's "Saria's Song" over a new piano track, and the Temple of Time, which takes it music straight from Ocarina.
    • The Game Over music from Ocarina of Time has been reused as the first part of A Link Between Worlds' Game Over theme (the other part being taken from the original NES game), the failure theme in the Zelda-themed attraction in Nintendo Land, as well as the Game Over music in Hyrule Warriors.
  • "Into the Wilderness", the Opening theme of the first Wild ARMs game, had been continuously remixed throughout the series, having been used as background music, boss battle music, and post-battle music.
  • The main theme of Wild ARMs 2 is played in Wild ARMs 5 when the cell phone belonging to the Expy of Ashley rings.
  • Pulseman's Neo Tokyo theme was remixed for the Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum rival theme.
  • Persona 3: FES has the pre-main menu song used in Persona 4's class trip.
    • The Persona 3 song "Joy", which plays during most of the Social Link scenes, is used in the opening scene of Persona 4' class trip. Fitting, considering Chihiro makes a prominent appearance.
    • When the group visits Club Escapade at Paulownia Mall, the band on stage is playing "P3 Fes," the opening theme of the updated edition Persona 3 FES.
    • Persona 3 Portable plays Persona 4 music playing during the Female Main character's trip to Inaba.
    • For that matter, you can ask Fuuka to play various music tracks from Persona ("Persona" and "Snow Queen") and Persona 2 ("Time Castle" and a dramatic version of "Maya's Theme.") Notable in that the original game's Snow Queen Quest was axed in the rather bad English translation, and thus its musical theme was only present as FES' "BGM 01" (until Persona's PSP Updated Re-release).
  • Mega Man:
  • Metal Gear:
  • Another Code R starts using the music from the first game during the final few chapters, starting with a particularly jarring moment: the reunion music from the first game when Ashley meets her dad is replayed as Matthew breaks his Trauma-Induced Amnesia and remembers how he accidentally let go of his sister's hand playing on the Lake Juliet dock, leading to her drowning in the lake.
  • Metroid:
  • Chrono Cross uses Lucca's Theme for its victory fanfare. The overworld theme for the Home dimension is also a tropical-sounding remix of one of the 1,000 AD pieces of map music (i.e. the one that plays when away from towns) from Chrono Trigger.
  • In the various guest Bonus Boss instances of tri-Ace games (e.g. Lenneth and Freya in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time or Gabriel Celeste in Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria) music from their original games will play. The Bonus Dungeon of Valkyrie Profile also shares a theme with the Maze of Tribulations from the Star Ocean games.
  • Spore has one during the civilization and space stage when ever you hover over a city that isn't yours. It's "Grunge City" from Sim City 4 Deluxe.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts 'N Bolts has this all over the damn place. Virtually every single piece of music from the game has nods to songs from not only previous games in the franchise itself, but also from other games made by Rare like Conker's Bad Fur Day and Donkey Kong 64.
  • The Starbase stage from Turtles in Time uses an arranged version of the music from Krang's ship in The Manhattan Project.
  • The final segment of Sonic Adventure's Windy Valley is accompanied by the Green Grove theme from the Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast. Likewise, the latter's Panic Puppet (Act 1) theme is used in the former's Twinkle Park level.
  • The hang gliding music in Pilotwings Resort contains snippets of its counterpart from Pilotwings 64.
  • The fanfare when the boss door opens in Donkey Kong 64 is an arrangement of the one that accompanies the elusive "Stop-N-Swop" items from Banjo-Kazooie (both games were composed by Grant Kirkhope).
  • Mushihime Sama Futari's Stage 3 BGM, Shinjuu Forest Rebel Army?, takes a page out of Mushihime-sama's final stage BGM, The One Who is Always in the Forest.
  • In DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu, a somewhat different version of the stage BGM plays if you access a hidden path in stages 2, 3, or 4. In Stage 2, the music shares a phase with "Colored Rainbow", the stage 2 BGM of DoDonPachi Dai-Ou-Jou. Stage 3 borrows from the stage 3 BGM of the original, and stage 4 has a segment from the Dai-Ou-Jou boss battle theme DoDonPachi.
  • The theme song of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim incorporates musical elements from previous iterations of the Elder Scrolls theme, notably a similarity to the drums of Morrowind's theme and a segment of Oblivion's theme near the end (about 3:00 into the Skyrim theme, the original musical cue comes from this segment of the Oblivion theme.)
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, parts of Chapter 24's music are taken from the first Kid Icarus's castle theme. Also, Chapter 4's music uses variations on the first game's "angry Reaper" music as its motif. To make this clearer, the original version plays whenever a Reaper spots Pit.
  • The various hidden maps in Vandal Hearts II are each accompanied by one of three tracks not heard elsewhere in the game; all three are more densely-orchestrated versions of battle themes from Vandal Hearts I.
  • In The Great Circus Mystery (Disney's Magical Quest 2), you get to fight a living painting of Emperor Pete, the final boss from the first Magical Quest, complete with the same music.
  • Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, being a genre swap of previous titles, understandably reuses a lot of music. One worth mentioning, which is played during Wesker's first mission, is a combination of two tunes: "Wreckage of the Mad Experiment" from Resident Evil 2 and Wesker's theme from the original Resident Evil. And it sounds awesome.
  • Dot Hack GU character Tri-Edge has an action-packed, rather dark theme... which mysteriously contains a brief snippet of the calm and peaceful Mac Anu music from the first set of games, heavily contrasting the rest of the theme. At first this merely seems to be a nod to the fact that Tri-Edge shares Kite's design but it turns out to be a hint at his true nature as a defender of the system, and therefore on the side of the heroes.
  • Nina and Anna's Tekken 5 endings contain a snippet of "Endless Warfare," the theme of Raphael in Soulcalibur III. (Thanks to the presence of Yoshimitsu in both series, Tekken and the Soul series are generally assumed and all but stated to exist centuries apart within the same timeline.)
  • In Mokujin's Tag Tournament 2 ending, he's invited to Bandai Namco Entertainment's Future Research Laboratory. After hitting it off with a female Mokujin and then toying with her affections, Mokujin is "escorted" out of the premises. The Dig Dug death jingle plays.
  • The Game Boy version of Tetris Attack remixes the SNES game's/Panel de Pon's credits music to include Yoshi's theme, a remix of the story music-box from Yoshi's Island. This remix is what the GameCube Nintendo Puzzle Collection remake/sequel of Panel de Pon bases its ending theme on, including the snippet of Yoshi's theme.
  • In World of Warcraft the music used during the Pet Battle minigame is all remixes of music from Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft II.

    Visual Novel 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Trials and Tribulations uses a slightly altered version the first game's Pursuit ~ Cornered for the very final confrontation.
    • In the end of Case 3-4, Justice For All's courtroom theme plays; this being the only time it plays outside of its own game.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney uses the original Objection! theme when Phoenix objects in the first case, and reuses LOTS of music from the first game in "flashbacks" in the final case.
  • Virtue's Last Reward recycles several tracks, including the title theme, from its predecessor, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.

    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.


Example of: