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Solemn Ending Theme

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This is my cheesy song for an RPG
Artistically invalid, but it rhymes sufficiently
And now it modulates to D
because it is the saddest of keys
To denote the tragic romance
That ended so predictably
"Cheesy RPG Song", ending theme of Turn Based Battle

An emotional, solemn, usually slow-paced song played during the credits. Common especially in anime and video games.

The most common type is a pensive, retrospective or sad Anime Theme Song, but it can be an instrumental tune as well. Since except in some cases the soundtrack usually supports the temper of the ending, this is often a sign of a bittersweet or Downer Ending. May also appear for a show's Grand Finale (with or without special Finale Credits). You may expect this to be accompanied by a Credits Montage.

In shows with a Wrap-Up Song, the final number may be a slower and sadder version of the main theme. In these cases, the "sorrow" of having to say goodbye to the viewers is mostly comic exaggeration (and they're careful to mention that they'll be back again tomorrow).

This trope is used often differently in anime, where the opening theme is usually more exciting in order to build excitement for the coming show while the closing theme is more somber to provide a resting period or moment of reflection between shows.

Tropes and styles commonly found in a Solemn Ending Theme:

Preferably provide links to the song (Youtube or otherwise) when adding examples. Take care, linked credits videos might obviously contain ending spoilers; to prevent this, it would be optimal to link the song without the credits video or mark credits videos as such.

Sister trope to Album Closure.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Emperor's New Groove has its' credits play the very solemn, sentimental "My Funny Friend and Me" by Sting. This is a leftover from when the film was originally going to be a more traditional, grand Disney animated musical, before it was eventually turned into the zany buddy comedy it's known as today. It's a bit jarring coming after the bombastic, energetic final note of Kuzco's theme that plays over the "The End" card.
  • Hercules transitions to the powerful, but emotional cover of "Go the Distance" by Michael Bolton to emphasize the scope of Hercules' journey to becoming a true hero.
  • Pooh's Grand Adventure has a rock ballad cover of the film's song "Wherever You Are" play. It fits considering the film is a Darker and Edgier story for the Pooh franchise and has a Bittersweet Ending perfect for a cover that adds onto the song's already tearjerking qualities with some uplifting power ballad material.

    Films — Live Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Better Call Saul has several episodes in the series which have different themes.
    • The third season finale, Lantern, has the track "Fallen Lantern" playing to fit with the ending that involves Chuck's death.
    • The series finale, Saul Gone, has the track "Saul Done" playing instead.
  • Blackadder: Fittingly, examples of this happen in the Downer Ending of both the first and (especially) the fourth season (the other two did not have enough of an emotional impact to warrant any change in the credits). The first ends with a solemn child's angelic voice singing lyrics more serious than the usual credits song and the fourth has no credits at all and ends with a mournful reprise of the theme and a fadeout to some poppies.
  • The Book of Pooh has a sad sounding song at the end of each episode in which Winnie the Pooh and his friends bid goodbye to the viewer(s) and assure them that there will be more "adventures on the way."
  • UFO (1970) has a fast upbeat opening theme but closes with an ominous atmospheric piece.
  • Game of Thrones, especially after important characters kick the bucket. The credits music at the end of "Baelor" is particularly sad, and "The Rains of Castamere" has no ending credits music at all, due to the shock and tragedy of the Red Wedding.
  • The ending theme of The Incredible Hulk (1977), "The Lonely Man".
  • Kamen Rider BLACK: "Long Long Ago 20th Century"
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The end-credit song at the end of episode 8x01 is called Where the Shadows Lie. The song is the poem Tolkien wrote about the rings, being performed by Fiona Apple in a ominous, hopeless manner.
  • The Mickey Mouse Club. "Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company..."
  • Friday episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1971-72 closed with the solemn-sounding "Weekend Song".
    • A part of this song would also serve as the coda to the closing version of "It's Such A Good Feeling" used since 1972, but the solemn effect was less pronounced because the preceding portion was upbeat, and the tempo picked up again for the instrumental as Mister Rogers said his closing words.
  • Used on the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, in which an acoustic guitarist played the Liberty Bell March. It sounded like a brand-new guitarist was playing it, slightly halting and unsure. Strangely, it works.
  • Parodied by the version of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 "Love Theme" that plays over the show's closing credits, which is a much slower, more ponderous instrumental version of the theme sung over the opening credits.
  • The Sweeney has a fast-paced opening theme as befits an action-packed cop show, but the closing titles use a surprisingly low-key arrangement of the same theme.
  • Archaeology show Time Team has a slower ending theme without its usual drumbeats that it uses on "special" shows where they may be investigating things like WW2 archaeology or other sites that had a significant death count.
  • Tutti Frutti episode 5 ended with a character's suicide. In place of the usual closing credits theme, Tutti Frutti by Little Richard, this episode ended with a lone guitar playing a haunting instrumental version of Love Hurts (a song that had been a recurring theme through the episode), while the credits appeared in red on a stark black screen instead of their usual multicoloured appearance.
  • Most episodes of Once Upon a Time end with a quiet and almost haunting sounding piano tune.
  • Jeopardy!:
  • The final scene of the Grand Finale of Breaking Bad is set to "Baby Blue" by Badfinger. It plays just as Walter dies.
  • In the last episode of The Terror, a reprise of "The Silver Swan", which was sung after the death of one of the characters earlier in the series, plays with the credits.
    Farewell, all joys; Oh death, come close mine eyes;
    More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.
  • This trope was quite popular in Australia throughout the 1980s and 90s, being regularly used in many of their classic dramas, some of which include The Sullivans, Sons and Daughters, A Country Practice and Home and Away.
  • The Mandalorian had a solemn ending theme for Chapter 7: "The Reckoning", symbolizing the Darkest Hour nature of the episode.
  • The final episode of The Colbert Report ends with Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945", as a tribute to Stephen Colbert's father and two of his brothers, who were killed in the crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 in 1974.
  • Jejak Suara Adzan uses Rizky Febian and Aisyah Aziz' "Indah Pada Waktunya", a solemn song about someone longing and waiting for another, somewhat fitting for a show about a son traveling far away from his mother to find his long-lost brother.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: "A Rose in December", featured in the two-part Tragic Aids Story, "Lucas", is played during the end credits. Also qualifies as a Melancholy Musical Number all through the story.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Mick Foley first appeared as "Mankind" in the WWF, he had two themes, an entrance theme and a different, more solemn exit theme that played when he won a match.

  • The primary phase of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) ends with a recording of Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."
  • While most episodes of Adventures in Odyssey end with a reprise of their signature upbeat theme-tune, episodes that either deal with serious subject matter or are just considerably darker (if not both) than the usual episode end with a slower and more solemn version of the usual theme. "Mortal Coil", "Blaackgard's Revenge" are couple of examples of this.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • At the end of the first episode of Seaon 8 of Dragons: The Nine Realms, Jun breaks up with Tom as a result of the latter breaking a promise. The sad music which played during the break-up scene continues playing as the credits roll.
  • The ending for the Linus the Lionhearted show (1964) was like a funeral dirge. All the characters were sadly placing their props in a trunk, ending with Billie Bird sweeping up the spotlight afterwards.
  • The Porky Pig Show ending starts off sadly but perks up when they say they'll be back next week.
  • Likewise, Matty's Funday Funnies had its end theme start out a slow and sad verse, but then perks up for the rest of the song.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Mother Simpson" ends with a sad orchestral piece rather than the usual Simpsons credits theme as Homer sitting alone on the boot of his car for hours, well into the night. At that time, Fox started ending shows with split-screen credits with ads for Fox shows playing over it. The Simpsons staff had to fight tooth-and-nail to have the full studio credits play over that beautiful shot — and they got it.
    • "The Homer They Fall" ends with the emotional "People" accompanying images of Moe aiding people in need around the world.
    • "Diary Queen", the show's belated tribute to Marcia Wallace and her character, Edna Krabappel, ends with a montage of her life, accompanied by Bread's "Diary".
  • Summer Camp Island occasionally has the spooky "Witches' Lullaby" play instead of the usual upbeat "Witches' Samba" to indicate that something important to the show's lore happened in the episode.
  • While not quite the end credits, leading to Mood Whiplash when the actual credits do come on, the two season finales of The Trap Door conclude with a piece of instrumental music that would not sound out of place at a funeral. Listen here.


Video Example(s):


Mother Simpson Ending

When Homer's long-lost mother is forced to flee Springfield after a brief reunion, Homer tearfully waves her goodbye as she drives into the sunset, then sits and watches the stars as the credits roll with a sad orchestral piece rather than the usual Simpsons credits theme. At that time, Fox started ending shows with split-screen credits with ads for Fox shows playing over it. The Simpsons staff had to fight tooth-and-nail to have the full studio credits play over that beautiful shot — and they got it.

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