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People in Real Life usually don't have music following them everywhere they go. But often people do find they've got some underscoring happening in their life — be it from their car radio as they're driving, a band at a bar, or a street musician outside.

Source Music, also known as diegetic music, is Truth in Television in this regard: it's music that the characters can hear (or perform) themselves, and that would be playing even if the scene were happening in real life. Of course, the music usually serves a dramatic purpose as well: either it helps establish setting and character, or it comments on the action happening in the foreground.

See also In-Universe Soundtrack, Suspiciously Apropos Music, AM/FM Characterization, Mocking Music, and Left the Background Music On. Characters who may provide Source Music include The Piano Player, the Street Musician, and the Wandering Minstrel. Someone else may react with Musical Number Annoyance. If Source Music becomes Background Music in mid-stream, that's a Diegetic Switch. Also see Diegetic Musical.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Given the realistic nature of the show, all the music in BECK is either played live, on a music player, or played in an Imagine Spot.
  • The music in one scene of the Cowboy Bebop episode "Black Dog Serenade" seems to be diegetic, in that the music stops suddenly when the view cuts to Fad turning off a monitor before going to confront the episode's bad guy.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind there is a scene of a few characters triumphantly torturing a defeated enemy for information while dancing to the song "Canzone Preferite" which they were shown putting into and playing on their jukebox.
  • An instrumental version of "Let's Stay Together" plays in one episode of Monster, when Roberto and Eva are dancing. In Another Monster, Eva says that this is one of Tenma's favorite songs.
  • Macross has diegetic music almost everywhere courtesy of there being at least one character who is an Idol Singer. In general, if the song has lyrics, it's probably diegetic, but the score is generally extra-diegetic.
    • Macross 7 was unique in that it had no score, just a guy who really, really, really likes to sing and play the guitar and quite often broadcast it over the entire battlefield. Incidentally, this made all the music of Macross 7 diegetic. Any other instances of music was clearly being played from a radio, such as Sharon Apple's music from Mylene's car radio.
    • Macross Frontier toyed with the line several times, such as during the first episode in which Sheryl is giving a concert at the same time as a battle with the Vajra takes place outside the fleet, cutting between the two locations but never stopping the song, but no one seems to be aware of the other. There's no indication the soldiers could hear Sheryl's song, or that anyone at the concert was aware of the battle taking place. Except the Vajra, who we learn much later in the show attacked because they could hear Sheryl's song through fold waves.
      • Frontier also gives one of the few cases (possibly the only case in all of Macross) of music with lyrics being used as extra-diegetic: the epilogue of the series has the two lead females talking while the background music is both of them singing the series' main theme song.
  • An episode of Naruto: Rock Lee and his Ninja Pals had Killer Bee as a DJ playing his music at a party.

    Comic Books 
  • Lampshaded and played straight in W.I.T.C.H.. The recently arrived at Earth, Orube, comments how funny the TV seems to be here, and the one thing that catches her attention most is that people inside the movies always seem to be accompanied by music in some scenes. At the end of the comic she decides to go out and in that same moment her neighbor is playing the piano, she approves of his playing skills and decides that tune to be her personal soundtrack.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Happens multiple times in the animated 101 Dalmatians film, often in scenes where Roger is composing music.
  • In Turning Red, most of the times the original songs are played, they are diegetic. Plus, two non-original songs are played diegetically.
  • The War to End All Wars – The Movie: A museum employee in the epilogue is shown listening to "The Red Baron" from Sabaton's previous album The Great War on his headphones.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • All the music in Dracula (1931). There was no real musical soundtrack in the film because it was believed that, with sound being such a recent innovation in films, the audience would not accept hearing music in a scene if there was no explanation for it being there (e.g., the orchestra playing off camera when Dracula meets Mina at the theatre).
  • With the notable exception of "The Power of Love", all songs in Back to the Future are diegetic, either being performed by the film's characters ("Earth Angel", "Johnny B. Goode") or heard on the radio in-universe (everything else). Even "Back in Time", which plays over the end credits, is first heard on the clock-radio in Marty's bedroom. Averted by Alan Silvestri's score, which is non-diegetic.
  • The China Syndrome is notable for having only diegetic music. The soundtrack for the movie was disliked and scrapped. In fact, when 1000 copies of Michael Small's original score was released in 2009, it sold out within 24 hours.
  • American Graffiti is another example where all the music is diegetic (save for The Beach Boys' "All Summer Long", played over the closing credits; which is just as well, given that that song came out in 1964 and the movie is set in '62).
  • Mogambo is another example of a movie with only diegetic music. There are various scenes where African tribesmen are chanting or singing, and Ava Gardner sings a song in one scene, but there's no score.
  • Going My Way has no background music other than what plays over the opening titles. But it was a Bing Crosby vehicle, so Bing sings, the young lady he's giving singing lessons to sings, the church choir he's organizing sings, and just as a bonus, a friend of Father O'Malley's sings the "Habanera" aria from Carmen.
  • Matt Monro's "From Russia with Love" is heard over the radio in the film with the same name.
  • The 2001 short film My Chorus' revolved around this trope: the main character, Ed, is followed around by a barbershop quartet which provides the diegetic music for his life.
  • Used twice for comic effect in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. The first time is when John Slade leaves his apartment and is immediately followed down the street by a jazz band waiting outside, playing an instrumental version of the Shaft theme. When he meets up with Jack Spade, who asks who these men are, John remarks that they're "his theme music. Every hero should have some."
    • At the end of the film, a pair of rappers and a DJ with a portable turntable arrived to meet Jack after he becomes the big hero. John Slade asks who they are and Jack repeats the line about theme music. They then perform the music that is used for the ending credits.
  • The Coen Brothers are fond of this trope:
    • Almost all music in The Big Lebowski is revealed to be diegetic at some point. The only exception is the stranger's theme song and the music during one of the dream sequences. The music in the first is shown to be from the Dude's Walkman.
    • Literally all music in O Brother, Where Art Thou? is diegetic, remarkably for a film crammed wall-to-wall with music.
    • Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" is played through transistor radio headphones at various points of A Serious Man.
  • Occurs in The Crow when T-Bird pulls up in his car and turns it off, stopping the music as if it had been coming from his car radio.
  • Academy Award-winning Polish film Ida has pop music playing on the radio, and a couple of scenes with a band playing in a nightclub, and one character plays records on her stereo. But the only score is a Bach piece that plays over the last scene.
  • In Oldboy (2003) the main character's phone rings with a digitized version of the song "Cries and Whispers" which plays occasionally in a non-diegetic fashion during the film.
  • Much of the music in Casablanca is played on a piano by the character Sam, or by the nightclub's band. However, there is still some non-diegetic music and the occasional Diegetic Switch.
  • Quentin Tarantino is a fan of this trope:
    • Reservoir Dogs: K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies, specifically when Mr. Blonde tortures the cop while dancing to the radio
    • Kill Bill: when Elle Driver is walking through the hospital she whistles a tune; there is a Diegetic Switch.
      • Also, with The 5, 6, 7, 8s in the House of Blue Leaves scene.
      • In Part 2, when Budd is in his trailer listening to a record.
    • Death Proof: Jungle Julia calls a radio station to request a song.
    • Any point in Jackie Brown when someone is in their car, a song is likely to be playing on the radio.
  • All of the music in Rear Window is ambient sound heard in the courtyard set, and is a major part of a pivotal moment.
  • Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 both have scenes where street musicians play the theme song from the old Spider-Man television series. The third features the (insufficiently strong) singing voice of Mary Jane Watson.
  • A lot of the music in Rio Bravo is source music, from the playing of Deguello to wear down the besieged to Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing and whistling. This was a conscious choice by director Howard Hawks to the overpowering non-diegetic use of the theme tune and song in High Noon. Funnily enough, Dimitri Tiomkin composed the score for both films.
  • Apocalypse Now has the infamous scene in which Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries is played during a helicopter raid as a means of "psychological warfare".
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, AC/DC's "Back In Black" is playing during the opening scene as the Hummvees are driving through the desert. When we cut to the inside of one of the Hummvees, it turns out "Back In Black" is what's playing on the boombox nestled between the driver and front passenger seat.
    • In Iron Man 2, Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" is played by a DJ at Tony's request when he and Rhodes fight.
    • Then in The Avengers, he overrides the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet's PA system to blare AC/DC as he swoops in to take on Loki.
    • In both Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the music that the audience hears is often from Peter listening to his Walk Man.
    • At the end of Werewolf by Night (2022), Jack and Ted are chatting as "Over the Rainbow" plays on a stolen phonograph.
  • In Three Kings, when one of the soldiers wants to listen to heavy metal music while going into battle. Another soldier criticizes his musical choice and suggest they go into battle with something soothing to calm their nerves and plays an easy-listening song which also provides a little Lyrical Dissonance..
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • There's a subversion in The Curse of the Black Pearl — when Elizabeth first sees the cursed pirated in their skeletal forms, two of them are sitting on the capstan and playing music — but we can't hear what they're playing, just the background music.
    • In Dead Man's Chest, Davy Jones' theme is a haunting combination of a tune first played from a music box and then played on an Ominous Pipe Organ, and actually comes from his musical locket which is his only memory of the love he used to have, and is played by him on the Flying Dutchman's organ, respectively.
    • In On Stranger Tides, there's the tavern band in Tortuga accompanying a barroom brawl with a merry hornpipe, and Scrum playing tango music to which Jack and Angelica can dance.
  • In American Psycho, Patrick plays Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis and the News while he murders Paul with an axe.
  • A New Hope, the first Star Wars film, had "Cantina Band" and "Cantina Band 2", which was being played live by a group of alien musicians to set the mood of the space bar where they meet Han Solo. Return of the Jedi also had the "Ewok Celebration" or "Victory Celebration", depending on which version you watch.
  • Star Trek Beyond applies this concept to the Beastie Boys song "Sabotage" and weaponises it.
  • In several scenes in Children of Men, the music is coming from radios, stereos or TV screens in the landscape, and are affected by the events surrounding. Perhaps a more literal use of this trope occurs after the bombing in the first scene where we here the ringing in lead character Theo's ears, which is a recurring motif for the first act of the film.
  • Lampshaded in Baseket Ball, where the music on Coop's radio is oddly specific.
  • Lampshaded in High Anxiety, when dramatic music is revealed as being played from a passing "Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra" bus.
  • And lampshaded again in Blazing Saddles, when Count Basie and his Orchestra show up in the middle of the desert. Apparently Mel Brooks was fond of this trope.
  • Final Destination
    • This trope is weaponized in the first movie, in which the characters narrowly escape death in a plane crash. Ever since, every time "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver (who died in a plane crash in Real Life) plays in-universe, it's a warning that Death is about to strike.
    • Final Destination 3 has two of them:
      • "Love Rollercoaster" by the Ohio Players. This is what Ashley and Ashlyn are listening to at Phoneix Tanning. It alludes to the rollercoaster accident they were supposed to die on, but others have also pointed out the ominous urban legend of the woman screaming was her actually being murdered or supposedly dying in a rollercoaster accident. At that point, both their fates are obvious but the music really helps emphasize it.
      • "Turn Around, Look at Me" by The Vogues. This song is a constant motif in the film, which always plays just before Death is about the strike.
      • The song first suddenly starts playing on the radio in Kevin's car and is what tips Wendy of the runaway truck approaching the drive-through that is hurtling right behind them. It's particularly glaring with the lyric, "There is someone walking behind you."
      • It returns when Wendy is rushing to the Centennial in her car, where she is trying to prevent her sister's Julie, the other person with her (Perry) and Kevin's deaths but also alludes to the fact Ian is in the car behind her, following her.
      • And finally, with the singer on Train 081. The singer, along with a gust of wind a constant omen of Death, is what clues Wendy to the true meaning of her photograph with Jason's blurry face, much how a train blurs focus when it's moving, her photo really represents she is meant to die on the train.
    • In Final Destination 4, when the redneck suffers Death by Racism, "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War plays on his car radio.
  • Invoked by Betty and later by Chosen One in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist with a boom box carrying mook.
  • One of the rules of Dogme '95, a short-lived but influential independent film movement, mandated all sound be produced in scene during shooting. Diegetic music featured (mostly) in the films co-drafters Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg directed to demonstrate their manifesto.
  • In Bruce Almighty, the title character uses his newly-acquired divine powers to command the stereo to turn on and play the romantic music that follows.
  • Nearly all the music in Hal Ashby's 1975 film Shampoo consists of '60s hits played on characters' radios. The only non-diegetic music in the film is a wordless, hummed version of Paul Simon's "Silent Eyes".
  • In The Long Kiss Goodnight, England Dan and John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," is playing on the radio, where Mitch and Samantha are listening, and the two of them get into a discussion because he's mondegreening the lyrics of the song.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Daft Punk (who scored the film to start with) are DJs inside the End of Line Club. Come the fight scene, they look at each other, nod, and switch to a way more intense track.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, the Big Bad Immortan Joe brings his background music with him into battle, in the shape of a truck carrying a horde of taiko drummers and a blind maniac playing a double-necked electric guitar that shoots fire. It's that kind of film.
  • Things Change: The soundtrack for the opening credits is an Italian-style solo on mandolin. As the scene fades in, we see someone playing a mandolin. He stops, tunes it, plays some more, tries another mandolin off a wall, and takes it to the cash register of the music shop he's in. He passes by two characters who are actually relevant to the movie, and the plot begins.
  • Predator has the main cast listening to "Long Tall Sally" on the chopper's PA during the flight in-country. Later towards the movie's climax, Mac sings the song himself as he's slowly going mad from being hunted by the Predator.
  • The soundtrack for the opening credits of Young Adult comes from the protagonist repeatedly listening to Concept by Teenage Fanclub, complete with tape rewinding noises.
  • Chicago has an actual musical performance at the beginning of the movie, and a second at the end. Basically all the other music is characterized as Imagine Spots by showbiz-obsessed protagonist Roxie Hart, often juxtaposed against the "Real Life" depiction of the same event. The result is that every song is diegetic. This is particularly impressive given that Chicago is a movie musical.
  • In Sweet Country, the only non-diagetic music is a gospel song that plays over the end credits. Otherwise, the only music in the film is what the characters make themselves.
  • Black Panther (2018): Invoked by the Laughably Evil Klaue while he's getting ready for a car Chase Scene:
    "Put some music on! What do you think this is, a funeral?"
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire: The film has almost no soundtrack to reflect how precious Héloïse finds music in a time period where recordings don't exist and concerts are typically a privilege only enjoyed by the rich. As such, the only three instances of music are entirely diegetic and very significant: the scene of Marianne playing a bit of "Summer" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons on the harpsichord for Héloïse, the women singing at the bonfire, and the ending scene, in which Marianne witnesses Héloïse being moved to tears while listening to a full orchestra play "Summer."
  • Kolya: Because several characters are musicians, there are more instances throughout the film. In a more notable mixed example, when Kolya's plane leaves at the end, a passage from Bedřich Smetana's "Tábor" begins to play, appearing at first to be just traditional soundtrack - but the next scenes reveal it is actually a piece being played by the symphonic orchestra at the concert where Louka is welcomed back.
  • Bicentennial Man:
    • Andrew has an old record player which he restores and uses to play opera music.
    • Galatea has a music player inside her body, and in her introduction she is seen activating it by slapping her hip. She also sings, sometimes along with the music and sometimes acapella.
  • Played with in The Cocoanuts; due to Executive Meddling, an orchestra was hired to be in the lobby to justify where the background music throughout the film was coming from. In the final cut, they are only clearly visible in the party scene... and it was all for nothing as the audience didn't care anyway.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bill does this all the time, but it's more pop music than anything plot-specific.
  • In the Season 3 finale of The Boys, Kimiko plays "Maniac" by Michael Sembello from her phone while killing the Vought Tower guards to protect Frenchie while he makes the Novichok.
  • The Office (US) only uses this kind of music, though it sometimes cheats slightly and lays formerly diegetic music over another scene. An example of the latter is when Jim's brothers start playing Chris Brown's "Forever" as a prank during Jim and Pam's church wedding and it then plays over a montage of the wedding dance and their earlier secret elopement.
  • Lost has employed various strategies to incorporate source music into island scenes. In the first season, it could only be played on Hurley's CD player, until his batteries ran out. In season two, the Losties found a Dharma station full of vinyl records. In season 3, Jack listens to Nirvana in his car. As a Musical Gag, the source music was often recorded by artists who died in plane crashes, such as Patsy Cline, Glenn Miller, Otis Redding, and Buddy Holly.
    • A reprise of Claire singing "Catch a Falling Star" in season 6 was the only time a song was played that wasn't from an in-universe source.
  • Source music on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was often in the form of bands playing at The Bronze.
    • It occasionally bleeds into subsequent scenes, too. In "Sleeper", guest-artist Aimee Mann and her band kick up the volume during a violent encounter between Spike and another vampire in the Bronze's loft. Later, as the band leaves the stage, Mann mutters, "Man, I hate playing vampire towns."
  • Battlestar Galactica had this in the season finale for season 3, where "All Along The Watchtower" is playing through the Galactica. Turns out that only the four Cylons still on board can hear it, and in the series finale, the song is the key to getting to Earth.
  • In the season 1 finale of Supernatural, Credence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" plays in the Impala while the car is totaled by a semi as Sam is driving Dean and John to the hospital.The music continues to play afterwards, as we get a view of the bloody and unconscious Winchesters, and the demonic driver of the semi. If you listen to the lyrics, they're very ominous.
  • The Wire, as a rule, only uses music that the characters are listening to and no other music, with the exception of one musical montage allowed per season.
  • Top Gear (UK): in the Botswana special, during a montage of Richard tearfully trying to fix his beloved (waterlogged) Oliver, a sad song begins playing in the background... And then the camera zooms out and you see that it's coming from Hammond's walkie-talkie, and it's actually Jeremy playing tragic songs on what appears to be an iPod. He and James then giggle and howl along to the music, explaining Hammond's frown.
  • In the first season finale for Monty Python's Flying Circus, snippets of Percy Faith's "Theme from A Summer Place" was used during the Intermission title cards.
  • Parodied in one episode of Community, which includes diegetic Chirping Crickets during an awkward silence. (Inside the school, during the day.)
  • In Generation Kill, the only music is from the characters singing.
  • Played for laughs when Bob Hope guest-starred on The Muppet Show. The music for a Western musical number turned out to be coming from a tape player in the horse's saddle.
    Bob Hope: (to the audience) Huh. Stereophonic horse.
  • In season 4 of Arrested Development, it's a running gag that every time Gob gets depressed (which is frequently), "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel plays in the background. In episode 11, there's a scene where the song starts to play again, causing Gob to turn around and realize that it's being played by a passing mariachi band, commenting "Oh, it's not us!"
  • In Lie to Me, the episode "Dirty Loyal" has Cal put on "I'm In the Mood" by John Lee Hooker so the shooters coming into the house would let their guard down. Soundtrack Dissonance ensues.
  • In HBO's Westworld, the pianola in the Mariposa saloon is often set to play piano versions of various popular songs, such as No Surprises by Radiohead or Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden. The music is played to please the guests of the park's saloon, but the lyrics of the original songs also tend to relate to the scene at hand.


  • In Der Rosenkavalier, the Baron hires a small orchestra to play Tafelmusik to entertain him during his courting of "Mariandel," which ends disastrously for him. As the Baron departs in disgrace, payment is demanded for the musicians.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VI, while one of your characters is impersonating an opera singer, a monster attacks the rest of the party, who end up on the main stage. The Impressario, having had his leading man knocked out by the attack, decides to roll with it, and gets the orchestra to provide the musical accompaniment for the fight scene.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Everyone in the party is horrified by the awful marching music blaring out of Junon when Rufus Shinra arrives.
      • There are two pianos in Nibelheim which the player can play. Playing Cloud's Theme on the piano in Tifa's old bedroom causes Cloud to remark that he's 'heard this melody somewhere before', as well as providing you with an important endgame item for Tifa if you're far enough through the game.
    • Early in Final Fantasy IX, Zidane can hear Garnet singing and looks for her. As he searches, the BGM is Garnet's voice. Subverted in that she's accompanied by a harp in the BGM, but seems to be singing a cappella once Zidane reaches her.
    • Most arrangements of "The Hymn of the Fayth" in Final Fantasy X are ostensibly source music, sung by the Fayth themselves or by unseen monks.
    • In Final Fantasy X-2, the cutscene that shows the Big Bad trying to activate Vegnagun for the first time is accompanied by a haunting piano theme, which is being on said LostSuperweapon itself.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise", "Moonlight Sonata" and the infamous Horst-Wessel-Lied (the National Anthem of Nazi Germany) can be heard playing on phonographs and radios in Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
  • The eponymous mission of Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch has a radio playing rock-n-roll music in one of the offices, and it can be destroyed if it annoys you.
    • Another example in Raven Shield: a laptop plays Ave Maria by Franz Schubert in one of the missions.
  • The short-lived game based on Battle Force 5 invokes this immediately prior to the final section of the final level, with Vert asking Stanford to play them some music from Reverb. When gameplay resumes, said final section - the team driving to the portal that leads back to earth - is underscored by none other than the series' main theme.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:
      • This trope is invoked in order to help the player navigate the Lost Woods: if the music, which Saria is playing, gets quieter, you know you're going the wrong way.
      • A faint Ominous Pipe Organ can be heard as Link makes his way through Ganondorf's castle, growing louder as he climbs the stairs. Once Link reaches the top, Ganondorf is revealed to be playing the music himself.
      • There's also the man from the windmill in post-Time Skip Kakariko Village, who's playing the Song of Storms, which Link can learn from him. It turns out Link actually taught it to him pre-time skip, thus creating an ontological paradox.
    • In Twilight Princess, the Skull Kid has you play a game of hide-and-seek with him in the Sacred Grove; if you can hear his horn playing Saria's Song, you'll know you're getting close to his location.
    • In Breath of the Wild, you'll know that Kass the bard is near whenever you hear accordion music. If you meet him at any of the Stables or after he returns to Rito Village, he'll even be playing along with the otherwise extra-diegetic background music.
  • Like most Valve games, Portal's soundtrack tends to be very atmospheric and minimalistic, but the first sound in the game is a cheerful samba version of the game's theme song, "Still Alive," coming from a radio in the cell you start the game in. The same music is used later, coming from a very oddly-located second radio, as you navigate a level full of deadly turrets. Alternatively serves as a Theme Music Power-Up for some players, calming them down so they can finish the first "scary" level of Portal. Super effective if they already know the song.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has usable jukeboxes in a few levels, as well as an actual rock concert in the "Dark Carnival" finale.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid plays Psycho Mantis's theme over some unrelated conversations, and the characters comment on it. It turns out that the tune is actually Mantis's 'mind control music' and a side-effect of using his powers. Extended canon has that the song is a piece of Russian classical music he remembers from his childhood, and people hear it by 'feedback'.
    • The funniest example is in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, when Snake enters Granin's office, and he's listening to a Sixties pop cover of the Metal Gear Solid theme tune on his record player.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots adds an iPod to Snake's inventory, which the player can listen to rather than the usual background music in an area. The best bit? Grab an enemy in CQC and play specific songs while holding him, and he will actually hear it and react in some manner.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain features a Walkman as a period-appropriate equivalent to the iPod, as well as a loudspeaker as a purchasable upgrade for your support helicopter which can also play music. The description for the upgrade questions whether it has any appreciable purpose, but notes the psychological value it might have. In the PC version, you can play anything from your music library on either the Walkman or loudspeaker, no matter how silly.
  • The music of A Normal Lost Phone comes from Sam's playlist, which you can change in the music app as you investigate the phone's contents.
  • Soldier of Fortune II: In the Helicopter Extraction level, the pilot turns on Wagner's "Ride Of The Valkyries" for mood music (the box gets shot out shortly after, though). This, of course is a Shout-Out to Apocalypse Now.
    • The final mission of Soldier of Fortune: Payback is set in a dance club, with a diegetic techno soundtrack.
  • Super Metroid: Samus can find Eticoons, teddy bear-like creatures that demonstrate wall-jumping to her. Upon meeting her for the first time, they sing the Item Get! fanfare universal to the Metroid franchise, perhaps to indicate that she should follow them.
  • Halo:
    • In certain locations in every Bungie-made game, an Easter Egg source music from Bungie's Myth games called "Siege Of Madrigal" can be heard.
    • During the Pvt. Jenkins helmet cam cutscene in Halo: Combat Evolved, the Marines are listening to "flip music" (heavy-metal type stuff) aboard the Pelican. This song is unfortunately not on the soundtrack album.
    • In Halo 3, the song "Under Cover of Night" from the first game is played on a radio in the multiplayer level "High Ground".
  • Outside of cutscenes, the only music in Grand Theft Auto comes from your car's radio - which you can change the station on, or even turn off altogether.
    • This is no longer the case in Grand Theft Auto V, which introduces non-diegetic background music for selected missions or when operating certain vehicles without the radio on.
  • In Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, the music that plays on your farm comes from a record player inside your house. There are several records you can collect, so you can change said music too, or just turn the record player off.
  • In Prey, you have to acquire a voice sample of one of an NPC to unlock a door. One way of doing so is listening to a recording of their music, which is played over the speakers of the club on the space station. Too bad that the Typhon can hear it, too...
  • In Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen, one floor of Darm Tower features a Twilight Zone-style source music that drains Adol's HP. To stop the evil music, you must break one of the pillars.
  • Fallout 3 has radios (which are oddly still functional after 200 years) sitting around turned on and playing music and other broadcasts from the in-game radio stations. The player also has a wrist-mounted radio that can receive the same stations.
    • There is non-diegetic background music if you shut down the radio function on your wrist computer, but there is less variation, most of the tunes are recycled from previous games, and some of the tunes are rather... quiet.
    • Fallout: New Vegas uses this more seriously in the Dead Money expansion - the player character is fitted with a bomb collar that explodes if it is within range of speakers emitting a certain frequency for the entirety of their stay at the Sierra Madre. Radios there, still turned on but damaged after two centuries of exposure to the poisonous Cloud that blankets the area, emit the same frequency as the speakers, though the added bonus is that the player can turn them off or shoot them to make them stop.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day had Conker getting upset at the music composer during the dinosaur level.
    Conker: Hey maestro! Don't you think that's a little bit too dramatic? Can you give me something with a bit more of a beat? *music changes* Yeah, that's better!
  • In Full Throttle, Todd's trailer has a radio playing awful country music, whose lyrics include "I thank the Lord each day for the apocalypse".
  • In the very beginning of Xenogears, Fei and Citan listen to music from a device Citan found. It serves as the Nostalgic Music Box theme.
  • In The Conduit, there is an elevator in an enemy base with very suitable elevator music coming out the speakers.
  • The Nightclub music in Perfect Dark Zero, which grinds to a halt when you pull the fire alarm.
  • There's one boss fight in Master of the Wind set to "Spirit Never Dies" by Masterplan. This is because the fight takes place in the middle of a rock concert. With the lead singer and his band of summoned music angels. It's in the running for Best Boss Ever.
  • The main protagonist of Persona 3 is never, ever seen without his Atlus Audio MP3 player. He was even listening to the game's opening theme, "Burn My Dread," as he headed for the train station that would take him to his new home in Tatsumi Port Island. He listened to it on the train, for that matter, and during the Final Battle —it must be his favorite.
  • Fairly common in the Fatal Fury series. In Fatal Fury 2 and Special, Krauser has a 90-piece orchestra in the background of his stage, obviously supplying the orchestral music. In Fatal Fury 3, the background music in Terry's stage only starts when a character turns on a radio. In Real Bout Special and 2, there is an opera singer visible in Krauser's stage, and she sings in time with the vocals of his new theme.
  • Aquaria is an interesting case: the BGM heard throughout the game was woven into the fabric of the underwater world by a boy who acquired god-like powers and couldn't get the verse of his mother's nursery rhyme out of his head.
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War has music actually playing in-universe at two points. The first is when the squad is celebrating their destruction of the Hrimfaxi submarine - interestingly enough, the music is taken from the game's arcade mode. The second is at the start of the "Sea of Chaos" mission, where Captain Andersen plays "The Journey Home" over the Kestrel's loudspeaker, though after about a minute it undergoes a Diegetic Switch.
  • Unusually for a Fighting Game, the music in most Power Instinct games is diegetic - you can see the musicians in the background performing the song in each stage.
  • F.E.A.R. has elevator muzak, most notably during the Elevator Action Sequence in Interval 7.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops has the first half of the level "Crash Site", in which the player goes to town on Viet Cong with a PT boat while Sympathy for the Devil plays on the boat's radio. There's also minor examples bookending "S.O.G.", with the helicopter delivering Mason and Hudson at the start and the one delivering Bowman at the end both playing Fortunate Son over their radios.
    • Black Ops II continues this midway through the level "Karma", where the player finds the high-value individual they're searching for in the middle of a totally-packed dance floor, music blaring even after the floor's been cleared and the player and armed mercs start shooting at each other.
  • Most of the music in Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream is audible to the characters. The local Exposition Fairy explains that the music is known as "Petal Whispers," and it's produced by the spirits that inhabit living things.
  • Level 1-9 in Nitemare 3D had a scripted sequence where your weapon would jam, and the only way to deal with the enemies in the room is to turn on a conveniently placed radio, which makes them dance out of the way of the door you need to open. The radio cuts out after a few seconds and they return to normal. But if you like, you can turn around once your weapon is available again, shoot them, and turn the radio back on, at which point it continues playing until the end of the level.
  • In Max Payne 3, the dance club music is diegetic, as evident by it slowing down in Bullet Time, which does not occur with the normal background music.
  • In World's End, during intermission after episode 7-2 Reynold is seen performing the drum-based music playing in background.
  • The cantina on board the Hyperion in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty has a jukebox that plays music when you enter it. At least two cutscenes that happen in the cantina have specific music playing from that jukebox—immediately after Raynor's dream, a cover of "Free Bird" is playing as Matt Horner tries to tell Raynor to get himself together, and the Bar Brawl cutscene has a cover of "Sweet Home Alabama" playing up until the jukebox gets unplugged.
  • All of the weapons in the original Captain Forever games are quite musical when fired, and change tone as well, enough weapons will make entire songs as you vaporize various foes.
  • In the old NES game Rad Racer, the car has 3 radio stations (read: songs) to choose from for the BGM. This is inspired by the game Rad Racer is derived from, Sega's OutRun, which had the same mechanic and justification before starting a play session.
  • In Live A Live's Old West chapter, the saloon BGM is actually played by the three musicians Sancho, Delos and Poncho. You can notice it by sending one of them outside to set a trap: the instrument they're playing will then be inaudible for the time they are not around.
  • In the Splatoon series, all of the music is played by in-universe bands, with Word of God confirming that the entire soundtrack is being heard by the characters as well as the players. For example, the explanation for the single-player music is that your character is picking up Octarian songs on their radio, while the music during Splatfests is being performed live by the hosts. This trope especially comes into play during the final boss fights across the series, as your Mission Control always includes some musicians or singers who actively start playing one of their songs to invoke a Theme Song Power Up.
  • Super Mario Odyssey has a few instances of this. In addition to jukeboxes playing music that Mario will dance to if he stands near them, in Metro Kingdom, Pauline (with Mario's help) puts together a band to play music at a festival which is actually a level, during which "Jump Up, Super Star!" is the musical accompaniment to Mario's athletics. At the game's end in the escape sequence after the Final Boss, Pauline does it again by singing "Break Free! (Lead the Way)", a song in part about breaking blocks and escaping, as Mario breaks blocks and escapes.
  • In the 2017 remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, the shop music comes from a small radio within the shop itself.
  • An early sign that Spec Ops: The Line is going a different route than the usual military shooter is when Delta fights their way through a building with Deep Purple's "Hush" blaring over jury-rigged speakers. Throughout the game, the Radioman taunts Delta with music through their earpieces, such as playing (and badly singing along to) "Dies Irae" while they're being fired upon by an attack helicopter.
  • Croc 2:
    • In the opening cutscene, the Inventor Gobbo is listening to the series theme tune on his radio and humming along.
    • The theme tune on the title screen is an acoustic remix which is being played by the Gobbos on the screen, who are enjoying a vacation on the beach.
  • Pokémon:
    • According to Junichi Masuda, the music in Pokémon Centers actually plays in-universe, along with the healing jingle.
    • In Pokémon Black and White, some towns have musicians that add extra instrumental tracks to the background. They usually work in two ways: They either start playing when you find them and talk to them, and an extra layer is added to the overall background music, or they play constantly but you can only hear them when you approach them. Many towns have at least one, and even one place, Village Bridge, has a sidequest that revolves around the concept, having you go around the town to find four musicians (a guitarist, a guy with a grass whistle, a beat-boxer, and a *singer*, to make a track that also happens to be the first in the game series with actual lyrics).
  • In Touhou Hyouibana ~ Antinomy of Common Flowers, the Yorigami Sisters' leitmotif is named "Tonight Stars an Easygoing Egotist (Live ver.) ~ Egoistic Flowers". Yes, the "(Live ver.)" is part of the song name in-game. When you fight them, it happens in a concert stage, and the musicians can be seen playing in the background. In some parts of the song, you can even hear the crowds cheering. There's a remix of the song in the official soundtrack, this time not the live version.
  • The King of Fighters '97 is particularly unique in that only a few characters (Kyo, Iori, Terry, Athena, Shingo, the '97 Special teamnote  and the New Faces team) have a unique theme of their own. For everyone else, the background noise coming from the stage will underscore the fight instead. In fact, the closest that a stage gets to having its own theme would be the Bali stage.
  • Gloomwood: The only music in the game comes from the phonographs and the music box, which is useful because it helps the player locate them.
  • Little Nightmares II: During the final segment of the School area, the Evil Teacher can be seen (and heard) playing her piano. In order to escape the room under her notice, you must perform your actions while she is playing. If she stops playing and you're still making noise, that's a one-way trip to restarting the segment from the very beginning.
  • In Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail during land and amphibious battles, some infantry units have a fifes and drums band that will play marching music to keep the troops in step, and you can hear it if you zoom in far enough. It's even period and country appropriate; British soldiers will play "The British Grenadiers" and US troops will play "Yankee Doodle".
  • In Crypt Of The Necrodancer and Cadence of Hyrule, the shopkeeper Freddie Merchantry sings along with the background music. When he's Promoted to Playable in Cadence of Hyrule, he even sings the "Item Get!" and "Secret Discovered" jingles to celebrate.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time has the Pianist Zombie. Whenever one is on the field, a catchy salon piece will replace the background music and also cause the cowboy zombies to dance and switch lanes randomly every now and then. Killing the Pianist Zombie will return the background music to the usual Wild West theme and stop the Zombies' dancing.
  • Bloodborne has this in Yahar'Ghul, the Unseen Village. The first time the player ends up there, Ominous Latin Chanting is coming from everywhere in a song called "Hail The Nightmare". It's audible everywhere as well, and once the player gets outside it only gets louder. Fitting, considering that the song is the beginning of a ritual to attempt to summon a Great One into reality.
  • If you pick up The Juggernaut killstreak in Modern Warfare, you are treated to intense metal music playing while you spin up your man-portable minigun and annihilate the enemy. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, non-Juggernaut players can also hear the Juggernaut's theme playing muffledly in-game if they are within a few meters of the Juggernaut. This implies that what you're hearing is the music set to maximum volume, bleeding out past the Juggernaut's earbuds. By this same token, if you can hear Juggernaut music, it is already too late, and he is seconds from crushing you with a Bane Backbreaker.
  • In Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, most areas in the game have no music of their own. Instead, you can make a playlist of MD's (Moon Discs) you've collected and have that play on loop while you explore, and there are certain puzzles that require you to have a specific song playing. If an area does have its own music (typically an indoor area like a house), that music will usually be muffled when you're outside the building it plays in.

    Visual Novels 
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney:
    • In the third case, the hero spends the first phase of the investigation backstage at a rock concert; the BGM is coming from the onstage band.
    • The second case implies that Klavier Gavin's theme song really is playing in the courtroom, as well (though presumably not when it plays in the flashback case of Turnabout Succession, since it didn't exist yet in-universe then).
  • During one of the Q and A sections of the second Hatoful Boyfriend, an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain hijacks a session and uses it to talk about himself. Other characters, locked out of the studio, pound on the door and yell at him. Tohri calls this the "fevered gibbering of the peanut gallery" and decides to put on some music - his theme tune.
  • The entire soundtrack of Coffee Talk is a playlist of ambient music the barista is playing on their phone In-Universe (save the song that plays when a transformed Gala appears in the cafe). The player can switch between songs by opening the phone.

    Web Animation 

  • In Harry Potter Comics, the Hufflepuff Choir's Christmas Pageant rendition of "Silent Night" also serves as the musical backdrop to the villains' assault on Santa's Workshop. What's that? Of course Santa is real in the Harry Potter universe.
  • The full manifestation of the Nothing on Earth in Planescape Survival Guide eclipses the sun and causes all electronic receivers on the planet to play Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising."

    Web Original 
  • Luna's entrance during the Halloween Episode of Friendship is Witchcraft has her playing "Gotta Go Fast" from Sonic X on her iPod. It establishes her as an otaku.
  • The (now disbanded) comedy trio Balloon Shop used this trope in two of their three Derrick sketches. In them, Alex plays "Eternal Light" by DJ Razor on his radio.

    Web Video 
  • "Going to the Store" features a humanoid figure walking around town to "Little Ships" by Jean Jacques Perry. Most of the shots are fairly close-up on the figure, but there is a long shot in which the music is extremely quiet by comparison, suggesting that the music is coming directly from the figure.
  • Every once in a while in Lovely Little Losers, one of the characters will post a video of a song they wrote and performed themselves. Most of the time, the songs comment obliquely on what's been happening in the story. Sometimes, they even clue viewers into what's happened off-screen. For much of the series, these songs are the only real insight the viewers get into the characters' inner lives.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Four examples from season one:
  • Despite being billed as a "musical fairy tale," only one of the songs in Barbie & The Diamond Castle can be considered non-diegetic: the villain's song, "Wonderful Me." And even that may be diegetic, as her minion applauds at the end.

  • In Futurama, the crew goes to an amusement park on the moon. Fry, angry at the artificiality of the park and how false the information in the "educational" bits are, ventures out onto the real moon on a derailed buggy.
    Fry: Yahoo! Crank up the radio! (Fry turns it on)
    Radio: "We're whalers on the moon-" (Fry turns off stereo hastily)
  • Happens quite often in Hot Wheels series World Race, AccelRacers, and Battle Force 5, considering that both Bassline and Reverb are basically stereos with wheels, and so many scenes depict a close-up of one or more of the cars' speakers pulsing to the beat as if it's being played from said speakers. However, Diegetic Switch ensues immediately thereafter, making the song the overall BGM.
  • If you pay close attention, the only time there's non-diegetic music in Metalocalypse is during a Montage. Although that show uses montages with great frequency anyways.
  • Happens at the end of one episode of Squidbillies, where the show's credits are playing on a flat-screen TV. After about two seconds it switches as the credits actually come up... and then two more seconds later, the credits and the music disappear entirely, as Granny comments "nobody cares who these people are!"
  • The cast of Steven Universe will occasionally provide their own background music, even when they're not outright performing it. In "Alone Together", Steven brings out an MP3 player with this music and invites Connie to dance with him. In a few others, Greg plays some music from his personal collection of CDs or vinyl records (among them, "Q U A D R I N O M E T R Y" and "Theme from An Endless Romance").
  • Downplayed in the DC Super Hero Girls episode "Frenemies", where Catwoman's Legion of Doom kicks off the second half of the episode going on a wild crime spree across Metropolis with "Too Much Fun" playing in the background, which shortly includes stealing a car, and, later, driving past the "Sweet Justice" restaurant to taunt the occupants with the music now suddenly fading in and out as if it was coming from the car's speaker.
  • This trope is directly referenced in Archer episode, Sea Tunt where Cheryl/Carol seems to react to an ominous melody that plays in the background, even telling herself to ignore it because it is "non-diegetic". Since the episode is about her worsening mental state, it is very fitting.
  • In Solar Opposites, P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. goes on a rampage destroying Manc Aves, and pops some speakers out of her back playing "Roar" by Katy Perry during it.

Alternative Title(s): Diegetic Music


Bat Faunus Man

When Batman is transported to Remnant, not only does he become a Faunus, but he's a Bat Faunus with bat wings.

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