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[stops playing Mendelssohn's wedding recessional]
"[sigh] All these wedding songs are so... standard."

Typically appearing in works that employ a score with non-original elements, these are brief segments of recognizable songs — like classical music that doesn't involve paying royalties — as themes for various types of scenes or activities. Some of these occur often enough to seem standardized, and in some cases they are the only reason people know the songs at all.


Many of these have become verbal shorthand for particular nationalities or ethnicities, and thus may border on stereotypes.

Very common in Golden Age cartoons that employ Mickey Mousing, where they may be used as a leitmotif. Less so in modern cartoons, unless they have the budget to score episodes individually. If there is danger of having to pay money to use a piece of music, the piece can be imitated in style (Suspiciously Similar Song) or parodied. In Renaissance Age Warner Bros. cartoons, this often happened with movie scores. A few other unreasonable substitutes are very recognizable, though.

Many songs owe their entries on the list below to the work of Carl W. Stalling, the musical director for the vast majority of the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons. He had a well-known tendency toward musical quotation and punning; Chuck Jones was known to complain that Stalling would always use certain pieces of music in certain situations and would go out of his way to find preexisting pieces whose titles corresponded to the action he was scoring.note 


Expect a fair amount of Exactly What It Says on the Tin with classical pieces; the composers typically wrote these pieces for the precise contexts that their titles indicate (likewise with some pop songs). Many of these are Undead Horse Tropes, but may reach a stage where they are only used ironically.

Subtropes and snippets with their own pages include:

Compare with Bad to the Bone, Stock Footage, Stock Sound Effects, Regional Riff, and Public Domain Soundtrack.

If you're trying to find the name of a famous tune, "100 Very Well-Known Instrumentals", "Another 100 Well-Known Instrumentals", or "100 Songs You´ve Heard And Don´t Know The Name" may help.


This list is by no means complete, but let's give it a shot, eh?

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    The Classics 
Song Theme
1812 Overture (specifically the final part, starting at 15:35 and the part from 12:51-13:16) Explosions, bombing runs, cannon fire. (The original symphony called for actual cannons.) Destroying the oppressive Government. If used, the explosions will almost always go off in time with the music. Also used in TV spots for family movies, often with slapstick and/or Stuff Blowing Up timed to the music.
Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber) Something really depressing happened. Starting to rival Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for Tear Jerker status. Platoon really pushed it into the public consciousness.
Agnus Dei (Samuel Barber) - same tune as Adagio aboveOld ecclesiastical sites; tombs and sepulchres; meditative sorrow; old battlefields and war graves (often with poppies); peace when the dust has settled; aftermath of tragedy or an apocalypse. And Homeworld here.
Air on a G String (adapted from 2nd movement of Orchestral Suite No. 3 by J.S. Bach)Scenes of peace, relaxation and repose, English countryside in good weather. Cute girls. Destroying Mass-Produced Evangelion Units. It's also inextricably tied to the Hamlet cigar ads in the UK (though not as much if you were born after 1991). In Italy, it's tied to scientific TV programmes since the 1980s, because it's been used from 1981 to the present as the opening of documentaries presented by Piero Angela.
Alla Hornpipe from Water Music (George Frederic Handel)Elegance, beauty, royalty. Popular as a wedding recessional. If it's loud, brash, and arranged for horns, you're probably watching Anglia TV in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
Alla Turca from Piano Sonata No. 11 (Mozart)Busy, flustered activity, Regency England, salon de thé. Alternatively, scenes of melodramatic peril. Especially associated with silent movies.
Also sprach Zarathustra, ''Sunrise'' (Richard Strauss)Moments of something that can only be described as "Über" happening, paralyzing everyone in transcendent awe, often in space. More often than not used in a humorous fashion, or as a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Or as Ric Flair's ring entrance tune.
Anitra's Dance from Peer Gynt Suite (Edvard Grieg)Dance displays involving women (usually Eastern); display can involve live footage, statuary, friezes and 2D art in any combination.
Anvil Chorus from Il Trovatore (Giuseppe Verdi)Any kind of rhythmic pounding or hammering, as by blacksmiths, construction workers, or actual anvils being dropped on people's heads. note  Used sometimes for invoking Glorious Mother Russia.
The Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals (Camille Saint-Saëns)Underwater scenes. Pretty common, even in live action. Also commonly used in movie trailers, especially for films concerning magic, wizards, fortune-telling and the like. A surf guitar rendition was used as the soundtrack for Space Mountain from 1996-2005.
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (George Frederic Handel)Period architecture, estates and larger dwellings; formal or state occasions.
Åse's Death from Peer Gynt Suite (Edvard Grieg)Any slow-moving and/or depressing scene or sequence; shots of fjords in overcast weather.
The Barber of Seville (Gioachino Rossini): Largo al FactotumOpera singers, barbers. Often mistitled "Figaro" after the name of the character and the main refrain.
Boléro (Maurice Ravel)Seduction (partly because of the movie Ten although its slow building intensity gave it this reputation long before that came out). Sometimes used as an ice skating motif after being used for Torville and Deans record breaking Olympic gold medal performance.note  Interestingly, the author himself intended it to represent factory noise.
Bugler's Dream (Leo Arnaud)/Olympic Fanfare and Theme (John Williams)The Olympic Games, athletes, sporting events, especially track and field. Also majestic processionals. The two themes have become near-inseparable since NBC stuck them together for their Olympic coverage.
Canon in D Major (Pachelbel) Weddings and fancy art museums, memories. Inspiring shampoo commercials. And yes, we've all heard the rant and it doesn't count.
Overture from Carmen (Georges Bizet)Fast-paced, often slapstick montages of comedy scenes in movie trailers. "Weird Al" Yankovic flailing around like a constipated chimpanzee.
Carmina Burana (Orff): Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi (O Fortuna) High drama, movie trailers, video game final bosses, demons being summoned, cavalry charges, revealed castles (with lightning), surfing men selling cheap aftershave, and singing contests (sometimes ending in Blipverts) or parodied in ads for beer.
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va Pensiero) from Nabucco (Giuseppe Verdi)Things proceeding in smooth and orderly fashion; engineering or civil engineering being showcased.
Dance of the Hours from La Gioconda (Amilcare Ponchielli)Mincing ballet dancers. Old-fashioned domestic scenes. Tutu-clad hippos. Or kids writing home from Camp Granada.
Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet (Sergei Prokofiev)Heavy industry and engineering, industrial revolutions, history of same. In the UK and Ireland, used as the theme tune for The Apprentice. It was also used in the opening credits of Caligula.
Dance of the Reed Flutes from The Nutcracker (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)Dainty Little Ballet Dancers, delicacy, tiptoeing; mincing and effeminacy.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)Ickle children waking in expensive houses on snowy Christmas mornings.
Dies Irae (13th century) The instrumental equivalent of Ominous Latin Chanting — or, if sung with lyrics, literally Ominous Latin Chanting, especially in association with the Middle Ages. Famously adapted to synthesizer by Wendy Carlos for the opening of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
Dies Irae by Mozart (18th century) or Verdi (19th century)Same lyrics as above, different tunes, and famous pieces in their own respects. Mozart's conveys a sense of terror and sadness, and Verdi's conveys a sense of urgency. Both are dramatic to the utmost. Note that the Dies Irae by Mozart you will hear most of the time is the version of his Requiem as completed by Süssmayr.
Entrance of the Gladiators (Julius Fucík)Clowns, the circus, carnivals
Erlkönig (Franz Schubert)Dastardly Whiplash and other villains
Fingal's Cave (Felix Mendelssohn concert overture "The Hebrides")Any action in a cave, or journeys through sinister waters. Also perversely utilized by Chuck Jones in his "Inki" cartoons (none of which have anything to do with caves) whenever the mysterious Mynah Bird appears on-screen.
Flight of the Bumblebee (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)Frantic activity, swarms of insects
The Flying Dutchman Overture (Richard Wagner)Sea voyages, especially when endangered by rough weather
Flower Duet from Lakmé (Léo Delibes)Beautiful and/or delicate settings and things. Scenes of sportspeople in slow motion
Funeral March (Fryderyk Chopin)Death, used especially in television portrayals of video games. And those who find it funny will...REST...IN...PEACE!
Funeral March of a Marionette (Charles Gounod)"Good evening." Or a trip to the gallows.
Gallop from The Comedians (Dmitri Kabalevsky)Comically frantic activity, chases, the circus
Gavotte (François-Joseph Gossec) Mincing, fussy movements, such as setting a table just so
La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) (Gioachino Rossini) (it's an excerpt from the overture, here)Classy, elegant, balletic shenanigans. And sometimes, even straight ballet. Also, those fight scenes in A Clockwork Orange (Warning: ultra violence).
"Giants" Leitmotif from The Ring of the Nibelung (Richard Wagner)General ominousness, especially in Looney Tunes cartoons.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Antonio Vivaldi)Great ecclesiastical buildings and architecture, also seats of learning and medicine. Can be applied to any work of man on an impressive scale that is photogenic and non-evil.
Gymnopédie No.1 and Gnossienne No.1 (Erik Satie)Stillness, quiet and introspection. Stills and slow montages. The dwelling place and haunts of an artist now deceased.
Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah (George Frederic Handel) Epiphanies; particularly fortuitous events, someone finally getting what they want (often used facetiously). Mind Rape, in Neon Genesis Evangelion.note  You're welcome.
Hoe-Down from Rodeo (Aaron Copland)Film trailers for Westerns, especially light-hearted or family-friendly ones. Also, beef, which is what's for dinner.
Hungarian Rhapsody no.2 (Franz Liszt) Mostly here because it is not an example: it was used in famous cartoons, yes, but played directly by the characters. It is used as a snippet in My Fair Lady.
In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt suite (Edvard Grieg)A particularly dramatic or ominous event, often associated with Halloween themes, haunted houses and spooky forests. Sometimes used for comedic effect in scenes featuring large and needlessly complicated machinery under construction or in operation. Tied to adverts for Alton Towers in the UK. Also, Edvard Grieg hated that it became so popular because it was meant to be ugly.
Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity from "The Planets" (Gustav Holst), Andante maestoso middle section (also called "Thaxted")England at its pompous, grandiose (or reverent) best. Royal weddings and funerals.
Karelia suite in D (Jean Sibelius)Originally a patriotic piece about the fight for Finland's independence from Russia, the first and third movements have been used as establishing theme music for TV current affairs shows. The horn-driven music indicates that some serious investigative journalism is about to take place here, so you had better sit up and pay attention, as we will be doing a test later. Finlandia, or at least its more emphatic themes, have also been used to set the scene for serious analysis and investigative forensic current affairs shows.
Keyboard Suite in D Minor, fourth movement (Handel)Known generically as "Sarabande," it's commonly used for scenes of royalty and grandeur. Frequently used in television commercials, it occasionally crops up in films and television (eg. Barry Lyndon, John Adams).
Khoschei's Infernal Dance from The Firebird Suite (Igor Stravinsky)Daring flight, pursuit, science, art, etc. Challenges made and met.
Lacrimosa (from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem)Deaths, moments of Alas, Poor Villain. The lyrics of the Ominous Latin Chanting help.
Libiamo ne' lieti calici (Drinking Song) from La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)Extravagance, luxury. Sometimes used ironically to criticize decadence.
''Light Cavalry'' overture (Franz von Suppé)The Cavalry (when not being Big Damn Heroes)
Lohengrin (Richard Wagner): Prelude to Act III Flight, air power, squadrons of bombers
Lohengrin (Richard Wagner): Treulich geführt ziehet dahinWestern wedding ceremonies, especially the entrance of the bride ("Here comes the bride.") One of the quintessential wedding songs; see Lohengrin and Mendelssohn.
Lullaby (Johannes Brahms)Getting sleepy
Mars, Bringer of War (Gustav Holst) from "The Planets"Dramatic entrances by the villains; movie trailers, battle scenes, scenes of war.
Un bel dì from Madame Butterfly (Giacomo Puccini)Melodramatic scenes and ironic melodrama. Accompanying footage often in soft focus or in black and white. Can also apply to beautiful and/or delicate things if they use just the opening section.
Marche Slave (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)Slavery, toiling, the construction of Egyptian monuments.
Minuet from String Quintet Op. 11 No. 5 (Luigi Boccherini)When Eine Kleine Nachtmusik just isn't fancy enough (or you need to plan a heist genteelly).
Moonlight Sonata No. 14 (Beethoven)Tear Jerker moments (1st movement) or descent into insanity and becoming BROKEN (3rd movement)
Morning Mood (from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt suite)Sunrises
Nessun Dorma (Giacomo Puccini)Opera, also football (soccer) after the BBC used a 1972 recording of the song by Luciano Pavarotti as their theme for the 1990 World Cup.
Night on Bare/Bald Mountain (Modest Mussorgsky)Winds, storms, perils and devilment abroad, Chernabog, also cassette tape sales.
Nimrod (from Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations)Memorial services, scenes of quiet and dignified grief.
On the Beautiful Blue Danube (Blue Danube Waltz, Johann Strauss II) Rivers (especially the Danube, and most especially the Danube in Vienna), waterfowl, graceful motion (think ice-skating or swans swimming—or an elegant waltz in 19th-century Vienna) astronauts in space (especially a space ship docking with a space station, referencing its use in 2001: A Space Odyssey). Occasionally used for humorous or ironic effect, such as its diegetic use in Squid Game for Dissonant Serenity. Did we mention this song is used to represent Vienna?
On the Trail from Grand Canyon Suite (Ferde Grofé)Cowboys loping along on horseback under Western skies. Also mule/donkey/burro characters.
Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers) (Jacques Offenbach): The Infernal Galop ("Can-Can") Chorus Girls, especially French ones. Alternatively, a Slapstick action sequence. Or possibly Lemmings.
Over the Waves (Sobre las Olas) (Juventino Rosas)Trapeze and high-wire work in a circus; fairgrounds, merry-go-rounds and any form of travel humorously related to such a situation. (Occasionally used for swimming scenes, since it is officially about water.) Of course, this tune is a common fixture on merry-go-rounds and calliopes in real life.
Piano Sonata No. 16, 1st Movement (Mozart)Cozy, tranquil domestic scenes, especially of a slightly formal and refined type (e.g. tea in Grandmother's parlor)
Piano Trio No. 2 in E Flat, Opus 100, 2nd Movement (Franz Schubert)Often used to suggest isolation or the passage of time in period dramas, most famously in Barry Lyndon. Surprisingly common as a backdrop for Action Film Quiet Drama Scenes, as well.
Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade (Modest Mussorgsky, arranged for orchestra by Maurice Ravel) Pictures at an exhibition, museums in general, the act of painting in general (such as Painted Tunnel, Real Train). Japanese television uses it surprisingly often in connection with anything "artistic".
Pictures at an Exhibition: The Hut on Fowl's Legs/Baba Yaga (Mussorgsky/Ravel)Pursuit and peril, evil on the move.
Pictures at an Exhibition: The Great Gate at Kiev (Mussorgsky/Ravel)Huge monuments, epic grandeur; Jerry Lawler's theme music.
Pie Jesu from Gabriel Fauré's RequiemEcclesiastical sites, done low key; tombs and sepulchres; meditative sorrow; old battlefields and war graves (often with poppies); peace when the dust has settled.
Pilgrims' Chorus from Tannhäuser (Richard Wagner) - the part starting 2:15Love and reunion, the cavalry arriving, impressive scenery and holiday destinations. And Bugs Bunny, dressed as Brunhilde, riding in on a white mare. Twice.
Pizzicato from Sylvia (Léo Delibes)Like Gavotte, overly fussy action; also sneaky tiptoeing.
Poet and Peasant Overture (Franz von Suppé) Fistfights on top of moving trains, a holdover from its use with silent films.
Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 (Edward Elgar) Graduations. (Truth in Television: Nowadays American and Canadian students "get" to hear the same four lines repeated ad nauseum during commencements). Also, frequently (although not officially) used as the English national anthem, as Land of Hope and Glory. A fixture at the Last Night of the Proms. OOOOOOOOOHHH YEAAAAAHHH!!!!
Pomp and Circumstance March No.4 (Edward Elgar)The cream of British society. Opening theme: arrival at, or establishing shot of, exclusive event or venue. 2nd theme: (1:15) Quiet, ancestral dignity.
Prelude the first of Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Suites for CelloRefinement, elegance, dinner parties and balls that are so fancy they don't have to show off how fancy they are. Compare Prelude and Fugue No. 1 from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier.
The Prince of Denmark's March (Jeremiah Clarke)Posh, Regal or Noble stuff, rather like Minuet, Rondeau, Spring and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik elsewhere on this list. Commonly, although erroneously, called the Trumpet Voluntary.
Radetzky March (Johann Strauss)Soldiers marching jauntily, circus settings and ninth-graders killing one another on an island.
Heda! Heda! Hedo! from Das Rheingold (Richard Wagner)Like "Ride of the Valkyries", but lighter and with little promise of peril or asskicking. Impressive and dramatic scenes at or from high elevations.
Entry of the Gods into Valhalla from Das Rheingold (Richard Wagner)Real estate, the city, castles
Requiem (György Ligeti)Incomprehensible horror and dread, Nothing Is Scarier, Cosmic Horror Story. Used so famously in 2001: A Space Odyssey that it is often called "The Monolith theme." Was also later used famously in the trailers for Godzilla (2014) to indicate how this film was Darker and Edgier than other Godzilla movies.
Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walküre (Richard Wagner)Nazis (especially Luftwaffe), invading Poland, World War II, bombs, speed, violence, helicopters (ever since Apocalypse Now), more bombs, Klansmen, Illinois Nazis, wabbit-killing; descending swarms of enraged nerds, rodeo clowns, grannies, or any group generally lacking dignity, in slow motion. Constant shouting of YES! and NO!. So standard that it has its own page.
Romeo and Juliet, Love Theme (Tchaikovsky) Romance, Love at First Sight. Meadow Run.
Rondeau from Suite de Symphonies (Jean-Joseph Mouret)The procession of royalty, or the bride and groom. Also well-known as the theme of Masterpiece Theatre for many years.
Russian Dance/Trepak(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) from The Nutcracker Ballet Played in just about any movie trailer with a Christmas theme to imply that hilarity will ensue.
Sabre Dance (Aram Khachaturian)Frenetic activity, often with the camera undercranked, such as the Dish Dash.
See, the Conqu'ring Hero Comes!note  (George Frederic Handel)European royalty. In anime (as in ordinary life in Japan), it is used at awards ceremonies.
The Skater's Waltz (Emile Waldteufel)Ice skating. Figure skating. Attempts by cartoon characters to travel or maneuver in any type of low- or zero-friction situation, usually resulting in misadventure.
Sleeping Beauty Waltz (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)Ballet. Grand balls. Traditional venues for the aforementioned. Romantic or comedic impromptu waltzes. And the film version of Sleeping Beauty.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Paul Dukas)Sorcery, automatons on the march, processes going out of control, trouble brewing. And a famous cartoon mouse.
Adagio from Spartacus (Aram Khachaturian)Grand (sometimes ironically over the top) romance, great vistas/scenery/cloudscapes (again with grand romance), tall ships under full sail in good weather (thanks to The Onedin Line).
Spring from The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)When Minuet is still not fancy enough. Also the Standard Snippet for any news report or item involving English stately homes.
Spring Song (Felix Mendelssohn)Associated with comical balletic movement, feminine delicacy, or prissy mannerisms. (In Victor/Victoria, quoted near the beginning of the "Gay Paree" song — followed immediately by "not that gay!")
Overture to Swan Lake (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)The ballet, as well as the original, Bela Lugosi Dracula (1931) and references to it.
Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major (Ludwig van Beethoven): I. Allegro con brioExpanding vistas. Inspiring montages. Usually coupled with a desire that you buy into something big.
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor (Ludwig van Beethoven): I. Allegro con brioMeeting a dire fate; being confronted or caught by an authority figure; classical musicians in concert. During World War II, was also used as shorthand for the inevitable defeat of the Axis note 
Symphony No. 7 in A Major (Ludwig van Beethoven): II. AllegrettoSlow and steady build-up of drama. May or may not escalate to a climax. Otherwise, you can expect The End of the World as We Know It once this rolls in.
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Ludwig van Beethoven): II. Scherzo: Molto vivace — PrestoIntense, feverish concentration and productivity. Giddy, maniacal mischief. A bit of the old ultra-violence.
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Ludwig van Beethoven): IV. Allegro assai: Freude, schöner Götterfunken (Ode to Joy)Any character overwhelmed by joy or sudden good fortune (real or imagined). Unless it's anime, in which case things are going to go very badly. Also inextricably linked to the Die Hard movies. May also be used (ironically) as a symphony of destruction.
Te Deum (Marc-Antoine Charpentier) Another favorite for wedding processionals. It's also used for every Eurovision broadcast, including the Eurovision Song Contest.
Toccata and Fugue in D minor (attrib. J.S. Bach) Haunted houses, mad scientists, Bela Lugosi impersonators, and Captain Nemo. Often played on the Ominous Pipe Organ.
Toccata from Symphony No.5 (Widor)Weddings (especially Royal), grand events, cathedrals, consecrations, high church investitures.
Tritsch Tratsch Polka (from Die Fledermaus, Johann Strauss)Comedic pursuit, good-natured shenanigans. The piece is sometimes performed at concerts with an element of this taking centre stage.
Triumphal March from Aida (Giuseppe Verdi)Victory and triumphalism. Sporting events and displays. Set pieces. Prizegivings (Mussolini was rather fond of this one.). Also, a graduation march in Philippines.
Troika from Lieutenant Kijé (Sergei Prokofiev)White Christmas, usually with Santa's sleigh (or, rarely, a Russian troika - a three horse sleigh).note 
Under the Double Eagle (Josef Franz Wagner)Fairgrounds, circuses, parades, calliopes, dancing teeth. Rarely used to represent Austro-Hungary, though.
Feuerzauber/Magic Fire Music from Die Walküre (Wagner)Magical power; controlled descent from a great height
Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream (Felix Mendelssohn)Wedding outros; see Lohengrin and Mendelssohn.
William Tell Overture: Finale, aka March of the Swiss Soldiers (Rossini) Galloping, the cavalry, The Lone Ranger clones, horse races, actions in fast motion
William Tell Overture: Ranz des Vaches (Call to the Dairy Cows) Morning, waking up, nature, pastoralism, tranquility. Sometimes all at once.
William Tell Overture: Storm Storms, especially at sea.
Winter from The Four Seasons (Antonio Vivaldi) Men in powdered wigs, luxury cars, a banquet hall in Brooklyn, black stallions in New Zealand bank commercials during the 2000's, the original 1976 and 1979 teaser trailers for Star Wars specifically Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
Zadok the Priest (Coronation Anthem No.1) (George Frederic Handel)Every British coronation since it was written (and a few elsewhere). World-class football. Buildup to inspiring scenes. Holiday sales with this.

    Setting the Setting 
See also Regional Riff.

Song Theme
'Ach du Lieber Augustin Germany, Germans (usually overweight and/or bumbling), beer, sausages that end in -wurst. Note that the text says: "Oh my dear Augustin, everything's lost."
Alouette The French, and especially French Canadians—sometimes hummed or sung by characters to show how French they are
America the Beautiful United States patriotism (typically this is played, and not The Star-Spangled Banner, which is reserved for non-background use in ceremonies such as military funerals and baseball); mattress sales
The Asian Riff East Asian characters and stereotypes. In Japanese works, this is usually restricted to Chinese characters and stereotypes.
Auprès de ma blonde An alternative to Alouette to demonstrate how Gallic characters or setting are
Auf der Vogelwiese Germany, especially during celebrations like Oktoberfest or Schützenfest
"Barwick Green"The British countryside, The Archers.
The Bowery — From 1892's A Trip to Chinatown New York City and its East Side, particularly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Brindisi from La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)Italy, Italian cities, food, opera and drink, Italians making merry
Carmen, Entr'acte between acts III & IV, Georges Bizet Toros y Flamenco, The Bad News Bears
Carmen, Habanera, Bizet, with or without lyricsSex, a beautiful and sensual woman, love, dancing (with charged subtext similar to a tango), Spain or the Spanish, mystery, intrigue, villainy, the opera, elegance, upperclass pursuits. An aria with a lot to say for itself.
Charge! North American hockey and baseball matches, horse races; the Off Like a Shot stance - based off the bugle fanfare used to signal a cavalry charge
The Charleston The Roaring '20s
Cielito Lindo or "The song that goes 'Ay yi yi yi'" Mariachi bands and Mexico
La Cucaracha (Cockroach) Anything involving Mexico or a lively party therein
Dark Eyes (Ochi Chernye) Russians, Fake Russians, or people who smoke candy and listen to cigarettes.
Dixie's LandSynonymous with the Deep South and car horns. (Note, though, that it is not the official anthem of the Confederacy; that was God Save the South.)
La Donna e Mobile from Rigoletto (Verdi)Italy (usually larger conurbations with older architecture), Italian opera and food
Down Under (Men at Work) Australia, the Land Down Under.
Drowsy MaggieAnything Irish
The Eyes of TexasEverything Is Big in Texas. (Same tune as I've Been Workin' on the Railroad.)
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)Protestantism, Protestants going to war. Was associated with German militarism until after World War I.
España Cañí (aka Spanish Gypsy Dance, aka "the paso doble song") (Pascual Marquina Narro) especially the snippet at 1:12 Spain, bullfighting, stadium cheering
Fanfare for the Common Man (Copland)North America. Panoramas and grand cityscapes. Stadia and stadium events. The early days of space exploration. Unless it's the rock version by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, in which case you're looking at Britain in The '70s, and probably watching sports.
Overture to La forza del destino / The Force of Destiny (Verdi) - part starting 0:50Rural France and its inhabitants, usually in good weather. Rural jiggery-pokery. Mostly attributable to its use in Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources.
Forty-Second StreetNew York City, especially in the '30s and '40s
Funiculì, Funiculà Italians and their food Fun Fact 
Gaudeamus Igitur (De Brevitate Vitae) Establishing Shot of the old Alma Mater; used as a snippet as far back as Brahms's Academic Festival Overture
God Save the Queen (UK National Anthem)UK Royal Family, particularly the Queen; any scene in London. The USA patriotic song My Country 'Tis Of Thee is set to the same tune.
God Save the Tsar! ("Bozhe, Tsarya khrani!")The Russian Empire; non-Communist Russian military forces. Also used at the aforementioned climax of the 1812 Overture; when the Tsarist anthem was banned in the USSR, its use in the 1812 Overture was replaced with a tune from an opera by Glinka.
GreensleevesPastoral England. Also occasionally associated with Christmas due to being used for the melody of certain Christmas carols.
GuantanameraCuba. Also the tune is used by British football fans to show their appreciation of a player by singing "There's only one <name of player>" to it.
Hail to the ChiefThe Invisible President, The White House
Hava NagilaJewish culture, particularly festivals and weddings; Romani; the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.
Theme from How the West Was WonThe Wild West, adventures/epics (or parodies thereof), Big Damn Heroes moments, and Midwestern State Fair highlights.
I Left My Heart In San Francisco San Francisco, oddly enough
In a Persian Market (Ketèlbey)Arabian lands and surrounding areas. Or, if you're not picky, just about any Old World location that's suitably exotic-looking.
In the Good Old Summertime The Edwardian Era, or summertime in general.
In the Mood (Glenn Miller)Having fun in The '40s, Swing/Big Band era.
It's a Long Way to Tipperary World War I, usually from the British perspective though notably it was used by the Germans in the WWII epic Das Boot. Pack Up You Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag is also frequently used, usually in older works, and for Americans WWI is more usually associated with Over There.
The Irish Washerwoman Anything Irish
Jerusalem (And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time) - Hubert Parry Unofficial national anthem of England (the other countries in the Union have their own official national anthems, but England doesn't); endorsed by Edward VII.
KalinkaRussia, Russians, cossack dancing, the arcade version of Tetris.
KorobeinikiRussia, Russians, Tetris. (The Tetris Company owns a sound trademark on this for computer games.)
Land of Hope and Glory The United Kingdom and/or Queen. Notably overlaps with "The Classics" category for graduations in the US/Canada
The Latin Quarter from Gold Diggers in Paris Substituted for “Alouette” to represent France and French people in some Warner Brothers cartoons, especially those starring a certain skunk. Also can-can numbers if The Infernal Galop isn't used.
Das Lied der Deutschen (Deutschlandlied, "Deutschland über alles") Germany, Germans (with dignity), Axis forces (in WWII propaganda cartoons). Note that only the third verse is now sung in Germany- it's their National Anthem
Londonderry Air ("Oh Danny Boy") Associated with mourning and Ireland.
Loch Lomond Scotland; the Highlands
The Maple Leaf ForeverCanada. Within Canada, usually used ironically in the same way America the Beautiful is used, at least in English Canada.
Mademoiselle from ArmentieresAnything set in World War I, especially dogfights; olde-time airplanes. You may remember the "Inky-Dinky-Parlez-Vous" lyric.
Malaguena or something similarly flamenco-sounding Usually related to things Spanish or Hispanic in general
Theme fromThe Magnificent SevenEstablishing Shot or panorama of The Wild West
La MarseillaiseAny scene change or opening on France (this even happens in live action; it's even quoted in the 1812 Overture; in Casablanca, "La Marseillaise" is used as a Leitmotif representing not only France, but the Allied cause in WWII as a whole)
La Mer (Charles Trénet)France, artistic and relaxed, with ample time for long establishing sequences. Popular in the U.S. as "Somewhere Beyond the Sea".
Midnight in Moscow (also known as Moscow Nights) Anything to do with the former Soviet Union, Russia, or the city of Moscow
The Millers' Dance (de Falla)Hispanic scenes and people, usually rural settings or smaller population centres.
Misirlou (fast version)At the original tempo, anything involving Greece or The Middle East; when played by Dick Dale or a sound-alike, surfing, or as an entrance for badass characters
Moonlight SerenadeWartime romance
National Anthem of the Soviet UnionThe USSR and Russia (the tune is still used), especially the Reds with Rockets
New World Symphony - Largo, Antonín Dvořák(If arranged for brass) Bread, Oop North.
New York, New York (Start Spreading The News) The Big Applesauce's "Official Horrendously Overexposed Hit Show Tune" (as Dave Barry put it). Liza Minnelli's signature song. The New York Yankees used to play it at the end of all of their home games: Frank Sinatra's version if they won, Liza's if they lost (until Liza complained about being associated with losing, so now they just play Frank's version whatever happens). Also, the coda serves as the unofficial Down to the Last Play theme for the professional sports teams residing in Madison Square Garden. For many years Sinatra's version was played in Times Square just before the New Year ball drop; as of 2005, John Lennon's "Imagine" has replaced it.
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Édith Piaf)Paris. Old quarters of French cities. French quarters of old(ish) cities. Bars and clubs in those placesnote .
La Raspa and El Jarabe Tapatio, (AKA The Mexican Hat Dance) Anything vaguely celebratory in Mexico, also "that other song mariachi bands play"
O Sole Mio Venice, especially a gondola ride - overlooking the fact that the composer, Eduardo di Capua, hailed from Naples ...and that the lyrics are in the Neapolitan dialect, not Venetian! (No wonder its use in the Venice gondola rides has later been banned in Venice itself.)
Oh SusannaThe Deep South. The Wild West. The Gold Rush. The Confederacy.
The Old Folks At Home (Swanee River) The Deep South. Especially around Mississippi River.
Red September (Terry Devine King) The Soviet Union.
Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin) Establishing Shot of New York City
Rule BritanniaEstablishing Shot of London of any scene taking place in Great Britain.
Sakura ("Cherry Blossoms")Japan, especially rural or historic Japan
Santa LuciaItaly, bonus points if played with an accordion
Scotland the BraveStandard piece used when bagpipes are played, especially when set in Scotland. See also The Campbells Are Coming
The Sidewalks of New YorkNew York City, particularly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Was associated with Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith.
Sing, Sing, Sing (with a Swing)The home front during World War II. In the Mood may be used instead.
Sleigh RideSleigh rides, or snowy winter/Christmas scenes in general
The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa)USA specific, with a number of uses: The Fourth of July, climaxes to college sports games, "Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends", Popeye kicking Bluto's ass, fireworks, any large amount of continuous pyrotechnic explosions when played for laughs, emergencies at the circus
The Streets Of Cairo, or The Poor Little Country MaidThe Middle East, snake charming, "hoochy-kootchy" belly dancing. (You may know it as "There's a Place in France".) Originally part of a 1893 World's Fair exhibit which is reenacted in Show Boat.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame Playing baseball, watching baseball, being at the ballpark, or anything else related to the National Pastime.
Tarantella NapoletanaItaly, Italians
Le Tic Toc Choc (or a sound-alike) 18th Century western Europe (generally France), usually in an aristocratic setting
Torna a Surriento Italy (especially southern part)
Truddelutt (Bengt Hallberg) A version of the trope very specific to Danish cooking shows. First used by the Ur-Example amongst Danish cooking shows, TV-Køkkenet, the tune has ever since been a stable for every show of its kind in Denmark, to the point where it has become the leitmotif for cooking, even outside cooking shows, and has almost become an Undead Horse Trope.
La Vie en Rose (also called "You're Too dangerous, Cherie") Streets of Paris, French countryside; love — I mean, l'amour (though this song tends to cost money. Also the signature song of French songstress Edith Piaf)
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling Ireland
Sirtaki from Zorba the Greek Greek stuff, notably in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, but also any scene depicting men dancing the Sirtaki.

    Marches, Bugle Calls, and Other Military Shenanigans 
Song Theme
Anchors Aweigh The Navy, sailors, the sea
Assembly (US Army bugle call) The U.S. Army; most commonly the Cavalry as they enter a scene—riding hard.
The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory)Any American patriotic speech (especially if triumphally Yankee), the American Civil War
The British Grenadiers The British Army in general, Redcoats in particular
Colonel Bogey (S.J. Ricketts)British troops and encampments. Showing cheery mood, insouciance, or a brave face. Often whistled, as in The Bridge on the River Kwai, or sung as "Hitler has only got one ball" note 
Columbia, the Gem of the OceanThe U.S. Navy (Ironically, this song has nothing to do with the ocean or ships. The lines about the ark riding safe through the storm are "ship of state" imagery, and the "gem of the ocean" refers to the New World.)
Eternal Father, Strong to Save aka The Navy HymnBrits with Battleships (or any navy, for that matter), Tear Jerker military funerals and memorial services, thanksgiving for surviving stormy seas.
First Call (US Army bugle call)Horse racing. At the races it's known as "Call to the Post."
Garryowen The U.S. Cavalry, specifically The Seventh Cavalry. Also used in movies involving the Boston Police Department, such as The Departed, as the BPD is traditionally filled with Irishmen.
The Girl I Left Behind Me Marching American soldiers, as far back as the Revolution. Or British Redcoats Napoleonic Era.
The Last Post UK-based military remembrance, and for good reason.
The Liberty Bell (Sousa)And now for something completely different.
A Life on the Ocean Wave Setting sail and swabbing decks, often accompanied by, but not limited to, the British Navy.
Marine's Hymn ("From the halls of Montezuma...")Marines on the march, especially common in WWII era cartoons
Reveille (US Army bugle call) An abrupt morning wakeup; the army
Semper Fidelis (Sousa)United States Marine Corps' official march; US marines on parade; cheeses from around the world.
The Star Spangled BannerThe United States, the army, the US flag, military victory (especially in WWII propaganda cartoons)
Taps (US Army bugle call) Someone dying/pretending to die; the army going to sleep.
To The Colors (US Army bugle call) The army; the US flag
Washington Post March (Sousa) Military presentations (academy graduations and the like), American marching bands and parades of any sort
When Johnny Comes Marching Home AgainArmies, parades, marching; occasionally, specifically Irish (the origin of the song). Dramatic Irony in anti-war film. However, its Irish counterpart, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, is an anti-war song. Common on fife and drum.
Wild Blue YonderAirplanes, flying. The US Air Force.

    Songs You Probably Only Know from Cartoons 
Song Theme
Ahí, viene la conga (Raúl Valdespí)One of two songs used for any conga line dancing (see "Anabella" below).
Ain't She Sweet? (Milton Ager/Jack Yellen)Pretty girls, especially (but not exclusively) in The Roaring '20s.
Ain't We Got Fun? The Roaring '20s, even used in period pieces.
Aloha 'Oe Hawaii, tropical vacations, subversions thereof.
Animal Fair Circus animals, zoo animals
Anabella (Eduardo Durant)The other conga line dancing song.
Arkansas Traveler Slow, stupid characters, usually played very slowly. Also known as "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee".
Asleep in the DeepScenes taking place on the water or underwater; drowsy or sleeping characters
Autumn LeavesMaudlin-tinged counterpart to A Summer Place. Autumn leaves. Partings. Regrets and minor sorrows. Quiet romance. Slow montages, pans and dissolves. Easy listening moments. Extremely versatile.
Baby Elephant Walk Slow, stupid characters; animals; people carrying awkward loads, scenes at carnivals and fairs, or, in South Park, hopping around on enormous swollen testicles.
Baby Face Scenes with actual babies, or occasionally nubile young women.
Beautiful Dreamer (Stephen Foster) Sleep, dreams
The Big Laugh by Jurgen SchlachterUsually indicates laughter or general tomfoolery.
Blues in the Night The blues; African-American stereotypes.
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, or being down-and-out generally.
By a Waterfall Scenes involving waterfalls, romantic scenes
California, Here I Come Traveling to California (natch); trains in general. The theme song for the ubiquitous Huell Howser shows, in which he explores unusual California landmarks.
The Camptown Races Horse races. Associated with the Warner Bros. character Foghorn Leghorn, who generally walked around humming it. Also used in Saloons in The Wild West. Also used by English soccer fans to mock German soccer fans: "Two World Wars and one World Cup, doo dah, doo dah!"
Captains of the Clouds Airplanes and flying
Chicken Reel Farmyards with chickens, gluttonous eating, and the occasional Gossipy Hens
Coronation Scot Steam trains, often coupled with a standard shot of the camera fixed to the running board showing the wheels going round and/or a camera between the rails watching the train go overhead. Inextricably associated with a dated The '50s radio crime drama show.
A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich, and YouEating, cooking, meals
Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride by Bedřich SmetanaChase scenes, especially ones featuring a very fast desert bird and a hapless coyote. This was a favorite of TTA and Animaniacs composer Richard Stone.
The Daring Young Man on the Flying TrapezeSlow, stylish flying. See also The Acrobat's Daughter.
Darktown Strutters' BallMinstrel Shows, Uncle Tomfoolery, blackface gags, African-Americans in general. As you might have surmised, very much subject to Values Dissonance for modern audiences.
Der Deitcher's Dog (Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone)(Septimus Winner) Cute puppies and their antics. Somewhat ironic, given the original lyrics.
Devil's Galop (Charles Williams)Dramatic, old-style chases, The Spanish Inquisition, two inebriated bums impersonating Sherlock Holmes and The Watson, 'tecs vs crooks, skulduggery afoot. Originally the theme to Dick Barton - Special Agent.|
Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (Ben Jonson) Drinking — if it's milk, juice, or water. Also performed reluctantly by those who love to singa.
The Entertainer (Scott Joplin)Early 20th Century America up till the late 1930s. (This is anachronistic; ragtime gave way to early jazz around WWI. But ever since The Sting everybody knows Ragtime = Clutch Plague because Reality Is Unrealistic.)note 
Frankie and JohnnyDive bars, gambling dens, flophouses, brothels, burlesque houses, and other places of ill repute
Freddy the FreshmanFootball or other sports; less frequently college in general
The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)You're in the money. One of the themes used in the stock market report on APM's Marketplace, if stock market reports all show a rise.note  See also With Plenty of Money and You.
GoofusFarms and farming, rural life, characters on the move
Happy Days Are Here Again Rivals "The Gold Diggers' Song" for signifying newfound wealth. Due to being used as Franklin D. Roosevelt's campaign song, it's also associated with the New Deal and the Democratic Party in general.
The Happy Farmer Popular with scenes that open on farms, milkmen or postmen making their deliveries, or any early morning scenes. Also associated with schoolchildren, and a popular piece for any comedic school recital when played nervously on a slightly out-of-tune piano.
Happy Go Lively Perky, efficient, immaculately-dressed Fifties housewives working in ultramodern Kitchens of The Future, or those kitchens themselves; mid-century industry and commerce; kitschy retro-suburbia. See also Holiday for Strings, Workaday World, Window Gazing. A popular equivalent in Britain with the same associations is Jack Strachey's In Party Mood.
Hearts and Flowers (hear non-ironic version here)Overacted melodrama, love, romance, and tragedy. Composed by Theodore Moses-Tobani, this is the "world's saddest song" that so often gets sarcastically played on the "world's smallest violin" for chronic whiners. Gustav Lange's "Flower Song" is the other one.
Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry BushChasing in circles, washing things (think "This Is the Way We Wash Our Clothes")
Hit and RunLots of activity in the city; crime scenes
Home, Sweet HomeCabins, houses, anyplace considered a "home" or a "home away from home". Also played in nightclubs when it's time to close. Popular in anime due to a well-known translation, and often used with World War II sequences (see Grave of the Fireflies).
Hooray for HollywoodHollywood scenes, movie stars. See also That's Entertainment.
How Dry I Am Drinking, drunkenness
In My Merry OldsmobileDriving in an old automobile.
It's Magic Romance is in the air, or alternatively, literal if light-hearted magic.
I've Been Working on the RailroadHard work, often Mickey Mousing the fall of sledgehammers to the beat. The "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" part (actually a much older song assimilated by Railroad) can be substituted for Shortnin' Bread in the kitchen.
Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair (Stephen Foster) Hair, often hair styling or cutting; sleep or dreams; occasionally actual genies.
Lady In RedA beautiful woman, often wearing red.
The Latin QuarterGay Paree, can-can dancing.
Me-ow Cats or kittens. The Waltzing Cat is also used.
The Merry-Go-Round Broke DownWacky cartoon shenanigans are afoot.
My Old Kentucky Home Rural homes, the South. In Real Life, always played just before the running of the Kentucky Derby.note 
Mysterioso Pizzicato also known as The Villain's Theme (background here) and jazzed up as "Mysterious Mose" Sneakiness, stealth (often Mickey Moused), entrance of the mustache-twirling villain.
Nearer, My God, to Thee The Titanic, sinking ships, or inevitable doom, especially when met with tragic, stoic dignity.
Notre Dame Victory March Sports, especially collegiate American football, and pep talks of the Win One for the Gipper variety. See also Mr. Touchdown, U.S.A., You Gotta Be a Football Hero, and Buckle Down, Winsocki.
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma! (Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein)Waking, morning scenes and montages, the morning after the night before (possibly including a hangover).
Oh, You Beautiful Doll Nubile, often scantily-attired young women, and/or the ogling thereof.
The Old Grey Mare Elderly animals and/or people, especially in rural settings.
On Moonlight Bay Drinking, sailing, sailing while drinking. Along with How Dry I Am, makes for great drunken harmonizing in addition to background music.
On the 5:15Train travel. See also Chattanooga Choo Choo and On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.
Over ThereWorld War I (U.S. involvement, 1917-18)
Por una CabezaTango, especially when used as a Mating Dance.
Powerhouse (B strain) (Raymond Scott) Factories, industry, active machinery, going up and down stairs while carrying a heavy load. (Q.v. below)
A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody (Irving Berlin) As Irving Berlin (the song's author) himself observed: "Today they play it when a pretty girl walks across a stage. And strip teasers disrobe to it. That's show business."
Rock-a-bye BabyBabies, rocking, or occasionally both. (When used outside of BGM, can function as Instant Sedation.)
Sailing, SailingShips, the ocean
Sailor's HornpipeSailors, particularly those with one eye and an affinity for spinach
Shuffle Off to BuffaloExit, stage right.
Shortnin' BreadFood or cooking, particularly in the Deep South
Silver Threads Among the GoldElderly people
Sing, Sing, SingSwing dancing or dancing in general, boisterous parties, the early 20th century, Chips Ahoy Song.
Singin' in the BathtubShenanigans in and around the bathtub, particularly those involving lots of sudsy foam, burly men in shower caps, great big back brushes, and rubber duckies.
Song of the Marines ("We're Shoving Right Off For Home Again") Sailors, sailing vessels, long voyages at sea (particularly Naval)
Theme from A Summer Place Relax-o-Vision, medium-sized intermissions, "comical" date rape, getting romanced in a museum café by a Monster Clown—in general, Soundtrack Dissonance.
Sweet Georgia Brown (or an appropriate soundalike), usually whistled Basketball (after its association with the Harlem Globetrotters); sports antics
The Syncopated Clock (Leroy Anderson)Clocks, or clockwork machinery. Many local television stations used it as a theme for their late-night movie: BJ mentions this in an episode of M*A*S*H. May also be used as an alternative to the "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music to indicate waiting or intense thought.
Teddy Bears' Picnic (Henry Hall)Teddy bears. Woods. Childhood, make-believe, and its imaginary perils. Confronting the former as an adult. And (employing increasing amounts of irony) psychological horror and worse.
(Believe Me if All) Those Endearing Young CharmsThe Xylophone Gag. Only counts here because the background music tends to finish off the piece after the explosion.
The Toy Trumpet (Raymond Scott) Toys, especially toy soldiers
Trade WindsTropical islands
Turkey in the Straw Farms, rurality, harvest festivals. Particularly where poultry is involved.
The Umbrella ManUmbrellas, or the use thereof, particularly for balance.
Volaré Lounge singers, especially in Italian restaurants or supper clubs ("try the veal")
The Volga Boatmen's Song (Mily Balkarev) Hard labor, especially the forced kind (chain gangs, slavery, etc.) Especially Russian hard labor.
What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?Sailors, the ocean, Pirates and anything nautical, especially sponges and crabs that own restaurants
We'll Meet AgainWorld War II, from the British perspective. Especially sad scenes (or nuclear war).
Wooden Head Puddin' Head JonesRural and/or simpleton characters.
You Must Have Been a Beautiful BabyA Warner Bros. cartoon cue for ogling a beautiful woman.
You Ought to Be in Pictures Hollywood scenes

    Recent Works 
See also Recycled Trailer Music.

Song Theme
633 Squadron (Ron Goodwin)World War II aircraft, bombing runs in particular. For the less picky, any piston-prop closed-cockpit plane in flight.
Acceptable in the '80s (Calvin Harris)Programmes discussing the 1980s or, more generally, looking back on popular things of the past we now consider stupid.
"Albatross" (Fleetwood Mac)Tropical islands and beaches (or, at least, a token facsimile thereof), relaxation in such locales.
"All Along the Watchtower" (almost always the Jimi Hendrix cover from Electric Ladyland) The '60s, drug trips, war (particularly Vietnam or a pastiche of same, frequently involving a ragtag and motley group of heroes); was an Arc Song for the last season of Battlestar Galactica.
An Ending (Ascent) (Brian Eno, from his album Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks)Tear Jerker moments, calm, contemplative scenes, space.
"Another One Bites the Dust" (Queen)Another one bites the dust. Defeat, disqualification, failure and being finished off. If it's only the intro, a warning that the adversary will bite it.
Ashokan Farewell (Like as not, Suspiciously Similar Song) Parodies of Ken Burns documentaries, played over wartime letters to sweethearts back home while panning across sepia-tone photos; The American Civil Warnote 
"Bad Reputation" (Joan Jett)Cat Fights, girls/women behaving either badly or badass, rebellious youth.
"Bad To The Bone" (George Thorogood and the Destroyers)The arrival or entrance of the badass, particularly a Badass Biker. The protagonist wants to rebel. Distressingly common even in live action.
"Baker Street" (Gerry Rafferty)Raphael Ravenscroft's saxophone in particular sees ubiquitous use. Commonly used to set a tone of romance, relationship issues, affairs, or lost loves, especially in a big city setting, but sees broad application. In a strange bit of trivia, Ravenscroft's solo is not only the best known part of the song (and often the only part that gets played), it's been called the best-known sax riff of all time. Yet Ravenscroft received only £27.50 for the performance, while Rafferty reportedly received some £80,000 annually in royalties, which now go to his estate.
Basic Instinct (Jerry Goldsmith)Sexy, erotic thrillers.
Battle Without Honor or Humanity (Tomoyasu Hotei)The arrival of an extreme badass, and the fight scene resulting thereof.
Beach Parade (Armando Trovajoli)Typically used as background music for in-universe educational films, usually ones that are long out of date.
Behold the Darkness (Medwyn Goodall)Used to set a tone of mystery and tension. Often sampled in the background music of mystery documentaries and spooky video games.
The Breakfast Machine (Danny Elfman)Frenetic but mechanized action; Rube Goldberg devices; factories and machines; undercranked scenes of people in lines or rush-hour traffic.
Bodies (Drowning Pool)Action movie badasses.
Born to be Wasted (009 Sound System)YouTube instructional videos. Very popular in the 2000's, along with 'Dreamscape' and 'With a Spirit'.
"Born to be Wild" (Steppenwolf)Bikers, and other people who are, well, born to be wild.
Bright Eyes (Art Garfunkel)Rabbits. Usually used as Parental Bonus.
Careless Whisper (George Michael)The Sexophone riff.
The Chain (the end and the guitar solo) Motor racing - in particular, the BBC coverage of Formula One.
The Chase (Giorgio Moroder) High suspense or busy night life montages. Also the theme song for Coast to Coast AM.
"Chariots of Fire" Theme (Vangelis) The last few segments of an important race, especially if in slow motion (a tribute to the 1981 movie of the same name, where it doesn't actually appear in that manner in the final race); alternately, tongue-in-cheek slow motion cheesy inspirational music. Also a lot of parodies, see Parodies of Fire.
"Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) Shit's about to go down this Christmas...
Cloudscape (Philip Glass, from Koyaanisqatsi)Danger and disturbance, troubled times, stormy works, Freudian psychology, onset of puberty given a dramatic spin.
Clubbed to Death (Rob Dougan); itself derived from Elgar's Enigma Variations. Adds a Power Walk -like ambience to any character's perambulations (if correctly timed with their footsteps), game-face montages, trailers. Extra points if they do a sharp focus change on the gap between the first and second bits of the opening. A mid-90s piece, but gained its notoriety in '99 through The Matrix (or at the very least, through its soundtrack album — the piece only makes one relatively brief scene in the film).
The Cuckoo Song (Marvin Hatley)Best known as the theme music of Laurel and Hardy and as a result often used in comedic scenes involving funny obese people or two people bumbling about.
Frolic by Luciano Michelini, best known as the theme from Curb Your EnthusiasmWhen something does something exceedingly stupid or cringeworthy, causing secondhand embarrassment.
"Danger Zone", (Kenny Loggins)Fighter Jets or any Cool Plane in general, Fighter or stunt pilots or specifically the Ace Pilot, the Air Force or any military branch with cool planes, Stuntmen, or any dangerous but cool stunts being performed with or without airplanes. Made popular by Top Gun, and Archer. The "Top Gun Anthem" instrumental by Harold Faltermeyer & Steve Stevens also counts.
"Disco Inferno", (The Trammps)Discos.
"Do the Hustle", Van McCoyThe other standard disco song.
"Don't Worry Be Happy" (Bobby McFerrin)Sad-Times Montage in comedies. Cheer-up song used to indicate a Crapsaccharine World (if it's an outright Crapsack World, "What A Wonderful World" can be used).
Don't You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds) Often used in scenes involving people's memories and/or during a Good-Times Montage.
Theme from DragnetInvestigation by police or other officials. The opening four-note sting can indicate any surprising discovery or revelation. Additionally, the Domm-Da Dom-Domm routine is #8 of essential routines for typical-type lampoons.
Dramatic Impacts #1 through #6 (Ivor Slaney) A series of dramatic stings, #1 and #3 probably being the most common.
Dreamscape (009 Sound System)YouTube instructional videos, particularly from in the mid-2000s. Look for unoriginal text bumpers made in Windows Movie Maker, and the "Unregistered Hypercam 2" watermark.
Dream Weaver (Gary Wright)Love at First Sight; almost never used seriously anymore.
Dude Looks Like a Lady (Aerosmith)Used to denote a Wholesome Crossdresser. Though it still surfaces independently, these days it's more likely to be a direct homage to Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire.
Duel, (Propaganda)The instrumental versions are often used for sports montages, especially motorsport such as rallying.
Duel of the Fates, from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceDramatic situations in particular. Is beginning to give O Fortuna, which it resembles, some competition, especially on the Talent Show.
Dueling Banjos, Arthur SmithScenes in set the rural back-country; rednecks. Especially associated with Deliverance, and subsequently carries implications of Black Comedy Rape.
Title theme to Edward ScissorhandsFairytale settings, celestial myths, white Christmas, toy sales.
"Eye of the Tiger" (Survivor)Training Montage, though it's often only the epic intro. Also used for boxing in general.
"Firestarter" from The Fat of the Land (The Prodigy)Rabble rousing, vigilantism, urban dissent and riot, punk fashion, juveniles acting up.
Forearm Shiver by Sam SpenceSpy thrillers or campy 60's superheroes.
For the Love of Money (The O'Jays)Anything related to greed, high finance, or Donald Trump.
"Fortunate Son" from Willy and the Poor Boys (Creedence Clearwater Revival) The Vietnam War. Has its own Memetic Mutation: "*It Ain't Me starts playing*"
"For What It's Worth" (Buffalo Springfield)The 1960s, Vietnam, general social strife, usually used when focusing on assassinations, protest. (often ironic, except in non-fiction television)
"Get Together" (The Youngbloods)The '60s, hippies, Peace and Love.
Get on Up (James Brown)Used just before jump balls (other than tipoff) at arenas hosting NBA and WNBA games.
"Get Ready for This" (2 Unlimited)Sports events, especially basketball. Big arenas full of people
"Gimme Shelter" (The Rolling Stones)Something intense/violent/erotic is going to happen. Usually in Martin Scorsese flicks.
Ghost Love Score, or rather 45 seconds of it Mundane Made Awesome, Unnecessary Combat Rolls, ever since its use in a YTMND fad featuring a Star Trek character rolling under a closing door.
"Ghostbusters" (Ray Parker, Jr.) Sometimes used when people are vacuum cleaning, always Played for Laughs.
The Girl from IpanemaAn instrumental version is standard "elevator music", to the point where it's named its own trope.
"Gonna Fly Now," Bill Conti (Rocky) Training Montage. Compare with "Eye of the Tiger". Also fit for people jogging.
"Gonna Make You Sweat" (C+C Music Factory)The '90s, rave culture, cash-in compilations of "rave" music, energetic dancing. Often known by its main repeated lyric: "Everybody Dance Now". If there's a Dance Party Ending, there's a high probability this song will be playing.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Main Theme)Old West gunfight, or parody thereof; showdown or confrontation of any kind
The Great Escape theme (Elmer Bernstein) Escaping, or energetic group preparation to escape.
"Green Onions" (Booker T. & the M.G.s) Driving, movement, and preparation.
The Grid (Philip Glass, KoyaanisqatsiOverwhelming technology, usually out of control and/or putting people into a fugue state.
Heart Of Courage (Two Steps From Hell)Epic Heroic scenes common in film trailers.
"Hoppípolla" (Sigur Rós) The wonders of nature. Spectacular landscapes, especially seen from the air.
The House of Leaves (Kevin Macleod)General creepiness, specifically in internet videos.
"I Got You (I Feel Good)" (James Brown) Celebrations, characters having good fortune or...feeling good. (examples) See also Stock Trailer Music.
"I Predict a Riot" (Kaiser Chiefs)Social unrest. Often, the opening riff is enough.
"I'm Shipping Up To Boston" (Dropkick Murphys)St. Patrick's Day and Irish-American culture, especially in Boston, as the title says and as portrayed in The Departed.
"I Want to Break Free" (Queen)People (usually men) doing housework.
I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)Invariably starts at the moment of Houston's bombastic reprise of the chorus and signals a triumphant reunion of two lovers (often by rushing toward one another and embracing), or Love at First Sight. Usually Played for Laughs.
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", Iron ButterflyAnother one often used for The '60s, hippie or New-Age Retro Hippie things, drugs, traveling in psychedelic painted vans, etc.
"Town" also for known as "Tetete" from THE iDOLM@STERNico Nico Douga instructional videos.
"Ironside" (Quincy Jones)The opening riff to be exact. Ensuing action and vengeance. Popularized quite a bit by Kill Bill, although first used in this context in the trailer for Five Fingers of Death.
The Imperial March from Star Wars Pure evil, totalitarianism, forced conformity, bad authority figures, awe-inspiring power. Generally not used seriously outside of Star Wars itself, along with college bands playing it between plays at football games.
Incense and Peppermints (Strawberry Alarm Clock), or "White Rabbit" (Jefferson Airplane) Drug trips. Rarely used without at least some sense of irony anymore; often replaced with a sound-alike as it's still under copyright
In the Night (Arthur Baker mix) (Pet Shop Boys) Fashion, the 1980s, 1980s fashion.
Main Title and First Victim from JawsBeing oblivious to approaching danger, being unknowingly stalked - probably by a predator. Strongly associated with water. Du-dun, du-dun, dudun dudun dudun...
"Jessica" (The Allman Brothers Band) Road trips and driving montages. And Top Gear. Don't forget Top Gear.
Jingo Jango (Bert Kaempfert) Santa Claus and his elves, or Christmas in general.
Journey to the Line from The Thin Red Line (Hans Zimmer)WWII Was Beginning. Or possibly During the War. In any case, Stuff Blowing Up set to serene classical music with the sound turned off. Heroes dying horribly.
Jump (Kriss Kross)Sometimes used to set the mood for jump balls (other than tipoff) at arenas hosting NBA and WNBA games.
Jump (Van Halen)Extreme sports, "Humans are awesome" kind of feats, young people doing risky things, and, yes, jumping.
Jump Around (House of Pain) Used as an alternative to the above. Also used in film as background music for erratic behavior on the part of one or more characters.
Kids in America (Kim Wilde) Kid heroes banding together to save the world, occasionally with The Power of Rock, even if said kids aren't American. Also sometimes used in advertisements targeting youth.
Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas)Martial arts, whether actual Kung fu is being practiced or not. Usually for comedic effect.
"Layla" (Eric Claptonnote )The main song: Fast cars. Motor racing. The piano coda: Grief after a huge loss, similar to Adagio for Strings or Moonlight Sonata but more upbeat (it was used this way at the end of GoodFellas).
"Let's Get it On" (Marvin Gaye)Sexiness, the beginning of a romantic or intimate moment
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (The Tokens)The jungle or the presence of jungle animals (often though not necessarily lions).
"London Calling" (The Clash)Modern London, UK.
Lux Æterna (Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet)Melodrama, first used in Requiem for a Dream when the main characters are about to hit rock bottom; re-worked for the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers as Requiem for a Tower, which is sadly(?) the better-known version.
Mad World (Gary Joules' version)Scenes of desolate environments, or a sober/tragic scene in a drama.
The Magnificent Seven theme (Elmer Bernstein) In settings with cowboys; portraying the romantic Old West. Also the theme for Marlboro Country.
"March of the Swivelheads" (The English Beat) Racing against the clock in a humorous fashion. Possibly most associated with the segment in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Ferris is rushing to get back to his house before his parents return; expect any later use to include a homage to something from that scene.
Mission: Impossible theme (Lalo Schifrin)Preparation for or execution of a complex task, generally with high-tech elements or requiring gymnastic activity. Also the surprise injection of visible gas into a confined space such as a lift, where the protagonists are trapped.
"The Moment of Truth" (Survivor)The other Training Montage music, courtesy of The Karate Kid.
"Money" (Pink Floyd)Documentaries on financial shenanigans, less respectful looks at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
"Monkeys Spinning Monkeys" by Kevin MacleodGeneral humorous background music, sometimes involving cute animals getting into mischief.
"Mr. Blue Sky" (Electric Light Orchestra)Morning Routines and Falling In Love Montages.
Mundian Tu Bach Ke (Panjabi MC)Can be used as a Leitmotif for Indian characters, or basically whenever a scene has a distinct Indian nature.
"Music Box Dancer" (Frank Mills)note .Dance. Gymnastics routines. Little girls pretending to be the ballerina in the music box. Brisk leisure activities.
"My Generation" (The Who) Children or the elderly; almost always played for irony with the latter.
"Nadia's Theme" (Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr.)note  High melodrama, gymnastics routines.
Oh Yeah (Yello)Hellooo, nurse!; inanimate objects displayed in sexy and desirable ways. Also mockingly used when you fail a test.
Ohio, (Neil Young)Theme for scenes of 60s protests especially of The Vietnam War — especially the National Guard killing of four Kent State studentsnote  for whom it was written.
Oxygene part 2 (Jean-Michel Jarre)High technology, often with Blinkenlights. Uber geekiness. Astronomical or paranormal events (e.g. viewing eclipses).
Oxygene part 4 (Jean-Michel Jarre)Flight, especially gliders. Smooth action. CGI mockups. Technology. Rhythmic gym.
Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones, from Aftermath)The Vietnam War.
"Peter Gunn" theme (Henry Mancini)Spies, capers, schemes (thanks to Spy Hunter and The Blues Brothers, probably)
"Phantom of the Opera" (Iron Maiden)The start of a race, with buildup.
Pompeii (E.S. Posthumus)Ominous Latin Chanting.
Popcorn note (Gershon Kingsley)Techy geekiness, often quirky. Fads and gadgets. The early '70s. And occasionally, popcorn.
Psycho Suite (Bernard Herrmann)"Psycho" Strings.
"The Race" (Yello) Used in scenes involving car or motor races, or any need for speed
Reach for the Stars (Richard Harvey)The finale to a breathtaking scene, the closing of a race. Heroism.
Roundabout (Yes)When an accident is imminent, yet the scene just stops abruptly as the opening guitar riff kicks in. Made famous in Jojos Bizarre Adventure, but nowadays is Played for Laughs.
Running in the 90s by Max CoveriAnything involving moving at a very high speed. It was made famous when it was featured in Initial D, where it was played straight, but nowadays it's always Played for Laughs.
Sadeness - Part I (Enigma)Make-out music, often for scenes with a forbidden or BDSM edge. Often used seriously in The '90s when the song was new, it's more likely to be a parody now.
Sad Romance (Over The Green Fields)note Used for Tear Jerker scenes, but nowadays it's almost never used unironically and thus it's also associated with narmy sequences that are meant to be more comedic than actually sad.
"San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" (Scott McKenzie) Haight Ashbury, Hippies, 1960s, Nostalgia.
Sandstorm (Darude)Sometimes used in works and advertisements targeting gamers, and also in scenes paying homage to the early 2000's. Was also widely used in flash animation and games from that era, and as background music to game streams, leading to the meme.
Scheming Weasel (Kevin Macleod)Someone pulling off a clever scheme, cat videos
Shock Horror (A) (Dick Walter)"Dun-dun-DUN!!!". A recognizable dramatic Sting, often used jocularly.
Piano break from Sinnerman (Nina Simone)Extreme, highfalutin and usually highly successful naughtiness.
"Sirius", The Alan Parsons ProjectSports team intros,or parodies thereof.
Six Million Dollar Man theme Superhuman strength or speed, in slow motion.
"Song 2" (Blur), AKA "Woo-Hoo" Action scenes, particularly extreme sports.
Soul Bossa Nova (Quincy Jones)The Swinging Sixties. Fashions and open-topped vehicles of that era. Groovy chicks. Austin Powers. Was also the theme to the 1970s game show Definition.
Space Oddity (David Bowie, from Space Oddity)Dramatic or sombre scenes in space. If it's just the opening, space travel in general.
Spanish Flea (Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass) Often played as comedic background music. You'll probably be hearing this as an on-hold song when navigating an automatic menu system, interspersed with a voice saying "Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold", or even "Please stand by. We are experiencing technical difficulties".
Stayin' Alive (The Bee Gees) The '70s.
The Stripper (David Rose) Anyone performing a striptease. However, a scene done by Morecambe and Wise, where they make breakfast to this tune, is also well known.
Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealers Wheel)Either used to evoke the drugs-and-folk-music era of Sixties music (even though this didn't come out until 1972 and didn't hit the charts until the following year), or as a tongue-in-cheek reference to its use in the interrogation scene in Reservoir Dogs.
Theme from "A Summer Place" (Percy Faith)Classic "easy listening" music, typically denoting shopping malls, doctor's offices, hotel lobbies, elevators, telephones on hold, and Relax-o-Vision.
"Sunshine of Your Love" (Cream)Vietnam, or that time period in general
Superman March (John Williams)Superheroes in general. Often used in parodies.
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd SkynyrdSweet Home Alabama, the Deep South. If somewhere else, used to indicate that the character is a Good Ol' Boy (or gal). Has become associated with incest thanks to Memetic Mutation.
"That's The Way (I Like It)" (KC and the Sunshine Band)Discos and the '70s.
Telescope (Pino Donaggio)Sexually charged scenes.
Things Can Only Get Better (D:Ream)Used for British Prime Ministers, usually mockingly. Originally used as Tony Blair's election theme.
Title theme from Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (Ron Goodwin)Classic biplanes and triplanes. Lo-tech prototypes, joke mock-ups and risible failures in the field of aeronautics.
Trap Door (David Lindup)In particular, the bit from 0:29 - 0:32 is used as a dramatic Sting, most notably for the entrance of the Spanish Inquisition.
"Turn! Turn! Turn!" (The Byrds version) The '60s, hippies.
The Twilight Zone (1959) ThemeSomething is very disturbingly wrong. (Note that the first season of The Twilight Zone didn't use this iconic theme.)
The Intermission song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.Used for Intermissions, or when a show or streamer is experiencing technical difficulties.
The Typewriter (Leroy Anderson)Newsrooms and secretarial pools, BBC Radio's The News Quiz. Jerry Lewis made this his own in Who's Minding the Store, though it was written before that.
Under Pressure (Queen)Training montages, financial crises, buildup to someone's big event, performance anxiety - but soft-pedaled. Getting across the notion of "under pressure" without going for one of the obvious ones.
"Walking on Sunshine" (Katrina and the Waves)A montage in which characters are genuinely happy. See also Stock Trailer Music.
"We Are The Champions" (Queen) Victory in a sporting contest. Usually tongue-in-cheek (except in real arenas).
"We Will Rock You" (Queen)Sports chants, especially taunting opponents.
"Welcome Home" (Coheed and Cambria)Threatening apocalyptic action music, especially the closing guitar solo and chorus.
"Welcome to the Jungle" (Guns N' Roses) Wretched Hive. Wild partying. In sports arenas, usually as taunting or Badass Boast. Sometimes used for trailers for works about actual, literal jungles.
"What a Wonderful World" (Louis Armstrong)Romantic or just as often ironic, such as horrific fighting on screen. Soundtrack Dissonance, used to indicate a Crapsack World. See also "Don't Worry Be Happy" above.
"With a Spirit", (009 Sound System)YouTube instructional videos.
"Wipe Out" Surfing. Humorous accidents. Used more often for this purpose than Misirlou, but not nearly as badass
"Welcome Home" (Coheed and Cambria)Metalocalypse action music, especially using the guitar riffs and chorus at the end.
"The X-Files" from, unsurprisingly, The X-FilesMostly used tongue-in-cheek by web original creators as an audio counterpart to putting on a Tinfoil Hat
Yakety SaxWacky comedic chase scenes. Usually with the action sped up. See also The Benny Hill Show, Musical Slapstick Montage. Bonus: it includes the hook from "Entrance of the Gladiators."
"We're Walking In The Air" (Aled Jones)Christmas, scenes of ice or snowflakes, associated with The Snowman primarily.
"Show Me The Way to Go Home" (Max Bygraves)Mainly associated with Drunken Montage or Alcohol-Induced Idiocy, as of the 1990s, Drunk Driver, Lady Drunk and Hard-Drinking Party Girl.
"Words of Love" (The Mamas and the Papas)Couples arguing, romantic moments in general.
"Let's Talk About Sex" (Salt-N-Pepa) Romance, sex, occasional use was for parody.
"Hold Me Close" (David Essex) Romance, couples, sex
"Love Train" (The O'Jays)The '70s, romance scenes
"Birthday " (Katy Perry) Birthday scenes, birthdays, sometimes used as stock muzak with words cut out in an attempt to copy classical music. Sometimes used to show scenes of discos etc.
"Back to the Future End Credits Theme" (Alan Silvestri). End theme from Back to the Future, normally used from 0:00 to 1:15 for Time-Travel Episode settings. Police, Camera, Action! used this in the 2007 episode "Ultimate Pursuits" and actually referenced the movie itself at the end of the episode. Often used for Parody or Pastiche purposes.
"Get Get Down" (Paul Johnson, 1999)Ibiza scenes, Spring Break, party scenes; anything to do with summer. Sometimes was used as a Pastiche or Satire of what Ibiza music was like during Turn of the Millennium. Occasionally seen in Spring Break or Coolest Club Ever scenes in American TV or movies.
"Lush Life" (Zara Larsson)Scenes of towns or cities, British towns, party scenes, young women, women dancing; wealth, grandeur, influencers; also high-performance or luxury cars.
"You Don't Own Me" (Saygrace/Grace Sewell feat G.Eazy)''"Christmas time, alternatively Crapsack World or Crapsaccharine World settings.
"Doin' It"(Charli XCX feat. Rita Ora)Lifestyle scenes, comedy, advertising, Con Man characters. Often used without lyrics.
"At the Car Wash" (Rose Royce)Car washes, but mainly The '70s, disco scenes
"Wishing on a Star)" (Rose Royce)" or "Wishing On A Star(1998 cover version by Jay-Z feat. Gwen Dickey)Hopefulness, but also used for The '70s scenes that are moody; anything relating to Darkest Hour or when things get bleak. Sometimes used for romance-related scenes, when the character Did Not Get the Girl or is depressed following a break-up.
"Hot Stuff"(Donna Summer)Love and romance, when a series or episode gets Hotter and Sexier, The '70s, often Gratuitous Disco Sequence. Sometimes used as much for parody as straight examples of The '70s. Love Island used this in promos in 2019.
"I Believe I Can Fly"(R. Kelly)Flight, scenes of planes, sometimes used with ducks etc. flying. Sometimes used at the end of a conflict or Story Arc with the beginning of the song, no lyrics.
"On A Mission)" (Gabriella Cilmi)High energy, intense action; scenes of fast cars or driving, occasionally used in Fanservice scenes, Ms. Fanservice. Words sometimes cut from this.
"School's Out" (Alice Cooper)End of high school, graduation, rebellion, edginess
"Toxic"(Britney Spears)High-intensity situations, also used for urban landscapes, but equally for Woman Scorned, Business Trip Adultery. Also used for Spring Break scenes. Sometimes used of Narcissist characters in media too.

    The One Everybody Always Asks About 
Song Theme
Powerhouse (Raymond Scott) Used or imitated in a number of later WB theatrical shorts, in scenes involving a chase, or (especially) a factory or mechanism such as a Rube Goldberg Device. The latter usage (Powerhouse B) has become famous enough to be recognizable outside an animated context. Full documentation of all Raymond Scott works and "soundalikes" in WB cartoons can be found here.


Video Example(s):


Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre

An example from the early 1800s:

In his concert paying homage to Wellington's victory against the French at Vitoria, van Beethoven characterised the advancing French forces via the French satirical ditty/marching song/children's melody Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre (Marlborough Has Gone To War), which would have been a quintessentially French tune to a turn-of-the-nineteenth-century German.

Ironically, the melody is generally known these days for its use in the quintessentially anglophone (and no less victorious) For He's A Jolly Good Fellow.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

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Media sources:

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