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The Music Meister

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"I'm the heart of swing, I'm the twist and shout.
When you gotta sing, when you gotta let it out."

The Music Meister is a character who causes others to break out into spontaneous song and/or dance. Often used as a justification for a Musical Episode, in which case Genre Savvy characters will question (possibly in song) why they are suddenly acting like characters in a musical.

To qualify as The Music Meister, a character must have an explicit power to cause others to break out in song, and the musical interludes should be commented on as being out of the ordinary.

Related to Crowd Song, Enslaved Tongue, Spontaneous Choreography, and Involuntary Dance, since that's what this person causes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Remarkably for a Japanese work (where Musical Episodes are uncommon in the first place), Duel Masters Victory V3 has an episode about a wannabe singer whose magical companion causes others to break out into spontaneous shouts, and eventually, singing and dancing. The main characters even sing the jingles during the eyecatches.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • The Muse from the Doctor Who comic strip "Planet Bollywood" in Doctor Who Magazine. The Muse was a robot created by the ruler of a planet to induce courtiers to perform musical routines against their will. An insurgent faction realized her powers could be used for evil. Smuggled off-planet, she was damaged in a spaceship crash and started inducing random musical outbursts in the local inhabitants.
  • In Justice League of America #16 (1962), the JLA battled the musically themed villain the Maestro, who equips his henchmen with instruments that cause hearers to dance uncontrollably. (The whole story is eventually revealed to be a What If? scenario posed by one of the JLA's readers.) The JLA display considerable ingenuity in using their powers and talent to keep fighting while being unable to stop dancing; e.g. The Flash spinning on the spot so fast he stats to bore a hole in the ground, or Batman flipping so energetically he dislodges capsules from his Utility Belt.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Nodwick story, Yeagar becomes this accidentally, after he asks Artax to cast a spell on him, to give him more impressive speaking skills. Of course, Artax never really read the full description of what exactly the spell does... so of course, EVERYONE (heroes and villains alike) start randomly singing together in the middle of the fights. The expressions during some of the songs are truly priceless.

    Fan Works 
  • A Gem in the Rough: In a nod to the Trope Namer, Genevieve's newest ability "Color Trap: Musical Deep Blue" forces whomever is inside of her range to break out into spontaneous song and dance...despite there being no musical accompaniment. This can even effect strong-minded people like Captain Hina, who used the lyrics to show her disgust at the situation. Unfortunately, this includes her herself as well, much to her own embarrassment.
  • Left Beyond makes use of sonic weapons that take in a modulation signal, which is often a musical piece; given how Narrative Causality works in the setting, the side with the most appropriate fighting song often gets a defense bonus.
  • Pokemon Opal And Garnet: Clopin. He got an ENTIRE crowd to sing "Topsy Turvy"... or at least its PokeLatin cover. In addition, his "Court of Miracles" battle style has left many Pokemon baffled.
  • The Uncle from Songs Uncle Sings is a low key example.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ghosts can apparently do this in Beetlejuice, as the Maitlands demonstrate during the sequence with "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" by Harry Belafonte.
  • Giselle from Enchanted, who comes from a universe where random musical numbers are common. Only a few characters seem to notice that the singing and dancing is out of the ordinary.
  • Hocus Pocus: Winifred enchants a town hall full of partygoers to literally dance themselves to death.
  • In Leprechaun in the Hood, the Leprechaun uses his powers to make the people in a night club sing and dance for him.
  • In The Mask, the title character is surrounded by police, so he starts singing a rumba number and the policemen start singing and dancing along, to their great surprise.
  • In The Tales of Hoffmann (1916), Dr. Mirakel kills his victims by playing them the violin. This compels them to dance, eventually killing them by exhaustion.
  • Willy Wonka's chocolates can have this effect in Wonka. Directly stated in the "You've Never Had Chocolate Like This" musical number:
    Have you tried his new one?
    Oh you've got to have a go!

    Just pop one in and everything
    Becomes a Broadway Show!

    The news that makes you gasp
    The jokes that make you laugh
    All that you say and do all day will be choreographed!

  • Not a person, but otherwise along the same lines, is Rojahama's Song-and-Dance from the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Sky Pirates!. It's a force of nature, or perhaps some kind of meteorological effect, that causes spontaneous outbreaks of Crowd Song. (The planet on which this occurs is in a solar system that, for reasons explained later in the book, is basically one giant Weirdness Magnet.)
  • In The Master and Margarita, Woland supernaturally makes a crowd of people sing involuntarily.
  • Many retellings and adaptations portray The Pied Piper of Hamelin as this once he switches from controlling rats to controlling human children. It's very common to find versions where the kids sing and dance after him instead of just following him out of town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The demon Sweet from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More, with Feeling". Upon his arrival in Sunnydale, everyone in town begins breaking into musical numbers. While this seems harmless enough, the songs are always brutally honest ones that reveal people's deepest secrets, which sows discord among the populace. They also cause certain victims to spontaneously combust.
  • In the third season of Community, Mr. Rad not only acts as a Music Meister, but slowly converts the study group into Mini Music Meisters.
  • The Flash had a musical crossover with Supergirl, with Darren Criss in the role of the trope-naming Music Meister. Unlike most examples, it being a musical wasn't an explicit power of the character; he trapped Barry and Kara in a shared dream world based on their own minds, which happened to be a musical. He was given the name by characters who didn't know how his powers worked. Also, he was more The Trickster; in the end he wanted them to learn something that was actually intended to help them, and is actually an otherworldly entity similar to Mr. Mxyzptlk who let them think he was just another villain with a weird power at first.
  • The Imagin Ryutaros from Kamen Rider Den-O has the unique power to make everyone around him spontaneously burst into breakdancing with his theme song in the background just by snapping his fingers. After the first time, he even has a 'posse' that shows up whenever he wants someone to dance with.
  • The Luvvie tribe in The Legend of Dick and Dom episode "The Land of the Luvvies" has this effect on people.
  • Legends of Tomorrow has Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love. Well, it's actually a guy named Sanjay, who gathered the real Kamadeva's ashes after he was immolated by Vishnu. Sanjay can use Kamadeva's ashes to remove people's impulse control. He uses it to start a Bollywood dance number in Regency England. People around him can't help but start singing.
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "A Case of the Sing-Alongs'', the Sing-Alongs itself counts as this, although the issue was chalked up to the Mayor's high school glee club, The 30s.
    • In "Slow Day", DJ Max Relax's music has the ability to make everyone move in Slow Motion. Olympia, Otis and Oona later reverse the effects by playing a song that goes from slow-paced to fast-paced.
  • Downplayed in the Musical Episode of Power Rangers Zeo. After The Machine Empress casts a spell on the Red and Yellow Rangers, they are forced to sing everything while everyone else are looking at them strangely.
  • A 2010 Sesame Street episode had Elmo take on this role by pure accident - he decided to play with Abby's wand when she left it behind after leaving to do an errand; he accidentally learned the music spell while pretending to be a conductor with it and decided to use it on everyone on the street. There's even a Shout-Out to the Buffy example, specifically the "They Got The Mustard Out" song.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • Solan qualifies as this, as he is the driving force behind Xena and Gabrielle's being transported to the musical world of Illusia after they tried to kill each other.
    • Also from Xena, Terpsichore's Lyre, from "Lyre, Lyre Hearts on Fire" is an inanimate version of this, as the musical aspects of the episode only begin when the Lyre is unearthed by Draco, and are abruptly ended when the Battle of the Bands is won. By Xena.


  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: The Sparks Nevada episode "The Piano Has Been Thinking" features a player piano with artificial intelligence spreading radiation that causes the folks of Mars to randomly burst into song and dance.

  • The cursed piano in the Storyteller skit in season 6, episode 6 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme gives its owner a wonderful singing voice while at the same time causing them, and everyone around them, to sing involuntarily. And then eats them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A homebrew spell for Dungeons & Dragons is specifically oriented towards this. Needless to say, it's bard-only.
    • A more minor example of this is the spell Otto's Irresistible Dance, which only affects a single target.
  • Pathfinder: 2e has The Dance of Death, a magical trap consisting of a ghostly orchestra whose music compels all who can hear it to dance uncontrollably. Failing their saving throws against the music causes the affected creatures to dance faster and faster until they tear themselves apart dancing faster than their bodies can handle.

  • The Balladeer and, to a lesser extent, the Proprieter in Assassins have elements of this, as it seems to be their presence that causes the assassins to express themselves in song.
  • Although most of of the songs and dances performed by Professor Harold Hill from The Music Man are simple outgrowths of him being the main character in a musical, his repeated evasion of the school board crosses into this trope. Whenever they try to check his references as a music teacher he cons them into singing classic Barbershop Quartet standards. He then escapes while they complete the number. The school board members are described as hating each other and are fully aware of what he is doing, but find themselves unable to stop their 4 part harmonies.
  • In Ride the Cyclone, Karnak sets the rules of the game as a singing competition and says he has "taken the liberty of choreographing a few of [their] moves in advance," such as catchphrases and backup dancer blocking for the soloists. The kids essentially have to act out the soloist's fantasy (even if said soloist is insulting them).
  • In The Tales of Hoffmann, Dr. Mirakel forces Antonia to sing by playing the violin. A very dark take in this trope, considering her condition...

    Video Games 
  • LEGO The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, equipping a treasure called the "Disco Phial" allows you to see in the dark, while causing everyone in the immediate area to dance uncontrollably — which can be a pain if you're in multiplayer mode and your partner does this.
    • The Hobbit has the Mithril Rhythm Stick, which plays a dubstep remix and causes players to dance. Using this and the Dazzle Wig and Mithril Dance Boots treasures together will give you the "Lord of the Prance" achievement.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction: The Groovitron, a miniature disco-ball shaped device that forces every NPC on the screen to dance until it runs its course. Notable in that every species/significant NPC has a unique reaction to it — you even get a skill point for targeting everything that can dance.

    Web Videos 
  • The Common Man Show: Babu always ends the video with a traditional folk song and a percussive beat, using either a drum or a table to play it. The other two can't help but groove a bit to it.
  • Flander's Company: This is the primary superpower of wannabe supervillain Kevin (along with creating his own music and light effects). His "groove" is so intense that when he starts dancing, others feel compelled to follow. He mostly aims at incapacitating, though he uses the power once to drag an opponent through a window. He can also use The Power of Rock to cause pain through sonic attacks.

    Western Animation 
  • The Trope Namer is the Music Meister from the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Mayhem of the Music Meister". A villain who has the power to mind control others simply by singing, forcing them to do his bidding while simultaneously singing and dancing to his song.
    Music Meister:
    Bullies used to pick on me because I sang in choir.
    But something very strange occurred when I kept singing higher!
    The ruffians around me quickly fell into a trance,
    and it was then with wicked glee I made those puppets dance!
  • Music Meister also makes an appearance in Harley Quinn (2019), but instead of being a villain, he instead uses his powers to work as a couple's therapist, forcing people to sing about their feelings.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Guitar Villain in the episode of that name. His "Rockin' Riff, Baby!" forces people to dance and shout like they're at a rock and roll concert.
    • Frighteningale has a variant of this power. Victims of her power can choose to stop dancing and speaking in Rhymes on a Dime, but get turned into statues the moment they do.
  • In My Gym Partner's a Monkey Presents Animal School Musical, the magical fish David Coppertrout grants Jake's wish to turn the world into a musical. The other characters are not impressed, even to the extent of singing songs about how terrible it is living in a musical.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "The Return of The Revenge of Dr. Blowhole", Dr. Blowhole's new device accidentally fuses with an experimental power cell and an MP3 player to form a machine capable of doing this. Blowhole himself becomes this when he takes control of it. Like the Trope Namer, he's voiced by Neil Patrick Harris.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz accidentally builds a machine that forces people to dance (he was trying to build something that would dry his clothes). It ends up zapping Perry, Doofenshmirtz, itself, and Phineas and Ferb's latest invention by the end of the episode.
  • A device rather than a character, the Tone-O-Tuner from the Transformers: Rescue Bots episode "I Have Heard the Robots Singing" inadvertently causes all of Griffin Rock to break out in song.
  • Zeke's Pad: Zeke becomes this, but only to himself, in "Wherefore Art Thou". Zeke is desperate to make it into the school musical opposite Maxine, but can't sing a note on key. So when he draws himself with perfectly in tune notes coming out of his mouth, he doesn't think it would mean every opening of his mouth would be in the form of a song. Sure, this helps him pass the singing portion of the audition, but things get embarrassing when he can't talk to Maxine without belting out a song in rap, opera or cheesy pop ballad style. When the pad recharges, he tries to do a 180 and draw himself without the 24/7 songbird voice but instead with magic feet for the dance segment of the competition. That doesn't work out exactly as planned either, as now he can't sing, and can't stop his body from dancing, gyrating and flinging everywhere he goes.

"Put a sock in it!"


Trope Namer


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