In video games, there exists a shocking tendency to play waltz music whenever things get really wet. Maybe it's because the most famous waltz happens to be called "On the Beautiful Blue Danube", or maybe there's a slight phonetic similarity between the words "waltz" and "water". It could even be that waltzes and similar compositions are often described as "flowing", much like water. Whatever the reason, 3/4 time is a favorite signature for video game music programmers to use for water levels.
Another common piece of music to use for water levels, especially with beaches, is a tropical-sounding tune, but that's another trope for another time.
Compare Snowy Sleigh Bells for another type of music associated with a certain video game setting.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- The first game in the series is the Trope Maker, featuring a now-recognizable waltz in its water levels.
- Subverted in Super Mario Bros. 3, which certainly has a waltzy feel to its own water level music, but the music itself is in 4/4.
- Super Mario World has a waltz arrangement of its main theme for water levels.
- Averted in Super Mario 64. The water level music sounds nothing like a waltz and is in fact somewhat of a cross between electronic music and soft rock.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii uses another waltz tune for its water levels. This one seems to take a lot of influence from the water music from the first Super Mario Bros, despite being a new melody.
- Pokémon loves this trope. The music first heard when the S.S. Anne departs in Pokémon Red and Green would later be heard as the surfing music of that generation. The franchise's most infamous use of this trope would be in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, which features surfing music with a French horn solo that helped make the generation infamous for water and trumpets.
- Neverland in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has a waltzy theme that isn't present in its appearance in earlier or later games, and it has much more water than any other level in the game. However, the earlier games had it entirely on a pirate ship, and a later game was a prequel.
- Played with in Cuphead. There was going to be a water-themed world, so composer Kris Maddigan wrote a sweeping waltz tune for its music. But after the water world was cut, this song was reworked and used for Elder Kettle's house instead.
- In Fatal Fury 3, Mai Shiranui's stage is in an aquarium and her theme sounds eerily similar to a waltz song in both OST and Arranged versions.
- Earthworm Jim 2 features a variation on this. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, while too slow for a proper waltz, is used to similar effect in the underwater level "Villi People", where Jim briefly disguises himself as/is transformed into Sally, the Blind Cave Salamander in order to traverse a planet-sized intestinal tract.
- In LittleBigPlanet 3, the level that introduces Toggle uses a remix of "Waltz of the Flowers" as BGM. Since one of Toggle's abilities is walk on and under water, this trope comes into play.
- In Naval Ops Warship Gunner 2, waltzes are frequently used as background music when you're not in combat.
- There have been several instances of aquatic levels in Castlevania being given 3/4 music:
- Castlevania: Bloodlines has Sinking Old Sanctuary, which plays in Stage 2, the eponymous flooded Greek ruins.
- Castlevania: Curse of Darkness has Mortvia Aqueduct for the locale of the same name.
- Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has Wandering the Crystal Blue for the underwater caverns of Somnus Reefs.