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Encyclopedia > Leitmotif

A leitmotif (pronounced /ˌlaɪtmoʊˈtiːf/) (also leitmotiv; lit. "leading motif") is a recurring musical theme, associated with a particular person, place, or idea. The word has also been used by extension to mean any sort of recurring theme, whether in music, literature, or the life of a fictional character or a real person. For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... In music, a theme is the initial or primary melody. ... For other uses, see Literature (disambiguation). ...

Although usually a short melody, it can also be a chord progression or even a simple rhythm. Leitmotifs can help to bind a work together into a coherent whole, and also enable the composer to relate a story without the use of words, or to add an extra level to an already present story. Look up melody in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Typical fingering for a second inversion C major chord on a guitar. ... A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence), as its name implies, is a series of chords played in order. ... For the popular Tamil film, see Rhythm (film). ...

The word is usually used when talking about dramatic works, especially operas, although leitmotifs are also used in other musical genres, such as instrumental pieces, cinema, and video game music. For other uses, see Opera (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

The word itself has a mixed etymology, as a further meaning to the German word Motiv was borrowed in the 18th century from the French motif, meaning "motive" or "theme", while the German word Motiv itself can be traced back to the 16th century, meaning only "motive" (cf. Latin motivus). Prefixing it with leit- (coming from the German leiten, "to lead"), produces Leitmotiv (German plural: Leitmotive), meaning "leading motif". Etymologies redirects here. ... Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Usage in classical music

The use of characteristic, short, recurring motives in orchestral music can be traced back to the late eighteenth century. In French opera of this period (such as the works of Grétry and Méhul) "reminiscence motifs" can be identified, which may recur at a significant juncture in the plot to establish an association with earlier events. Their use is however not extensive or systematic. The power of the technique was exploited early in the nineteenth century by composers of Romantic opera, such as Carl Maria von Weber . Indeed, the first use of the word "leitmotif" in print was by the critic F. W. Jähns in describing Weber's work, although this was not until 1871. Motives were also important in purely instrumental music of the time: the most famous example is the opening movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, whose central motif was said by Beethoven's friend and biographer Schindler to represent "fate knocking at the door". The related idea of the idée fixe was coined by Hector Berlioz in reference to his Symphonie Fantastique, a purely instrumental work that has a recurring melody representing the love of the central characters. For other meanings of motive see motive (algebraic geometry) and (alternate spelling of) motif (music). ... André Ernest Modeste Grétry André Ernest Modeste Grétry (February 8, 1741 – September 24, 1813) was a composer from the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, who worked from 1767 onwards in France and took the french nationality. ... Etienne Henri (or Nicolas) Méhul (June 24, 1763 - October 18, 1817), was a French composer. ... Carl Maria von Weber Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst, Freiherr von Weber (November 18, 1786 in Eutin, Holstein – June 5, 1826 in London, England) was a German composer, conductor, pianist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns (2 January 1809, Berlin - 8 August 1888, Berlin) German music scholar and voice teacher. ... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... “Beethoven” redirects here. ... The coversheet to Beethovens 5th Symphony. ... Painting of Berlioz by Gustave Courbet, 1850. ... Symphonie fantastique (Fantastic Symphony) Opus 14, is a symphony written by French composer Hector Berlioz in 1830. ...

It is Richard Wagner, however, who is the composer most often associated with leitmotifs. His cycle of four operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen, uses dozens of leitmotifs, often relating to specific characters, things, or situations. While some of these leitmotifs occur in only one of the operas, many occur throughout the entire cycle. Some controversy surrounded the use of the word in Wagner's own circle: Wagner never authorised the use of the word "leitmotiv", using words such as "Grundthema" (basic idea), or simply "Motiv", instead. The word was disputed because of its early association with the overly literal interpretations of Wagner's music by Hans von Wolzogen, who in 1876 published a "Leitfaden" (guide or manual) to the "Ring". In it he isolated and named all of the recurring motives in the cycle (the motive of "Servitude", the "Spear" or "Treaty" motive, etc), often leading to absurdities or contradictions with Wagner's actual practice. The resulting list of leitmotives attracted the ridicule of anti-Wagnerian critics and composers (such as Eduard Hanslick, Claude Debussy, or Igor Stravinsky). They identified it with Wagner's own approach to composing, and mocked the impression of a musical "address book" or list of "cloakroom numbers" it created. In fact Wagner himself never publicly named any of his leitmotives, preferring to emphasise their flexibility of association, role in the musical form, and emotional effect. The practice of naming leitmotives nevertheless continued in popularity throughout the last century, for instance in the work of prominent Wagnerian critics Ernest Newman and Deryck Cooke. Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as they were later called). ... Der Ring des Nibelungen, (The Ring of the Nibelung), is a cycle of four epic music dramas by the German composer Richard Wagner. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Claude Debussy, photo by Félix Nadar, 1908. ... Igor Stravinsky. ...

Since Wagner, the use of leitmotifs has been taken up by many other composers. Richard Strauss used the device in many of his operas and several of his symphonic poems. Despite being otherwise opposed to Wagner, Claude Debussy relied on leitmotifs in his opera Pelléas et Mélisande. The Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev made heavy use of leitmotifs in his work Peter and the Wolf, a musical story with narration; in it, each character is represented by a specific instrument in the orchestra, as well as an associated melodic theme. Other notable examples of leitmotifs are Aida's theme in Verdi's Aida and Scarpia's theme in Puccini's Tosca. Edgard Varèse reintroduced the idée fixe in his early orchestral works, notably Amériques and Arcana. Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony also uses leitmotifs, the main one featuring in every movement. A composer is a person who writes music. ... This article is about the German composer of tone-poems and operas. ... A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music, in one movement, in which some extra-musical programme provides a narrative or illustrative element. ... Pelléas et Mélisande is the name of several dramatic works. ... Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (Russian: , Sergej Sergejevič Prokofijev; April 27 (April 151 O.S.), 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer who mastered numerous musical genres and came to be admired as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. ... 1947 coloring book cover. ... This article is about the opera. ... For other uses, see Tosca (disambiguation). ... Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse (December 22, 1883 – November 6, 1965) was a French-born composer. ... Amériques is a musical composition by the French-born composer Edgard Varèse. ... Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. ...

Movies, television, and video games

Leitmotifs are very common in movie scores; a well known example is the Star Wars Imperial March associated with Darth Vader in the Star Wars series of films composed by John Williams. Sometimes, a leitmotif of a main character is the same as the theme music of the movie or TV show. Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... This article is about motion pictures. ... Recent re-release of John Williams compositions for A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. ... The Imperial March is a musical theme recurring in the Star Wars movies. ... For information on this characters appearance in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, see Anakin Skywalker. ... This article is about the series. ... For other persons named John Williams, see John Williams (disambiguation). ... The theme music of a radio or television program is a piece that is written specifically for that show and usually played during the title sequence and/or end credits. ...

Other examples of leitmotifs used in movies and television include:

  • One of the very earliest leitmotifs in film was in Fritz Lang's M, where Peter Lorre's character, a serial killer, always enters to the sound of Lang whistling "In the Hall of the Mountain King."
  • The work of Howard Shore in his The Lord of the Rings scores includes extensive use of leitmotifs which occur throughout the length of the three films. The themes represent different characters, cultures, and places. Some film critics have made connections (if only by name) between Shore's work on The Lord of the Rings and Wagner's monumental Ring operas.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, an adaptation of the musical of the same name, relies heavily on leitmotifs; at least twenty can be identified, most notably the Dies Irae-inspired accompaniment to "Epiphany."
  • Max Steiner used many leitmotifs in Gone with the Wind, with a theme for almost every character who was seen more than once. He used the main theme of the movie ("Tara's Theme") as a regular leitmotif.[citation needed]
  • Each of the main characters in Mary Poppins (i.e. Mary Poppins, the children, Mr. Banks, Mrs. Banks, and Bert) has a leitmotif, usually the melody of a song sung by the character. In addition, various minor characters also have leitmotif, such as Admiral Boom.
  • In the James Bond films, the "James Bond Theme" music is often explicitly heard during action sequences, or referenced with similar chord changes and structure.
  • Cult favorite Return to Oz has a theme for nearly every character. Composer David Shire used a different instrument for every character and their theme, and went to the lengths of even giving two characters their own themes that eventually merged into one tune when played together.
  • The music within Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical) contains leitmotifs for some of its characters. The most popular example is likely the powerful pipe organ chord progression for the Phantom himself. Others include "Angel of Music" to represent Christine and the Phantom's relationship, "Think of Me" and "All I Ask of You" for Raoul and Christine's relationship, and "Notes" for Monsieur Andre and Monsieur Firmin. The final scene of the musical features a blend of "Point of No Return," "Angel of Music," and "All I Ask of You" that accompanies the intense and climactic mood of the scene.
  • Among Westerns, perhaps the most famous film to make use of leitmotifs is Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • The song "This Old Man" is frequently used as a leitmotif in the Columbo television series, usually whistled by Peter Falk.
  • The 'theme' song of Brazil (a cover of a famous song from the 1930's) recurs in short bursts and background music throughout the film.
  • Curt Massey, the composer for the television series The Beverly Hillbillies, created several leitmotifs for the show's characters, most notably the memorable theme for Mr. Drysdale and the Commerce Bank. Before Massey joined the show, composer Perry Botkin had limited the themes to an "opening" theme, a theme for Elly May, and the ubiquitous series theme. Massey also toyed with the idea of leitmotifs for his other series, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres.
  • The television soap opera Dynasty also used musical themes for each character, as did the action cartoon Batman: The Animated Series. Angelo Badalamenti wrote "Laura Palmer's Theme" on Twin Peaks which used leitmotifs for many characters, perhaps as a parody of its bigger budget soap cousins.
  • Another example from a television soap opera is the use of the leitmotif in Days of Our Lives for whenever supervillain Stefano DiMera, or one of his minions, was nearby, or whenever his handiwork was being discovered--a distinct three-note tune on a panflute was played.
  • Michael Giacchino's score for the television serial Lost includes one leitmotif used when groups of characters are shown engaging in long climbs up hills or mountains. The first such scene was shortened considerably for broadcast but included separately in the published DVDs. The music over the dissolving, otherwise silent long shots expresses effort and passage of time. Another leitmotif emphasizing kettle drums was used over shots dissolving into blackouts during the semi-synoptic episode "The Other 48 Days" to say, "You already know this part."
  • In the revival of Doctor Who, a track known as "The Doctor's Theme" on the soundtrack is heard during references to Bad Wolf, which becomes more conspicuous as the 2005 series progresses, or when things get "too Time Lord-y". Variations on the theme are heard in the 2006 series over some references to the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler. The Daleks and Cybermen also have leitmotifs which are used in episodes in which they appear.
  • In the Friday the 13th (film series), Harry Manfredini implemented a vocal effect to indicate the presence of the killer. While watching a rough cut of the original Friday the 13th, and while contemplating a leitmotif for the picture, the line “Kill her, mommy,” entranced Manfredini. He distilled the line down to "kill mom," and then truncated it even further into "ki" and "ma." He then spoke each syllable a single time into an Echoplex, creating the signature ‘ki-ki-ki ma-ma-ma’ motif that went on to be used in each subsequent sequel.[1][2]
  • Fred Myrow's score in Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm relies rather heavily on the use of leitmotif, as do the following films in the franchise.
  • On all of the Law & Order series, there is a recurring plaintive leitmotif for major catalysts in the storyline such as discovery of a crime or damning evidence.
  • The original Star Trek television series was a constant source of leitmotifs; two of the more famous examples were a characteristic electric bass guitar theme that accompanied any scene in which the character Spock was engaged in deep thought, and a well-recognized battle theme heard in many hand-to-hand fight scenes. Likewise, the appearance of other characters were often accompanied by musical motifs, either reflecting the character's ethnicity (e.g., a Scottish ditty can be heard in several of Scotty's appearances) or suggesting an emotional theme (e.g., martial-like themes for hostile aliens and soft romantic themes for female love interests). Use of character-specific motifs was continued in the later Star Trek films as well; for instance, Worf is often introduced with a Klingon theme. Conversely, the modern Star Trek spin-offs are notable for a complete absence of leitmotifs, a specific decision by former Star Trek producer Rick Berman.
  • In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, a simple 9-note leitmotif is played in scenes featuring Number Six.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog has quite a few villains with their own leitmotif. For example, Katz, who could be considered Courage's arch-enemy, is always accompanied by a distinctive melody, a soft but disturbing drum theme. Another was Le Quack, a French duck villain who is accompanied by an accordion melody.
  • Batman: The Animated Series, scored by composer Shirley Walker, featured individual leitmotifs for recurring villains from Batman's rogues' gallery as well as a hero theme based on the film score by Danny Elfman. Additionally, many individual episodes featured an overarching musical theme that was unique to that episode, such as the jazz-inspired score for A Bullet for Bullock that won an Emmy in 1996.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel TV series, the song "Close Your Eyes" by Christophe Beck appeared throughout Seasons 2 and 3 of Buffy and Season 1 of Angel whenever the title characters, Buffy and Angel, were in a deeply emotional scene. It was used to such an extent that it become known to fans as "The Buffy / Angel love song" [3].
  • In the Stargate series, a number of characters have leitmotifs, including Orlin, Vala Mal Doran, and even the Prometheus starship.

Video games often make use of leitmotifs as well, especially role-playing games. These games are of epic scale and length, which lends well to the use of recurring themes, and a soundtrack can have several hours of music with hundreds of different pieces, each drawing on the same leitmotifs in different keys or with different (often synthesized) instruments. Friedrich Christian Anton Fritz Lang (December 5, 1890 – August 2, 1976) was an Austrian-German-American film director, screenwriter and occasional film producer, one of the best known émigrés from Germanys school of Expressionism. ... M is a 1931 German film directed by Fritz Lang and written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou. ... Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964), born László Löwenstein, was an Hungarian[1] - Austrian - American actor frequently typecast as a sinister foreigner. ... In the Hall of the Mountain King (Norwegian: ) is a piece of orchestral music, Opus 23, composed by Edvard Grieg for Henrik Ibsens play Peer Gynt, which premiered in Oslo on February 24, 1876. ... Howard Leslie Shore (born October 18, 1946) is an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning Canadian composer, best known for composing the scores to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and films of David Cronenberg. ... This article is about the novel. ... This article is about the novel. ... For other uses, see Sweeney Todd (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sweeney Todd (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Dies Irae (disambiguation). ... Maximilian Raoul Walter Steiner (born May 10, 1888 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary; died December 28, 1971 in Hollywood, California) was an Austrian-American composer of music for theater production shows and films. ... Gone with the Wind is a 1939 film adapted from Margaret Mitchells 1936 novel of the same name. ... This article is about the Mary Poppins series of childrens books. ... This article is about the spy series. ... The James Bond series of films from EON Productions has had numerous signature tunes over the years, many of which are now considered classic pieces of cinematic music. ... For other uses, including the 1964 film of the same name, see Return to Oz (disambiguation). ... David Shire David Shire (born July 3, 1937) is an American songwriter and the composer of stage musicals and film and television scores. ... Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948) is a highly successful English composer of musical theatre, and also the elder brother of cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. ... The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the novel by French novelist Gaston Leroux. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Sergio Leone (January 3, 1929 – April 30, 1989) was an Italian film director. ... The references in this article would be clearer with a different and/or consistent style of citation, footnoting or external linking. ... This Old Man is a nursery rhyme of unknown origin. ... Columbo is an American crime fiction TV series starring Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. ... Peter Michael Falk (born September 16, 1927) is an American actor. ... For the 1993 film, see The Beverly Hillbillies (film) The Beverly Hillbillies was an American television program about a hillbilly family transplanted in Southern California. ... Petticoat Junction was an American situation comedy that was produced by Filmways, Inc. ... This article is about the television series. ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... // For other uses, see Dynasty (disambiguation). ... The animated Batman shoots his grappling gun from a rooftop in a scene from the episode, On Leather Wings. ... Angelo Badalamenti (born March 22, 1937) is an Italian-American composer, best known for his movie soundtrack work for movie director David Lynch, most notably Blue Velvet, the Twin Peaks saga (1991-1992) and Mulholland Drive // He was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Sicilian mother and an Italian... Laura Palmer is a fictional character played by Sheryl Lee on the David Lynch/Mark Frost television series Twin Peaks. ... For the hills in San Francisco, see Twin Peaks, San Francisco, California. ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... Days of our Lives is an American soap opera, which has aired nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965[5] on the NBC network in the United States, and has since been syndicated to many countries around the world. ... Stefano DiMera (alias the Phoenix) is a fictional character, a villain on the soap opera Days of our Lives, played by Joseph Mascolo (1982-1985, 1988, 1993-2001, 2007-). He was also portrayed by Frank Fata for a few episodes in December 1991, and by an unknown actor in December... Pan pipes (also known as the panflute or the syrinx or quills) is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the stopped pipe, consisting usually of ten or more pipes of gradually increasing length. ... LOST redirects here. ... This article is about the television series. ... In both the original run and since the 2005 revival, long-running British science fiction television programme Doctor Who has featured a number of story arcs. ... Doctor Who episodes redirects here. ... This article is about the Time Lords from Doctor Who. ... Rose Marion Tyler is a fictional character played by Billie Piper in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. ... This article is about the fictional species. ... The Cybermen are a fictional race of cyborgs who are amongst the most persistent enemies of the Doctor in the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. ... DVD cover for Friday the 13th (1980) Friday the 13th is a popular series of American slasher films. ... Phantasm is a low-budget cult classic horror movie produced in 1977 and released in 1979. ... This article is about the original television series. ... This article is about the entire Star Trek franchise. ... This article is about the Star Trek character. ... Scotty redirects here. ... This article is about the fictional race. ... Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Paramount Pictures, 1979; see also 1979 in film) is the first feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series and is released on Friday, December 7. ... Worf, played by Michael Dorn, is a main character in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and also the films based on The Next Generation. ... Rick Berman Richard Keith Rick Berman (born December 25, 1945 in New York, New York, USA) is an American television producer. ... This article is about the reimagined universe of Battlestar Galactica in 2003; for more about the 2003 miniseries, see Battlestar Galactica (TV miniseries); for more about the subsequent television series, see Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series); for other versions, see the main Battlestar Galactica page or Battlestar Galactica (disambiguation). ... Number Six refers to a fictional model for characters portrayed by Canadian actress Tricia Helfer in the television re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica. ... Courage the Cowardly Dog is an award-winning American animated television series, created by John R. Dilworth, who directed each episode, about a dog named Courage and his owners Muriel Bagge, a kindly old Scottish woman, and Eustace Bagge, a grumpy old farmer, living together in a farmhouse in the... For other uses, see Accordion (disambiguation). ... The animated Batman shoots his grappling gun from a rooftop in a scene from the episode, On Leather Wings. ... Shirley Walker (April 10, 1945 - November 30, 2006) is a well-respected and renowned American film composer. ... Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) is an American musician who led the rock band Oingo Boingo as singer / songwriter from 1976 until its breakup in 1995, and has composed film scores extensively since 1985s Pee-wees Big Adventure. ... The following is an episode list for the animated television series Batman: The Animated Series. ... For other uses, see Buffy the Vampire Slayer (disambiguation). ... For the South Korean TV series of the same name, see Angel (2007 TV series). ... Christophe Beck interviewed on a Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVD featurette Christophe Beck (born 1972 in Montreal, Canada), also credited as Chris Beck, is a Canadian film and television composer. ... Buffy Anne Summers is the eponymous fictional character in the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the television program of the same name and its numerous spin-offs, such as novels, comic books, and video games. ... This article is about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character. ... An activated Stargate, the central object of the fictional Stargate universe, here depicted in the SG-1 television series. ... Orlin, played By Sean Patrick Flanery is a considerably powerful being in the Stargate Universe. ... Vala Mal Doran is a fictional character in the television series Stargate SG-1 played by the actress Claudia Black. ... Thomas & Friends (formerly Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends) is a British childrens television series, first broadcast on Anglia Television in 1984. ... This article is about traditional role-playing games. ...

An early example is the Fat Man's score to The 7th Guest, in which each of the six main guests has their own theme (stated quite explicitly in the first sequence where they eneter one-by-one). George Alistair Sanger (also known as The Fat Man) is a musician who has composed music for over 200 different computer and video games, beginning in 1983. ... The 7th Guest, published in 1992 by Virgin Games, is a video-based puzzle computer game, not unlike The Fools Errand and predating Myst. ...

For example, the Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu uses leitmotifs in many of his video game soundtracks, including the Final Fantasy series, where many characters have their own recognizable musical theme. Many Final Fantasy games have recurring theme for chocobos, the primary means of ground transport throughout the series. In the Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack, "Ovelia's Theme" is also drawn upon in "Ovelia's Worries", "For the Love of Ovelia", "Random Waltz", and the opening and ending credits. Nobuo Uematsu , born March 21, 1959) is a Japanese composer of video game music, and one of the most well-known, prolific, and versatile in the field. ... This article is about the Final Fantasy franchise. ... A Chocobo is a large fictional emu-like ratite first featured in the video game Final Fantasy II, and then in all subsequent installments in the Final Fantasy series plus their merchandise. ... Final Fantasy Tactics ) is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation video game console. ...

Another example of leitmotif in video games is Martin O'Donnell's score for the Halo series. The choir of monks that characterizes the music is commonly used throughout the games to personify and connect the alien environment. Different musical themes are also associated directly to recurring events and characters, distinguishing them from each other to tell the story more effectively. For example, parts of "The Last Spartan" from the Halo 2 Original Soundtrack: Volume One are used whenever the main character appears in a cinematic. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... It has been suggested that Covenant Vehicles in Halo be merged into this article or section. ... In Computer Games and video games, in-game videos, as well as intros and ending sequences are usually called cinematics. ...

Another good early example would be from the Mega Man classic series. Protoman 's appearance is always accompanied by a distinctive whistle. When Darkman is posing as him in Mega Man 5 , your first tip that it is not him is that his whistle is off key. Proto Man is a video game character from the Mega Man series by Capcom. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Popular music

Perhaps the first extensive use of leitmotifs in rock music is found in Tommy, the "rock opera" performed by The Who and written, for the most part, by the band's principal songwriter Pete Townshend in 1969. Townshend intentionally used four leitmotifs in The Who's 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia to represent the four personalities of the album's fictional protagonist, Jimmy Cooper, a British youth with a multiple personality disorder. The four leitmotifs are also meant to represent the four members of The Who. Alternate cover Deluxe edition cover Tommy is the first of The Whos two full-scale rock operas (the second being Quadrophenia), and the first musical work explicitly billed as a rock opera. ... The Whos Tommy, the first album explicitly billed as a rock opera A rock opera is a rock music album or stage production that resembles the form of an opera. ... The Who are a British rock band that first formed in 1964, and grew to be considered one of the greatest[1] and most influential[2] bands in the world. ... Pete Townshend (born Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend on 19 May 1945 in Chiswick, London), is an award-winning English rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, composer, and writer. ... Alternate cover Original soundtrack version Quadrophenia is a double album released by The Who on October 19, 1973, one of the groups two full-scale rock operas. ...

American composer and musician Frank Zappa used a recurring theme throughout the album Uncle Meat by him and his band The Mothers of Invention, the 'Uncle Meat Main Theme' is first played in its entirety but then is played several other times throughout the album, most notably in 'The Uncle Meat Variations'. Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, musician, and film director. ... Uncle Meat, released in 1969, is the soundtrack to Frank Zappas long-delayed film of the same name. ... The Mothers of Invention were a rock and roll band active from the 1960s to the 1990s. ...

Pink Floyd uses leitmotifs throughout several of their albums, including The Wall, Wish You Were Here, The Dark Side of the Moon, and The Final Cut. Pink Floyd are an English rock band that initially earned recognition for their psychedelic rock music, and, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. ... For other Pink Floyd works based around this album, see The Wall (Pink Floyd). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the album by Pink Floyd. ... The Final Cut may mean: The Final Cut, an album by Pink Floyd The Final Cut, an industrial music group The Final Cut, the third part of the House of Cards trilogy about the rise and fall of a Machiavellian prime minister The Final Cut, a 2004 movie See also...

The New York progressive metal band Dream Theater is also known for using leitmotifs in their later albums, in particular Scenes From A Memory, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Octavarium and Systematic Chaos. Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band comprising James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. ... Metropolis Pt. ... Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (often abbreviated to SDOIT or 6DOIT) is the sixth full-length studio album by progressive metal band Dream Theater. ... Octavarium is the eighth full-length Dream Theater studio album, released on June 7, 2005 (see 2005 in music). ... Alternate Cover Special Edition CD/DVD Cover Systematic Chaos is the ninth studio release of the progressive metal band Dream Theater, and their first released on the new label, Roadrunner Records. ...

The American progressive metal band Symphony X used leitmotifs extensively in their concept album, V: The New Mythology Suite. Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Progressive metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music which blends the powerful, guitar-driven sound of metal with the complex compositional structures, odd time signatures, and intricate instrumental playing of progressive rock. ... Symphony X is an American progressive metal band from New Jersey founded in 1994 by guitarist Michael Romeo. ... V: The New Mythology Suite, a concept album, is the fifth studio album from progressive metal band Symphony X. The album deals with the myth of Atlantis, ancient Egyptian mythology and astrology. ...

The progressive rock band dredg named their first album Leitmotif, and, as the title suggests, leitmotifs are used extensively throughout the album. For the Swedish political music movement, see progg. ... dredg is a progressive alternative band from Los Gatos, California, USA. // History Their first studio album, Leitmotif, was released by the Universal music label on September 11, 2001. ... Original cover art Leitmotif is dredgs first full-length album, originally released by dredg on May 30, 1999. ...

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails uses a leitmotif on the album The Downward Spiral. The motif is used during the chorus of "Heresy," at the end of "Closer", and recurs on the album's title track. Michael Trent Reznor (born May 17, 1965) is an American musician, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. ... Nine Inch Nails (abbreviated as NIN) is an American industrial rock band, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. ... Alternate cover Deluxe Edition cover art Singles from The Downward Spiral Released: February 25, 1994 Released: May 30, 1994 The Downward Spiral (also known as Halo 8) is an LP by Nine Inch Nails (NIN), released in 1994. ...

The main riff in the Queens of the Stone Age song Feel Good Hit of the Summer serves as a leitmotif for the album Rated R and makes an additional appearance on Rated R's follow up album Songs for the Deaf. This article is about the American rock band. ... This article needs to be wikified. ... The uses of Rated R include: The R-rating is a rating of the MPAA film rating system. ... Alternate cover Cover of U.S. vinyl release Songs for the Deaf is a 2002 album by hard rock band Queens of the Stone Age and is notable for including Dave Grohl, well-known Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters guitarist and lead singer, as a guest drummer. ...

Mike Oldfield often uses leitmotifs on his albums, in some cases even returning to the same themes used in one piece on another work not on the same album. One notable example of this is a theme from Amarok which is heard throughout that album, turning up again as the basis for the track Let There Be Light on The Songs of Distant Earth. Michael Gordon Oldfield (born May 15, 1953 in Reading, England) is a multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends progressive rock, folk, ethnic or world music, classical music, electronic music and more recently dance. ... Amarok is a record album written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield. ... The Songs of Distant Earth is a music album, written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield. ...


Leitmotif is also used in the Sirens chapter of Ulysses by James Joyce (chapter 11). Critics argue that there are recurring themes of music that begin at the beginning of the chapter and continue throughout the rest of the chapter, and also the book. Ulysses is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. ... This article is about the writer and poet. ...

The "leitmotif" is also present in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The themes of the Virgin Mary, the Greek myth of Stephen's namesake, Daedalus, are some of the more noticeable leitmotifs throughout the work. The leitmotif in this novel provides unity as the character of Stephen matures. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, first serialized in The Egoist from 1914 to 1915 and published in book form in 1916. ... The term Virgin Mary has several different meanings: Mary, the mother of Jesus, the historical and multi-denominational concept of Mary Blessed Virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic theological and doctrinal concept of Mary Marian apparitions shrines to the Virgin Mary Virgin Mary in Islam, the Islamic theological and doctrinal concept... Daedalus and Icarus, by Charles Paul Landon, 1799 (Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle, Alençon) In Greek mythology, Daedalus (Latin, also Hellenized Latin Daedalos, Greek Daidalos (Δαίδαλος) meaning cunning worker, and Etruscan Taitle) was a most skillful artificer, so skillful that he was said to have invented...

Other writers who have used the technique include Kurt Vonnegut and contemporary author Chuck Palahniuk also commonly utilizes leitmotifs in his work. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ... Charles Michael Chuck Palahniuk (pronounced )[1] (born February 21, 1962) is an American satirical novelist and freelance journalist of Ukrainian ancestry born in Pasco, Washington. ...

Leitmotif in literature also refers to the repeated representation of certain themes or emotions throughout a book, play, or other literary works. In literature, a Leitmotif is used as a recurring event, object or even a character that the story always makes reference to. In works with counterpoint, leitmotifs can become a figure of analysis in which the different stories constantly/eventually lead to.


Samuel Beckett, James Joyce's ex-secretary, uses Leitmotifs throughout his body of works, within his use of language in his plays and works of fiction. Beckett uses repetition a great deal and explores complex sentence structures, where he chooses to cut short a statement before its presumed conclusion, or the opposite can be the case with a stream of words running into each other with, in some cases no coherence, in others complete lucidity. Beckett uses "voices" as musical instruments travelling through the (specific) combined, language structure, repetitions and a gamut of emotions displayed in the text that cause changes in pitch and tone, unless the playwright has chosen a monotonous speech pattern as he does for particular characters in his plays. Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish dramatist, novelist and poet. ... This article is about the writer and poet. ...


Leitmotifs are used within advertising more commonly than ever before - most noticeably and notably by McDonald's participatory whistled motif that commands the secondary part (sung formerly and first by Justin Timberlake to launch the new 'I'm Lovin' It' campaign) of itself from the consumer. The subsequent part of the motif was intentionally omitted after an initial amount of exposure to invite consumer participation/reciprocation to finish it off.

Other Leitmotifs are used in conjunction with such brands as Intel, Herbal Essences and Danone.


  1. ^ "'Get her, mommy!' - A Review of Friday the 13th.". 
  2. ^ "Harry Manfredini Interview". 
  3. ^ Whedonesque.com Comments board. Retrieved on 2007-10-18.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 291st day of the year (292nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

In music, a motif is a perceivable or salient reoccurring fragment or succession of notes that may used to construct the entirety or parts of complete melodies, themes. ... In literature, a motif is a recurring element or theme that has symbolic significance in the story. ... In art, a motif is a repeated idea, pattern, image, or theme. ... An aria (Italian for air; plural: arie or arias in common usage) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. ... The Aria di sorbetto, or sherbet aria, was a convention of Italian opera in the early nineteenth century. ... Below is a list of terms used in musical terminology which are likely to occur on printed or sheet music. ... The term Bel Canto may refer to: Belcanto, a vocal technique; or Bel Canto, a novel by Ann Patchett. ... A breeches role (also pants role or trouser role) is a role in which an actress appears in male clothes (breeches being tight-fitting knee-length pants, the standard male garment at the time breeches roles were introduced). ... A burletta (Italian, meaning little joke), also sometimes burla or burlettina, is a musical term generally denoting a brief comic Italian (or, later, English) opera. ... A Cabaletta is form of aria within 19th century Italian opera. ... In music, a cadenza (Italian for cadence) is, generically, an improvised or written-out ornamental passage played or sung by a soloist or soloists, usually in a free rhythmic style, and often allowing for virtuosic display. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Musical terminology. ... A castrato is a male soprano, mezzo-soprano, or alto voice produced either by castration of the singer before puberty or one who, because of an endocrinological condition, never reaches sexual maturity. ... For the piece of music known as Cavatina or Theme from The Deer Hunter, see Cavatina (song) Cavatina (Italian diminutive of cavata, the producing of tone from an instrument, plural cavatine) is a musical term, originally a short song of simple character, without a second strain or any repetition of... The chest register is generalized to be the range of vocal notes below middle C (C4). ... A report in The Etude of July 1931 on the Vienna Opera House banning claquing Claque (French for clapping) is, in its origin, a term which refers to an organized body of professional applauders in French theatres. ... Coloratura is an old word meaning colouring. ... A Comprimario is a secondary role in an opera or singing. ... Convenienze (literally, conveniences) were the rules relating to the ranking of singers (primo, secondo, comprimario) in 19th-century Italian opera, and the number of scenes, arias etc. ... Coup de glotte or shock of the glottis is a term used in the theory of singing technique to describe a particular method of emitting or opening a note by an abrupt physical mechanism of the glottis, or false vocal chords (membranes situated above the true vocal chords in the... The da capo aria was a musical form prevalent in the Baroque era. ... For other senses of this word, see diva (disambiguation). ... The German Fach (pl. ... Falsetto (Italian diminutive of falso, false) is a singing technique that produces sounds that are pitched higher than the singers normal range, in the treble range. ... Fioritura is the name given to the flowery, embellished vocal line found in many arias from nineteenth-century opera. ... Look up Gesamtkunstwerk in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The head register is generalized to be the range of vocal notes above middle C (C4). ... InterMezzo is a distributed file system written for Linux, distributed with a GPL licence. ... Kammersänger or Kammersängerin (or Ks. ... Antonio Ghislanzoni, nineteenth century Italian librettist. ... Literaturoper (literature opera, plural Literaturopern) is opera with music composed for a pre-existing text, as opposed to an opera with a libretto written specifically for the work. ... The Mad Scene was a popular convention of Italian and French opera in the early decades of the nineteenth century. ... Poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ... A Melodramma is an Italian term for opera which was used in the 19th century. ... A monodrama (also Solospiel in German; solo play) is a theatrical melodrama in which there is only one character. ... Messa di voce (Italian, placing the voice) is a musical technique that involves a gradual crescendo and decrescendo while sustaining a single pitch. ... New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Opera Bolshoi Theatre. ... Passaggio is a singing term used to describe the pitch range at which a singers voice breaks or switches over from ones chest voice (natural singing voice) to ones head voice or falsetto (generally for males). ... Portamento is a musical term currently used to mean pitch bending or sliding, and in 16th century polyphonic writing refers to a type of musical ornamentation. ... Look up Prima donna in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The prompter in an opera house gives the singers the opening words of each phrase a few seconds early. ... Recitative, a form of composition often used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas (and occasionally in operettas and even musicals), is melodic speech set to music, or a descriptive narrative song in which the music follows the words. ... Regietheater (in English, directors opera; more commonly producers opera) is a term that refers to the modern (essentially post-WWII) practice of allowing a director or producer such freedom in devising the way a given opera is staged that not only may the composers specific stage directions... Répétiteur (Fr. ... Sitzprobe is a term used in opera and musical theater to describe a seated rehearsal where the singers sing with the orchestra, focusing attention on integrating the two groups. ... Soprano C, sometimes called High C, is the C two octaves above Middle C It is named because it is considered the highest usable note of the soprano, particularly for choral singers (although some can go higher; Mozarts Der Hölle Rache, the Queen of the Night aria from... Spinto is a vocal term used to characterize a soprano or tenor voice of a weight between lyric and dramatic that is capable of handling large dramatic climaxes at moderate intervals. ... Sprechgesang and sprechstimme (German for spoken-song and spoken-voice) are musical terms used to refer to an expressionist vocal technique that falls between singing and speaking. ... Squillo (Italian for ring) is a resonant, trumpet-like ringing sound in voice of opera singers. ... Stagione (Italian season) is an organizational system for presenting opera, often used by large companies. ... Supertitles or surtitles are commonly used in opera or other musical performances. ... Tenor C is the C one octave above Middle C. It is also known as C5. ... In music, tessitura (Italian: texture) is a range of pitches compared to the instrument for which it was intended to be used. ... In music, timbre, or sometimes timber, (from Fr. ... Vibrato is a musical effect where the pitch or frequency of a note or sound is quickly and repeatedly raised and lowered over a small distance for the duration of that note or sound. ...

  Results from FactBites:
:: Leitmotif :: (88 words)
She is also a jazz pianist (here's a plug for her recently released CD '
Her company Leitmotif (a musical term meaning 'leading motif') founded in 1997, specializes in graphic and web design.
Leitmotif has delivered projects of varied scope to clients ranging from emerging new artists to established corporate companies.
Leitmotif revisted (4770 words)
Wagner leitmotifs were both a complex form of codification and a way of producing subtle sensations and associations in the listener.
In another sequence we see the most obsessive use of leitmotif in history: when the detective is alone at Laura’s apartment, every time he sees her portrait, he touches her belongings, he smells her perfume or even when he thinks about her, we hear Laura’s leitmotif.
Despite the fact that musical leitmotifs intended to describe characters or situations are the most used, we will try to recognise other possibilities and establish a classification of types, links and functions of leitmotifs, beyond classic scoring.
  More results at FactBites »



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