Duet Bonding

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
You can see the sparks flying.

Battle isn't the only way to make friends. Sometimes, you don't need an instrument of destruction to get someone on your side—you just need an instrument.

Duet Bonding happens any time a pair of people become a little closer because they play music together. This can lead to a new Love Interest, or just help them get to know each other a bit better. The piano is the most often used instrument, probably because the pair needs to sit close together to play.

A sub-trope of Let's Duet. See also Love At First Note.

Examples of Duet Bonding include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Quatre and Trowa play a duet shortly after meeting, which cements the friendship they'll have for the rest of the series (and drives the shippers nuts).
    • The music of the duet is titled on the soundtrack as 'Sparkling Harmony,' under the subtitle 'Affection.' It's not hard to read between the lines.
  • Nodame Cantabile is essentially all about this.
  • Pictured above, Kahoko Hino and Len Tsukimori from Kiniro no Corda, playing their first duet together (yes, there is more after that).
  • At least two instances in Ojamajo Doremi—Doremi has one with Hazuki (Doremi on piano and Hazuki on violin) and another with her little sister Pop (both playing piano).
  • Hibiki and Kanade play piano together to improve their teamwork early in Suite Pretty Cure.
  • In Whisper of the Heart, Shizuku and Seij bonds over the Real Song Theme Tune "Country Roads". Seiji plays the violin, Shizuku sings, and she slowly opens up and becomes more confident.


  • In Corpse Bride, after Victor offends the eponymous bride, they make up by playing a piano duet together.
  • In Get Over It, the main character and his new love interest play piano together to show that they are getting closer. However, he can only play twinkle-twinkle little star, and she's an expert—she improvises while he struggles along.
  • Subverted in Deliverance—after the famous "Dueling Banjos" scene, Drew goes to shake the boy's hand; he is snubbed.
  • Nearly literal version in Walk Hard - the double-entendre duet of "Let's Duet."
  • In The Holiday Iris and Miles bond over composing "Arthur's theme" on a piano together.
  • Once practically revolves around the romantic bond formed through playing music together.
  • In Electric Dreams, Madeline is rehearsing her cello when the Instant AI, Just Add Water in the next room begins duetting with her through the air vent. She thinks it's the human who lives in the apartment, and they begin a relationship.
  • The river scene in The Dark Crystal where Kira is singing and Jen is playing the flute. Jen also bonds with the podlings by joining in with their jig.
  • Basically the premise of Music and Lyrics (only actually writing the song, not just performing it together.)
  • In The Music Man, Harold Hill gets the members of the River City school board to engage in barbershop quartet bonding.
  • Although they were already friends, the end of the Apartheid-based film Serafina has the title character and her male friend perform a duet they had been planning for the entire movie for a school concert. The problem is, by this point, their school has been burned down by the white police, so they're performing for an invisible audience in the rubble.
  • Troy and Gabriella of High School Musical become acquainted by singing karaoke in front of a crowd of people. Later, they bond some more when they practice to become the leads in the school play.
  • In Duets, Liv finally bonds with her up until then Jerkass estranged father when he calls her up on stage during a karaoke competition so that they can sing a duet of her deceased mother's favorite song: Cruisin' by Smokie Robinson. The odd couple of the drugged-up ex-salesman Todd and the recently released ex-convict Reggie's friendship begins to blossom when they share a duet of Try a Little Tenderness.
  • A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! (the Live Action Adaptation of The Fairly OddParents) has "Looking Like Magic", a song sung by Timmy and Tootie's actors, accompany the characters' "Falling in Love" Montage.
  • In Au revoir les enfants Jean and Julien bond over playing a piano duet while an air raid alert is going on.


  • Happens in the first Thursday Next book, The Eyre Affair. The protagonist and another man play a literal piano duet, both playing the same piano at the same time but different parts of the piece. Not a straight-up example, because the two had been lovers in the past, but they weren't together at the time.
  • Aubrey-Maturin has the title characters do this quite often. Aubrey plays violin; Maturin plays cello. And, uh, Does This Remind You of Anything??:

[H]e was particularly attentive in laying out the sheets, pouring Stephen another glass of wine, and, when they began, in so playing that his violin helped the 'cello, yielding to it in those minute ways perceptive to those who are deep in their music if to few others.[... T]hey carried straight on without a pause, separating, joining, answering one another, with never a hesitation nor a false note until the full satisfaction of the end.

  • In Victorian era fantasy novel Darkness Visible, Lewis plays the piano, and Marsh the violin. Both are experts, and the first time Lewis offers to play a duet with Marsh it is a clear sign that their relationship has changed. They go on to play together many times, using the music as a much-needed emotional release when neither of them can express themselves in words.
  • In Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game, when the protagonist Josef Knecht is still a young boy, the Music Master himself comes to examine if he's eligible to be educated in the elite schools. He does it by making the young Josef play music together with him. Thereafter they practically make a baroque-style version of what jazz musicians usually call "jam session", using a popular song as the basic theme. After this, the Music Master explicitly tells to Josef that making music together is the easiest way to create a friendship.

Live Action TV

  • This was the only way Ted and Stephanie could communicate for a while in Scrubs, until Ted grew a pair.
  • In one of the last episodes of Battlestar Galactica Starbuck plays the piano with a pianist she previously disliked and it help her to come to terms with her past.
  • In Glee this is how Jesse seduces Rachel when they first meet. And then again when Jesse returns to McKinley.
    • Glee loves this trope, especially with Rachel. Two other examples include Mercedes and Rachel resolving a feud while singing "Take Me or Leave Me", and Blaine solidifying his foray into bisexuality with Rachel with "Don't You Want Me."
      • Blaine does it again, this time with Kurt - their rampant flirtation solidifies with "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and "Candles", which takes place right after their Relationship Upgrade, is an entire song of them staring dopily and dreamily into each others' eyes like they can't believe they've just found each other.
      • Blaine even hangs a lampshade on the Candles duet; right before the Big Damn Kiss he flat out tells Kurt that the duet would be an excuse to spend more time with him.
    • Community mocks Glee's use of the trope - Troy and Annie's Buffy-Speak-laden attempt is thwarted by Shirley.
  • It happens on Victorious a few times, mainly with Tori and Andre.
  • Happens on several occasions in Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, the EMH realizes that he has a crush on Seven of Nine while they are practicing Seven's singing abilities.
    • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data bonds with his "mother" (the wife of his creator) via a violin duet. We get a first hint that she is not what she seems by the fact that not only Data, but she too can play inhumanly precise and fast...


  • The PDQ Bach piece Sonata Innamorata is all about this. There's a wonderful performance of it here.


Western Animation

  • Happened in Arthur, where a piano duet stops Arthur's grudge against his cousin.


Real Life