Fanfare

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And as "Superman" came on the screen, I swear to God, if you listen carefully, it literally, the music speaks the word.
Richard Donner (on the opening theme for Superman)

A type of Mood Motif that was traditionally used in medieval Europe to celebrate the arrival of a royal person. Today, it is still present in music as a form of celebrating something. A fanfare generally uses horns, or the closest digital music equivalent, and is stirring and uplifting.

Compare Orchestral Bombing, Drum Roll, Please, Ermine Cape Effect (having the same effect for royalty, but with clothes).

Examples of Fanfare include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]


Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Shrek 2 played with this. The traditional fanfare is followed by one guy playing the Hawaii Five O theme. "Enough, Reggie!" indeed. In fact, the traditional fanfare was itself a stylized portion of the Hawaii Five O theme.
  • In The Little Mermaid, Triton first appears to a fanfare. Sebastian is introduced with the same fanfare, only played on a kazoo.
  • The recobbled version of The Thief and the Cobbler has many, most memorably:

"Beautiful! Princess! Yum Yum!"


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]

  • Several Leitmotifs in Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle have a fanfare-like character, such as the Sword motif and the Valkyries' theme (exploited in the famous "Ride of the Valkyries"). Of Siegfried's two themes, one is only slightly fanfare-like; the other (the famous horn call) is much more so.
    • In Parsifal, Parsifal's theme is very much a Fanfare, indicating that while he may be a fool, he's The Hero nonetheless.
    • In Lohengrin, there is a simple fanfare that plays whenever Henry the Fowler, King of Germany, enters the scene.
  • The theme to Masterpiece Theatre is actually an old piece titled "Fanfare for trumpets, timpani, violins and oboes". It's on the more relaxing and graceful end, but it is a fanfare.
  • The Triumphal Chorus from Verdi's Aida.
  • Fanfare for the Common Man
  • Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada has the "Procession of the Nobles".
  • The Moody Blues' Days of Future Past.
  • Mirdautas Vras by Summoning. Perhaps the only example of a fanfare for a villain. Listen here.
  • Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" opens with a fanfare that is repeated at intervals, though the main body of the piece relies rather more heavily on strings than the other examples here.
  • In settings of the Requiem Mass, "Tuba mirum" is a good place to look for fanfares combined with Ominous Latin Chanting. Mozart's only has a relatively tame trombone solo, but the Berlioz and Verdi Requiems pile on the brass magnificently.
  • Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien opens with the reveille call that he heard while on vacation in Spain.
  • Gustav Mahler's music is filled with fanfares and marches, thanks to growing up in a town with a barracks.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Camelot has a recurring fanfare derived from the title song ("Ca-me-lot!").
  • Of Thee I Sing has a trumpet fanfare derived from its title song, which plays before various important entrances and announcements. This is subverted in the final scene by Rule of Three.
  • Da-da-da-DAH! Arguably the best overture of a musical ever written, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's Gypsy revolves around four notes and four central words: "I had a dream!"
  • Candide
    • Similarly, the overture of Leonard Berstein's version is so epic and widely regarded it is performed by symphonies as a modern classical piece completely separate from the musical. Its opening fanfare is instantly recognizable.
    • There's also the Governor's fanfare, derived from his song "My Love", and a shofar-like Inquisition fanfare which sounds quite scary.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The aptly-named Victory Fanfare, which has appeared in almost every game of the Final Fantasy series.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, the victory fanfare also plays when the player wins a chocobo race. If the player loses a chocobo race, a minor key version of the fanfare is played.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, a heavy-rock version is played when you win a match playing as an evil character.
  • The Dragon Quest overture (especially obvious in VIII).
  • "The Musashi Legend" from Brave Fencer Musashi. Listen to it here.
  • The theme to Golden Sun.
  • Part of the Baldur's Gate 2 main theme, from about 0:15 to 0:50 here.
  • The victory music in the first Star Fox game.
  • The victory tune in Capcom's Knights of the Round. Oddly, it's just the SNES port, not the arcade version, which sounds more like chimes than trumpets.
  • "Lucca's Theme" from Chrono Trigger. In fact, one of the things that annoyed some gamers about Cross was that even though that tune was upgraded to a full victory tune, and given two remixes, both of them slowed the tempo down.
    • A different sort of fanfare is "Courage and Pride", the castle theme—there is a remix of it that plays it as it would be in "real life", outdoors with chattering voices.
  • The theme to The Legend of Zelda series may have been intended as a fanfare at first, but the audio limitations of the Famicom/NES made it difficult to make clear. The Animated Adaptation on the Super Mario Bros Super Show made it clear that the theme is a fanfare, and was also played as one in A Link to the Past.
  • From 1:40 onward, "The Greatest Journey" from Halo 3 is a Fanfare version of the original Halo Theme.
  • Rise of Nations plays victorious fanfares whenever you're winning a battle, as well as during the victory debriefing screen.
  • Kessen is absolutely overloaded with sweeping fanfares, both for victory and for battles. Kessen III replaced some of the fanfares with odd rock/techno orchestral mixes though, which sort of worked, but didn't make your hair stand on end like some previous songs in the series did.
  • Cave Story has "item acquired" and "boss defeated" fanfares.
  • The victory music (especially the "defended town" one) in Heroes of Might and Magic III.
  • Numerous games released by Apogee Software in the early-to-mid 90s opened with a screen displaying the company's logo accompanied by the "Apogee Fanfare".
  • The title screen music for the original Pokémon has been a recurring fanfare and main theme for the series. There are few various victory fanfares as well, but this is without the most recognizable one from the games.
  • Super Mario Bros has the music played whenever Mario/Luigi touches a flagpole at the end of a level. A different fanfare is used at the end of each Castle level after he defeats a Fake Bowser (or the real one at the end of the final level) and rescues a Toad (or Princess Peach, again at the end of the final level).


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • And Great Revival from the Ace Attorney series also qualifies. Even if you weren't a fan of Edgeworth, this song got your attention.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The openings to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She Ra Princess of Power.
  • Justice League has one, enhanced by the fact that there is a few seconds of darkness as the fanfare begins, before the outlines of the heroes slowly come into view.
    • The old Superman and Batman: TAS themes also come in whenever Superman or Batman do something incredible; like Batman taking on Kalibak.
  • Beast Wars introduced the character of Silverbolt in its second season. His statements concerning his honor code, and knightly actions were often accompanied by a medieval-style fanfare. Even his first appearance has him silhouetted in the moon as his fanfare played.
  • From Season 2 on (when they started Flash animation), Johnny Test overused fanfares.
  • Tale Spin has one that plays during the heroic and triumphant moments.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud is the most famous of the various songs used as themes for the Olympic Games. The version linked was arranged by John Williams and added to the beginning of his Olympic Fanfare Medley, which as indicated by the title follows it up with a fanfare of Williams' own.
    • Williams' "Summon the Heroes", the 1996 Atlanta Olympic theme, also draws heavily on the fanfare.