Music Soothes the Savage Beast

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Music, magic or not, can soothe savage beasts.

Original quote this title originates from is, "Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast." The phrase was coined by the Playwright/Poet William Congreve in The Mourning Bride, 1697.

See also Magic Music.

Examples of Music Soothes the Savage Beast include:

Anime and Manga

Classical Mythology

  • In Greek Mythology, Orpheus was able to get past Cerberus by playing music to soothe it.
  • In Japan, the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu was... let's just say she was in a mix of a snit, fume and a snotty, bratty-like frump (thanks to her brother being a Jerkass of major proportions). To get her out of the cave she had hidden herself in (and, therefore get summer back), a whole set of activities were devised - including music. But, only the Sumo WITH the music really worked... Not so much calming the beast as trying to apply antidepressants to the fuming, injured ego, but the principle is the same.


  • The Monster in Young Frankenstein can be attracted to and lulled by music.
  • In Bringing Up Baby, the tame leopard Baby can be subdued by singing "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"
  • In Help!!, Ringo is threatened by a tiger which can be tamed by singing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
  • Inverted in The Three Stooges short Idle Roomers, which features a Wolf Man who is relatively tame until he hears music. The stooges, mistakenly believing in this trope, decide to play music when confronted by him, activating the Wolf Man's Berserk Button.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996): Marlon Brando (as the title character) momentarily soothes the rebellious man-animal hybrids with his piano playing. But when Dr Moreau decides to follow this up by activating their pain implants, he discovers the hard way that they've already been removed.


  • In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tom Bombadil's singing subdues Old Man Willow and causes him to release the hobbits.
  • Harry Potter: Fluffy the giant three-headed guard dog is lulled to sleep when music is played (a harp or a flute in this case), as a nod to Greek Mythology.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings: Sandor Clegane aka The Hound hides in Sansa Starks room, drunk and badly wounded mentally and physically. When she comes in, he holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill her unless she sings. She sings such a sweet song of mercy and peace that he cries. Apparently her song lulls the beast inside him to sleep and touches something human in him, possible preventing him from raping and/or killing her.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who: In "The Lazarus Experiment", the Doctor plays a modified organ to defeat the Monster of the Week.
    • In "A Christmas Carol", Abagail's singing calms both the storm and the flying sharks inside it.
    • John Pertwee sings a Venusian lullaby to soothe the monster on Peladon.


  • In 1st Samuel of the Old Testament, King Saul was afflicted by "an evil spirit of the Lord" and asked for a musician who could cause that spirit to depart from him. David was that selected musician, and so often played for King Saul when he was afflicted. However, on a few occasions, the "evil spirit" got the better of King Saul, causing him to throw a javelin at David which he avoided.

Tabletop Games

  • The bard's fascinate ability in Dungeons and Dragons does this. "If its saving throw fails, the creature sits quietly and listens to the song, taking no other actions, for as long as the bard continues to play and concentrate."

Video Games

  • Pokémon: the move Sing makes the target fall asleep if it is accurate. The Pokémon Lullaby from the Poké Gear works by decreasing the chance of Random Encounters.
    • Averted with the Poke Flute and Blue Flute, which awaken sleeping Pokemon.
  • In Dragon Quest, the Fairy Flute is the only reliable way to defeat the ridiculously overpowered Golem boss, which puts it to sleep.
  • Super Paper Mario: Piccolo can be used to put the Underchomp to sleep, making the boss battle incredibly easy.
    • This concept may have originated in Super Mario Bros 3, where the music box power-up puts Hammer Bros., piranha plants and other wandering mini bosses on the map to sleep.
  • In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the flute you obtain from the Palace on the Sea is required to get past the River Devil in Eastern Hyrule.
  • Referenced in Spyro: Ripto's Rage in the Fracture Hills by the bagpipe-playing Satyrs. In the final cutscene, the earth-shapers can be seen covering their ears from the music with one of them losing his red eyes and deciding to dance along.
  • In Jabless Adventure, the dreaded SCUBA bear is said to be invincible and chases after Jables. However, after evading the bear and receiving a strawberry from the lady in the house, Jables is suddenly inspired to sing the Strawberry Shortcake theme song. This song calms the bear, which makes it safe to swim back past him.
  • Romeo's Ballad from Final Fantasy V inflicts Stop on enemies.

Web Comics

  • In an alternative universe in Nodwick where Yeager never had a certain Artifact of Doom removed from his arm, he tried to distract himself from the urge to start wars it gave him with music. It doesn't seem to help much.

Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes: Taz can be easily calmed with music, whether by instrument or singing.
  • Titano in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Monkey Fun".
  • The plot of the Tex Avery-directed Chilly Willy cartoon "The Legend of Rock-a-bye Point" concerns a polar bear trying to get fish from a fishing boat, getting the Angry Guard Dog off his back by putting him to sleep with a lullaby, while Chilly sabotages him at every turn.
  • In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Down Beat Bear", the titular bear ends up at Tom's house and Tom tries to call the authorities, but every time the bear hears music he starts to dance with Tom.