A theme song often acts a musical signature for a TV series, movie, or video game. The music chosen to introduce a piece of entertainment becomes an iconic representation of the project. In a combination of audio and visual representation, the opening credits or title section of a project is a perfect opportunity for creators to set the mood and tone for the audience.
Choosing or crafting the perfect theme song feels like the musical equivalent of a series synopsis. Some of the best theme songs create an intriguing sense of anticipation for the storytelling that follows.
In this entry of Tunefind’s FAQ+ series, we discuss the different type of themes and what constitutes an official theme song, along with how Tunefind verifies and lists themes.
A Theme By Any Other Name
Theme songs, while technically considered a sync placement, live in a unique category that is all their own. Theme songs can be placements of well-known songs that exist prior to the series or project. They can also be original pieces of music composed and recorded specifically for the project.
These original compositions can be instrumental songs by the project’s composer, or they can also be cast recorded performances, or even special performances by an artist or band that is commissioned by the music team. When it comes to theme songs, the possibilities are endless.
by Carole King
As the entertainment industry has evolved, so have the ways in which themes are used. The most traditional theme use would be at the very top of an episode or movie or shortly after the opening scene. The sequence often includes stills or clips of the cast and an opening credits crawl.
In more recent years as the dawn of streaming began, theme songs and their accompanying scenes, gave way to trends that featured shorter or sometimes non-existent introductory cues. Many popular series of the 2000’s sacrificed a theme song for a much less prominent musical cue. These musical cues consisted of a few varying notes of music or sometimes are more reminiscent of a sound effect, and are often accompanied by a single title card.
Of course there are other categories of musical themes that exist in film and television. Character themes, for example, are a common theme occurrence. Character themes have a distinctive place in the world of score music. These melodic patterns develop into musical characteristics that symbolize a specific character’s personality and journey across a story.
End themes are another common musical occurrence in television. End credit themes are the antithesis of theme songs. Although these placements have the tendency to be instrumental in nature. Many series will consistently use the same song over the end credits sequence, thus making the song the end credit theme.
by Alabama 3
Theme song; Opening montage; Tony drives to see a therapist.
Both movies and TV series can make use of theme songs, however, Tunefind treats the themes in these two forms of entertainment in different ways. Since the structure of a movie includes one singular Tunefind page, the songs included in the film are listed once. The default organization for song order on movie pages is commercially licensed songs in the order they appeared in the movie, followed by any applicable score tracks.
Often score themes will be named in relation to where they appear in the project. Many times these instrumental tracks will be titled like ‘Main Title’ or ‘End Credits Theme,’ for example.
While both movies and TV shows use theme songs, Tunefind designates a specific spot for theme songs in television shows. When a theme song has been verified, the song will appear in a separate music details portion on every episode, season, and series page. In the relatively rare cases where a TV series changes it’s theme song with each season, Tunefind can assign the applicable song per season.
However, in cases where a series changes it’s theme song or opening credits song per episode, those songs would not qualify to be listed in the designated theme song field. End credit and character themes also do not qualify to be listed in the music details. As apart of the Tunefind community, users are encouraged to add these themes on the corresponding episode page.
In addition to appearing in the music details section, verified theme songs will appear on the first episode of each applicable season. Due to the repetitive nature of a theme song, users should avoid listing a theme song on every episode page. Repeated entries become messy and lead to redundant data.
The same protocol is applied to end credit themes that are the same for every episode. Although there is no designated space for the end credits theme in the music details panel (yet), users should avoid listing the same end credits theme on every episode page and should only list the song on the first episode of the season.
Please keep in mind that in order to list a theme song in the music details section, the Tunefind team must be able to verify the title and artist of the song and that the track is in fact the official theme song of the series and season.
We hope this FAQ+ is helpful and informative! If you have any questions left unanswered, please feel free to reach out. Check out Tunefind’s FAQ and About sections for more information on the inner workings of Tunefind. Check out Tunefind News for more information about Tunefind and popular content.