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IJBM: tropers using "leitmotif" to refer to "character theme" (or "event theme", etc.)

No, a leitmotif is not just a character theme.  Specifically, it's not even a character theme; it's just a musical motif (a distinctive bit of melody or other musical content) that represents something.  And the key indicator of a leitmotif is that it is reused.

A character theme that is never reused is not a leitmotif.  Furthermore, there's usually an even stricter definition of a leitmotif -- it's gotta be reused in some other musical context.  For example:
* A boss having a unique battle theme, where that theme is never used again in whole or part, is not an example of a leitmotif.  (No part of said theme is a leitmotif either.)
* track 2-16 in the soundtrack of FFVI -- the track that has no name, and accompanies strange/humorous situations -- does recur, but is never modified.  It is a leitmotif in the lenient sense, but not in the strict sense.
* The motif "la ti do mi do" in FFVI, which is used extensively in many tracks (e.g. Awakening, Save Them!, Terra, Catastrophe, Metamorphosis, and the ending theme), is leitmotif in the strict sense.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Leitmotif/VideoGames

Someone had, earlier, written the following about La-Mulana:
Every boss in La-Mulana has their own boss battle music

I had to change this to:
Every boss in La-Mulana
has their own boss battle music, but they all share a similar starting
motif, which seems to be the leitmotif of the Guardians. (Said motif
also shows up in "Giant's Cry", the Graveyard of the Giants theme...)

Comments

  • THANK YOU.

    Trombe! is not a leitmotif.  Kingdom Hearts using bits of Another Side in every other boss theme and ominous BGM is a leitmotif.
  • edited 2015-10-09 07:02:12
    [user deleted]
  • edited 2015-02-06 09:34:44
    I'm sorry, I just don't feel like committing the time to putting up a trope repair shop thread about this, arguing with people about usage, helping the community decide on whether to go with the strict or lenient definition of the term for the purpose of the wiki, then leading a cleanup job.

    If it helps any, I could try putting up a TRS thread about it.  Not sure if they still have that restriction of having too many open threads.
  • edited 2015-02-07 09:01:08
    When I think of a leitmotif, I think of what music production people would call a "sound logo" or an "audio mnemonic" (like the NBC chimes or the T-Mobile ringtone, or, perhaps more appropriately, the four notes ABC News has in their theme songs)
  • That sounds like the "lenient" definition -- probably more relevant to a work that is not purely or mainly presented as a work of music.
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