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Writing Character theme songs

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Absolute Zero, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal...

    Aki
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    When I was a young warthog and reading the Bleach manga, every few chapters or maybe once per volume there would be a character bio page for a different prominent character of the story, like a little character sheet. Their height and weight, their favorite food, names of family members, their theme song. And that last one got weird, because while the central characters were living in 2000s Tokyo, a lot of characters lived in perpetually feudal-Japan spirit world, only briefly visiting 2000s Tokyo while working. The page of one such character, Byakuya Kuchiki, had his theme song listed iirc as something by Radiohead, which instantly bothered me. Why does this stoic feudal Japanese samurai/shogun have a theme song from probably 1990s England? Not that Jpop would be any better, but it seems anachronistic and misplaced.

    Anyway, my question for my fellow character-makers is this: how do you decide your characters' theme songs? Do you try to choose what they would like in their own setting, or what they would like if they lived here today, or something you like that you think fits their personality regardless of their own taste? Do the words matter or not? Do you just look for a punny name (like how HeroofFire101 sort-of suggested mine to be this, instead of this), or are these just murky waters that you vehemently choose not to wade into?
     
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  2. HeroofFire101

    HeroofFire101 Stirlingite

    Rusty
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    Okay, first of all, when I heard Saved by Zero by the Fixx, I thought of you, because you're Zero, after all, and second, my character from the Pirate RP, Anna Hayden, doesn't have a character song, yet, mainly because I'm searching through game franchises I know.

    There is a theme song for a character that has yet to appear in the RP already chosen and only me and Ozone know it.

    However, in some anime that I've watched/heard of, there are character theme songs, like this for Soul Eater



    Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Have a nice dream
     
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  3. WavePearl

    Serenity
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    When I'm picking character themes, I make sure it fits the setting of the story's world (so no electric guitars in a fantasy world, for example) and the character's personality.
     
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  4. SyWry

    SyWry Dragon Tamer

    Legendary Egg
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    I develop characters from songs. Whether it be through inspiring lyrics, catchy tunes or the emotion of the song, I've developed whole characters based on a single song. Often, these songs become their theme songs just because of how intimate the characters are to the song. Though the song itself is extremely close to the character or the particular theme of that character's character arc.
     
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  5. Lillie

    Lillie Shrouded in Shadow

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    Philosopher's CowlPsychium Z ★★★★Gardevoirite ★★★★Galladite ★★★★Heart Scale ★★
    I can't say my characters have theme songs, though they usually have a type of music that associate with them. I actually have a bunch of playlists for different characters that I'll listen to when writing or brainstorming for them specifically. Its half what I think they'd listen to and half what I think fits their personality. For example, one of my characters is the dark, classy type with a love for old jazz. Naturally her playlist has a lot of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. But it also has many songs by Marina, which I feel capture her personality very well.
     
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  6. Absolute Zero

    Absolute Zero The second seal...

    Aki
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    I realized I never got around to posting my own opinion on this.

    So, I have two methods that I kind of like. The first is what I will describe as Goblin Slayer's theme song from that self-titled anime series. In case you don't know, that anime is very medieval, very swords-and-magic, the highest technology they probably have is probably water pumping or windmills. But his theme song isn't something played on the lute and flute, but is absolutely brutal gothic heavy metal, and it fits regardless. Goblin Slayer himself would probably ask what instruments they were, having never witnessed electricity or electrical instruments before, but I get the feeling he would say "I like this song, it's very proud and confident" despite the unfamiliarity. He wouldn't ask a bard to play it for him, but he probably respects how similar it is to his personality.

    I suppose the other angle I like is similar to what Lillie above mentioned. What song would this character, in their time and location, probably have put on repeat for an hour at some point in their recent life, like we all (probably) do at some point. Maybe the the name isn't a pun, maybe it's not a good fight song, but I try to have it be a window to their soul. I had a plan to decide theme songs for all the main characters for my current (stagnated) original-characters fanfiction, but only came to settle on one. My main character is a young woman who used to be a very skilled trainer but has now mostly left the battling life and has partly retired young (and of course gets dragged back into being a fighter). And I found myself listening to a song on repeat while thinking of her, a rocky-metally song which I could imagine her enjoying, and with lyrics like "Dreams really do come true, But what will living in a dream, really do to you? All people rise and fall, But only few of them will need a trace to follow up". I was listening to this song like "dang" and I think she would listen to this song like "dang". It seems hard to force that process, getting deep into a character's head to find the obsessions they would stumble upon.

    I don't know. I'm probably putting too much thought into something that will probably only be used on a character sheet.
     

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