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Leitmotifs

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A leitmotif (/ˌlaɪtmoʊˈtiːf/) is a musical "phrase" or melody, re-used in multiple songs to associate a tune with a person, event, or place.

The extensive use of leitmotifs in Undertale's soundtrack and other sound files helps create a nostalgic mood for the game and often evokes emotional responses in players. Toby Fox has stated that the majority of Undertale's soundtrack was composed using reiterations of free SoundFonts and synths.[1]

Attempts have been made at documenting all of the leitmotifs used in the game ; players frequently find new connections, and it may be impossible to list them all conclusively. Every single data can be considered interpretations and every single change must be explained in history description.

Timestamps found below are approximate to one second and are sourced from this playlist, which reflects the timing of the official soundtrack.

Once Upon a Time

Leitmotif once upon a time

This leitmotif can be considered as the main theme of Undertale. It's the most common melody of the game, playing in seventeen tracks.[2]

Flowey

Flowey has two leitmotifs relating to him.

Your Best Friend

Leitmotif flowey

This leitmotif occurs in seven songs, and one unused audio file.[5]

Your Best Nightmare

This leitmotif is used in four songs and one unused audio file. [7]

Toriel

Leitmotif toriel

Toriel's theme. This song is used in three songs and one song from the demo OST.[8]

Ruins

Leitmotif ruins

This leitmotif can be considered as the Underground theme, appearing in eleven official songs and 2 unused sound files.[9]

Enemy Approaching

Leitmotif anticipation

This leitmotif is related to enemies or dogs. It appears in seven songs and one unused song.[10]

Ghost Fight

Leitmotif ghost

This leitmotif is used in five songs.[13]

Determination

Leitmotif determination

The leitmotif for death. This song is used in two songs, one unlisted song and an unused audio file.[14]

Sans

Leitmotif sans

Sans' theme. Found in four songs, one of which is never played in the game.[15]

Papyrus

Leitmotif papyrus

Papyrus' theme. Found in four songs, one of which is never played in the game.[16]

Snowdin

These leitmotifs have two separate meanings to them.

Hopes

Leitmotif hopes

The theme of Snowdin. Used in six songs.[18]

Dreams

Used to represent friendship, love or happiness. Used in eight songs.[20]

Undyne

Leitmotif undyne

Undyne's theme. Used in eight songs.[21]

Another Medium

Leitmotif another medium

Theme of Hotland. Used in five songs.[22] The theme originates from the song "Doctor" from Homestuck.[23]

Alphys

Leitmotif alphys

Alphys' theme. Used in four songs.[24]

Mettaton

Mettaton's themes.

It's Showtime!

Leitmotif showtime

Mettaton's main theme. Found in six songs and at least one other sound file.[25]

Hotel

The bassline of It's Showtime! is present in three Mettaton-related songs. It is considered as a separate leitmotif, as it has an entirely different melody.

Metal Crusher

Leitmotif mettaton

Mettaton's battle theme. Used in three songs.[26] This leitmotif originates from Noisemaster's Theme from Cucumber Quest. [27]

Asgore

Leitmotif bergentrückung

Asgore's theme. Used in three songs.[28]

Asriel

Leitmotif his theme

Asriel's theme. Used in five songs.[29]

  • Memory
  • Undertale 0:00-2:47, 3:27-6:21 (at times, the melody is barely perceptible among overlapping music. It is heard on a guitar for most of the song, becoming hard to distinguish after 3:27 ; the tune switches to a more audible sample after 4:42, to a quiet background piano at the key change around 5:20, and back to the second SoundFont at 5:57)
  • The Choice (imperceptible), as it is a part of Undertale which contains the barely-audible Memory
  • Finale 0:40-0:57[30]
  • His Theme

Other

Minor Leitmotifs

Uncommon leitmotifs. [31]

Similar samples

References

  1. Toby Fox on Twitter (deleted post)
  2. (Undertale) Once Upon a Time Leitmotifs - YouTube
  3. Undertale Main Menu Music Easter Egg - YouTube
  4. I heard that if you sped up “The Choice”... - Tumblr
  5. [Version 2 Undertale - All songs with the "Your Best Friend" melody/leitmotif] - YouTube
  6. Undertale OST "But Nobody Came" Sped up 1200% - YouTube
  7. Your Best Nightmare Leitmotifs - YouTube
  8. Fallen Down Leitmotifs - YouTube
  9. Ruins Leitmotifs - YouTube
  10. Enemy Approaching Leitmotifs - YouTube
  11. ibid. beginning at 2:46
  12. it's all connected - YouTube
  13. Undertale - All songs with the "Ghost Fight" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  14. Undertale - All songs with the "Determination" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  15. sans leitmotifs. - YouTube
  16. Undertale - All songs with the "Bonetrousle" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  17. "one of the catchiest songs in the OST, reduced to an eldritch horror." - Undertale OST - Bonetrousle (GENOCIDE) Extended - YouTube
  18. Undertale - All songs with the "Snowy" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  19. 19.0 19.1 Undertale - All songs with the "Snowy" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  20. Undertale - All songs with the "Snowdin Town" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  21. Undyne Leitmotifs - YouTube
  22. Area Bells Leitmotifs - YouTube
  23. See Patient
  24. Undertale - All songs with the "Alphys" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  25. It's Showtime! Leitmotifs - YouTube
  26. Metal Crusher Leitmotifs - YouTube
  27. https://youtu.be/iPT_YvaM7vc?t=35s
  28. Undertale - All songs with the "ASGORE" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  29. Undertale - All songs with the "His Theme" melody/leitmotif - YouTube
  30. Music similarities 2: Undertale: Finale and His theme - YouTube
  31. Minor Leitmotifs - YouTube
  32. Undertale: Barrier sped up 90% - YouTube
  33. W. D. GASTER "Mus_Smile" Dissected!" - YouTube

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