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TVTropes: Epic Song - May 9, 2012

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  1. ->''One day to a new beginning\\
  2. Raise the flag of freedom high!\\
  3. Ev'ry man will be a king!\\
  4. There's a new world for the winning\\
  5. There's a new world to be won!\\
  6. Do you hear the people sing?\\
  7. My place is here! I fight with you!\\
  8. One day more!\\
  9. \\
  10. Tomorrow is the judgment day!\\
  11. Tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store!\\
  12. One more dawn! One more day! One! Day! '''More!!'''''
  13. -> -- "One Day More", [[Theatre/LesMiserables Les Miserables]]
  14.  
  15. An Epic Song in a musical:
  16. * is centered around a theme, emotion, or belief important to the greater piece.
  17. * involves all (or at least a vast majority) of the cast, as well as the entire orchestra by the end of the piece.
  18. * grows into something much bigger, bolder, and louder than it started, ending in a magnificent crescendo meant to bring the house down.
  19.  
  20. While the following are not requirements, they apply to many or most Epic Songs:
  21. * It is something that can be (and frequently is) marched to.
  22. * It is located at the top of the show or the end of the first Act
  23. * It often starts very soft or low, and often with one person singing and minimal instrumentation.
  24. * It contains a LOT of counterpoint.
  25. * The lights black out immediately after the music is done.
  26.  
  27. Not to be confused with EpicRocking. In the live performance sense, this is the subtrope of ShowStopper.
  28. ----
  29. !!Examples:
  30.  
  31. * "One Day More" from ''Theatre/LesMiserables''. Every element listed above is present here. Also from ''Les Miz'', "Do You Hear the People Sing?" is similar.
  32. ** And the parody of "One Day More" from the ''SouthPark'' movie, "La Resistance".
  33. * Another [[IncrediblyLamePun pitch-perfect]] example is "The Old Red Hills of Home" from ''{{Parade}}''.
  34. * The stage version of ''Billy Elliot'' has two of them, both spot-on: "The Stars Look Down" and "Once We Were Kings".
  35. ** Interestingly enough, "Once We Were Kings" is neither at the very beginning, the very middle, nor the very end. It's positioned roughly halfway through Act Two.
  36. ** Don't forget ''Electricity''. While it doesn't meet the ensemble requirement, it generally gets the biggest ovation of the night, [[CaptainObvious aside from the curtain call]].
  37. * ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'':
  38. ** Both the opening and closing "Ballad of Sweeney Todd" fit this.
  39. ** Despite being a duet, ''A Little Priest'' ought to qualify, as well.
  40. * "I See A River" from Urinetown is a pretty neat fit. Of course, it (like everything in the show) is kinda poking fun at its own style.
  41. ** Act One Finale was pretty epic two, with all the layers and rebellion and...stuff. ''You are wrong Mr. Strong'', you...doo...doo...it's just awesome
  42. * "Sunday" from StephenSondheim's ''Sunday in the Park With George''.
  43. * ''ALittleNightMusic'' has "A Weekend in the Country".
  44. * The title song from ''HelloDolly'' is a unique example: it's a medium-slow number with simple music, repetitive lyrics, and basic choreography. And yet, through pure charm, it stops the show ''every time.''
  45. * "'Till We Reach That Day" - ''{{Ragtime}}''. That is all.
  46. * "Walk Through the Fire" from the Musical Episode of [[BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]], "Once More With Feeling".
  47. * The Act I finale, "The Gods Love Nubia", of ''Aida'' is meant to be this, but "Dance of the Robe", the piece two numbers ahead of it, is actually much more epic.
  48. * "The Riddle" from ''The Scarlet Pimpernel'' fits exactly. "Into the Fire" and "Madame Guillotine" also.
  49. * "Starlight Sequence" from StarlightExpress.
  50. * "No Moon" from ''Titanic''.
  51. * "What I Did for Love" from ''AChorusLine''.
  52. * "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" from ''Cabaret''. A wonderfully creepy example, in that it's deliberately so tuneful and rousing the audience wants to join in ... despite it being a pro-Nazi anthem.
  53. * The completed version of "In the Same Boat" from ''Curtains''
  54. * [[IAmBecomingSong "Defying Gravity"]] from ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}.'' Despite being a solo number, [[BSODSong "No Good Deed"]] also qualifies.
  55. ** Also ''No One Mourns the Wicked''.
  56. * The '93 Revival version of "Beauty School Dropout" from ''Grease''
  57. * "Before the Parade Passes By" from ''Hello, Dolly!''
  58. * The Finale of ''Man of La Mancha''
  59. * "The American Dream" from ''Miss Saigon''
  60. * "Who Will Love Me as I Am?" from ''Side Show''
  61. * "Find Your Grail" from ''{{Spamalot}}''
  62. * "The Glory" from ''The Civil War''
  63. * "As We Stumble Along" from ''The Drowsy Chaperone''
  64. * "Make Like a Nail" from ''The Great American Trailer Park Musical''
  65. * "Sail to the Stars" from ''The Pirate Queen''
  66. * "Nine People's Favorite Thing" from ''[[TitleOfShow [title of show]]]''
  67. ** "Die, Vampire, Die" could easily qualify too.
  68. * The finale song of ''TanzDerVampire''. So epic, it can bring tears to one's eyes. And is about... dancing vampires.
  69. ** Or rather, on a more metaphorical level, about vampires asking you (the audience) to join them.
  70. * "Don't Feed the Plants" in the stage version and "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" in the film version of LittleShopOfHorrors.
  71. * "Black Hills of Dakota" from ''CalamityJane''.
  72. * "Voldemort Is Going Down" from ''AVeryPotterMusical''.
  73. ** "Going Back to Hogwarts" also has some traits of this, despite being the very first song of the show. It certainly has the right buildup.
  74. * "Every Sperm Is Sacred" from ''MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife'' is a parody of this, starting with Michael Palin singing to a room full of (his) children and ending with dozens of singers and dancers and, for some reason, a Chinese dragon.
  75. ** [[FridgeBrilliance Chinese sperm]].
  76. * Even CirqueDuSoleil has a few songs that could qualify, though only the first isn't SingingSimlish. While each show only has a few singers (usually two), most of the company appears on stage for these.
  77. ** The title song from ''Alegria'', which serves as the show's finale.
  78. ** "Kamande", the finale from ''Dralion''.
  79. ** "Pageant" from ''KA'' is the first "big" song in the show as the Imperial Twins arrive for the celebration. It is reprised in the finale to underscore [[spoiler: a giant indoor fireworks display]]. As a bonus, this score was largely pre-recorded, so a chorus and full orchestra compliments the live musicians.
  80. * "La Vie Boheme" from ''{{Rent}}''.
  81. ** Let's not forget the eponymous song "Rent."
  82. * "Quintet" from ''WestSideStory''
  83. * "The Song of Purple Summer" from ''SpringAwakening''.
  84. * "Once Before I Go" from ''TheBoyFromOz''.
  85. * "You Can't Stop the Beat" from ''{{Hairspray}}''
  86. * Both ending songs from TheBluesBrothers movies - "Jailhouse Rock" in the original, which features the band together performing in a prison mess hall, having been arrested. The entire mess hall gets to its feet to dance, and reinforcement officers have be called in. In [=BB2K=], it's "New Orleans" (originally by Gary "U.S." Bonds), which has the Blues Brothers band jamming with supergroup, "Louisiana Gator Boys".
  87. ** Let's not forget [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMOA candidate]] "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" and half the city of Chicago performing "Shake Your Tailfeather" with Ray Charles.
  88. * [[TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation Renaissance-era Disney]] is abound with these, usually performed by the side characters.
  89. ** ''TheLittleMermaid'' has "Under the Sea", which confirmed to the world that Disney animation had truly returned.
  90. ** ''{{Disney/Beauty And The Beast}}'' has "Be Our Guest", which helped earn it a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.
  91. ** ''{{Disney/Aladdin}}'' has "Friend Like Me", complete with an "applause" sign at the end.
  92. ** "Circle of Life" from ''TheLionKing''. Starts off at the beginning and does reach a sort of climax, but it doesn't ''really'' pick up until the end of the movie, where even the ''entire friggin' animal kingdom'' is present. "They Live In You" also qualifies.
  93. ** ''{{Pocahontas}}'' has "Colors of the Wind".
  94. ** ''{{Disney/The Hunchback of Notre Dame}}'' has "Hellfire", though the filmmakers probably intended "A Guy Like You" to be this.
  95. *** In the German musical, "Someday," which was cut from the film. It starts as Esmeralda (just before her execution) lamenting how unfair the world is, with Phoebus echoing her words, and eventually the entire ensemble (including Frollo and the executioners?) joins in.
  96. ** ''{{Disney/Hercules}}'' has "Zero to Hero".
  97. ** [[{{Mulan}} (Be a MAN!) HE MUST BE SWIFT AS A COURSING RIVER! (Be a MAN!) WITH ALL THE FORCE OF A GREAT TYPHOON!]]
  98. ** ''{{Disney/Tarzan}}'' has "Trashing the Camp".
  99. ** Both ''{{Fantasia}}'' films were supposed to have each song be an {{Epic Song}}. This largely succeeded.
  100. ** Even Disney non-musicals have epic musical pieces, like "The Egg Travels", "The Crystal Chamber", and "12 Years Later."
  101. ** After falling out of fashion for a while, the newer Disney animated films tend to have these:
  102. *** ''ThePrincessAndTheFrog'' has "Dig a Little Deeper".
  103. *** ''{{Disney/Tangled}}'' has "I've Got a Dream".
  104. *** ''{{Film/Winnie The Pooh}}'' has "Everything Is Honey".
  105. * {{Opera}}s typically have at least one each. As noted in the body of this article, the ending of an act or the end of the opera are popular places. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWle3od3BCc In Questa Reggia]] can be considered a typical example, though it does not come at the end of the act.
  106. * While the musical ''Theatre/NotreDameDeParis'' arguably has a few epic songs, "Le Temps Des Cath├ędrales", while being a solo and being the prologue number, is definitely the most so.
  107. * The finale of ''IntoTheWoods''.
  108. * In ''CatchMeIfYouCan'', although the character of Brenda Strong (Frank's love interest) only has [[MinorCharacterMajorSong three or four scenes]], the show's ElevenOClockNumber "Fly Fly Away" '''shakes the rafters every night,''' so much so that it probably could be the biggest and best song of the entire evening.
  109. * "Anthem" from Theatre/{{Chess}} (especially when sung by Tommy Korberg or JoshGroban)
  110. * "Hey Jude" fits loosely, as interpreted in ''Film/AcrossTheUniverse''.
  111. ** Their version of "All You Need Is Love" as well.
  112. * "The Lambeth Walk" from ''Me and My Girl.''
  113. * The TriumphantReprise of "Life's a Happy Song" from ''{{Film/The Muppets}}'' could be considered this.
  114. * "To Life" from ''FiddlerOnTheRoof''. Even the non-Jews join in.
  115. * "Get Out and Stay Out" from "9 to 5"
  116. * The ''Tango de la Muerte'' ("Roxanne") in MoulinRouge satisfies conditions 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 with a vengeance and 9.
  117. * 96,000 in ''InTheHeights''
  118. * "And I'm Telling You" from ''Dreamgirls'' as sung by both [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMsYg_tACZQ Jennifer Hudson]] and the original Effie, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b1EpJE-ox0 Jennifer Holliday]].
  119. * The finale of ''Theatre/TheMagicFlute''.
  120. * Despite it being a one-act opera, The Easter Chorus of {{Cavalleria Rusticana}}.
  121. * "Next" from ''Pacific Overtures''
  122. * "Comfort And Joy" from Bat Boy: The Musical. All the characters say what they want and it's got a strong beat, ending with rocking harmonies and a bunny carcass. ----
  123. * ''Vanities: A New Musical'' has ([[CutSong or at least had]]) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPqYpwHRDkg "Hey There, Beautiful"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNAY-HqK1T0 "Fly Into The Future"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h8CH8AAE2w "We're Gonna Be Okay"]](aka "Feelin' Sunny"), "Looking Good", and "Letting Go".
  124. * "At the Gala" from the season 1 finale of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is the only song from the series (so far) sung partially by a 20-part choir, just for starters.
  125. ** "Smile" from season 2 has Pinkie Pie round most of the town into a marching choir by the end of the song. It is suitably epic.
  126. * The title song and "America's Our Home" from ''Freedom Bound''.
  127. * "Man Up" and "I Believe" from ''Theatre/TheBookOfMormon''.
  128. * "He Wanted To Say" from ''{{Ragtime}}''. Not so much the original version, but the alternate lyrics, whoo boy. "FIIIIIII-IRE IN THE SKYYYYYYYYYYYY!"
  129. * [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHo81_A56EE "The Flesh Failures/Let The Sun Shine In"]] from ''Hair.''
  130. * [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB1DQU-hM_w&feature=related "Be Italian"]] from ''Nine.''
  131. * "One" from "bare: a pop opera." "Epiphany" might also count.
  132. * It's a tough call, but the PhoenixWrightMusicalProject's EpicSong is probably [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-jg4ZG5Sm8 "The Samurai Always Wins"]], which fills most of the criteria. It also features attorneys yelling at each other in musical format... so it's exactly like the game, but you can hum along to it.
  133. * "In Your Belief" from ''AsurasWrath''. Also counts as an AwardBaitSong.
  134. * "So Much Better" and "Legally Blonde Remix" (Which also counts as a TriumphantReprise) from ''Theatre/LegallyBlonde''
  135. * {{Wicked}} has "Dancing Through Life", a song which starts off about enjoying yourself at the expense of all others, but continues to include all the main characters and spurs their development.
  136. ----
  137.  
  138. [Discussion]
  139.  
  140. blackcat
  141. moderator
  142. topic
  143. 07:12:35 PM Apr 22nd 2010
  144. I'm curious. These songs are usually called Showstoppers. Any reason why that term wasn't used?
  145. DoltBoy
  146. 04:52:49 AM Jun 24th 2010
  147. This trope is not for show-stoppers. A show-stopper is any number that manages to be a big spectacle in some way. Although the examples have gotten a little bit loose with fitting the qualifications, the idea behind an Epic Song is a big production number involving the whole (or most of the) cast and orchestra building up from something simple and quiet to something enormous and, well, epic. A show-stopper needn't involve all these elements, it just needs to stop the show and be an awesome number. Basically, all Epic Songs are really show-stoppers, but not vice versa.
  148. SomeGuy
  149. 09:47:41 AM Jun 24th 2010
  150. Well Dolt Boy, you seem to be the expert, so why not help with the Show Stopper YKTTW? Until we have that page people are probably going to confuse that trope with this one.
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