For example, there's a song that plays from 3:43 to 4:00 of this scene where Superman saves an airplane.

Or similarly a song that plays from 0:55 to 2:03 of the president saving scene in 'In the line of fire' movie.

I'd like to know what music is played, but much more importantly: in general, what is the type of music that's used when a character saves the day in a superhuman fashion? I searched for "soundtrack for climax scene" but I didn't find anything reasonable.

To clarify, I'm not searching for that exact soundtrack, just looking for the right keyword for similar soundtracks.

  • 1
    I'm not sure if I'm using the right jargon here, I know close to nothing about music and soundtracks
    – Honey
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 22:39
  • 1
    Sometimes there is a distinction between SDTK and "Score", where SDTK usually refers to songs written by others (ie: I Know What You Did Last Summer features Kula Shaker's cover of Hush on it's "SDTK". Bear McCreary composes "score" for a variety of of TV and Films, such as Outlander or Battlestar Galactica [re-imaged].) This doesn't answer your question, but you may want to look for Super Hero/Blockbuster scores or compositions. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 23:05
  • Not a technical term, but… ‘loud’?
    – gidds
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


Perhaps you mean Leitmotif.

The term originated in musical theatre, and has been used in movie scores. It's a short, repeated, piece of music that signifies a particular character, location, or object. It is played when that character does something significant.

Discussion of Leitmotif in movies.


I don't think there is a single specific term for what you are asking for.

Music structure is all about dynamics, and how they interact. If somebody asked me to describe your two examples to help find something similar, I would just say they "build to a climax".

It is common parlance for people to say "build to a crescendo", which is accepted in everyday speech, but in terms of musical structure and notation this would be incorrect, as the crescendo is the rise, not the peak. The technically correct term should be "crescendo to a climax", but to me that just sounds clunky.


TVtropes has an entry for Climactic Music

Narratives have climaxes. So do their musical scores. In the case of Climactic Music, the music's climax coincides with and characterizes the narrative's.

The swelling, booming music will help add tension or triumph to the scene.

As a bonus, I will add that the credits list none other than Ennio Morricone, one of the greatest composers of our time, as composer for In the Line of Fire.

The link I provided earlier, mentions the duels at the end of each of the Dollars trilogy that Ennio Morricone is well-known for.

Another example of Climactic Music is "Duel of the Fates" which was used during the final fight in the Star Wars Episode I "The Phantom Menace". Written by John Williams, it is a little different than what you refer in that it will include a choir but still remains a musical piece matching the action of the film.

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