What is the name of the term used for when the soundtrack composer, creates a song and the other songs are variations of the same song. For example, in the movie Inception, The Last of the Mohicans, Requiem For a Dream

  • Not sure if this is what you're after, but the terms "reprise", "remix" & "alternate version" often accompany those derivative tracks in soundtracks and albums, usually in parentheses.
    – Walt
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:09
  • Do you mean like the Bond theme being used in music throughout the films?
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 22:13
  • @Walt yeah, but, I think that it isn't what I'm lookking for. @CGCampbell nearly so. If you listen the soundtrack of Incepction you will understand better. Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 2:24
  • A very clear example is The Long Goodbye, in the film of the same name. John Williams (of Star Wars and Potter fame) created the title song, and it is rendered a number of times throughout the movie (via radio a couple times, live in the piano bar, live at the Mexican funeral, a bluesy rendition, etc.), different each time.
    – wbogacz
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


This really is just called a variation and it's not limited to soundtracks, Wikipedia says:

In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form.

A famous example of this are the Goldberg Variations.

A Leitmotif is by definition the leading theme of the overall piece, which would be the film in this case, so it may be the main character's theme tune, or the title theme, which is then the most likely candidate to be the tune which is varied throughout the rest of the film depending on the tone of the scene or emotional state of the character(s).

  • I've read about it. I also found the term Leitmotiv. Now, I'm confused, hehe. pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leitmoti Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:38
  • 1
    @FelipeStoker I've added an edit to compare the two ideas Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:43
  • 2
    Fun fact: when I was 14 I saw The Dark Crystal and bought the soundtrack. Turns out several songs used the same melody, just with different "moods" and orchestrations. I remember a swelling full orchestra version, as well as a lively "galloping across the plains" version. There are probably other variations that I missed (or can't recall now that I'm 46!). Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .