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Rainbow Notes (sometimes called Music Notes) are multicolored items that appear in Super Mario Galaxy. They will usually appear when Mario grabs a ? Coin, although the ones in Gold Leaf Galaxy appear if Mario rings a bell with the Star Cursor. Afterwards, they will line up, and Mario will need to grab all of them. The background music also mutes when the notes are activated. Each note makes a different sound and together forms a short jingle or tune, typically from another game in the Mario series. If the player gets every note, Mario will get a prize, such as a 1-Up Mushroom. The notes are also used in a few levels where they need to be collected to get the star, such as the Hurry-Scurry Galaxy, the Gold Leaf Galaxy, and the Sea Slide Galaxy.
They appear in Super Mario 3D Land as well with a similar purpose, activated by a P-Switch. If all of the Rainbow Notes are collected, Mario can earn a power-up if he is on his Small or his Super form, otherwise he earns a 1-Up Mushroom.
In Mario Kart 7, even if Music Notes aren't technically present, large black single note-like enemies known as Bouncing Notes take life and bounce from left to right causing a beat to occur on the ground. They only appear in Music Park.
Themes played by Rainbow Notes