Ground Theme (Super Mario World)

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The "Ground Theme" is a musical theme used as a leitmotif throughout Super Mario World.

The main motif played on a piano

Arrangements[edit]

Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario World[edit]

The Ground Theme itself is played on steel drum, with synthesizer, guitar, brass, and acoustic bass as accompaniment, matching the tropical setting of Dinosaur Land. Part of the melody is played on brass in the Course Clear theme, and the first three notes are played on electric piano in the Game Over theme.

The melody mostly adheres to the major pentatonic scale in the key of F; however, the mode is often changed in other instances of the leitmotif. In the Underground Theme and Castle Theme, most instances of the mediant and leading-tone are flatted to put the melody in the Dorian mode. The motif is played slowly in several natural minor scales in the Ghost House Theme: the key center regularly changes throughout the theme to produce an unnerving, disorienting effect.

The motif remains in F major in the Underwater Theme and Bonus Game theme, but its rhythm is altered in the former to fit the triple meter. It is also transposed to C major for the Athletic Theme, and C minor for the repeating bars of the Castle Theme.

While Mario is riding a Yoshi, bongo percussion is added to the background music.

Audio.svg Athletic
1:28
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Audio.svg Athletic (Yoshi)
1:28
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Audio.svg Bonus Screen
1:11
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Audio.svg Course Clear Fanfare
0:11
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Audio.svg Game Over
0:09
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Audio.svg Haunted House
2:52
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Audio.svg Overworld
1:40
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Audio.svg Overworld (Yoshi)
1:40
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Audio.svg Sub Castle
2:41
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Audio.svg Swimming
1:42
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Audio.svg Swimming (Yoshi)
1:42
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Audio.svg Underground
1:29
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Audio.svg Underground (Yoshi)
1:29
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The game's soundtrack includes several arrangements by Soichi Noriki and performed by the Mario World Band. "Super Mario World" is an arrangement of the Ground Theme; "Morning of Yoster Island", the Underwater Theme; and "Mario! Stay Alert!", the Underground, Ghost House, and Castle Themes.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii[edit]

The Dorian variation on the motif is quoted in New Super Mario Bros. Wii's Castle Theme. The theme returns in all later New Super Mario Bros. games, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, Super Mario Run, and New Super Mario Bros. U-styled Castle courses in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2.

Audio.svg Castle - The motif can be heard approximately 26 seconds in.

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Super Mario Galaxy 2[edit]

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, the music for Haunty Halls Galaxy and Boo Moon Galaxy is an arrangement of the Ghost House Theme. While Mario is riding Yoshi, shaker and tambourine percussion is added.

The music for Hightail Falls Galaxy and "Purple Coin Beach Dash" is an arrangement of the Athletic Theme. The tempo increases and a violin run is added while Yoshi is using a Dash Pepper.

Both aforementioned arrangements were arranged by Mahito Yokota.[1]

An arrangement of the Bonus Game theme plays when touching the notes in the Puzzle Plank Galaxy. This recurs in Super Mario 3D Land.

Audio.svg Haunty Halls Galaxy

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Audio.svg Hightail Falls Galaxy

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New Super Mario Bros. 2[edit]

In New Super Mario Bros. 2, the chime that can be heard while the game loads sometimes plays a small part of the Ground Theme.

Super Mario Maker[edit]

Super Mario Maker reuses the Ground Theme, Underground Theme, Underwater Theme, Ghost House Theme, and Castle Theme for the respective course themes in the Super Mario World game style, as well as the Course Clear theme upon hitting the Giant Gate's tape, and the Bonus Game theme through the Bonus Music sound effect.

The Ghost House Theme and Castle Theme receive new percussion parts for while Mario is riding a Yoshi, as this was impossible in such levels in the original game. The Ghost House Theme uses bongos, in contrast to the shaker and tambourine used in the Hightail Falls Galaxy arrangement.

Like the original Super Mario World, Super Mario Maker integrates a variation on the motif into the game style's new Airship Theme. The motif is in a minor scale, as in the Castle Theme, and is played on brass and strings.

Every piece of background music associated with a course theme has an original, more ambient arrangement for editing such a course in the Course Maker, using eight tracks that fade in and out randomly to create a dynamic mix. These return in Super Mario Maker 2.

Audio.svg Airship Theme

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Super Mario Odyssey[edit]

In Super Mario Odyssey, a solo piano jazz arrangement of the Ground Theme, titled "New Donk City: Cafe", plays on a radio in New Donk City's Outdoor Café. Also, an arrangement of the Bonus Game theme, titled "Above the Clouds", is used in some of the challenge areas.

Audio.svg New Donk City: Cafe

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Audio.svg Above the Clouds

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Super Mario Maker 2[edit]

All instances of the motif used in Super Mario Maker return in Super Mario Maker 2. The Game Over music in Endless Challenge is now also from Super Mario World if the last course played was in that game style.

The new course themes introduced in this game also use the Ground Theme leitmotif. The Desert Theme plays the motif on a plucked string instrument, aerophone, and violin in the Hungarian minor scale. The Snow Theme is an arrangement on strings, horn, glockenspiel, trumpet, tubular bell, and accordion, with some notes removed from the melody, and acoustic bass and sleigh bell as accompaniment. The Forest Theme plays the motif on vibraphone and oboe, with acoustic bass, hi-hat, and bongos as accompaniment. The Sky Theme reuses the Athletic Theme from Super Mario World. All of these tracks are also paired with bongo percussion for while Mario is riding a Yoshi, and with dynamic Course Maker arrangements.

A music box version of every piece of background music associated with a course theme plays during nighttime levels.

Mario Paint[edit]

In the music composing mode for Mario Paint, the song represented by Soundfrog's head includes a recreation of the main melody of the Ground Theme.

Mario Teaches Typing / Mario Teaches Typing 2[edit]

Various orchestral rearrangements of the Ground Theme, along with the Super Mario World title theme and the Donut Plains theme, play in the various cutscenes of Mario Teaches Typing and Mario Teaches Typing 2.

Mario Discovery series[edit]

Mario is Missing![edit]

In all but the NES version of Mario is Missing!, a swing arrangement of the Ground Theme in E♭ major plays for most of the game, specifically during the times in which Luigi investigates cities.

Mario's Early Years! Fun with Letters / Mario's Early Years! Fun with Numbers / Mario's Early Years! Preschool Fun[edit]

All three games in the Mario's Early Years! sub-series feature an F major arrangement of the Ground Theme with hastened staccato notes in the melody that plays during the games' various activities outside of their respective Sing Song Worlds. Additionally, once the player clears a certain number of exercises in every interactive activity, a music box version of the "Course Clear" fanfare plays.

Mario's Time Machine[edit]

In all but the NES version of Mario's Time Machine, an andante version of the Ground Theme in D major plays whenever Mario activates the Timulator.

Paper Mario series[edit]

Paper Mario[edit]

The first seven notes of the melody after the intro are reused in the title theme for Paper Mario. The Dorian variation on the motif is also quoted on sine synthesizer in the music for Toad Town Tunnels.

Audio.svg Main Title

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Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[edit]

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door's victory jingles (both with and without the current partner being downed) are rearrangements of the Course Clear theme from Super Mario World.

Audio.svg Battle Won Theme

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Audio.svg Victory without Partner

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Super Paper Mario[edit]

In Super Paper Mario, the Lineland Road theme incorporates the theme's motif in some later bars. It is played in E♭ major for three bars, then plays the opening half of the motif in E♭ melodic minor and again in D♭ melodic minor for an entire bar.

Audio.svg Lineland Road

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Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Melee, a faithful arrangement of the Athletic Theme played on banjo is the default music for the Yoshi's Island stage. It was arranged by HAL Laboratory composer Hirokazu Ando, and returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U for the same stage (as well as the Super Mario Maker stage in the latter) under the title "Yoshi's Island (Melee)", and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for any Yoshi-series stage (in all reappearances except Brawl, it is categorized as a Yoshi-series song).

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, an arrangement of the Castle Theme plays at the beginning and end of the song "Castle / Boss Fortress (Super Mario World / SMB 3)" (with Super Mario Bros. 3's boss theme played in the middle), which was arranged by Yusuke Takahama. The song plays on the Luigi's Mansion stage, though it was originally set to play on the Delfino Plaza stage.[2] It reappears for the same stage and Super Mario Maker in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for any Mario-series stage.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U[edit]

A song in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U titled "Super Mario World Medley" incorporates arrangements of the Ground Theme and its arrangements the Bonus Room and Course Clear themes, as well as the Star World music, the invincibility theme, and the Ground Theme from Super Mario Bros. The Ground Theme portion has a slightly dragged-out introduction, and incorporates the Yoshi percussion variation before transitioning to the Bonus Room theme portion. The Ground Theme is reprised at the end of the medley before it loops. The medley was arranged by Bandai Namco composer Hiroshi Okubo, and plays on the Yoshi's Island and Super Mario Maker stages. It returns in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a Mario-series song.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, an arrangement of the Ground Theme is used during the Barrel and Chuckola Bounce minigames, as well as during the tutorial for Splart. In the game's remake, an arrangement of the Mario & Luigi: Dream Team minigame music is used instead.

Audio.svg To Challenge!

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Mario Party series[edit]

Mario Party Advance[edit]

In Mario Party Advance, the results screen music after the player runs out of Mushrooms in Shroom City is a rearrangement of the Ground Theme, played on glockenspiel and a chiptune lead. The harmony consists of seventh chords.

Mario Party 9 / Mario Party: Island Tour[edit]

In Mario Party 9, the results screen music remixes the theme's intro bar into its own final bar before repeating. Said theme returns in Mario Party: Island Tour under the same capacity.

Audio.svg Results Screen

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Mario Party: Star Rush[edit]

In Mario Party: Star Rush, the Ground Theme appears as the first song the player can perform in the Rhythm Recital mode.

Mario & Sonic series[edit]

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Wii)[edit]

A trumpet arrangement of the Ground Theme appears in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games for Wii. This arrangement samples the original Ground Theme as well, and returns in Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (DS)[edit]

In the DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, a synthesized arrangement plays during the first portion of the Mario Medley for the Dream Figure Skating event. It is mostly faithful to the original theme, though the last four measures before the loop are omitted.

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games[edit]

In Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, a different, strings-heavy arrangement is again used for the Dream Figure Skating event.

Mario Sports Mix[edit]

In Mario Sports Mix, a remix of the Athletic Theme, titled "Island Athletic", is available as one of the songs in Harmony Hustle.

WarioWare Gold[edit]

In WarioWare Gold, the Ground Theme is used as the background music for the Super Mario World microgame. Its tempo is synchronized to the interstitial stage music and the ticking of the Bomb.

Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition[edit]

In Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, an arrangement plays in the bonus sections.

Audio.svg Ground Theme - The arrangement heard in Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

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Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 地上BGM
Chijō BGM
Above-ground BGM

References[edit]