Starman (theme)

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"Starman"[1] is a recurring musical theme usually played when a character is invincible. As such, it is tightly associated with the Super Star power-up. Composed by Koji Kondo for Super Mario Bros., it has since been arranged in numerous games.

Contents

Composition[edit]

Audio.svg Starman
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File infoMedia:Invincibility SMB.oga
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In Super Mario Bros., the theme plays while Mario or Luigi is under the effects of the Starman. As Super Mario Bros. is for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Family Computer, the theme is orchestrated as chiptune. Like the Ground Theme from this game, the noise channel plays a swing rhythm, in contrast to later arrangements which would use straight eighths.

The theme follows a cyclical chord progression between the D minor seventh and C major seventh chords. The main melody uses the seventh and root of these chords, whereas the bassline uses the root and fifth.

Reuses[edit]

In addition to ports and remakes of Super Mario Bros., the theme has been reused in many other games and other media:

Game Description
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels reuses the soundtrack from Super Mario Bros.
Super Smash Bros. series Starting from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the original theme replaces the arrangement heard in the previous two installments when a fighter collects a Super Star.
Mario Clock The theme is available as one of three choices of alarm music, represented by a sprite of a Starman from Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Maker / Super Mario Maker 2 The theme plays when the player collects a Super Star in the Super Mario Bros. style.

Arrangements[edit]

Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario Bros. Special[edit]

Super Mario Bros. Special uses a mostly faithful version of the theme; notably, the bassline descends to the fifth of the chord instead of ascending, and includes the major third.

Super Mario Bros. 2[edit]

Super Mario Bros. 2 uses an arrangement with PCM percussion samples, which, unlike the original theme, is not swung.

Super Mario Bros. 3[edit]

The arrangement in Super Mario Bros. 3 uses both the noise and PCM channels to represent a hi-hat and wood block, respectively. It is reused in Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Mario Maker 2 in the Super Mario Bros. 3 game style.

Super Mario World[edit]

Super Mario World plays the theme on brass synthesizer and acoustic bass. Due to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's increased number of audio channels, the melody is now voiced in block chords. The hi-hat rhythm returns from Super Mario Bros. 3. This arrangement is reused in Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Mario Maker 2 in the Super Mario World game style.

The theme is also the basis for the Star World map music, with a variation on the melody played over the same chord progression.

Super Mario All-Stars[edit]

In Super Mario All-Stars, a single arrangement is used across all remakes.

Super Mario 64[edit]

Super Mario 64 and Super Mario 64 DS use an arrangement titled "Powerful Mario" in the official soundtrack for Wing Mario and Vanish Mario, and another arrangement titled "Metallic Mario" for Metal Mario. "Powerful Mario" reuses the countermelody from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island's arrangement, and is itself reused in New Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario Maker while Mario is wearing the Mario costume and has Super Star invincibility. "Metallic Mario" has an original countermelody, and is reused in Super Mario Maker while Mario is wearing the Mario (Silver) or Mario (Gold) costume and has Super Star invincibility.

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe[edit]

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe uses two arrangements of the theme. The latter is used as the credits music, and introduces an original melody and chord progression that the original theme is reharmonized to fit.

Super Mario Advance[edit]

In Super Mario Advance, the theme strongly resembles the version heard in Super Mario All-Stars.

Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2[edit]

Compared to the version heard in the original Super Mario World, Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2's arrangement is much higher pitched. The Star World music also received an updated arrangement.

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3[edit]

Like Super Mario Advance's arrangement, the arrangement heard in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 resembles that of Super Mario All-Stars, except played on a higher octave.

Super Mario 64 DS[edit]

Super Mario 64 DS introduces two slow arrangements of "Powerful Mario" for while the player character is riding Hoot and while Mario has Floating Power, and two arrangements of "Metallic Mario" for while they are in Mega form and while Yoshi has Fire Power.

The minigame Bounce and Trounce uses another variation on "Powerful Mario" as background music, where the instrument that plays the countermelody is mallet percussion instead of strings.

Super Mario Galaxy[edit]

Super Mario Galaxy uses an arrangement with the countermelody from Yoshi's Island's arrangement for Rainbow Mario, which accelerates over time to reinforce that the power-up is temporary.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii[edit]

New Super Mario Bros. Wii introduces an arrangement that includes descending F major seventh and E minor seventh arpeggios. It is reused in New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Super Mario Run, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, and Super Mario Maker 2.

In only New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, the music gains bongos and other percussion while one or more of the players is riding a Yoshi. If a Super Star is used from the inventory, a version with much quieter bass and no drums will play on top of the world map music. In New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U, and New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe, held Baby Yoshis will also sing along to the music.

In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, during the fourth papercraft battle, the arrangement can be heard when Papercraft Yoshi obtains the Star power-up. This does not return in the Battle Ring version.

Super Mario Galaxy 2[edit]

Super Mario Galaxy 2 uses a slightly updated version of Super Mario Galaxy's arrangement with added cymbals.

New Super Mario Bros. U[edit]

In New Super Mario Bros. U, a chiptune-inspired arrangement with a shaker plays while the Boost Mode player is under the effects of the Boost Star. This arrangement returns in New Super Luigi U, but is absent in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe as Boost Mode was removed.

Super Mario 3D Land[edit]

Super Mario 3D Land's arrangement is played on synthesizers with strings audible in the background, and speeds up when the invincibility is about to wear off. In a demo version of the game, the melody had a different echo effect, and squelchy percussion was used in the introduction.[citation needed]

Super Mario 3D World[edit]

Super Mario 3D World uses an arrangement closely based on Super Mario 3D Land's version under the name "Super Star Sharing" in the original soundtrack. This arrangement returns in Super Mario Maker 2 for levels in the Super Mario 3D World style.

Dr. Mario[edit]

In Dr. Mario for the Game Boy, the theme plays when the player achieves a clear combo of four.

Mario Kart series[edit]

Super Mario Kart[edit]

In Super Mario Kart, the theme is played on piano, bass, and drum kit.

Mario Kart 64[edit]

In Mario Kart 64, the theme includes a cuíca in the background.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit[edit]

Mario Kart: Super Circuit uses an arrangement with a higher-pitched, slightly faster-paced main melody and a different bassline.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!![edit]

Like Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features an arrangement with a cuíca played in the background.

Mario Kart DS[edit]

In Mario Kart DS, the main melody is played on strings while the bassline is played on bass guitar.

Mario Kart Wii[edit]

A techno-styled arrangement with an audible percussion beat is used in Mario Kart Wii.

Mario Kart 7[edit]

In Mario Kart 7, steelpan-like instrumentation is used for the theme's main melody.

Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe[edit]

A synthesized arrangement plays in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with a whistle audible in the background. This arrangement returns in Mario Kart Tour and plays during Frenzy mode.

Yoshi franchise[edit]

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island[edit]

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island uses an arrangement of the theme titled 「パワフル赤ちゃん」 (Pawafuru Aka-chan, "Powerful Infant") in the official soundtrack that plays when Baby Mario becomes Superstar Mario and when playing Mini Battles. This arrangement introduces a countermelody that would later reappear in Super Mario 64 and numerous later games.

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3[edit]

In Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, the main melody of the theme uses a different instrument from the original Yoshi's Island arrangement.

Yoshi Touch & Go[edit]

In Yoshi Touch & Go, an arrangement based on Yoshi's Island's arrangement plays when Baby Mario collects a Super Star in Time Attack mode, which speeds up when the invincibility is about to wear off.

Yoshi's New Island[edit]

Yoshi's New Island uses a ukulele arrangement that plays the countermelody from Yoshi's Island's arrangement on glockenspiel.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars[edit]

In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, an arrangement of the Starman theme titled 「ごきげんスター」 (Gokigen Suta, "Happy Star") in the original soundtrack is used whenever Mario grabs a Star power-up.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Super Smash Bros.[edit]

In Super Smash Bros., an arrangement plays when a fighter collects a Star. It is reused in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, the theme is incorporated into three arrangements: "Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Medley", "Egg Planet", and "Super Mario World Medley"; the last of which also includes the Star World theme, which directly precedes the Starman theme.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Starman theme is incorporated into the "Electroplankton" arrangement due to the theme being featured in the Nintendo DS game of the same name.

Mario Tennis series[edit]

Mario Tennis[edit]

In Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64, a fast-paced arrangement plays when a player collects a Star.

Mario Power Tennis[edit]

A steelpan arrangement is used in Mario Power Tennis when a player collects a Star in Item Battle.

Paper Mario series[edit]

Paper Mario[edit]

In Paper Mario, a steel drum arrangement of the Starman theme plays whenever Mario circles the Candy Cane between Pleasant Path and the Koopa Bros. Fortress.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[edit]

In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, a heavy synthesizer arrangement with a techno drum kit and timpani is used in Bowser's interludes while he is in Mega form from eating enough Meat.

Super Paper Mario[edit]

Super Paper Mario uses an arrangement with an original countermelody, titled "An Unrivaled Battle", for when a character is in Mega form from using the Mega Star.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star[edit]

Paper Mario: Sticker Star arranges the Starman theme for standard Super Star invincibility, and later integrates it and the game's title theme into the music track for the final part of the fight with Bowser, featuring the countermelody from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island's arrangement. The invincibility theme uses saxophone as the main instrument and organ for the countermelody.

Paper Mario: Color Splash[edit]

In Paper Mario: Color Splash, an arrangement titled "Kickin' the Invincible" plays when Mario collects a Super Star.

Mario Party series[edit]

Mario Party 3[edit]

In Mario Party 3, an arrangement plays in the mini-game Toadstool Titan when a player is under the effect of a Super Mushroom. In Mario Party: The Top 100, however, the arrangement is replaced by one of the Mega Mushroom theme due to the Super Mushroom being replaced by said item.

Mario Party 6[edit]

In Mario Party 6, an arrangement plays in Star Sprint mode when the player's character is under the effect of a Metal Mushroom.

Mario Party: Island Tour[edit]

In Mario Party: Island Tour, an arrangement plays when a player uses a Super Star in Perilous Palace Path.

Mario Party 10[edit]

In Mario Party 10, an arrangement of the Starman theme known as "Defeat with Stars!" plays during the minigame Cheep Cheep Leap.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, an arrangement of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island's arrangement is used during the Star 'Stache Smash minigame. In the game's remake, however, an arrangement of the Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam minigame music is used instead.

Mario Golf: Advance Tour[edit]

In Mario Golf: Advance Tour, a steelpan arrangement plays when the player hits a Super Star.

Mario Pinball Land[edit]

An arrangement with a drum beat plays in Mario Pinball Land when Mario collects a Super Star.

Mario Superstar Baseball[edit]

Mario Superstar Baseball arranges the theme on organ, piano, acoustic bass, and drum kit. The arrangement is reused in Mario Super Sluggers.

Super Mario Strikers[edit]

Super Mario Strikers uses a disco-inspired arrangement which is reused in Mario Strikers Charged.

Tetris DS[edit]

In Tetris DS, a techno arrangement plays in multiplayer mode when a Super Star is used. A music box arrangement also plays at the end of the credits theme.

Mario Sports Mix[edit]

In Mario Sports Mix, a fully orchestrated arrangement with a unique countermelody plays when a Super Star is collected. A different, smaller-scale arrangement plays on Star Road, also with a unique countermelody.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong series[edit]

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem![edit]

An arrangement plays in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! in Mini Guide mode, with a new countermelody played on glockenspiel. This arrangement returns in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move when viewing the Gold Mini Mario toy in the Toy Collection, albeit less compressed and with more reverberation in the main melody.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars[edit]

In Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, an arrangement directly based on its previous installments' rendition plays in the all-Gold Mini Mario level B-24.

Nintendo Land[edit]

In Nintendo Land, a chiptune-based arrangement featuring strings, ride cymbal, and synth bass is used when the Wii U GamePad player has Super Star invincibility.

NES Remix 2[edit]

In NES Remix 2, a techno remix of the Starman theme from Super Mario Bros. 3 plays in the invincibility challenges based on said game.

Other arrangements[edit]

A 1992 Japan-only popcorn machine developed by Banpresto called Super Mario World Popcorn features a version of the Starman theme.[2]

Appearances in other media[edit]

In Electroplankton, one of the backing songs for the Beatnes is the original Starman theme.

In the Japan-exclusive Just Dance Wii and the Wii version of Just Dance 3 (in which the song is downloadable content), the song "Just Mario" (whose artist is simply credited as "Ubisoft meets Nintendo") is a medley of remixes of the Ground Theme, invincibility theme, and Underground Theme from Super Mario All-Stars. The song returns in the Nintendo Switch version of Just Dance 2018, albeit with the themes fully arranged instead of remixed.

List of Mario appearances[edit]

Work Year Type Credits
Super Mario Bros. 1985 Original Koji Kondo
Super Mario Bros. Special 1986 Arrangement
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels 1986 Original Koji Kondo
VS. Super Mario Bros. 1986 Original Koji Kondo
Super Mario Bros. 2 1988 Arrangement Koji Kondo
Super Mario Bros. 3 1988 Arrangement Koji Kondo
Dr. Mario (Game Boy) 1990 Arrangement Hirokazu Tanaka
Super Mario World 1990 Arrangement Koji Kondo
Super Mario Kart 1992 Arrangement Soyo Oka
Super Mario All-Stars 1993 Arrangement Soyo Oka
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 1995 Arrangement Koji Kondo
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 1996 Arrangement Yoko Shimomura
Super Mario 64 1996 Arrangement Koji Kondo
Mario Kart 64 1996 Arrangement Kenta Nagata
Super Smash Bros. 1999 Arrangement Hirokazu Ando
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe 1999 Original Koji Kondo
Arrangement
Mario Tennis (Nintendo 64) 2000 Arrangement Motoi Sakuraba
Paper Mario 2000 Arrangement Yuka Tsujiyoko
Mario Party 3 2000 Arrangement Ichiro Shimakura
Super Mario Advance 2001 Arrangement
Mario Kart: Super Circuit 2001 Arrangement
Super Smash Bros. Melee 2001 Past arrangement (Super Smash Bros.) Hirokazu Ando
Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 2001 Arrangement
Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 2002 Arrangement Taiju Suzuki
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 2003 Arrangement Taiju Suzuki
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour 2003 Arrangement Motoi Sakuraba
Mario Kart: Double Dash!! 2003 Arrangement
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga 2003 Arrangement Yoko Shimomura
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door 2004 Arrangement
Mario Pinball Land 2004 Arrangement
Mario Power Tennis 2004 Arrangement Motoi Sakuraba
Mario Party 6 2004 Arrangement
Super Mario 64 DS 2004 Past arrangement (Super Mario 64) Koji Kondo
Arrangement Kenta Nagata
Yoshi Touch & Go 2005 Arrangement
Mario Superstar Baseball 2005 Arrangement
Mario Kart DS 2005 Arrangement Shinobu Tanaka
Super Mario Strikers 2005 Arrangement
Tetris DS 2006 Arrangement
New Super Mario Bros. 2006 Past arrangement (Super Mario 64) Koji Kondo
Super Paper Mario 2007 Arrangement
Mario Strikers Charged 2007 Past arrangement (Super Mario Strikers)
Super Mario Galaxy 2007 Arrangement Mahito Yokota
Super Smash Bros. Brawl 2008 Original Koji Kondo
Mario Kart Wii 2008 Arrangement
Mario Super Sluggers 2005 Past arrangement (Mario Superstar Baseball)
Mario Clock 2009 Original Koji Kondo
New Super Mario Bros. Wii 2009 Arrangement
Super Mario Galaxy 2 2010 Arrangement Mahito Yokota
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! 2010 Arrangement Lawrence Schwedler
Mario Sports Mix 2010 Arrangement
Super Mario 3D Land 2011 Arrangement
Mario Kart 7 2011 Arrangement
New Super Mario Bros. 2 2012 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Paper Mario: Sticker Star 2012 Arrangement
New Super Mario Bros. U 2012 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Arrangement
Nintendo Land 2012 Arrangement Ryo Nagamatsu
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move 2013 Past arrangement (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!) Lawrence Schwedler
New Super Luigi U 2013 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. U)
Super Mario 3D World 2013 Arrangement
Mario Party: Island Tour 2013 Arrangement
Yoshi's New Island 2014 Arrangement Masayoshi Ishi
NES Remix 2 2014 Remix
NES Remix Pack 2014 Past remix (NES Remix 2)
Mario Kart 8 2014 Arrangement Yasuaki Iwata
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS 2014 Original Koji Kondo
Ultimate NES Remix 2014 Past arrangement (Super Mario Bros. 3) Koji Kondo
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 2014 Original Koji Kondo
Arrangement Katsuro Tajima ("Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Medley")
Hiroshi Okubo ("Super Mario World Medley")
Nobuko Toda ("Egg Planet")
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars 2015 Arrangement James Phillipsen
Mario Party 10 2015 Arrangement
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition 2015 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Super Mario Maker 2015 Original Koji Kondo
Past arrangement (Super Mario Bros. 3)
Past arrangement (Super Mario World)
Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Past arrangement (Super Mario 64) Koji Kondo
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam 2015 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Paper Mario: Color Splash 2016 Arrangement
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS 2016 Original Koji Kondo
Past arrangement (Super Mario Bros. 3)
Past arrangement (Super Mario World)
Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Super Mario Run 2016 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 2017 Past arrangement (Mario Kart 8) Yasuaki Iwata
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2018 Original Koji Kondo
Past arrangement (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U) Katsuro Tajima ("Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels Medley")
Hiroshi Okubo ("Super Mario World Medley")
Nobuko Toda ("Egg Planet")
Arrangement Noriyuki Iwadare
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe 2019 Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Super Mario Maker 2 2019 Original Koji Kondo
Past arrangement (Super Mario Bros. 3)
Past arrangement (Super Mario World)
Past arrangement (New Super Mario Bros. Wii)
Past arrangement (Super Mario 3D World)
Mario Kart Tour 2019 Past arrangement (Mario Kart 8) Yasuaki Iwata

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 無敵BGM[3]
Muteki BGM
Invincible BGM

References[edit]

  1. ^ Super Smash Bros. Melee Sound Test
  2. ^ Meeple channel (March 2, 2018). 【ポップコーン販売機】スーパーマリオワールド ポップコーン. YouTube. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Famicom Sound History Series "Mario the Music". VGMdb. Retrieved September 3, 2019.