"Starman" 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.
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.
In addition to ports and remakes of Super Mario Bros., the theme has been reused in many other games and other media:
Super Mario series
Super Mario Bros. Special
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
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
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
In Super Mario All-Stars, a single arrangement is used across all remakes.
Super Mario 64
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
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
In Super Mario Advance, the theme strongly resembles the version heard in Super Mario All-Stars.
Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
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
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
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.
Super Mario Galaxy
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
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
Super Mario Galaxy 2 uses a slightly updated version of Super Mario Galaxy's arrangement with added cymbals.
New Super Mario Bros. U
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
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.
Super Mario 3D World
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.
Mario Kart series
Super Mario Kart
In Super Mario Kart, the theme is played on piano, bass, and drum kit.
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario Kart: Super Circuit uses an arrangement with a higher-pitched, slightly faster-paced main melody and a different bassline.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Like Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! features an arrangement with a cuíca played in the background.
Mario Kart DS
In Mario Kart DS, the main melody is played on strings while the bassline is played on bass guitar.
Mario Kart Wii
A techno-styled arrangement with an audible percussion beat is used in Mario Kart Wii.
Mario Kart 7
In Mario Kart 7, steelpan-like instrumentation is used for the theme's main melody.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
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
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
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
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
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
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
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
Mario Tennis series
Mario Power Tennis
A steelpan arrangement is used in Mario Power Tennis when a player collects a Star in Item Battle.
Paper Mario series
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Super Paper Mario
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
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
In Paper Mario: Color Splash, an arrangement titled "Kickin' the Invincible" plays when Mario collects a Super Star.
Mario Party series
Mario Party 3
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
Mario Party: Island Tour
Mario Party 10
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
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
In Mario Golf: Advance Tour, a steelpan arrangement plays when the player hits a Super Star.
Mario Pinball Land
An arrangement with a drum beat plays in Mario Pinball Land when Mario collects a Super Star.
Mario Superstar Baseball
Super Mario Strikers
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
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
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
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
NES Remix 2
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.
Appearances in other media
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
Names in other languages