Michael Giacchino's musical score for Lost makes use of numerous recurring leitmotifs and themes, often with associations to specific characters, locations, or actions. As Giacchino hasn't publicly given titles for most of these, this list uses generic, unofficial names that denote the entities they typically represent. Each name is followed by the episode it was first heard in, enclosed in parentheses. In cases where the theme can be heard on soundtrack, a track title is given after the description, along with track times when necessary, for clarity. Note that many themes are used in multiple seasons after their introduction.
For recurring musical elements that don't qualify as full-fledged themes, see musical score.
Themen und Motive
- Geheimnisvolles Thema: („Gestrandet, Teil 1“) Typically played on high-pitched percussion, this five-note theme is typically used (sometimes with an additional note at the end) repetitively in creepy or suspenseful moments. It can be heard over the percussion in the end credits as well as in the theme song played on the Dharma Initiative orientation films.
- Action beat: („Gestrandet, Teil 1“) Entirely percussive motif used in various permutations, mainly in the first season. A version from after the engine's explosion is heard in the end title music for the show.
- Hauptthema: („Gestrandet, Teil 1“) Usually a closely-spaced arrangement for strings representing the emotional aftermath of the crash. Heard extensively, especially in the first season. It is often used more broadly to represent the survivors in later seasons.
- Reisethema #1: („Gestrandet, Teil 1“) Repeating five-note motif for various pitched percussion, often accompanied by the chord progression i - V - i - IV above in the strings, synths, and/or brass. Used while the characters explore the island or, in the case of Juliet and Ben, when they arrive there. ("Juliet Is Lost", Season 3 soundtrack)
- Reisethema #2: („Gestrandet, Teil 2“) Heavy bassline in the low strings with violins playing a melody in counterpoint above.
- Michael and Walt: („Tabula Rasa“) Three-note motif representing Michael and Walt's relationship, first used when Locke calls Vincent back to the beach.
- Lockes 1. Thema: („Wildschweinjagd“) Four-note theme representing the mysterious hunter-gatherer side of John Locke's character.
- Lockes 2. Thema: („Wildschweinjagd“) Ascending theme based on a ♭VI - i chord progression, representing Locke's journey from the sorrows of his past.
- Apparition theme: („Das weiße Kaninchen“) This eerie series of four notes is similar in contour to Sayid's theme, but the effect is greatly different. Heard frequently in "White Rabbit" as Jack sees his late father appearing on the Island.
- "Life and Death": („Das weiße Kaninchen“) After its initial use for the introduction of the caves, this quiet piano-based theme is frequently used for the deaths of major characters.
- Jins Brutalität: („Die Höhle“) Asian-flavored theme featured extensively in "House of the Rising Sun", sometimes sounding beautiful but other times becoming dangerous as Sun is disturbed by Jin's violent behavior.
- Charlies Sucht: („Der Nachtfalter“) Low, ominous six-note melody with another four-note set of tentative string chords. The former is also heard in conjunction with the "life and death" theme for Charlie's death in Season 3.
- Redemption theme: („Der Nachtfalter“) The chord progression i - ♭II, typically played by a quiet synthesizer and representing the purification of characters such as Charlie and, later, Eko. ("Heirloom Holiday", Season 3 soundtrack, 0:20)
- Sawyers Thema: („Der Betrüger“) This surly motif consists of four notes, moving in parallel fourths in the low register of a harp. ("Dharma Delinquent", Season 5 soundtrack, 1:39) ("Follow the Leader", Season 5 soundtrack, 2:14)
- Jack's 1st motif: („Der Betrüger“) 8-note motif used in tenser scenes involving Jack, similar to the winding passage of the Others' action theme. ("Under the Knife", 1:09)
- Sayids Thema: („Einzelhaft“) Solemn melody used in Sayid's centric episodes and episodes concerning him, particularly when Nadia is involved.
- Rousseaus Thema: („Einzelhaft“) Tense, manic string motif heard in numerous scenes involving Rousseau, even for her introduction in „Der kleine Prinz“.
- Friendship theme: („Volkszählung“) Tender theme often used for Claire and Charlie's friendship.
- Explosive theme: („Fährtensucher“) Rising four- or eight-note theme heard first quietly in the cellos, then more loudly in the trombones for action cues. Frequently used for scenes involving the Black Rock, explosives, and/or the Monster.
- Sawyer's past: („Outlaws“) Disquieting four-note piano theme, based on three repeated intervals of a major sixth and then another, a major second up. Used in scenes involving the man Sawyer shot in Sydney, and much later when he discovers the real Sawyer in „Im Loch“.
- Claire and Aaron: („Outlaws“) Affectionate piano theme used for scenes with Claire, particularly those involving Aaron.
- Love theme: („...In Translation“) Used in various scenes, such as one involving Michael and Walt, Kate and Sawyer having sex in the cages, Kate coming home to Aaron after her trial, and Sawyer and Kate's reunion on the Island.
- Hurleys 1. Thema: („Verfluchte Zahlen“) Ascending pitched percussion and/or piano beneath a playful, four-note melody, often on the harmonica. The first two chords are sometimes heard alone, typically in the higher strings, with a glissando between them.
- Kates Thema: („Rastlos“) Winding eight-note passage with a slower counterpoint, rather similar to the Others' action theme. Ostensibly an homage to the music of Bernard Hermann, especially considering its name on the soundtrack. It is also somewhat similar to the 13th-century Latin hymn Dies Irae, which was sometimes an inspiration to Hermann. ("Kate's Motel")
- Leaving the Island: („Exodus, Teil 1“) Four ascending melodies that are combined in various ways in scenes involving rescue or departure from the island.
- Hatch theme: („Glaube und Wissenschaft“) Eerie motif representing the hatch, often played by string instruments as tremolos sul ponticello (rapid back-and-forth bowings near the bridge of the instrument). ("The Final Countdown", 0:54)
- early Others'/Tailies' theme: („Orientierung“) Three ascending notes above repeated descending minor seconds, initially used while Sawyer, Jin, and Michael believe the Tailies to be the Others.
- Hurleys 2. Thema: („Alle hassen Hugo“) Slow, dolorous theme usually used for the various things that have gone wrong in Hurley's past. ("Mess It All Up")
- Hurleys 3. Thema: („Alle hassen Hugo“) Originally a variation of "Leaving the Island," this theme takes it in different melodic directions for a variety of tender scenes, and came to be used as another theme for Hurley. ("Hurley's Handouts")
- Sun and Jin: („Gefunden“) Seven simple piano chords (i - VI - VII - III - VI - v7 - V), sometimes with iv replacing the second chord and/or a melody playing in the strings.
- Ekos Thema: („Psalm 23“) Serene theme that represents Eko's good nature, generally played by the piano or strings.
- Eko's motif: („Psalm 23“) Brooding ascending minor second followed by a falling minor second, used to represent particularly the brutish side of Eko's past. After Eko's death, the motif is still occasionally heard in other contexts. ("Eko of the Past", Season 3 soundtrack, 2:28)
- Rousseau and Alex: („Mutterschutz“) Four-note motif representing Rousseau and later Alex. Primarily used when Alex helps Claire to escape from The Staff. ("Claire's Escape")
- Traveling theme #3: („Die ganze Wahrheit“) Ascending series of notes played quietly on harp (with occasional swells of the same chord in the string section) for several scenes involving treks across the island. ("Mapquest")
- Rose and Bernard: („S.O.S.“) Love theme for the couple, with similarities to "After the raft", heard numerous times in their centric episode. ("Rose and Bernard")
- Reveal theme: („? (Fragezeichen)“) Two chords (i - III) used for the reveals of surprising sights on the island, such as the Pearl or the helicopter from the freighter.
- Bens Thema: („Drei Minuten“) Sinister seven-note melody for muted trombones or strings, consisting of two similar descending figures, each ending with a half-step glissando. Its initial use for Michael's betrayal and the Others as a whole was gradually replaced with a more specific association with Ben (such as in "The Hunt", 0:53). This theme can also be heard in a substantially different variation, starting in „Der Mann hinter dem Vorhang“; in these cases, it is played gently by piano or strings, with chords and a second melodic phrase that give it a distinctly tender character, as in "Dharmacide," starting at 1:11.
- Others' theme: („Drei Minuten“) Bouncy, chromatically-moving intervals of a minor third in the trombones, sometimes with a secondary melody in the strings. Used in scenes involving the Others' seemingly primitive existence in Season 2. ("McGale's Navy")
- Mystery theme counterpoint: („Zusammen leben − Alleine sterben, Teil 1“) Disturbing, repetitive dissonances, with the mystery theme often heard in conjunction. First heard as Jack, Sayid, and Sawyer swim to Desmond's sailboat. Used frequently in scenes involving strange or chaotic occurrences, such as Desmond's flashes. ("Naomi Phone Home", Season 3 soundtrack)
- Desmonds Thema: („Zusammen leben − Alleine sterben, Teil 1“) Two variations of a melancholy tune for Desmond, particularly his past with Penny. A related progression of uneasy chords is also used for the stranger aspects of his experiences after the implosion of the Swan station. ("Bon Voyage, Traitor")
- Traveling theme #4: („Zusammen leben − Alleine sterben, Teil 1“) Four ascending notes of a minor key, played by harp. ("The Hunt", 1:17)
- Season finale action theme: („Zusammen leben − Alleine sterben, Teil 1“) Two short phrases, descending then ascending. This theme has been used in the finales of seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5. ("The Hunt", 3:19)
- Suspense theme: („Zusammen leben − Alleine sterben, Teil 1“) Three punctuated, descending dissonances that repeat, similar in character to the Lost theme counterpoint mentioned above. Sometimes accompanied by a faster bassline beneath. Most often heard in scenes involving the survivors' potential rescue. ("Looking Glass Half Full", Season 3 soundtrack)
- The Others' action theme: („Die zwei Städte“) Based on alternating minor seconds ending with a winding passage, this tense theme is first heard when Ben gives his orders to Goodwin and Ethan after Flight 815's crash. It reaches its most recognizably suspenseful form in „Die gläserne Ballerina“ and is used heavily throughout season 3. Melodically similar to Kate's theme. ("In with a KABOOM!", 0:47)
- Hydra theme: („Die zwei Städte“) Confused, disorienting melody played by the horns. Used in such instances as Sawyer and Karl's escape attempt and later when Kate and Sawyer are being chased through the jungle. ("Awed and Shocked")
- Jack's 2nd motif: Another similar motif for Jack, this one comprising four notes. ("The Fallen Hero", 0:17)
- Jacks Thema: („Die zwei Städte“) Gently played by solo cello with quiet harp or piano accompaniment in most instances, though Matthew Fox was taught how to play it on piano for the scene from „Der Mann aus Tallahassee“ when Kate finds him in the Barracks.
- Surgery theme: („Ja, ich will“) Rhythmic theme in 9/8 meter, used while Jack performs surgery on Ben and during another operation in season 5. ("Under the Knife")
- Mystery motif: („Nicht in Portland“) Three major third intervals, high in the violins, ascending and then descending.
- Juliets Thema: („Fremd in fremdem Land“) Starts with a i - IV - III - IV chord progression and most often plays in scenes involving Juliet's relationships.
- Mikhail's motif: („Die Flamme“) Four-note motif which represents the survivors' distrust of Mikhail, first used when they visit him at The Flame.
- Submarine theme („Der Mann aus Tallahassee“) Nautical, low notes characterize this theme, used when the characters are on a submarine or are talking about a submarine. Also heard in „Der Anführer“ (Season 5), „Der Vorfall, Teil 1“ (Season 5), „Kundschafter“ (Season 6) and „Der Kandidat“ (Season 6). Giacchino pulled this theme from his Medal of Honor: Frontline score in which the theme is used to represent the submarine base and shipyards of Lorient. ("U-4902" and "Shipyards of Lorient, Medal of Honor: Frontline soundtrack) ("Sawyer Jones and the Temple of Boom", Season 5 soundtrack, 1:24)
- Nikki and Paulo: („Exposé“) Winding motif similar to the Others' action theme which represents Nikki and Paulo. Although this musical idea was first used in the pilot episode, it was not used again until its use for these characters in the third season. ("Sweet Exposé", 0:36)
- "Greatest Hits" motif: („Greatest Hits“) Triplet-based five-note motif in a minor key used to underscore various tense scenes in "Greatest Hits". ("Charlie's Fate", 1:10)
- Jack's 3rd motif: („Hinter dem Spiegel, Teil 1“) A sad motif often used in scenes involving both Jack and Locke after the latter's death. ("Flying High", 2:32)
- Flashforward theme #1: („Hinter dem Spiegel, Teil 1“) Four synthesized intervals in scenes involving the Oceanic 6's deception about the fate of the other survivors. Its first appearance is in the final scene of the third season, and it is especially common in scenes involving Jack and Kate's broken relationship off the Island.
- Flashforward theme #2: („Der Anfang vom Ende“) Another sad theme, often played on synthesizer, for the emotional aftermath of the Oceanic 6's rescue, this one beginning with the chord progression i - IV - V.
- Suspense theme #2/Freighter crew theme: („Für tot erklärt“) Two identical intervals of a half-step followed by three, four, or six identical whole-steps, used frequently in "Confirmed Dead" while Daniel searches for the other people from the helicopter.
- Frachter-Thema: („Für tot erklärt“) Alternately noble and ominous five-note theme for the people on the freighter, first heard during Charlotte's flashback in Tunisia.
- Faraday's experiments: („Der Ökonom“) Another chaotic motif, this one making use of an ascending six-note figure beneath repeated semitones over a throbbing two-note bassline. This adds a sense of anxiety to Daniel's experiment with the payload and to Eloise completing the maze in 1996. A variation on this theme is heard when Faraday talks to Desmond over the satellite phone in „Die Konstante“.
- Oceanic Six theme: („Die Rückkehr, Teil 1“) Texturally similar to Locke's second theme, with melodic hints of the main theme. This is first heard as the Oceanic 6 disembark to rejoin their families for the first time after the crash.
- "There's No Place Like Home" motif: („Die Rückkehr, Teil 1“) 3/4 ostinato of a single repeated note (1-and-(rest)-and-3) used as tension escalates at the end of season 4.
- Eloise' Thema: („Die Lüge“) A weird and somewhat repetitive melody for Eloise Hawking, typically played by strings. It consists of a series of ascending figures followed by repeated pairs of descending intervals.
- Daniel & Charlotte's theme: („Die Bombe“) A beautiful melody involving Daniel's affection for Charlotte.
- Sawyer's love theme: („Der kleine Prinz“) A warm melody used for scenes involving Sawyer's feelings for both Kate and Juliet.
- Miles' theme: („Das Imperium schlägt zurück“) A three-note theme that has played in various scenes including Miles. Specifically ones also including his father.
- Jughead Theme: („Der Anführer“) Epic and intense motif using five notes in the minor mode, generally played by the string sections and sometimes ending in a major variation. It is associated with the rediscovery of the American H-Bomb in the underground tunnels in "Follow the Leader", and used extensively during Jack's dealings with its plutonium core in the subsequent season finale.
- Jacobs Thema: („Der Vorfall, Teil 1“) Mysterious, haunting theme played by the string section, it is heard during most of Jacob's scenes in the season 5 finale. It is also often heard throughout season 6, whether the character's name is just mentioned or he himself appears on screen. The theme eerily switches between different minor modes, and it is associated to several locales linked to this character, such as the foot of the statue, the hidden cave facing the sea, or the lighthouse.
- Mann in Schwarz Thema: („Los Angeles, Teil 1“) An eight note motief that represents the Nemesis Locke character, derived with melody and harmony originated from the Sarasangi scale of South Indian Classical Music. The melody notes are Eb F F Gb F A A Bb with harmony of triads consisting of Eb Gb Bb resolving to D F A in two different chord inversions.
- The Temple Dwellers theme: („Los Angeles, Teil 1“) A march for the Temple and the others who dwell there. First heard when the Temple is revealed, and shortly thereafter when the alarm is sounded and defense preparations are made. Later used more contemplatively in („Der Leuchtturm“) and („Bei Sonnenuntergang“) for scenes involving both the Temple in general and Dogen specifically.
- LA X Landung: („Los Angeles, Teil 1“) A simple melody in C corresponding with Flight 815's successful landing in LA. The melody stays harmonically diatonic with a chord progression of |I|iii|I|iii|IV|vi|IV|V||I|iii|I|iii|IV|vi|II7|V|
- Kate X Thema - What Kate Does With Claire: („Taxi in die Freiheit“) A simple 9 note motief with two seperate harmonic progressions for first/second pass played in alternate timeline scenes that involve Kate with Claire or thinking about Claire
- Locke X Thema: („Los Angeles, Teil 1“) („Der Stellvertreter“) Heard in the scene with Jack in LA X and in multiple scenes in the Substitute this is a more complicated 8 measure theme by Giacchino used for John Locke in the X timeline. This theme is major but has melodic and rhythmic components similar to the Nemisis theme (minor).
- Jack X Thema - Shephard Legacy („Der Leuchtturm“) („Der letzte Rekrut“) („Der Kandidat“) Emotion theme played for Jack in multiple Flash-sideways scenes. Heard most prominently when Jack is calling David, watching David play piano, and when Jack talks about his relationship with his father. Also heard when Jack and Claire share a tender moment.
- Sayid X Thema - Sayid und Nadia („Bei Sonnenuntergang“) Simple emotion motif heard most promiently when Sayid brings flowers to Nadia, and when he later tells her he doesn't deserve her.
- Ben X Thema („Dr. Linus“) Heard throughout the episode, but most prominently when Ben watches Alex walk off at the end of the episode.
- Sawyer X Thema („Kundschafter“) Simple motif of two-note pairs that fall conversely to Sawyer's typical theme, offset with a four-note haunting piano lilt.
- Richards Thema: („Seit Anbeginn der Zeit“) An eight measure phrase traveling along both dorian and pure minor scales to represent Richard Alpert.
- Mann in Schwarz Thema #2: („Seit Anbeginn der Zeit“) („Übers Meer“) Rückblenden-Thema des Mannes in Schwarz.
- Desmond X Thema: („Bis ans Ende ihrer Tage“)(„Alle lieben Hugo“) Simple motief played in two different ways - sometimes simultaneously - which represents Desmond and his mission in the X timeline.
- Across the Sea: („Übers Meer“) Theme used throughout episode to tell Jacob and Man in Black's story. This theme is almost identical in rhythm to the Temple/Dogen theme but differs in melodic shape and has a much more complex harmony.
- Widmores U-Boot-Themen (6.07 Dr. Linus) Dieses Thema wird immer angespielt, wenn man Widmores U-Boot sieht.
- Michael Giacchino
- Soundtracks - The first four seasons have had soundtrack albums released, featuring music from the score
- The Lost Symphony - A symphonic work for orchestra composed by Giacchino, featuring music from the score
- Lieder, die in Lost vorkommen
- January 9, 2006 Official Lost Podcast - A special orchestra edition in which Michael Giacchino takes a tour of the scoring stage, and introduces musicians and instruments that make up the sound of Lost
- April 10, 2007 Official Lost Podcast - A video podcast in which Giacchino is interviewed and takes a tour of the scoring stage
- Incidental music download thread - A collection of Lost music tracks captured from various episodes