There a very famous music played with brass instrument, fast pace, almost circus style, that is very often played as a soundtrack for funny, fast-motion runs, or when a character is chasing another. The most common scene where the music is played is mostly comedy, not at all serious.

I would like to know the origins of this music and how it became associated with these common tropes (fast-motion, runs, pursuits...).

  • 1
    Do you have a link? I think I know the one you're talking about, but... Mar 2 '18 at 14:25
  • @ChrisSunami Unfortunately not right now... this is the kind of things that is so famous but you can't find when you need. If you suspect something, feel free to suggest.
    – Bebs
    Mar 2 '18 at 14:34

There are two that come to mind that fit this description:

  1. "Yakety Sax" (originally recorded by Boots Randolph) is the most obvious and became a staple of "The Benny Hill Show" when he chased the ladies around at the end

  2. "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov is also often used to indicate fast-paced action in different contexts.

  • 2
    Definitely agree on Yakety sax, for the "circus" mood mentioned by OP in the question.
    – Angst
    Mar 4 '18 at 13:49

My best guess is Sabre Dance by Soviet Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian.


By far his best known work, it hit number one on the US Billboard Classical charts three times in 1948 alone.

How did it became associated with chase scenes? It's a popular, familiar piece of classical music with a frantic, frenetic quality --it lends itself well to such scenes. It was also used repeatedly for chase scenes in the 1961 Billy Wilder farce, One, Two, Three, which may have solidified the association in people's minds.


Other possibilities :

"Devil's Gallop", composed by Charles Williams and famous as theme of "Dick Barton Special Agent" Sound here.

From the silent films era: "The Big Chase", on player-piano roll.

comments under the "The Big Chase" yt vid identify this also as "Flicker Moods", played by
Hank [Mittens ] Hoyt, but couldn't find an online recording to compare.

I'm giving both because in my memory they are both strongly associated with chases, and I couldn't choose. Although both the above do suit more sinister chases, even that is seen as a comic cliche of the silent movie.

  • 1
    I was tempted to mention the Dick Barton theme music myself - definitely agree with this.
    – Lefty
    Mar 4 '18 at 14:09

Rossini's William Tell Overture. 'Looney Tunes' is probably influential in current use


"Baby Elephant Walk" by Henry Mancini and James Galloway. It has a happy fast paced circus sound and is used in a comedy type situation.

  • Who is James Galloway, and what does he have to do with this piece? This is a popular cartoon theme, but I don't think this is a good answer to the question, which is looking for chase music
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 20 '19 at 7:49

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