ROH Fanfare Motif Bank

A motif in a piece of music is a dominant or repeating idea. It is an important musical gesture which a composer uses as a building block. A motif is usually an idea that lends itself to experimentation and change, and has clearly defined features that a composer will manipulate to develop their musical ideas.

The motifs below have been chosen from works the Royal Opera House will be performing in the 2018/19 season.

Each motif is provided in three forms:

  • Written out in musical notation
  • As an audio clip of just that motif
  • As a longer audio clip which puts the motif in context


  • Listen to all the motifs in the bank and in their context.
  • Discuss the musical characteristics of each motif.
  • Listen to them again and choose two or more to explore.
  • Start composing your fanfare.

The tasks in our downloadable resource pack will guide you in investigating these fanfares and equip you with creative skills and ideas to use when teaching or learning about composition and analysis.

Below are our motifs for next Season.

Prelude to Act 1 from the opera Carmen, by Bizet


Entr’acte from Act II from the opera Carmen, by Bizet


Act I Finale from the opera The Daughter of the Regiment, by Donizetti


Soldiers' Chorus from Act IV of the opera Faust, by Gounod


Seguidilla from the ballet Don Quixote, by Minkus


Scene VIII from the opera Così fan tutti, by Mozart


Act II Aria from The Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart


Dance of the Knights from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, by Prokofiev


Act I opening from the opera Tosca, by Puccini


Overture to the opera The Force of Destiny, by Verdi


Act I Finale from the opera Simon Boccanegra, by Verdi


Act III opening from the opera Die Walküre, by Wagner