Background Music for Drama Plays


Lets talk background music for drama plays for a moment – an overlooked segment of the music industry that’s every bit as important as music for film or TV.

Without background music, theatre producers would struggle to find ways to hint at forthcoming developments, to ensure eyes are kept on the stage during scene changes, or to create an atmosphere (most likely a tense one) within the theatre or venue. Music really is key to keeping theatre-goers on the edge of their seat.

If you already happen to be a theatre producer – or even if you aspire to be one – you can benefit from reading on to find out more about background music for your drama.

Find out everything from where you can get music for your drama to how music can make or break your play, plus get all of the information you need about our selection of drama play-ready music. 

music for drama

Background Music For Your Drama Plays

  • Where Can You Get Music For Drama Plays?
  • Why is Background Music Important in Drama?
  • How Can Music Make or Break Your Drama Play?
  • How Do I Choose the Right Music For a Drama Play?
  • Background Music For Drama Plays Playlist
  • Audio Networks Licence Model
  • The Influence of PRO in Theatrical Plays
  • What happens if I dont use my PRO Licence?

Where Can You Get Music For Drama Plays?

Now, this is an easy one: you can get music for drama plays right here at Audio Network.

Our ever-expanding catalogue – currently composed of over 200,000 tracks – is the best place to find high-quality tracks guaranteed to instantly elevate any theatre production. Start exploring our gripping compositions by checking out our playlists hub.


Why is Background Music Important in Drama?

Drama lives within music – that dramatic slap, that dramatic pregnancy reveal and even that dramatic scandal is made 100x more intense when drama-infused music is added.

Its the element that makes you anticipate a characters next move, and the next twist or turn in the plot; the ingredient that keeps an audience intrigued until the very end. 

How Can Music Make or Break Your Drama Play?

Music allows theatre audiences to be confident in their emotional reactions to pivotal moments in a story. Ultimately, this leads to a positive viewing experience as everyone in the audience is able to follow the narrative in the way the producer intended. 

For instance, a piece of hair-raising music played on a characters arrival will inform audience members that this character is not to be trusted. Throughout the play, they can assume such a character has bad intentions, which makes it easier for them to follow the narrative.

Without the reassurance that music provides, it can be difficult for audiences to emotionally invest in the narrative and, in some cases, fully understand what is going on. 

Background Music for Drama Plays

How Do I Choose The Right Music For a Drama Play?

When selecting tracks to include in your drama-fuelled theatre production, think about dramatic music youve heard in creative projects youve enjoyed over the years.

What type of music is used in drama movies? What type of music is used in TV dramas? What type of music is used in drama podcasts? 

The music you remember is, evidently, the most memorable and effective dramatic music youve come across.

Now, consider what each composition that comes to mind has in common.

Perhaps theyre all driven by fierce strings and bold percussion. Maybe theyre all fast-paced. Might they all be anxiety-inducing? Whatever links them together is the key to finding the right music for your drama play.

Background Music For Drama Play Playlists 

Scene Changes Playlist

Our scene changes drama playlist does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides theatre producers with tracks that they may want to employ during moments in which audiences must wait for a scene to transform before their eyes (or behind the curtain). 

Recommendation: If youre hoping to keep thoughts ticking throughout a scene change, Paul Mottrams string-led Timescape’ is fast, plucky and enigmatic. Its the kind of music that encourages audience members to carefully consider what theyve just witnessed.


Adventure Playlist

Looking to send your audience on a dramatic journey? Discover our adventure drama playlist. Within this selection of high-quality tracks, one will find musical treasures that will whisk them away to destinations from the North Pole to a space disco. 

Recommendation: ‘Muspelheim’ by Glen Gabriel packs a punch with its grand finale feel. Its bold, valiant and demands attention. It prepares the room – whether that be a West End theatre or school hall – for a big climactic moment.


Eerie & Supernatural Playlist

Work your way through our eerie/supernatural drama playlist to give yourself a scare. Some tracks conjure up images of monsters loitering in a forest, whilst others make you question whether spirits are lurking nearby. 

Recommendation: Dario Forzatos Endangered Souls stands out as it keeps the listeners heart beating fast for over three minutes. Its practically perfect for drama plays that revolve around chills and thrills as it keeps the audience in a state of apprehension. 


Mystery & Tension Playlist

Designed to keep you guessing, our mystery and tension drama playlist contains music for modern mysteries that are characterised by dramatic and, of course, tense moments. 

Recommendation: Sean Allens Injection’ combines mystery music tropes with a contemporary hip hop feel to deliver an updated take on the music style. This particular track wouldnt sound out of place if used in a modern-day take on an Agatha Christie whodunnit. 


Vintage Drama Playlist

If you plan on taking your audience to the past to tell your dramatic tale, take some songs from our vintage drama playlist with you. Here you will find music that sets the scene of days gone by. 

Recommendation: Right now, everyones Bridgerton mad. And one of the tracks in our catalogue that remind us of the period Netflix series is Tobin, Meegan, Gallant and Kellys Spring Song. Its romantic, emotional and beautiful.

Need more inspiration? Why not browse our entire range of drama playlists?

vintage drama

Audio Networks Licence Model

Audio Network strives to make music licensing seem simple — we provide producers and other creatives with clear options that cover all requirements.

From single-track licences to licence-included subscriptions, there are options available for everyone. Where can you find more information? Over on our music licensing page

The Influence of PROs in Theatrical Plays

PRO stands for Performing Rights Organisation. PROs are responsible for representing a copyright holders catalogue of work. Producers can contact these organisations when attempting to obtain access to copyright-protected work. The first PRO was established in France in 1851; today PROs – such as ASCAP AMRA and PRS For Music – are essential to the creative arts. 

In the UK, the PRS For Music PRO grants licences to theatres to cover music played pre-show and post-show, as well as any music played in the foyer and during intervals. In essence, they typically cover all of the hype-building music that surrounds the show. Any music used during the show is usually obtained by the production company that can try to acquire a licence through a PRO but may need to directly contact the copyright holder.

Find out more about copyright over on our music copyright and copyright-free pages.

What Happens If I Dont Acquire a PRO Licence?

If you fail to acquire a PRO licence yet decide to make use of music protected by copyright, your production may be forced to shut down, and in some cases, you could be taken to court on the grounds of copyright infringement.

Using music without permission is an offence; thus, there will be consequences if you fail to obtain a licence for the music that you are featuring in and around your play. And it’s definitely not worth taking the risk: PROs are known for carrying out inspections regularly. 

The Edit: Expertise

Now that you know a thing or two about background music for drama plays, why not continue learning? All you have to do is visit the expertise tab in our content feed, The Edit

Weve got a neat selection of articles that look at some of the best advertisers (including, IKEA and Tesco); we've got review articles focusing on Euphoria, Yellowjacket and Mood; plus weve got guides on everything from how to make a horror movie to environmental music.

This page was published 04/11/2019 and updated 31/03/2022

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