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How the WandaVision Theme and “Agatha All Along” Are Musically Related

The composers confirm it

kathryn hahn as agatha harkness

If you’re like me, you’ve had “Agatha All Along” stuck in your head since Friday. It’s a wonderfully catchy tune and the fact that it accompanied Kathryn Hahn’s incredible reveal as a big bad on WandaVision made it even more infectious. But it turns out that, just like Wanda was being subtly manipulated by “Agnes,” composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez have been priming us for Agatha all along as well.

This revelation comes straight from co-composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who endorsed a great YouTube video by user Artsy Omni comparing the ways the “WandaVision” theme gets used in the different theme songs of the different sitcoms on the show.

It turns out that these disparate sitcom themes weren’t very disparate at all: they all used the same short tune (what’s called a motif) in all the different iterations. Then the same motif shows up in “Agatha All Along!” but fittingly, Agatha’s music overshadows it.

Here’s the video on its own as well:

How cool is this? It’s even more interesting when you break the motif down to its parts, because after the opening descending octave, it uses an interval (that’s what we can the space or distance between two musical notes) called a tritone before resolving up half a step to a perfect fifth.

Tritones are fascinating because they cut an octave perfectly in half, but they are the most dissonant interval. They’re neither major nor minor, they’re just … weird sounding. Seriously, tritones were taboo for many centuries because they sound so creepy. You could get fired or accused of dealings with Satan if you used them.

“We put a tritone in the main theme which is [considered] the devil’s interval, and it might feel creepy, sometimes dreamy,” Robert Lopez told IndieWire. The use of the “devil’s” interval may also have been an easter egg (or spoiler depending on your point of view) considering Agatha, the twins, and Wanda’s connection in the comics to a character that’s pretty much, uh, the Devil. The tritone is also famously used in the opener to The Simpsons so there’s also a potential reference there. But it also works musically for Wanda and Vision themselves—they’re odd by together they make a harmonious whole.

There are so many awesome layers to what Lopex and Anderson-Lopez (who have composed such Disney hits as “Let It Go” and “Remember Me”) have done with the themes songs throughout the series. They kept their motif but changed meters, keys, and instrumentation to match the different eras. That’s the great thing about motifs, which are generally shorter than full “themes” or melodies. They can be combined and mixed together in really cool ways that tell their own story. Seriously, Richard Wagner, the composer who really made motifs a thing, built entire operas around them.

What I also love about “Agatha All Along” is how it uses the motif but also directly parodies and homages the theme to The Munsters, which certainly fits with Agatha’s witchy glee.

For its time, when surf rock was all the rage, The Munsters using such sunny, upbeat music with a little darkness really worked with the vibe of the show, and it works here too. Especially with that tritone in there, as Agatha’s brain worm theme subsumes Wanda and Vision’s, it’s so evocative and tells a complete story.

There’s an incredible intricacy to the music we hear every day in music and television, and so it’s worth taking time to listen to it carefully. You never know what might have been there all along.

Aaaand it’s stuck in my head again.

(image: Disney+/Marvel)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.