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The Town Tune is a short melody that plays whenever the player talks to a villager or special character, when the player walks into a building, and whenever an hour passes. A town tune can range anywhere from 1 to 16 notes. In Animal Crossing, the town tune can be changed by facing the bulletin board next to the Post Office. In Wild World and City Folk, the player must go to the civic center in the Town Hall, and talk to Pelly or Phyllis. In New Leaf, the town tune can be changed by the player talking to Isabelle at the front desk.
Town tunes can also be played on instruments that can be bought in Tom Nook's stores (every game before New Leaf) or the Nookling Stores (New Leaf only). If music is playing at the same time, the instrument plays at the same speed.
The player can change the notes by selecting a frog and moving the frog up or down. If a frog is pulled up to the top, the frog will play a random note. If a frog is pulled to the bottom, the frog will not play a note and will be silent. If a frog is pulled to the note above the bottom, it will sustain the previous note.
Every game before New Leaf had their own town tune while the N64 and GameCube versions have the same (except Animal Forest e+, which has the different tune). However in New Leaf, there are 4 different default town tunes that are selected randomly when the game is first started.
When town tunes are played while talking to a special character or villager, it relates to the villager's personality and species. Cranky villagers may make the tune sound somewhat strange, peppy villagers will make the tune sound bubbly and normal villagers will take the tune and make it perky. Lazy villagers often make the town tune sound like it has no rhythm.