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This is a technical term in theater and movie arts for a stereotyped piece of music that is played to cue the audience that a scene is set in a particular location.

E.g.

London --> Rule Britannia
Italy --> O sole Mio
German --> Oompah music
New York/Broadway --> No Business like Show business
  • "Riff"? e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental_riff – Tatpurusha May 27 '14 at 21:57
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    This is perhaps an extended sense of 'leitmotif'. – Edwin Ashworth May 27 '14 at 22:16
  • I think the word I'm thinking of is a conceptual subset of letimotif but I think there is an even more specific term in the jargon. A letimotif can attach to characters or events, this attaches just to places. – TechZen May 27 '14 at 23:34
  • @TechZen It's called Leitmotif – Joost Kiefte Aug 12 '15 at 6:36
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Program music is “A form of art music that attempts to convey a scene, image, or mood”.

The soundscape-related terms keynote sounds and soundmark also may be slightly relevant:

...keynote sounds may not always be heard consciously, but they "outline the character of the people living there" (Schafer).
A soundmark is a sound which is unique to an area

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  • Soundscape is a different kind of animal. I suppose you've read the WP you cited. – Kris May 28 '14 at 9:35
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Signature tune or theme song; both are usually meant to identify a performer (Bing Crosby: "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day) or a band (Glenn Miller: "Moonlight Serenade"; Jack Hylton: "She Shall Have Music"), but you also have this with regions and countries.

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