Created By: Tuckerscreator on December 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Tuckerscreator on January 11, 2013
Troped

Previews Pulse

A chord used in trailers to build up mystery and suspense.

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Trailers love to play up excitement and mystery, and one favorite way to do this by tickling the ears with an unusual sound. One of these sounds is the Previews Pulse. It is often created by an instrument known as a blaster beam which creates a single chord which ends up sounding technological and mysterious. Other methods are through mixing several instruments, usually bass, or altering the sound of a horn.

These "pulses" are used in trailers to create a feeling of sudden tension, similar to a Scare Chord, but are rarely used in the movie itself, as it may be distracting. A trailer that uses them is often made up of rapidly cut snippets, with the chord announcing with each new scene.

Examples

Film

Live-Action TV

Music
  • Diablo Swing Orchestra's "Justice for Saint Mary" (the final track off Pandora's Pinata). At 5:45 into the song, just after the final chorus, there are two low-pitched trombone notes, signaling to the listener that the song is about to kick it up a notch.

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • December 20, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Alright, from my research I know this video has some examples, some movies I don't recognize, some I don't know enough about to confidently write an example for.

    Also, I found this previous YKTTW, but it refers to examples in music. Do they count as the same and should be added?
  • December 20, 2012
    0blivionmobile
    • Endgame areas of Borderlands2 use this liberally, especially in areas with volcanic activity or severe industrialization, as well as transitions into and out of combat.
  • December 21, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Anyone else have additional examples?
  • December 21, 2012
    JAF1970
    Actually, I was thinking of making this Trope, except it's properly called Blaster Beam, which was invented by Jerry Goldsmith for Star Trek The Motion Picture (used, for example, during the Klingon scene and The Meld.)

    According to That Other Wiki, "The Blaster Beam is a concept electronic musical instrument consisting of a 12 to 18-foot (5.5 m) long metal beam strung with numerous tensed wires under which are mounted electric guitar pickups which can be moved to alter the sound produced. The instrument is played by striking or plucking the strings with fingers, sticks, pipes or even large objects such as artillery shell casings. The instrument produces a very distinctive bass tone, the sound of which is often described as 'dark' or 'sinister'."

    Besides, an orchestral hit is what you hear, say, in Owner of a Lonely Heart, not the Blaster Beam sound effect.
  • December 21, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Alright then. I think I actually recall seeing production vids of Ben Burtt using such an instrument. But they were using it for blaster sound effects. This is about its use in trailers or movies to create fear, and the title sounds misleading now.
  • December 22, 2012
    dvorak
    "blaster beam" sounds like "that big freakin' laser gun all SHMUP bosses seem to have." I suggest changing it to Orchestral Hit.
  • December 22, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Change it. It's not Frickin Laser Beams
  • December 22, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Orchestral Hit might be slightly inaccurate, but I've seen it applied to this sound several times. Changing it back. Sorry.
  • December 22, 2012
    JAF1970
    No, never has "Orchestral Hit" ever been referred to a Blaster Beam sound effect. (The modern ones are now computer generated for extra low.)

    I'm sorry, but Blaster Beam is the correct term. Orchestral hits (aka orchestral jabs) are something completely and utterly different.
  • December 22, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Then what can we do to differentiate it? If it's called Blaster Beam, it's going to be mistaken for laser weapons. It should be something focused on its use to create an ominous feel. Hmm. Previews Pulse? Bwoong?
  • December 23, 2012
    dvorak
    Judging from the description of the "Blaster Beam," it sounds like some kind of musical instrument. Maybe "Raygun Guitar," since my earlier suggestion of Orchestral Hit was in-accurate.
  • December 23, 2012
    TheHandle
    Blaster Beam is an unfortunately named instrument. Previews Pulse is okay.
  • December 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Can we get an actual laconic for this?

    (later) Much better.
  • December 30, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Nump. Any other examples or hats?
  • December 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Would the THX sound test count?
  • January 2, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Hmm, not sure. From researching it, I find it's called the Deep Note and is made up of many synthesized sounds. The THX logo is sort of a preview, so if there's no objections I could perhaps include it.
  • January 3, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Gump.
  • January 3, 2013
    MetaFour
    The Mystery Science Theater 3000 example is more of an Orchestra Hit than something matching the trope. I'm yanking it.

    • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In the episode Final Justice, the SOL crew somehow--apparently by accident--rig up their sound system so that anytime one of them says the words "the owner of a lonely heart", they get bombarded by the chord from the Yes song of the same name.
  • January 3, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Yeah, that's what the trope used to be called. Any more examples?
  • January 5, 2013
    MetaFour
    I thought of one, but I'll leave it up to your judgement of whether it qualifies.

    Music
    • Diablo Swing Orchestra's "Justice for Saint Mary" (the final track off Pandora's Pinata). At 5:45 into the song, just after the final chorus, there are two low-pitched trombone notes, signaling to the listener that the song is about to kick it up a notch.

    Here's the song on youtube, cued up to the moment in question.
  • January 5, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Listened to it, and yup, I think it qualifies, since it's not part of the song's regular beat but rather a cue that the tune is about to change.
  • January 9, 2013
    KarjamP
    Hats are when the troper thinks this is ready for launch.

    Therefore, you can't just ask for hats like that.
  • January 9, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Then what's needed before it's ready for launch? Tell me. Nobody's added a hat since December or told me what needs fixing, so I had to be more direct.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rewcm03z3evbibzr6olg4gz3&trope=PreviewsPulse