->'''Stranded Visitor, to Scientist:''' How big do [the shrews] get?\\
[''creepy music plays'']\\
'''Tom Servo:''' "How big does that music make it sound?!"
-->-- ''Film/TheKillerShrews'', as riffed on ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''

An eerie shadow moves across the hallway behind a character, or maybe the NotQuiteDead villain's eyes suddenly [[EyeAwaken snap open]]. Whatever the case, it's a quiet event that's supposed to be shocking, but if the visual cue doesn't spook the audience, then the obligatory Scare Chord will do the trick.

A cousin to the {{Sting}}, the scare chord is a sudden, sharp sforzando of noise (musically based or not) intended to make viewers jump clean out of their seats. The thing that separates it from a CatScare is the fact that nothing ''onscreen'' causes the noise; it's added into the soundtrack as a way to guarantee the desired reaction. They are often preceded by a deliberate lull in the action of a scene or the music of a soundtrack.

Oh yeah; most people absolutely ''hate'' them, especially when they show up unexpectedly outside a horror film and make most viewers want to shout back: "Dammit, movie; don't ''do'' that!"

(Music Theory Nerdiness: Actually, the reason these are so prone to becoming cliches is that the chord most frequently used in such a case - the diminished 7th - has only 3 different ways of playing it. If you play it on C, it sounds exactly the same as on E flat, G flat and B double flat. That's just how they work. So it's a very easily recognizable sound.)

Perhaps the most common accompaniment to a JumpScare, even more than a loud scream nowadays.

Often part of the ScreamerTrailer.

Compare and contrast LastNoteNightmare.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertisements]]
* PlayedForLaughs in that series of "scary" Verizon ads (i.e., "Towels are kinda scratchy!").
* Referenced in [[http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/b9b2/?srp=1 this ad]] for bloody handprint shower curtains and bloody footprint bathmats on [[http://www.thinkgeek.com/ ThinkGeek]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Happens too many times to count in PsychologicalHorror like ''Manga/ElfenLied'', ''Anime/{{Monster}}'', and ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi''.
** Not to mention the original ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' sound novels, where these techniques are used QUITE liberally. The first one happens when [[spoiler:the victims of the first twilight are found in the garden shed, their face smashed]]. Thou shalt shit your pants.
*** [[HellIsThatNoise PingPingPing-EEEEEeeeee!]] There are no WORDS for the scare.
** Also noteworthy is that the original novels of the When They Cry novels has almost perfected the act of causing the same effect as the Scare Chord without using music at all just by suddenly shutting off all sounds. This effect is quite nervewracking since it can come out of nowhere and it is always a sign that something very bad will happen.
* ''LuckyStar'' used a Scare Chord in only one episode, which nevertheless made it to the released soundtrack with a title of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFcW_iZ6m-c "Gyaaaaaaaaa".]]
* One episode of ''Manga/GhostHunt'' had Mai [[spoiler: psychically experiencing the kidnapping and murder of another character]]. She couldn't scream, so somebody's violin screamed for her, and very convincingly.
* In the first ''KaraNoKyoukai'' movie, the moment Shiki opens her GlowingEyesOfDoom and initiates a CurbStompBattle against a group of [[StringyHairedGhostGirl ghosts]] is accompanied by a Scare Chord, which quickly changes to [[ThemeMusicPowerUp Shiki's recurring theme]].
* In AxisPowersHetalia, Russia's version of Maru Kaite Chikyuu has a well-placed scare cord, followed by,
-->"''Maru Kaite Chikyuu!/Maru Kaite Chikyuu./...Maru Kaite Chikyuu...''"
** "Draw a circle, that's the Earth, looking closely... '''''[[MadnessMantra KOLKOLKOL]]'''''"
::With the third Marukaite Chikyuu being said in possibly the scariest tone known to man.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' has ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUyb4yQMEXQ&NR=1 Domine Kira]]'' (OminousLatinChanting ''screams'' KIRA!) that plays whenever something big is going down (i.e. whenever [[spoiler: plot-important characters are [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom DOOMED]]]]). There's also a really sneaky nasty one in the second OVA movie ''Relight: 2'' that crescendos up from nowhere and is accompanied by a psychotic NightmareSequence. Mommy, I'm scared.
* Played with in the ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'' anime: when [[ButtMonkey Sunohara]] learns of a function on a keyboard that plays a scare chord, he starts having some fun with it by [[LargeHam overdramatically describing fictional scenes]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpKmNUdXsys playing the chord right after.]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall'' has a recurring one, as heard [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYJ0N1JiYEI&feature=related here]].
* ''Anime/HellGirl'' often used the opening of ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuXU4_Y0Uf8 Jigoku Rock]]'' as a ScareChord during much of the first season as the antagonists were being sent to Hell.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* ''Klarion the Witch Boy'' briefly added one in his name ("Klarion... bum bum BUM... the Witch Boy!"), and [[InsistentTerminology insisted that others addressing him use it as well]]. Since they were basically ''saying'' "bum bum BUM" (presumably with tonal changes) it didn't really do much for him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Strangely enough, used quite a bit in the soundtrack for ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon''. Be prepared to jump out of your seat a lot.
** In an interesting twist, a scare chord is used to start off one of the score's most popular and heartwarming tracks.
* ''WesternAnimation/WallaceAndGromit: WesternAnimation/TheCurseOfTheWereRabbit'' puts a {{lampshade}} (... windowshade?) over his in a scene where thunder and lightning clashes whenever the characters say the word, "BULLET!" Annoyed, Lord Victor slams down the nearby windowshade, which stops the entire effect.
** With the exception of ''A Grand Day Out,'' all of the shorts and TheMovie have music in their title sequences which end on a Scare Chord.
* ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'': The scene where the head Velociraptor [[NightmareFace lunges at the camera.]]
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'': similarly to the LogoJoke seen (or rather, heard) in ''Film/{{Alien3}}'', the final note of the first part of "Out Of The Penthouse, Off To The Race" is held in an intense crescendo; the scene in which that part plays is when Ralph notices [[spoiler: Vanellope's artwork on the side of the game console]], a [[TheReveal realization]] that shows part of the movie's big twist and kicks off the obligatory MisfitMobilizationMoment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Go ahead, pick any [[SlasherMovie slasher movie]]. ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' is probably the best-known example. ''Psycho'''s particular scare chord even has [[PsychoStrings its own trope]].
* One of the ''Franchise/{{Scream}}'' movies had a subversion where a guy opens a door accompanied by a Scare Chord... and nothing happens. [[spoiler: Then Ghostface comes out of nowhere and kills him with no warning]]
* ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' is the first film to prove that people can be scared of cellos. Duh-Dun...Duh-dun...Duh-dun...
* CultClassic ''Film/TheDayTheEarthStoodStill1951'' had lots of these, although it sounded more like the piano was being dropped off a building.
* The first ''Film/{{Spider-Man}}'' movie had a scene where Norman Osborn has a quick, half-second flashback to his transformation into the Green Goblin, accompanied by a jarring and extremely loud scare chord.
* ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' has four of them in one scene, when Gwen is hiding from the Lizard. The first are in relatively quick succession of each other, followed by a long silence, making the viewer think that was all of them. Then the final and loudest one is when he suddenly appears in front of her.
* ''Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' dropped a lot of the scare chords from the stage version, but left in the overpowering Scare Chord when the Beggar Woman is wandering in the shop - and Sweeney suddenly appears in the doorway, silhouetted.
** Even louder, in the Final Sequence, when [[spoiler: Sweeney kills the Judge]].
* John Carpenter's ''Film/TheThing1982'' features an overpowering scare chord that [[HellIsThatNoise sounds like a microphone held up to a speaker while being sucked into a black hole.]] It's VERY loud and jarring, the rest of the film is relatively quiet, and to top it all off, its used in one of the most mundane JumpScare moments ever: a guy walks in front of Fuchs. [[SarcasmMode Frightening.]]
* Like everything else, taken completely unseriously by Creator/MontyPython, as in the Knights Who Say Ni scene in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'':
-->'''Knight Who Says Ni:''' We demand...a shrubbery!
--->(''Cue a very loud, screeching chord.'')
* DavidLynch ''loves'' these. See for example the first appearance of BOB in TwinPeaks, the hobo/monster behind the Winkie's dumpster in ''MulhollandDrive'', or their extremely frequent use in ''InlandEmpire''.
** The orchestral chaos noise that occasionally punctuates ''Wild at Heart'' (driving up to visit Isabella Rosselini?) is a Badalamenti version of this.
** Henry's Baby is indeed sick.
* The M. Night Shyamalan films ''Film/TheSixthSense'', ''Film/{{Signs}}'', ''Film/TheVillage'', and ''Film/LadyInTheWater'' are rife with these.
* Shortly after the car accident in ''Film/TheOrphanage''.
* The "Corpse Chords" that accompany a slam-cut glance at any of Samara's victims in the US remake of ''TheRing''.
* The remake of ''TheAmityvilleHorror'' had so many of these that, if you replaced them with a bass drum, you could use the film's soundtrack as the beat to a piece of house/techno music.
* Scare chords are used in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', both during River's StealthHiBye moment at the beginning and when the Reavers attack.
* There are a whole bunch of these in Kubrick's ''Film/TheShining''.
* ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' - the one that comes when the power goes out toward the end is the Scariest Chord of Them All.
* ''Film/{{Saw}}'' does this a lot. The first movie has an especially obnoxious one when Adam looks at the [[spoiler:photo of Lawrence's family held hostage]].
* In ''Film/TheExorcistIII'' there is a long shot down a hall in an asylum. Nothing special is going on, the night guard is getting off his shift and a nurse is delivering medicine. As the nurse turns down a hall, the camera suddenly jumps to her end of the hall, and that is when somebody wrapped in white linen and wielding a large knife and a "scare chord symphony" comes from the other side of the hall with the blade raised high. After a millisecond of that, the scene finishs on a shot of a clean white headless Jesus statue.
* Sure, it's a blatant ripoff of ''Film/{{Carrie|1976}}'', and sure, probably [[TheFilmOfTheBook everyone in the theater knows it's coming]]. But combined with some really excellent timing, the scare cord as the Inferi hand grab's Harry's in the ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince]]'' movie is going to make the entire theater jump a foot in the air.
** It doesn't help that they draaaag the scene out, feinting at least three times, before it actually happens.
* Every time Film/JamesBond hits the tarantula with his gun in ''Film/DrNo'', there's a scare chord. The first time it just seems a little cheesy, but after that the scene starts to be funny.
* ''Film/DragMeToHell'' uses this to a ridiculous degree. Even a drifting handkerchief that suddenly lands on a car's windshield makes a VERY LOUD Scare Chord. The people in the last row of the theater probably died of laughter after seeing everyone jump out of their seats during [[spoiler: the séance scene when a demon's head suddenly zooms at the audience SCREAMING with a fire background.]].
* ''Film/IAmLegend'' does a similar thing with sound effects: Will Smith discussing Bob Marley. Then a nasty window-closing sound comes in, 1 to 3 seconds before the window is shown. And it's just ''before'' a tense sequence (his house being invaded).
* Used frequently in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', most effectively in the scene when Hicks pokes his head up into the ceiling, and sees several aliens crawling upside-down towards him.
* Used at one point in [[Film/{{Grindhouse}} Planet Terror]], where it sounds like someone [[ButtonMashing mashing low notes]] on an old synthesizer.
* After a long uneasy build-up, John Williams utilizes one of these to underscore the first sight of one of the aliens in ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind''.
* Creator/MelBrooks' ''Film/YoungFrankenstein'' has fun with this trope as a horror movie convention, using a horse's neigh as a scare chord every time the name "Frau Blucher" is mentioned. Finally the hunchbacked assistant (Marty Feldman) starts saying the name just to set off the horses.
* ''Film/TheHowling'' plays with this as well; in one scene there's a tracking shot with a sudden Scare Chord - at which point nothing happens, and then a scene or two later [[spoiler: a character searching a file cabinet in a darkened office has a monster stand up behind her in total silence - wonderfully jarring]].
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit''?, shortly the reveal that [[spoiler:"Judge Doom" is a toon, his voice builds higher in pitch until his eyes turn into daggers and pop out]] and the soundtrack jolts. As if it wasn't scary enough already...
* ''WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''. After the children and parents board the Wonkatania, it is rowed along the chocolate river, [[spoiler: and then goes through what seems to be a tunnel straight to hell, all the passengers are treated to extremely fast speeds, a range of horrific images, and then Willy Wonka reciting a poem that would make EdgarAllanPoe shit his pants. Cue the Scare Chord at the words: "Is the grizzly reaper mowing?". However, it is low-pitched, and drawn out.]]
* The 2009 film adaptation of ''Film/ThePictureOfDorianGray''. First time we see the portrait in all its ugliness, it's not really that bad... Until the thing gasps horrifically and some petrifying music makes you fall back from your chair. ''Damn.''
* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker's chord in ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. Chilling and ratchets up the tension. About the only time two notes have been considered Oscar worthy.
* ''Film/YouthInRevolt''. An organ chord plays when Trent pulls out the letter incriminating Nick, only for the camera to reveal that it was just Mrs. Saunders, [[MushroomSamba high on mushrooms]], [[SorryILeftTheBGMOn exploring the organ]].
* In ''Film/{{Inception}}'', when [[spoiler: Ariadne is looking into Cobb's dream and sees Mal in the hotel room. Mal suddenly looks up at her, and BAM! Out of your seat!]]
* A scare chord accompanies some of would-be Presidential assassin Mitch Leary's appearances in ''InTheLineOfFire''.
* A good example is in ''Film/TheTerminator'', right after [[spoiler: Kyle's HeroicSacrifice]], Blowing up the Terminator using the last pipe bomb. When Sarah goes over [[spoiler: to Kyle's dead body]] you can see a large chunk of the Terminator move slightly, then WHAM! right as it sits up and starts to chase her once again, barely moving using its only other arm.
* Used relatively frequently in ''Film/BlackSwan''.
* ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'' features one right when [[spoiler: Fräulein Bundt pops out from under the sheets after Bond thought he was sneaking up on Ruby Bartlett instead. Cue a TapOnTheHead and the screen becoming blurry.]]
* Batman gets a few when attacking the mooks on the dock in ''Film/BatmanBegins'', followed by some serious PsychoStrings.
* The Raptors in ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' have a lot.
* In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', Pyro's leitmotif contains some scarechords, most evident when he uses his powers on the policemen.
* {{Parodied}} in ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' when Doc Brown, startled by Marty, backs into a piano and accidentally plays one.
* In ''Film/TheNeverendingStory'', Gmork gets an absolutely ''terrifying'' one. It comes in at about a minute and a half in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKiwYk6ylEg here]].
* Whenever the happy, cheery Munchkin music in ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' starts to get more dissonant and chaotic, ''you know'' something bad is going to happen soon.
* There is one near the beginning of ''Film/{{Gravity}}''. After their space shuttle is badly damaged, the two main characters inspect inside for survivors. They shine a flashlight inside to see that [[spoiler:the hull has been breached.]] There is silence for several seconds, until [[spoiler:the lifeless, frozen face of a female astronaut, not in a space suit and exposed to the vacuum, appears right in front of Sandra Bullock's character.]] Bullock screams, accompanied by a loud, prolonged glissando and tremelo of violins.
* In ''Film/MinorityReport'', [[spoiler: Anderton's wife]] manages to get past the Precrime security using one of [[spoiler: Anderton]]'s previously removed eyes. She reveals this by plopping them down on top of one of the guards' pianos, thus [[PaintingTheFourthWall causing the scare chord]].
* The overwhelming majority of the frights in ''Film/TheWolfman2010'' are solely due to this, rather than anything that actually happens on screen.
* ''{{Insidious}}'' - The ''title theme'' is a shrieking horde of violins, intentionally evoking the connotations of this trope.
* ''Film/IndependenceDay'' - Two of these can be heard within the timespan of a few minutes.
** The first one occurs when Dr. Brackish Okun and a few medical assistants at Area 51 are attempting to remove the biomechanical suit from the unconscious alien and it suddenly rips open.
** The second one occurs ''after'' the alien wakes up, kills the medical assistants plus Dr. Okun, and destroys most of the containment laboratory. With most of the room in a dense fog, President Whitmore gets near the glass separating the rooms when Dr. Okun's lifeless body abruptly appears from out of the fog right up against the glass.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'':
** '''Nobody''' expects the jarring chord of the Spanish Inquisition! Its chief weapon is surprise; surprise and loudness!... Loudness and surprise, two weapons; its ''two'' weapons are loudness, and surprise, and its shock value... Its ''three'' weapons, are loudness, and surprise, and shock value, and being a SubvertedTrope due to the harmlessness of the inquisition... Damn. ''Amongst'' its weapons... It's not very scary any more, is it?
** Also used, or abused, in the "Science Fiction Sketch", following such lines as, "He was not so much a man... as a ''blancmange''!"
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' uses this from time to time, although the preceding (both short-term and long-term!) suspense is more unbearable, naturally. One example is in the season 4 premier episode "The Beginning of the End", while Hurley is peeping into a cabin window: an EYE closeup abruptly comes into view.
* Parodied in an episode of ''FamilyMatters'' where Carl had a dream in the style of an old Western movie. After each Scare Chord, everybody in the saloon looked around to try and find where the chord came from.
-->'''Steve Urkel:''' Let's form a posse and track down that dang orchestra!
* Also parodied in an episode of ''{{Roseanne}}'' where the Connors were dealing with taxes and [[IntimidatingRevenueService the IRS]]. A Scare Chord sounded every time someone said the word "audit", prompting everyone to look for the source of the chord.
--> Roseanne: "I think we need to get out of this house!"
* In the ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' original series episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS1E20CourtMartial Court Martial]]", the prosecuting attorney badgers [=McCoy=] into admitting, "Yes, it's possible" -- whereupon we get one of the series's trademark overly-dramatic musical stings.
* ''SonnyWithAChance'' uses the scare chord twice in one episode. The first time, it was Zora playing it on a violin to scare Tawni and Sonny. The second time it happens, Sonny tells Zora to stop it, only to reveal that it wasn't Zora. Tawni and Sonny look around the room in confusion and fright.
* The dramatic "chunk-chunk" noise in ''LawAndOrder'' and its spinoffs. Parodied by ''SesameStreet''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E10Blink "Blink"]] has this: "You're not looking at the statue", then they turn around and see a weeping angel and a scare chord plays. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH0R01gP3m0 (Video - watch the part at the very end)]]
** The classic series made use of electronic music more prominently than the revived series, resulting in many HellIsThatNoise moments. One of the most famous times this happened is right there in the [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E2TheDaleks very second story]], which introduces the Daleks ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as if that won't be obvious enough]]). The reveal of the Doctor's new nemeses is accompanied by sliding, metallic walls of sound, and a high-pitched electronic screech.
** Another well-known one recurred several times throughout [[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E3TheSeaDevils "The Sea Devils]], whose soundtrack was performed on a modular synth. A jarring, grinding, beeping sound is the first cue on this story's soundtrack. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ4PuWqL3eM Have a listen to see if you can describe it any better.]]
* Used pretty effectively and often enough on ''Series/{{Fringe}}''.
* The Paramount "closet killer" VanityPlate features, as its nickname suggests, a trumpet scare chord sounding like something out of a SlasherMovie.
* Often parodied in ''{{Blackadder}}''. For example in season 3 episode "Nob & Nobility", where the guest star expects to find a party, but instead stumbles on an empty dungeon. "Don't worry! In a minute we will hear the sound of music and happy laughter!" Cue Scare Chord and EvilLaugh.
* Parodied in the slasher movie-themed episode of ''BoyMeetsWorld''. Everytime one of the characters makes a dramatic and scary statement Eric goes "Duh! Duh! Duh!" in imitation of a scare chord. The other characters get annoyed after he does this several times and they get him to stop.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" has one when the man decides to open the curtains, revealing the Gremlin's face right up against the window.
* Parodied in one episode of ''PeeWeesPlayhouse''. Several of Pee-wee's kept turning up missing, and every time, Pee-wee would exclaim "It's a mystery!" It would then cut to a creepy looking organist playing a scary chord. At one point, the organist missed a cue and Pee-wee had to repeat the line. Finally, at the end of the episode, Pee-wee turned to the organist and asked, "By the way, who are you?"
-->'''Organist''': It's a mystery! [Plays scary chord]
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' almost always has at least one in TheTeaser of each episode.
* ''Series/{{Rome}}''. After complaining that Caesar's assassins haven't killed Marc Antony as well, Cisero turns and [[RightBehindMe bumps into Antony who's just entered the room]]. At that exact moment a household slave shuts the door behind Antony, producing an ominous thud.
* Done at the end of Episode 5 of the first season of ''The Irish R.M.'', as Lady Knox walks in and discovers the elaborate plot Major Yeates and Flurry were trying to keep secret.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* JosephHaydn's Symphony No. 94, nicknamed the "Surprise Symphony", which features an unexpected fortissimo chord in the middle of the quiet second movement, is the TropeCodifier.
* The "Firebird Suite" also does a pretty impressive leap in volume when transitioning to the main portion of the piece.
** ''[[Disney/{{Fantasia}} Fantasia 2000]]'' uses it very appropriately for an EyeAwaken moment. The two combined are nearly enough to give the viewer a heart attack.
** That's hardly scary compared to some passages the suites don't use, such as "Magic Carillon" and "Kastchei's Death."
* Music/TheBeatles used this several times:
** The opening chord to the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" can be shocking to those who aren't expecting it.
*** Cirque du Soleil's ''LOVE'' takes full advantage of this in its opening sequence, thanks to Sir George and Giles Martin's clever remixing: [[spoiler:after the opening procession set to "Because", the famous last chord of "A Day in the Life" is played backwards, which means it gets louder and louder (and the theatre gets darker), and then...BAM. All they need is that chord, and then it's off to "Get Back"...]]
** The Beatles' album ''Abbey Road'' "finishes" with the gentle fade-out of strings that concludes the song "The End". Approximately fourteen seconds later, the short hidden track "Her Majesty" jumps in with a loud chord (originally the final note of "Mean Mr Mustard") which is out of place with the rest of the song.
** Also on ''Abbey Road'', the song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" concludes with the precise opposite of a scare chord - an abrupt silence in the middle of a bar, after a long period of hypnotic repetition. The sudden absence of sound is just as startling.
** The famous piano chord at the end of "A Day in the Life" might function as this for anyone who hasn't heard the song.
* The electroclash band Fischerspooner enjoyed peppering the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNMtj2ZmfyU&wadsworth=1 music video versions of their songs]] with random scare chords, even stopping the song entirely for a few seconds.
* ''Halloween'' by Music/{{Aqua}}, since the song is sort of a homage to old horror films.
* ''You Don't Love Me Anymore'', by Music/WeirdAlYankovic, does a variant of this. After the song, the track continues for a good ''ten minutes'', silently, until a sudden 8-second burst of screaming and what sounds like a chainsaw. Apparently this was supposed to scare people that left the CD playing.
** It's also a parody of some similar randomness from Nirvana's Nevermind album, "Endless, Nameless".
* ScissorSisters' first album contains an unnamed track between the CD bonus tracks, which encourages the listener to either start the album from the beginning, or to keep the disc playing after a (fairly creepy) soundclip of people screaming to hear the bonus content.
* Julee Cruise's "Into The Night" is a languidly paced haunting ballad (as used to eerie effect in TwinPeaks) - then about 3 and a half minutes in, there's a slowly rising backwards cymbal, followed by 5 rapidly played ominous notes that are much louder and more high pitched than the rest of the song. Not quite a LastNoteNightmare though, as the song then goes on for another minute or so as though nothing ever happened.
* The ending of Mike Oldfield's ''Tubular Bells'' (the original 1973 mix or the 2009 5.1 remix, but not the 1976 remix on ''Boxed'') does this; the "caveman" passage segues into a very quiet and soothing guitar/organ segment and then suddenly, without warning, the Sailors' Hornpipe drastically ups both the tempo and the volume.
** The point thirteen and a half minutes into Part 1, where a long, mellow Hawaiian-guitar-like sequence is interrupted by a horrible, raspy guitar. And, of course, the sinister voice of Vivian Stanshall appearing out of nowhere to speak the words "Grand piano" after 20 minutes of pure instrumental.
** Oldfield's later work ''Amarok'' is absolutely full of these, including a section where some light African chanting is punctuated by scare chord stabs and a sampled voice saying "Happy?" in increasingly processed and chopped-up ways. Supposedly, his falling out with Virgin Records prompted him to produce an album that Virgin couldn't possibly lift a 3-minute single from, as every theme in the piece would inevitably move on faster than this, or be subjected to these bizarre interruptions.
* TheDoors' 18 minute odyssey ''Celebration of the Lizard'' has Jim yell "WAKE UP!!!" after a few silent seconds somewhere in the [[spoiler:second or third]] minute.
** Can also apply to the beginning of "The Soft Parade" if you're not familiar with the song... [[spoiler: YOU ''CANNOT'' PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!!]]
* Music/TheMoodyBlues' "Nights in White Satin" does this with a gong at the end.
* There's a pretty dissonant scare chord at the beginning of DepecheMode's "Love In Itself."
* Music/PinkFloyd's "Sysyphus", from their album ''Ummagumma''; eerily calm ambient music, accompanied by the sound of a babbling brook, then suddenly '''''[+DUNNNNNNNNN!!!+]''''' Then back to ambience, as you go [[BringMyBrownPants change your underwear]].
** Speaking of ''Ummagumma'', try fantastic "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". Starts with very eerie, calm sounds, yet it constantly grows into something unknown, something strange, making you shiver... Even though Roger Waters warns you (in a way), you can't help with your reaction to first hearing second part of the song.
** The intro to song opener "In The Flesh?" from ''TheWall'', coming out of nowhere out of a gentle brass/accordion melody.
* CoheedAndCambria pull this one a number of times throughout their albums, most notably at the end "Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow)" -- the sound of rain and a vaguely creepy piano are punctuated by sobbing and an [[BringMyBrownPants absolutely terrifying scream]].
* The beginning synth-organ chord to DefLeppard's "Rock! Rock! Till You Drop", from ''Pyromania'', can be startling.
* Paul Hardcastle's "19" used this a lot.
* "Sensual Impressions" by the German group Joy Unlimited is basically an extended flute solo with pianissimo organ/cymbal backing, save for two instances of fortissimo "scare chords" which are TERRIFYING when listening to the piece for the first time.
* The freaky synth-squawk at the end of ToddRundgren's "Golden Goose" probably applies here, too.
* The post-drum duet jam from TheGratefulDead's ''The Closing of Winterland'' concert has a Scare Thunderclap, which is very jarring if the sound is turned up.
* Who could forget Krzysztof Penderecki's ''Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima''? The entire song is a scare chord mashup, and parts of it were even used in one of ''The Shining'' movies. Most of Penderecki's other early symphonic works are similarly atonal and scary.
* {{Elbow}} does this with a blast of trumpets and percussion that repeats several times in "Starlings", an otherwise quiet song. It's more of an awestruck sens of surprise than a scare, though.
* The last chord of Music/GustavMahler's ''Das Klagende Lied'', which thus doubles as a LastNoteNightmare. Mahler must have liked the effect, because he did it again in his sixth symphony.
* In Mahler's 2nd Symphony, the opening chord of the last (5th) movement. Nicknamed the "Resurrection" Symphony, the work was intended by Mahler to initially portray states of despair and happiness here on earth, followed, in the last movement, by a portrayal of the resurrection into the afterlife. The 4th movement illustrates the longing for relief from earthly woes, and ends quietly. This mood is rudely interrupted by a shrieking, dissonant chord in the whole orchestra at the very opening of the last movement. This has sometimes been described (including by its composer) as portraying the state of the damned after death, although, as the symphony progresses towards its triumphant ending, this portrayal of the damned is shown to have apparently been only an illusion believed in by people while still on earth. All ends in peace and love, and all humanity is included in that.
* Creator/CharlesIves in the second movement of his ''Fourth Symphony'', which has several unexpected outbursts from the brass section and one particularly huge one near the end; this circus march portion then cuts off rather abruptly.
* Venetian Snares' "Szamár Madár" has quite the horrifying number of scare chords at the beginning of their piece. This troper guarantees you'll jump at least once if you listen to it in a dark room in complete silence. Can be found [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivxt2Pt4AI8&feature=related HERE]]
* The climax of Fantômas' 'Delìrium Còrdia'... ''for a whole minute''.
* Waking The Witch by Kate Bush does this. It starts off with around 80 seconds of quiet, relaxing piano music and ambient noise, with lots of reassuring voices urging the listener to wake up. Except for the last, who exclaims "look who's here to see you!". It's never explained what it is that's paying a visit, but it most certainly sounds terrifying. Then, after you've gotten over the initial shock of the music crashing in, a terrifying demonic voice shouts at you, just to make sure you've ''completely'' evacuated your bowels.
** For whatever reason, the CD mix sucks a lot of the life from the song, merely making it sound a bit strange. While it's still shocking and unexpected, to really get the full effect you have to listen to the mix on the original vinyl run.
* Music/BlackSabbath do a rather impressive one on their self-titled song off their self-titled album. After a 1-minute jam session, the song ends. No less than 3 seconds, you're treated to a sudden blast of sound. Shouldn't be surprising considering it's the first "official" Heavy Metal album.
* There's a really effective one at the end of Music/AliceCooper's DaDa album. It seems like a regular ol' fadeout and when the song is almost gone.. BOOM. Got me more than once.
* Klaus Schulze's "Bayreuth Return" [[LastNoteNightmare abruptly ends]] with a white noise blast.
* VernianProcess's single ''Something Wicked (That Way Went)'' contains a scare chord at the beginning of the second verse (as well as [[EvilLaugh creepy laughter]] at the end of the song).
* In Bach's St. Matthew Passion, the movement "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen" starts out as a peaceful duet, only with very startling and unexpected interjections of "Laßt ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!" (Leave Him, stop, don't bind Him!). This happens several times in the duet, before it turns into a chorus filled with [[OminousLatinChanting Ominous German Chanting]].
* The very last movement of Handel's ''Messiah'' oratorio, "Worthy is the Lamb", contains a moderately long and soft instrumental part in the middle of the movement's famous "Amens". At the end of the instrumental, the chorus abruptly starts singing "Amen" again; this can be startling to even those familiar with the work.
* Deathspell Omega, quite atypically for a BlackMetal band, have a chant section in their song "Carnal Malefactor" (frequently mistakenly assumed to be Gregorian chant, it's actually in Old Church Slavonic). What qualifies the song for this trope is that immediately after the chant's conclusion (before it's even finished echoing, in fact), they go straight back into blasting black metal, and if you're not prepared for it, it is ''terrifying''.
* Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper" contains at least two of these near the end of the song.
* In Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F minor Op. 57 "Appassionata", the final repetition of the theme of the slow movement variations ends with a deceptive cadence on a diminished seventh chord which is then repeated fortissimo to begin the allegro finale.
* Music/DirEnGrey has "Obscure", which opens with an fairly audible ambient section, but very suddenly transitions into the song's incredibly brutal main riff, then transitions ''again'' into a discordant wall of drum blasting and grinding guitar noises. [[SerialEscalation That's just the intro]], and that's just one song...in fact they have made {{Scare Chord}}s an essential component of their musical style.
** "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpuA_CQU_i4‎ Kyoukotsu No Nari]]" is arguably one of the worst offenders.
* Most of Music/{{Merzbow}}'s material contain at least ''a ton'' of these.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'' uses this every week in the opening where Captain Black appears, and often repeats at various intervals in the story to denote the appearance of a Mysteron agent.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* The first episode of ''Radio/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' ended with the Vogon commander threatening Arthur and Ford with either being ThrownOutTheAirlock or ''(dramatic chord)'' [[CoolAndUnusualPunishment having to appreciate his poetry]]. This sequence was repeated at the beginning of the second episode, where the sound cue in the script read "DRAMATIC CHORD ([[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail SHRUBBERY]])." The actual chord used in the recording of the first episode is a snippet of Ligeti's ''Volumina'', an organ piece which amounts to a lengthy discordant scare chord.
* Used repeatedly in the ''Radio/HamishAndDougal'' episode "Inverurie Jones and the Thimble of Doom", with increasingly ridiculous LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn gags.
* Used in ''Radio/BleakExpectations''', also with a LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn gag.
-->'''Sir Philip''': Do not play the organ [[DramaticThunder in a thunderstorm]] while I'm talking.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In the final minute of ''Theatre/TheConsul'', Magda is rudely awakened from her DyingDream by the telephone ringing, and each ring is followed by a discordant slam which is the pianistic equivalent of SymbolSwearing (though only loud in comparison to the preceding diminuendo). There is also a nasty chord at the climax of the Act II NightmareSequence.
* ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' employs this tactic frequently, with its famous organ riff.
* Being modelled after the thriller scores of BernardHerrmann, the score to ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' features quite a few scare chords, a particularly notable example being the release of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" (the "Swing your razor wide ..." section).
** Also notable are the ear-piercing factory whistles used to punctuate various dramatic moments.
* The shrill, piercing factory whistle in StephenSondheim's ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' is first used to make the audience jump and shut up in time for the opening number. Every subsequent use of the thing gets more and more hardcore - Sweeney's first kill, for instance - until the final use of the factory whistle coincides with [[spoiler:[[TheWoobie Toby]] killing the main character in the world's creepiest FreakOut]]. Yeah, you're still going to jump when you hear it on the soundtrack later.
** Stephen Sondheim was conscious of this trope, and wrote what amounted to miniature scare chords into the Overture and main theme of the score. They were tiny crescendos every two measures. The audience automatically expected something to happen during these crescendos, and the fact that nothing happened added to the suspense already present.
* In ''Theatre/TristanUndIsolde'', the second act love duet has its would-be climax in B major crushed by a deceptive cadence accompanied by Brangane's piercing scream.
* In ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', Giovanni's reprise of "You and Me and Pokemon" starts with jarring vocals and guitars.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'' ''LOVES'' doing this. Mercifully, the scariest moments are usually not accompanied by these.
* ''VictoriaAnEmpireUnderTheSun'' just knows how to play this trope. The distinctive sound that comes with a declaration of war is by far the loudest and terrifying one. It doesn't help either when the full message reads "Sir, the rotten swines in [[ImperialGermany GERMANY]] have declared WAR upon US".
* Let's get this out of the way first: [[FinishHim FINISH]] [[FinishingMove HIM!]] '''[[VideoGame/MortalKombat DAH-DAH-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!]]''' (Or "DU-DU-DUNNNNNNN!" post-[=UMK3=])
* The original ''Franchise/AloneInTheDark'' trilogy used a classic string tritone hit to good effect.
* ''Franchise/TombRaider III'' makes frequent use of these, and they're ''extremely'' effective. At some points, such as in the ExpansionPack, Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact, it uses the scare chord for no reason at all. Damnit!
* ''VideoGame/{{Illbleed}}'' had every single trap, even the deactivated ones, prefaced by a classic scare chord. The upside to this is that people who've played this game tend not to jump nearly as high whenever a movie tries to pull one on them.
** * Violin screech* (+ 30 Adreneline) "Cool!"
* Minecraft's cave noises have this in spades! Your walking around in a dark cave, when suddenly, [[HellIsThatNoise "WHOOOOooooooooooo!"]]
* Being spotted in the ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' games results in an iconic sound best described as '[[http://www.instantsfun.es/metal-gear-alert/ !]]'.
** It's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RELSX1rpiaY&feature=related played for laughs]] in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl''.
* An unfriendly NPC getting suspicious in ''Creator/TomClancy's VideoGame/SplinterCell'' triggers a sound. An armed enemy seeing Fisher clearly warrants a much more vibrant variant.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' first signals the approach of the ImplacableMan Nemesis with a piece composed of low tritone string chords, then when he enters the room, the music elevates to a scare chord crescendo. Horror, along with his demonic growl of "STARS", which you sometimes hear before he enters.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' had at least two scare themes in the various scenes where zombies broke in through the windows or doors. There was also a big choral scare chord played at the beginning of the FinalBoss battle of each scenario, especially disturbing with the OneWingedAngel forms William has taken on.
** Another scare chord was played during the appearances of Mr. X in the second scenario.
** A secondary character hands the player a key before locking himself into another room. Finding a way into that other room triggers a {{cutscene}} with the above-mentioned scare theme playing as he slowly transforms into a zombie.
* ''VideoGame/NeedForSpeed: Most Wanted'' and ''Carbon'' play a Scare Chord to a camera pan every time you're spotted by a squad car.
** Sort of happens in ''NFS II'' and ''III'' with the VariableMix music when crashing your car before resuming the previous section of music it was playing.
* ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'': A symphony of high instruments play at some points when Norman starts to suffer from the effects of Triptocaine. It's also included in Norman Jayden's main theme.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' does this in the PC version when a wretch runs past a door, and it's a very loud one too.
** The Xbox 360 version does this, too. Several times. Whether it's finding people on meat hooks in the prison, seeing a wretch, or kicking open a door only to have a handful of krill escape into the night, they really like to use this...
* ''SilentHill1'' has a Scare {{Leitmotif}}, heard in the first encounter with an Air Screamer and in the scene where you have to save Dr. Kauffman from a Romper.
** Certain rooms in the otherworld hospital serve little purpose other than to scare the hell out of you with a loud crashing or banging noise as you turn to exit, often accompanied by possessed nurses appearing just outside the door.
* ''{{X-COM}}: Terror From The Deep'' had quiet, eerie tension music that suited its deepsea enviroment, until DAH!DAH! ''Agh!'' [Panicked search for aliens who are still hidden.] These scares had nothing to do with events; they just jerked you out of your seat.
* The first time you get a good, up close look at a Hunter in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' Episode 2'' [[spoiler: you know, where you turn around AND IT'S WATCHING YOU THROUGH THE WINDOW NEXT TO YOU!]] a scare chord goes off. It's actually the Hunter bellowing a war-cry of sorts, but it's to the same effect. [[spoiler: To make things worse, it then guts the LoveInterest in front of you and buries you under rubble]]. Hunters = best enemy ever.
** In Episode One, in the first of the tunnel sections with several Zombines with them, a loud, grating chord is played which sounds just like distorted Combine "death beeps"... it's actually a context-activated piece of music, like all the others in ''Half-Life 2'', but just as effective.
*** And in the original ''Half-Life 2'', after the beach section of Sandtraps, there's a nice Scare Chord [[spoiler: when the Antlion Guard rises from the sand right in your face.]]
*** Exact same thing happens when you down the hunter chopper at the end of Water Hazard.
*** In ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'', the same chord played when you killed the Gargantua with the generators in the level "Power Up"
* ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' plays a scare chord whenever you are spotted by a large monster, or if you dropped an egg or a valuable rock.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek: Elite Force 2'' is riddled with these, every time an enemy comes at you, or you die by, well, anything.
** Quite the same thing with ''VideoGame/JediOutcast'' and ''VideoGame/JediAcademy'' when the PlayerCharacter dies.
* The song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpOVKbM7vlA "Devils, Monsters"]] from the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}: Combat Evolved'' soundtrack, aka the [[ZombieApocalypse Flood]] theme, seems to be made up entirely of scare chords.
** Two more scarechord and PsychoStrings based pieces, also associated with terror or the Flood are "Shadows" (prominently heard at the beginning of Two Betrayals when Cortana tells MC about what Halo really does) and "Ancient Machine".
** Then there's that sound that sounds like a rusty metal trapdoor that appears in several soundtrack pieces, eg "Shudder" and "Guilt and Punishment".
** During the {{cutscene}} right before encountering the Flood, a scare chord is played when MC opens the door and a PeekABooCorpse falls out. It is heard on the OST in "Lament for Pvt. Jenkins". The same chord plays if Capt. Keyes is killed during his EscortMission.
** After an ominous choral and PsychoStrings build-up, a scare chord plays when the Arbiter kills Truth.
* Several tracks from the ''EverQuestII'' sountrack, such as Nektulos Forest, seem almost entirely composed of scare chords or rapid string notes. A scare chord which signaled a player character had broken from combat and is attempting to flee has been removed.
* So you're playing ''VideoGame/{{Bioshock|1}}'', and you've just beaten the second boss. The game has changed level, and you're happily walking down a narrow pathway with no enemies in sight. [[spoiler:With no warning whatsoever, you have a very sudden vision of three pictures with a Scare Chord (in this case a scream) along with it.]] Managed not to jump up and yelp like a little girl? No? You're not alone.
* ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' makes heavy use of the Scare Chord in conjunction with sudden appearances by Alma or Replica attacks. Or sometimes just for [[NothingIsScarier false scares]].
** It's also used - in slightly less dramatic fashion - to alert the player to a crisp packet on the floor, letting them know that Norton Mapes is still alive.
** On levels with [[SentryGun automated gun turrets]], a certain scare chord plays when a turret activates.
** [[McNinja Assassin]] encounters are also usually signalled by scare chords.
** Players of the series have also noticed the major flaw in a Scare Chord. In the first (and scariest) game, the chord was a subtle, creepy little ringing sound. Later games had much sharper, louder scare chords... which often did more to [[NightmareRetardant ruin the suspenseful atmosphere]] than make anything scary.
** Rattling objects. In the first game they can be ignored safely, because it's possibly a malfunction of the collisions engine, and it's only things like soda cans, chemical flasks and other small gadgets. Doesn't detract any from the scary factor, [[FridgeBrilliance especially if you remember the common aspect of ghost stories that they lightly disturb objects with their presence alone]]. And then you go through the Vivendi sequels... Where the rattlers are much larger objects, and it often means a pack of [[DemonicSpiders the mostly invisible Shades]] is out to get you. Don't be surprised if you shoot a steel drum you're walking on top of just because it scraped on the floor, ''especially'' after the nuclear explosion in ''Perseus Mandate''.
*** It doesn't help that near the end of ''Perseus Mandate'', you have to go through an area where all the automatic doors produce a sound similar to the cackle/laugh that was the only hint those near invisible shades gave you before attacking.
* Whenever Zant in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' appears, a Scare Chord that sounds a bit like an unearthly scream plays.
** The [=ReDead=] are also infamous for this. You're wandering around in a dark temple, or below a scary well or tomb, minding your own innocent business...then suddenly, a terrifying mutilated scream sounds and before you can even spin around to see the source, BOOM, you're frozen in the paralyzing fear as the [=ReDead=] shambles toward you...
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', a scare chord plays [[spoiler:when Ganondorf says, "YOUR GODS DESTROYED YOU!" just before the Puppet Ganon battle.]] A different scare chord plays during the Forsaken Fortress stealth sequence towards the beginning, each time you're spotted by one of the Moblin guards.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', in the kitchen section of the last chapter, the music is silent for several seconds before a disquieting piano chord. This turns out to be part of the {{leitmotif}} of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po3yVtZHHl0 Regeneradors]], which you encounter shortly after.
** In Chapter 4-1, scare chords are used when Verdugo is stalking you right before you fight it.
* The NES adaptation of ''Friday The 13th'' plays a scare chord whenever Jason appears, or when he kills one of the children.
** The Commodore 64 game is even worse, with the scare chord being a blood-curdling scream combined with a scary image, such as an axe in someone's head. These come up whenever someone is killed. It doesn't help that the music playing the rest of the time is [[SoundtrackDissonance calming]] [[IronicNurseryTune nursery rhyme music]].
* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' practically runs off this trope. It's both used straight and played with - At times, you'll hear what sounds like a scare chord, bring up your weapon and frantically look around the room for something to shoot, only to find that the noise was made by something completely harmless, like a sprinkler system starting up. Other times, you hear one right before you get your head clawed off, so... Yeah.
* The SA-X from ''{{Metroid}} Fusion''. Especially [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39gX7GpYf0Q&feature=related that first scene.]] Or anytime the SA-X shows up. Scare Footsteps, more like.
** ''{{Metroid}} II'' has quite an intense one when Samus encounters a metroid. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JteNAcRJWAU Captured quite well on this video.]]
** ''MetroidPrime'' had an EXTREMELY effective one whenever the the Chozo ghosts appear.
** Then, we have Mother Brain from Super Metroid, whose entire theme is essentially one long [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcvJ8nzxH8c Scare Chord.]]
* One of these, appropriately titled "Shock", shows up in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', when Mallow finds out he isn't a tadpole.
* At times in ''Condemned 2: Bloodshot'', fights will be accompanied by a scare chord every time you or an enemy takes a hit or blocks, along with a long violin screech when an enemy dies. This happens only in certain fights, but the enemies are not at all different from the others.
* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail II''. DUN DUN!!!!
** There's another one besides the infamous DUN DUN, the odd horn whenever a nastier thing such as cholera or an infection occurs.
** A later version had different banjo riffs associated with different events. The one for your axle breaking sounded like someone had ripped the strings right off the banjo.
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' is chockful of musical cues, some subtle and some not, depending on what enemies are nearby or attacking your friends. Or you.
* ''VideoGame/LaMulana'' plays one if you trigger a trap. Also, the HD version of "Wonder of the Wonder" starts with a shriek.
* [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke Mewtwo]] and [[OlympusMons Arceus]] both have pretty unnerving cries in the otherwise ([[ParentalBonus fai]][[GettingCrapPastTheRadar rly]]) innocent ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' games. Arceus compounds this by having a musical theme consisting almost entirely of drums and shrill trumpets.
** Black/White Kyurem's battle theme starts off with one.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonConquest'' throws this at you when you fail a story mission. Not looking at your DS will definitely leave you with a "WHAT HAPPENED?" look on your face.
* ''Resistance'' sometimes does this in the middle of perfectly peaceful places, just to keep you on your toes.
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower: The First Fear'' does this every time Bobby attacks, as well as a few other scenes. It's especially effective because there is (typically) NO music when he isn't there.
* The scraping, shrieking noise that Husk spikes make in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1.'' Worse, the newly spawned Husk will usually charge straight at you, gibbering and screaming the whole way.
* When [[VideoGame/{{Tekken}} Kazuya Mishima]] is holding his grandfather, reminiscing about the old times when he used to train with him, it seems like a sweet scene. The musical cue that [[spoiler: accompanies his evil smile and glowing red eye just before he kills Jinpachi]] is the classic stinger chord and interrupts this out of nowhere. The way the scene is set up lends itself to this, as when Kazuya picks up Jinpachi, he's facing the right side, thus his left eye (the one that glows) is unseen. When he smirks, the viewer is given an full-on headshot, and then as he looks over his shoulder afterward, his evil eye is the only one visible.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' does this to a lesser extent, the ambient background music will change from "exploration" themes to a random "battle" theme once the wandering player is attacked. The exploration themes are typically quite and soothing while various battle themes will start with a loud drumbeat or trumpet blast. This can be quite surprising and startling when the player is already fairly tense, or concentrated on something else.
* In the horror ''TheSuffering'', in addition to scripted scares, you get sudden, short and completely random flashes of scary images accompanied by a high-pitched scare chord. It happens frequently in the later parts of the game. The result is that you are afraid even if you are backtracking or just standing on a spot with your character.
* ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2'': The Mantid Hive music has a lot of scare chords in it.
* The original sound novels of ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' use these occasionally, and get some bonus points for actually making [[HellIsThatNoise the damn things]] ''scary'' rather than just startling.
** ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' does this even better. Especially when a sentence stops midway for a second, and when the shocking part is said, SCARE CHORD! If the text itself isn't enough to make you go 'oh shit', then the scare chord is the push that WILL make you go 'oh shit!'
* ''VideoGame/TheSims'' has a Scare Chord whenever something bad shows up, usually a robber but also for things like a raccoon showing up.
** Even worse is when the sound appears to play ''for no apparent reason''. No raccoon, no burglar, nothing. You frantically pan around a darkened house where everyone is asleep, and nothing is out of place. [[NothingIsScarier Much worse]].
*** That's usually because [[NightmareRetardant your fish are dead]]. [[ParanoiaFuel Still...]]
**** Or a burglar / raccoon / etc. walks onto your lot and leaves in less than a second.
***** Or you find a bear tiptoeing in to steal your honey.
* ''FatalFrame'' is full of these. From the sounds of doors opening, to tinkling bells, to a [[BringMyBrownPants koto string snapping]] as you approach a previously locked door.
** ''Fatal Frame'' is an example of the scare chord done right: very loud and dramatic chords are extremely rare; most of them are minor background noise. This makes the games a ''lot'' scarier, as it alerts the player that something is happening, but doesn't break the suspense.
* In the Edutainment game [[HealthensteinsBodyFun Dr. Healthenstein's Body Fun]], there are [[strike:three]] two instances where the character you play will visit the Imp's cave. He represents all the bad habits one can have as far as drug use (smoking, drinking and dope), and to avoid having your character lose points on their health scale you have to answer a question that is usually about "what do you do if so-and-so happens", where only the ''best'' answer counts. Get a question right and you get a soft "ta-daaa!" sound while your character avoids actually ''doing'' whatever bad habit was thrown at you. Get it wrong, and you not only hear the loud sound of someone slamming two handfuls of keys on an organ blaring in your ears, but it's also followed by the creepiest gif image of the imp overlapping the number choice you picked popping up suddenly that will give ten year olds a good freak-out, which is exactly the age group the game was aimed for. Since the game ''is'' aimed for kids, the questions are fairly easy and older players or ones equally good at knowing what kids are expected to do in these scenarios can very well go through the game without ever hearing the dreaded organs. However, there ''is'' one particular question where your answer may be right to you but wrong to the game. [[spoiler: Hmm... So my parents might be getting a divorce. Should I try to see how I can solve this the calmest way possible or just sit it out, "accept" the problem and act as if it is never there or it will never change no matter what I do? According to the game, you have to accept it and do nothing.]]
* The original ''PoliceQuest'' had a "dun dun da dun" stinger when something bad was about to happen, which would sometimes mean Sonny being killed ("bang bang", :dies:). ''Open Season'' played a PsychoStrings and piano scare chord when you found the dead body in the dumpster, and for other disturbing scenes (eg, the severed head in the refrigerator).
* A scare chord begins to play whenever you trick-or-treat at a house in ''CostumeQuest''. It ends either happily or frighteningly, depending on whether an adult or a monster opens the door.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' had this, accompanied with camera zoom abuse, on a couple occasions, including [[spoiler:when you first see Flurrie in a cutscene and she flips out at being unable to find her necklace]] and [[spoiler:when you first meet Ghost T. and he asks for your soul. He's just kidding, though.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'', Arakune's theme starts off with one... and then segues into [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome an awesome rock theme]]. It's a [[VideoGame/GuiltyGear Daisuke Ishiwatari]] composition: it's to be expected.
* The old DOS shooter Corridor 7: Alien Invasion would play a strange noise when it decided that it wanted to [[JumpScare pop a giant red skull in front of you for no reason other than that you were lost and trying to find the elevator.]] Needless to say it has[[BringMyBrownPants caused a number of players to soil themselves the first time it happened.]]
* ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon 2''. had [[spoiler:the dimensional scream]]. The first you get it, you hear a high-pitch noise as you pass out. If that wasn't scary enough, the 'H-H-Help!' that accompanied it made it so.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations'' has a scare chord play during a Templar stalker attack. Foreshadowed only by [[WhisperingGhosts creepy whispers]], the scare chord coupled with a completely random attack by what you thought was an ordinary citizen makes a stalker attack absolutely ''terrifying''.
* ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'' plays a very grating variety of scare chord when Daniel spots an enemy.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Action 52}}'' game ''Non Human'' had loud dissonant chords that accompanied the entrance of one type of enemy which may have been intended to look scary but is actually easily dispatched.
* ''[[{{VideoGame/FableII}} Fable II]]'' has the winter lodge area, which first appears as a pleasant lodge. [[spoiler:Upon entering, the entire level smash cuts to a burned out version of the same location with an accompanying scare chord.]]
* Get a game over in ''DragonsLair'' and your reward for failing will be an image of Dirk decaying into a skeleton accompanied by a very effective organ chord.
* The [[TheSlenderManMythos Slender Man Mythos-themed]] indie horror game {{VideoGame/Slender}} has a rather startling one play any time you turn around and find that Slendy's just a bit ''too'' close to you... This noise also means that your running speed is boosted for about ten seconds due to your character having been spooked so badly. MostWonderfulSound, or HellIsThatNoise? You decide...
** It's even worse in ''VideoGame/SlenderTheArrival''.
* A favorite tactic in RPGMaker classics such as ''VideoGame/TheWitchsHouse'' and ''VideoGame/AoOni'' has a short track play as the monsters try and kill you.
* ''GhostRecon: Advanced Warfighter'' has a ringing scare chord signalling enemy ambushes.
* ''{{Ib}}'' uses these to compliment the game's evenly spread Jump Scares, but the most notable example would be the mother-variation of the [[NonstandardGameOver Ib All Alone Ending]], where [[spoiler:as Garry yells at Ib to come back, the screen blacks out on the scare chord and comes back to reveal that Ib is following ''nothing''. [[AdultFear Back into the dangerous gallery full of malevolent paintings]].]]
* Used in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' when enemies detect you, and again when the area is cleared. Sometimes in the latter, scary stings are randomly heard out in the wasteland for no particular reason.
** The latter game also has a short sound clip that ED-E plays whenever he discovers an enemy while he's your companion that serves the same purpose. Combined with the massive boost to Perception he gives you, and you will never be surprised by an enemy again - just [[MostAnnoyingSound mildly annoyed]].
* Every enemy in ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}'' has a distinctive audio cue, each of which is heard before an encounter.
** Lurkers make a very high-pitched which can often be heard near pipes. Only around 50% of the time, will one actually turn up. Another sound: the wet, squelching sound you can hear where one is nearby... and feasting on a corpse.
** Nosalises growl like dogs, and roar like lions. Like the lurker, sometimes done simply to spook you, at other times it's done to herald an impending attack.
** Watchers make a wolf-like howl. Hearing one is always the precursor to an enormous horde of them turning up.
** Librarians make a low-pitched growl. Along with Nosalises, they have a disturbing roar, but even more unsettling is their low, heavy breathing, which can be heard all around the Library.
** Giant Amoebas make a plopping sound, which is not scary except for the fact it signifies a Giant Amoeba is nearby...
** The Dark Ones have hissing, rattling voices.
** The flapping of wings and shuddering roars of an incoming Demon.
* ''VideoGame/MetroLastLight'', continuing the ''[[{{VideoGame/Metro2033}} Metro]]'' series, adds a few more for the newer mutants.
** The squelching noise of Spiderbugs emerging from their nests, followed by their clicking mandibles when they move in to attack.
** Amphibian Shrimps only let out their sharp, hissing roar ''just'' before they swing their claws to attack. Since they generally just wander around, and don't always notice Artyom, it's particularly disconcerting. They are perfectly capable of walking past without attacking... only roaring once they're in attack animation.
* ''Franchise/AlienVsPredator'' Game examples: The motion sensor in the Marine campaign. In the remake, they also use the ScareChord from the movies whenever xenomorphs appear in the Marine Campaign.
* ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}''
** Also, the loud, sudden two notes that signal that Raz is about to be nabbed by the Hand of Galochio. [[SuperDrowningSkills Yep, that water is too deep for you to touch.]]
* ''Mario Kart'': The infamous whizzing sound of a Blue Shell. ''Especially'' if you're in first place.
* ''VideoGame/MaxPayne'': The sharp ''clack... clack'' of a grenade bouncing on the ground. Scripted sequences often involved fleeing enemies suddenly tossing them through doors or down flights of stairs, and they are often difficult to see. Once you hear that sound, you've got about a second or two to haul ass, or you're toast.
* ''VideoGame/CastleWolfenstein'': The original version had the random chance of an [[ImplacableMan SS officer]] shouting "SS" in computerized Mockingboard speech and appearing out of nowhere behind you. Back then it would scare the bejeebies out of you.
* Every Track in the OST of ''VideoGame/{{Baroque}}''[='=]s remake contains the noise one of the enemies on those floors will make. They make this noise only when you can't see them.
* ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'', in the BBL route, has the faint creaking sound that presages an appearance by [[spoiler: Labor 9]]. The characters think they'll be able to hear it coming and avoid it. They don't imagine that it could be lying in wait.
* In ''Battlefield: BadCompany'' 2 - Buildings can collapse. [[OneHitKill While you are in it.]] They possess a distinctive creaking sound prior to that happening,giving you a chance to sprint out of the building. Better try it, no matter how many people are firing at you at the moment.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Penumbra}}'', a tone plays whenever monsters are nearby.
** You can hear most monsters before you see them. The low, demonic growl of a rabid dog, or the shuffling of a spider getting closer...
* The ''DragonQuest'' series has a ScareChord that plays when you don a cursed item that can scare the pants off of an unsuspecting player, especially when it's their first time equipping a cursed piece of equipment.
** You'll also hear that tune in the NES games if one of your save files gets erased.
* ''VideoGame/{{Pathologic}}'':
** You wouldn't think that an infant would ever be able to utter one of these, but this game accomplishes it. The game is game already known for being one of the most horrific experiences ever created ([[CultClassic by the few who have heard of it]]) and it has this gem: if you kill an innocent person, you get treated to the disturbing sound of a baby crying. The fact that this means your KarmaMeter just took a hit (in a game where keeping it high is [[NintendoHard problematic]] and ''very, very important'') doesn't help matters. The sound that plays if you kill an evil person (a boy laughing maniacally and applauding) is arguably even ''worse''.
** There's also the sound effect that plays when you're infected. It sounds like a distorted, drawn-out sound of glass screeching and then shattering, all while freaky whispers that sound like they're played backwards assault your ears. It doesn't help that infection level is one of the hardest meters to manage, so this will quickly evoke feelings of dread from players due to gameplay reasons as well.
* ''VideoGame/{{Stalker}}'': The bloodsucker. It is preceded by a weird shriek when the beast spots a prey and grows louder and louder as it closes in on you. Veteran players immediately start looking around for distortions in the landscape, as the bloodsucker becomes invisible while hunting and is one of the most dangerous creatures in the zone.
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'': Solomon Grundy. I mean, you beat the thing down twice, take all the fight out of it, hop on top of it, and are about to deliver the final blow. BAM. Suddenly, you're in this long-dead monster's grasp, and it's angry, and you're backing away from your TV in fear because of that stupid chord.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dishonored}}'' has one when you're seen by enemies. Very disconcerting if you're trying to be sneaky.
* ''VideoGame/ProjectFirestart'' uses one several times for any shocking encounter, such as Jon finding mutilated bodies or running into a new creature.
* On Sunday night in ''VideoGame/{{Scratches}}'', two loud jumpscares are pulled on you. Aptly, the two tracks containing these are called "It Is Here" and "The Lurker".
* ''VideoGame/FarCry'' has a metallic sound when an enemy spots you or an alarm is triggered.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''ChasingTheSunset'' our heroes encounter a wizard whose name evokes [[DramaticThunder a clap of thunder]] when spoken. At one point Leaf makes a dramatic entrance by [[GenreSavvy speaking the name]] right before opening the door.
* Invoked in-universe by [[GenreSavvy Elan]] of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': "Dunh dunh DUUUNH!"
* ''Webcomic/{{Weregeek}}'', last seen [[http://www.weregeek.com/2010/12/17/ here]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Sketch Comedy}}'' invokes it [[http://thesketchy.com/ic/tag/dramatic-organ/ repeatedly]], each time a different character playing a dramatic organ along with large DUN DUN DUNNNNN, including, [[http://thesketchy.com/ic/2013/06/17/previously/ on one occasion]], an added Gdim7, and culminating with a [[spoiler: puppy...it's somewhat difficult to consider that a spoiler, but just to be on the safe side]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's review of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeastTheEnchantedChristmas'': "It's like...bad ''{{fanfiction}}!"'' [Scare chord!] She cringes from the dramatic strike like there's something awful approaching. There is; it's ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeastTheEnchantedChristmas''.
* [[MemeticMutation Dramatic]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw Chipmunk]]. That is all.
* The [[http://boingboing.net/2011/07/22/parody-ads-tell-the.html parody ad]]s protesting the AT&T&T Mobile merger play the T-Mobile jingle ending with a discordant low piano note.
* ''ThereWillBeBrawl'':
** The music playing when [[{{Pikmin}} Olimar]] takes Luigi to his spaceship in Episode 5 is haunting, but not quite scary. It does, however, start setting the tone for what comes next. Once they enter the spaceship, the music gets creepier, and the [[PsychoStrings violin screeches]] when Olimar [[spoiler: kills and chops up the Pikmin, combined with their death screams,]] will make you shudder every single time, even when you know it's coming.
* Machinima/RedVsBlue: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeoNDckp0ZE The Meta's theme,]] because you just ''know'' something bad is about to happen.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Probably the most famous scare chord in Western cartoon history isn't even 20 years old! Dick Walter composed a [[http://dundundun.net 6-second-long, three-note jingle]] for ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' and it's been used [[StockSoundEffects EVERYWHERE]].
** ''Ren and Stimpy'' owed most of its horrific atmosphere to this trope. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK2mE3Tf9Z8 This saw theme]] is a good example. Practically every episode has some of this, particularly whenever Ren went AxCrazy, which was often.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
** Every single time the camera focuses on [[HeroKiller Azula's]] face, a ScareChord plays. Though instead of the standard blaring piano keys, she gets a [[{{Leitmotif}} distinct bell-like sound]] that is a lot quieter and means she's [[TheChessmaster up to something sneaky]].
*** It seems like a modified gamelan...which would sound pretty weird to western ears. But even if you're used to the noise, this one is a little ''off''.
*** Pretty much any music during her VillainousBreakdown, and the noises she makes when she finally breaks down and cries.
** The music playing when Ozai fought is basically one long series of {{Scare Chord}}s.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'': Amon's {{Leitmotif}} probably counts.
* The [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Strong Bad Email]] [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail144.html "narrator"]] features a Scare Chord when the dead goose jumps out of the dryer at Strong Sad.
* The famous "West" episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack'' features an ominous noise whenever the word "West" is spoken.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' does this all the time, often accompanied by a ''GrossupCloseup''.
** The OminousMusicBoxTune that is heard [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ8IpWuJTFE during]] Patrick's BreakTheCutie moment in the episode"Nature Pants": "If I can't have you as a friend, I'm gonna make you a ''trophy''!"
** The song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=482CpyWqH6U "Ghost Child"]] from "Scaredy Pants".
** The music that plays in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X5ApsYq5fQ#t=8m40s this]] video. It's the 'generic' Spongebob creepy music.
*** It also plays during the sequence in "Squid's Day Off" where we see Squidward going insane and blocking off his door to his house to prevent him from going back to the Krusty Krab to check up on Spongebob.
** The "I DON'T NEED IT" scene in "Tea at the Treedome". Spongebob's dried up face is zoomed in on in terrifying detail, complete with an unnerving heartbeat sound.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' often parodies this, after a Scare Chord it is usually revealed, that one from the trio plays it on a piano or even church organ.
* A subtle, but very disturbing, one happens in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', in the episode "Holly Jolly Secrets Part II.'' When we first see [[spoiler: Simon Petrikov]]], the music is soft, but it's obvious there's tension brewing. When he opens the cabinet to reveal the [[spoiler: the Ice King's crown]], there's a quick crescendo on a rather unsettling chord, and it quickly dies down, as [[spoiler: Simon]] narrates his tale. That subtle scare chord as we see [[spoiler: the Ice King's crown]] is one of the most unsettling scare chords this troper has ever heard.
* Even ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButthead'' got in on the act. During one music video, Beavis complained that he had a nightmare where everything sucked, to which Butthead replied "But Beavis, everything DOES suck!" Cue the "Duhn duhn DUUUN!" while Beavis [[BigNo flipped out]]. This repeated for the rest of the segment whenever someone said that something sucked.
** And in the episode where Beavis was watching a show of a woman with morning sickness, and thought his nacho-induced stomachache was the onset of pregnancy. Every time someone mentioned pregnancy, it would play a Scare Chord, followed by Beavis's trademark "''Ngyaaaah!''".
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' [[InvokedTrope invoked]] this in one episode when [[CloudCuckoolander Dale]] bought a keyboard to mess around with while everyone hangs out and chats in the alley.
* Happens towards the end of Ice Age 3. The main characters have succeeded in rescuing Sid and are heading towards the exit of the lost world. However, once they reach the tunnel, the previously cheery music turns downright unsettling and Rudy emerges from the cave.
* Parodied in ''TheEmperorsNewSchool'', where whenever the words "Condor Patch" are uttered, ominous music will play. Cue Kuzco saying it over and over.
* Several {{Garfield}} [[WesternAnimation/GarfieldSpecials specials]] from the 1980's were known for having the loud noise of a trumpet blare to startle the viewer. This happens in ''Garfield's Halloween Adventure'' when Garfield and Odie first encounter the creepy old man and later when the pirate ghosts first notice them, in ''A Garfield Christmas'' when Garfield climbs up the Christmas tree and then realizes just how high up he is, and ''Garfield's Babes and Bullets'' when it shows a giant thug spying on Garfield/Sam Spayde.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR7L3Ujmi3Q "THE PICNIC!]] I should go see my [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic frieeeeeeens!]]"
* ''CourageTheCowardlyDog'' loves this trope.
** Whenever Katz made an appearance. You could tell a few seconds before he was actually shown, by the creepy beat that suddenly started playing. And it kept playing. Until it could cause shuddering years later.
* [[NightmareFuel/InvaderZim Unsurprisingly]], ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim''.
** "Dark Harvest" gives us the music that plays when Dib goes looking for Torque after losing sight of him.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrQXYlu9hkA The credits music]] and the theme music (especially that growling/screaming noise at the end when the title "Invader Zim" comes up)
** In "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", you can hear what sounds like a ticking clock in the background starting after Dib is hurt for the second time and lasting up until he flatlines.
* ''{{Rugrats}}'':
** The first Halloween episode had some pretty creepy background music.
** The ending credits music from the episode "Mega Diaper Babies".
** The music that plays in the background when Not!Tommy and Not!Stu speak, while the voices of Not!Tommy and Not!Stu are a HellIsThatNoise to Chuckie.
* From ''TheSimpsons'': The music at the end of "Rosebud".
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'', Diesel was always accompanied by his [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHGtTjlzWGA theme music]] to put viewers on edge.
* The ending theme to ''ActionLeagueNow'' ends with this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' audio adventure ''Dead Air'' does this several times. It's written like a recording rescued from a sunken ship, complete with out of tune, too-slow voices and frequent staccato bursts of sound and creepy record screechings.
* The Sosumi ("so sue me") beep sound on {{Macintosh}} computers is a tritone piano chord. Also the Chimes of Death on older Macs.
** The original PlayStation had a creepy off-key version of the logo sting when an error occured on boot-up, known as [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ92RVruaxs "Personified Fear"]].
* As if the scary mask isn't enough, the first VanityPlate of the Russian TV company VID had five scare chords to go along with.
* The audiobook novella ''Literature/{{Hours}}'' features a couple scare chords, although tastefully done using an original sound effect which fades into a creepy musical jingle.
* The Emergency Alert System's initial sound can invoke this. It doesn't help that sometimes it's proceeded by dead air. Then again, it is supposed to get your attention.
[[/folder]]
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