Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Heineken ran an ad in the UK featuring a Godawful Tastes Like Diabetes Carpenters pastiche, played by Paul Daniels of all people, ending with a caption reading 'buy more Heineken or we'll keep playing this song'.
This advert kept spawning other adverts with more celebs singing. Eventually this series of adverts ended with all the celebrities being fed to lions.
Anime & Manga
Giant's singing is so bad, everyone's scared of it. And his lifelong dream is to become a singer. Imagine the consequences.
Used in one Golgo 13 story, where the last of a series of tortures used on Duke Togo is Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" at high volume (the Written Sound Effect being "ZUN ZUN ZUN"). It's the one that knocks him out, to boot.
When Guts tries to kill the Sea God from the inside in Berserk, it's heart beat is enough to deafen and severely injure him.
One of the "banned" episodes of Pokémon featured the Team Rocket trio torturing the Safari Warden by (among other things) making him listen to Meowth's singing.
In the Pokémon Chronicles series, Butch and Cassidy of Team Rocket attempt to torture information out of Professor Oak with the sound of a nail scraping on glass.
Almost a meta-subversion: In Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the singing of Lynn Minmay was inspirational to the humans and a psychological weapon of mass destruction to the Zentradi. The voicework for Minmei's singing in the English adaptationRobotech, however, is considered to be so god-awfully grating that they accept the latter description as accurate. Fanfics sometimes portray it in exactly those terms. Others feel the same way about the original.
In Fairy Tail, Natsu uses this to his advantage against Cobra, who has incredibly powerful hearing that lets him read minds, somehow. He tricks him with the phrasing of the attack beforehand as a widerange roar, which would normally mean a gigantic fireball. Nope, it's actually an extremely loud, actual dragon's roar.
One chapter of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga has a karaoke-obsessed delinquent torturing Yugi with his loud singing.
When all else fails, Uvogin from Hunter × Hunter can kill another (superpowered) human being with his roar alone.
In the Rurouni Kenshin manga, Kenshin is up against Enishi, the brother of his dead fiancee from his Battousai days. He'd trained himself to have Super Senses so has inhuman reaction time (enabling him to counter Kenshin's typical advantages of speed and reading the enemy). Kenshin finds a solution that turns those senses against him. He sheathes his sword HARD. The loud ringing of the hilt's collision with the scabbard hurts everyone's ears. Consider that Enishi's heightened senses include hearing and you can guess the effect it had on him.
Lady Tudor Glitz: Frothgar once wrote the following letter:
"Dear Neighbor, the band playing at my house tonight is called 'Boiled in Lead'. Their heavy metal rendition of 'Gypsy Rover' is being played especially for you in honor of your fine Car Alarm, which has become such a central part of our daily lives."
Deadpool once jumped to the conclusion that Cable was going to transmit an endless loop of the Backstreet Boys. Upon learning this, Cable was actually tempted to do so.
Deadpool himself used this method when he blasted country music throughout the Black Swan's mansion.
In the Astérix comics, the village bard Cacophonix's singing is so bad, it was used once to teach invading Normans the meaning of fear.
In the comic book "Spikevs. Dracula" #5, Spike threatens to haunt Dracula with an endless singing of "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am".
In Eat Drink Man Woman, after Jia-Jen gets completely frustrated by her neighbor's loud karaoke sessions, she drags two large speakers from the living room, point them towards the neighbors, and begins playing classical music at full blast.
The bad toys in Small Soldiers did this. In between various homemade guns, flame-throwers, cannons and whatnot that they used to lay siege to the good guys' home, there were two large speakers. Upon powerup they started playing "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, prompting one of the good guys (a company tech, his password was 'gizmo') to exclaim "psychological warfare!" while the tipsy wife of the electronics fetishist exclaimed "I love this song!"
In the British animated film Valiant (about pigeons delivering a message for the Allies in World War II), the pigeon Mercury is interrogated by German falcons, who "have ways of making you squawk" - one of the most dreaded being a record playing loud yodeling.
The Billy Wilder comedy One, Two, Three features "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" being used as a torture device by the Communist Volkspolizei.
In Ghost, Patrick Swayze's character Sam Wheat gets Whoopi Goldberg's character Oda Mae Brown to help him by singing "Henry the Eighth" over and over again, all night long.
This later becomes a plot point, as he had previously done the same thing to his wife.
In the Pauly Shore vehicle Bio-Dome, the police try to get the protagonists out of the titular structure by blasting Men Without Hats' "The Safety Dance". In a subversion, it doesn't work; it just means they have a rhythm as they fix the place up.
In a shout out to the music video, it also causes a dancing midget to suddenly show up...
In PCU, Droz locks everyone into the university's faculty party, after setting "Afternoon Delight" on repeat and cranking the stereo up to 11. The partygoers eventually throw a chair through a window just to escape the song.
In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Chewbacca is locked in a small cell and tortured by use of a loud, high-pitched siren. This is only shown on-screen as it is ending, but the novelization describes just how excruciating it was for his acute Wookiee hearing.
Taken Up To Eleven in the Gag Dub movie J-Men Forever where the evil Lightning Bug's rock and roll runs cars off the road, destroys buildings and eventually the Moon after he cranks up his stereo too loud.
In Resident Evil: Retribution, the captured Alice is tortured by having an ear-splitting shriek played over the intercom of the interrogation room.
Battle Beyond the Stars. The Malmori ground troops have a Sonic Tank that causes the Akiran defenders to bleed through the ears. Fortunately two of the aliens defending the planet are from a species that communicates via heat, not sound, so are able to get close enough to destroy the tank.
The Mansions of the Gods: As usual, this is how Cacofonix is weaponized. Subverted in that where this was the final straw in the book, here it's interrupted by the Gauls, who just learned they can now live in the Mansions of the Gods.
The Goosebumps short story "The Chalk Closet" features a school that punishes bad kids by forcing them to listen to Nails on a Blackboard for all eternity.
In the movie while Ford Prefect is in aural agony, Arthur Dent is completely immune to it and has a confused look on his face. On the other hand, in the TV miniseries, both Arthur and Ford are badly affected by it.
In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg's dad plays classical music from a boom box in the window in order to disperse the teenagers loitering around to hear Rodrick's garage band.
Subverted in World War Z where each country plays some sort of music to draw in the zombies to their firing boxes, Africans use drums, Scots use bagpipes, Americans use The Trooper.
Comrade Death, a short story by Gerald Kersh, Arms Dealer Sarek attends a demonstration of a competitor's machine gun. Seeing an opportunity, he bribes the competitor's band to drown out the sales pitch with an obnoxious and blaring military march and he hijacks the sale.
In Neal Stephenson's The Big U, two roommates at American Megaversity fight a vicious stereo war with each other — one playing punk rock at deafening volumes, the other playing bombastic classical music even more loudly.
In the Discworld, we learn of Llamedosian battle choirs supported by specially reinforced battle-harps, who can set up subsonic harmonies that can make an enemy feel very ill indeed, or cause his fortress walls to collapse.
The Pictsie folk have a battle-bard called the Gonnagal, who altenates awful poetry with the supersonic mousepipes, the least excruciating effect of which is to cause ear-wax to melt and run.
In the Rainbow Magic series, this is done accidentally in Keira the Movie Star Fairy's book; Jack Frost shouting orders through the magic megaphone made it impossible to get close to him until Keira summoned earplugs.
Live Action TV
Wire in the Blood: Tony was harassed by a literally paranoid neighbour who had delusions Tony was harassing him. His neighbour played loud music all night as a way of getting "back" at Tony.
In Burn Notice, they used this on a captured enforcer from the Russian Mafia in the episode Comrades .
On the Mash episode "The Smell of Music", Charles' (terrible) playing of the French horn leaves the entire camp in an uproar, especially Hawkeye and B.J., Charles' bunkmates, who protest by refusing to shower. This continues for several days, until the two interrupt Charles' session with a kettledrum-and-kazoo rendition of The Col. Bogey March, and the day ends with a mob, led by Major Houlihan, dousing Hawkeye and B.J. with buckets of soap and water, and running over Charles' horn with a jeep.
In a parody of the Manuel Noriega situation (see Real Life), The Drew Carey Show episode "A House Reunited" has Mimi attempting to drive Drew out of his house by loudly playing "Panama" for three days.
On The Office, Jim steals Karen's desk chair because his squeaks. So Karen (not realizing who she's dealing with) tries to get back at him by squeaking the chair. He sings the chorus for "Lovefool" by The Cardigans repeatedly to get it stuck in her head. She's begging him to stop in seconds.
The Millennium episode "A Room with No View" where two boys are locked in room. Throughout it you can hear some kind of music playing, and yes, it's annoying after a while.
Done in Space Cases by the evil twins in "The Trouble with Doubles".
Desperate for a job, Greg the Bunny pestered his roommate Jimmy into calling his dad by saying his name over and over again to the cadence of a car alarm.
At the end of an episode of Babylon 5, Marcus Cole and Dr. Franklin are stuck in the cargo hold of a freighter together. Marcus is bored, and is playing with a collapsible staff, which is annoying Franklin. Marcus says, "Would you rather I sing?" and then starts off into a rendition of the Major General Song. The song continues into the credits, until Franklin can't take any more of it and finally screams.
In another episode, Londo tries to put one over on the technomage Elric. He retaliates by (among other things) blasting Narn opera into Londo's quarters.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors," Deanna Troi is unexpectedly hit with music that won't leave her mind and drives her insane, specifically so she won't be able to use her mind-reading powers on the local Physical God.
The annoyance factor is probably why The Amazing Race production crew often hires musicians to play at a couple tasks a season.
During the navigation segment of James May's Man Lab, Dodger the dog must be "traumatized" in order to make the Powder of Sympathy work properly. Rather than wound him, as was called for in times of old, they force him to listen to Susan Boyle sing "I Dreamed a Dream."
Tony from The Sopranos resorts to this against a man who refuses to return him the entrance fee of a house that Tony no longer wants. The man lives by the sea so Tony's men play invasive crooner music day and night from a boat with almost sheer impunity. The man finally caves in.
I Love Lucy may have the oldest case on television. Lucy and Ricky are trying to get out of their lease by holding a party with loud Cuban music late at night. Fred and Ethel turn the tables by selling tickets to the "concert."
Happens in Game of Thrones, when Winterfell is sieged by an army which keeps playing a loud, high-pitched horn every half a minute to unnerve the defenders. The tactic works quite well on the leader of the defending faction, Theon Greyjoy.
"I will kill that man. I don't care how many arrows they feather me with, how many spears they run through me, I will kill that horn-blowing cunt before I fall. [...] I swear it to the Drowned God, the Old Gods, the New Gods, to every fucking God in every fucking heaven, I will kill that man!" [later, during a Rousing Speech] "And whoever kills that fucking horn-blower will stand in bronze above the shores of Pyke!"
Ramsay Snow uses the same horn repeatedly during his torture of Theon.
The CIA uses loud, intermittent grindcore against a terrorist in Homeland. See Real Life.
In the first few episodes of Season IV, Buffy's roommate's playing of Cher albums is driving Buffy crazy.
On the Angel end, Faith mentioned using 'loud' as one of the basic torture methods when she kidnapped Wesley, but she never got to use it.
The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Achy Breaky Song" is about how the singer would rather listen to anything other than "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus.
Don't play that song That "Achy Breaky" song. I think it's driving me insane. Oh, please don't play that song That irritating song I'd rather have a pitchfork in my brain.
NegativLand's "Escape from Noise" included a sampled excerpt: "It's important to remember that sound has been used for centuries as a method of torture. Put someone's head inside of a bell and ring it. Eventually, they'll go insane."
The video for "Walk This Way" by Run DMC and Aerosmith needs a mention here
The video for Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" opens with a father insisting his son turns his music off, only for the son to set up a ridiculously large guitar amp and crank it all the way to "Are You Nuts??!?!!11", with rather destructive effects.
The video for X Japan 's "Celebration." Originally inspired by an idea of retelling Cinderella.
The Flanders&Swann song "Ill Wind" is pretty much a report of one of these in progress. The first verse goes "I once had a whim and I had to obey it, to buy a French Horn in a second-hand shop/ I polished it up and I started to play it in spite of the neighbours who begged me to stop." and the issue only escalates from there.
The video for Jason Forrest's "War Photographer" is about two viking ships battling by duelling each other with electric guitar solos. The guitars shoot lasers. And that's still in the sensible parts of the video...
Similarly, a laser-shooting guitar solo battle occurs in the video for Dragonforce's Operation Ground and Pound, intercut with the guitarists battling on a console game (and humourously, vocalist ZP Theart looking bored and drinking tea). Due to the nature of the genre, this setup is likely used in many power/speed/thrash metal videos. The Darkness's video for I Believe In A Thing Called Love also involved a laser-firing guitar solo, though this time it's used to fend off an alien trying to destroy the spaceship the band are in.
In Dilbert, Wally created a screensaver called "Wally's 101 Most Annoying Cubicle Sounds" just to drive Alice up the wall.
In one FoxTrot comic strip, Paige is annoyed at the sounds of Jason making sweet talk to Quincy (his pet iguana) in the next room, and eventually yells at him. The last panel shows that Jason has been using a megaphone pointed at her room the whole time.
There was a Life in Hell strip about this. I think the title was 'My War With The Ghost Of Mary Pickford', for some bizarre reason.
It was because the guy he was battling lived in an apartment that had been Mary Pickford's.
"I couldn't stand listening to Take Me Down To Funkytown one more time, even if I was the one who was playing it."
In Electronic Arts' Crüe Ball, Alister Fiend does this in the opening cinematic, waking up his sleeping neighborhood with his music.
An early Bert and Ernie sketch on Sesame Street has the duo engaging in one of these when Ernie hogs the TV set, and Bert turns the record player on to drown him out, which leads to Ernie turning the radio on to drown out the record player, then Bert responds by turning a blender on to drown out the radio...all of which leads to a fuse blowing and the power going out in their apartment.
Not quite the same thing, but another old sketch has Ernie and Bert preparing for bed when Bert hears the drip of a leaky faucet. He asks Ernie to "do something about the sound of that water dripping", and Ernie obliges by cranking up the radio to drown out the dripping sound. When Bert complains about that, Ernie drowns the radio out by turning a vacuum cleaner on.
Kremmen of the Star Corps. After capturing our hero, the evil Thargoid aliens threaten to "play Twisted Sister into each ear until your brain explodes!"
In The Goon Show's 1984 parody - predictably enough, called "Nineteen Eighty Five" - the tortures in Room 101 all entailed listening to BBC Radio Soap Operas.
Also Harry Seacombe singing.
Which is Fridge Brilliance, as Orwell originally named the room after a real conference room at BBC Broadcasting House in which tedious planning meetings for new programs (possibly including soap operas) were held.
In Warhammer 40,000, there's a group of Chaos Space Marines who worship the pleasure god Slaanesh, called Noise Marines. They use "sonic blasters" to damage foes, and have often (though not by Games Workshop themselves) been modeled to represent punk/metal bands on the tabletop for a bit of comic relief.
Expanded Universe novels for BattleTech have this happening...naturally, it's the Northwind Highlanders who do this, complete with making deployment drops while their Drop Ship fleet plays stirring bagpipe music over every broadcast channel. At maximum volume. Doubles as communications jamming since their enemies are unable to hear each other over their radios with the bagpipes on every frequency, and several on the receiving end of the tactic have noted it gives them headaches.
In Fable, the Hero is tortured by listening to the warden read homegrown poetry, which all the other characters treat as worse than the standard whips and chains in the real torture chamber.
Have you listened to the Warden's poems?
Loudred and Exploud are Pokémon built upon this trope; their shtick is using sound to power their attacks. The also have an ability that prevents other sound-based moves (such as Sing and Supersonic) from working on them.
Gen V brings the Tympole line, another family that loves to use sound (Echoed Voice,Screech).
And many Steel-types can use Metal Sound, while Hyper Voice is common on Dragon-types and some others.
In every Valve game or third party mod that allows mic chat. This type is bound to happen, thankfully players can now mute them via the player menu
In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix's blast uses their horrible singing to cause the robots in their radius to explode.
Warriors in World of Warcraft has Demoralizing Shout, which decreases enemy damage, Intimidating Shout, which causes enemies to flee, Challenging Shout, which forces enemies to attack them, and Piercing Howl, which dazes enemies. They also have Commanding Shout and Battle Shout, which increase allies endurance and damage respectively. Apparently warriors have a pretty wide vocal range. Warlocks also have Howl of Terror, which makes enemies flee. Hunter-trained bears and carrion birds also decrease enemy damage through roars and screeches, the latter of which causes actual damage.
In the Kirby series there is the "Mike" (microphone) copy ability, which has Kirby attack enemies with loud sounds and clear them all off the screen. Its animations varies from game to game, and on which of the three times you can do it.
The original Kirby's Dream Land did not feature a copy ability, but it did feature the Mike. It only worked once, by inhaling and then spitting it out again. Once Kirby's Adventure and its copy ability appeared, the Mike became three-use to contrast it to the Crush ability. In general, the results are the same, but the animations differ (and usually escalate) with each use; most games progress from a megaphone, to a desk microphone, to finally a stand microphone, which Kirby will grab rocker-style for an extra flourish. Kirby's Adventurelampshades the trope's ability to destroy enemies by noting in the pause screen, "I wonder why that song hurts enemies..."
The aliens in It's Walky! use The Sound of Music as a form of mental torture. One of the members of the alien-fighting organization SEMME actually has it as her particular schtick that she's immune to it...
This seems to be a favored trope of the aliens: Joyce's Break the Cutie moment involved being forced to watch porn. Not even any sort of fetish porn. Just porn.
Subverted in Girl Genius. Castle Heterodyne has a torture room that apparently plays music. Few people can actually hear it, however. It might be designed to torment Sparks specifically, as Othar breaks down within seconds.
Then used straight with the striking of the Doom Bell. It apparently induces existential despair.
Sarge: "Watch your mouth, son. This stuff is your history. It should remind you of what we're fighting to protect." Marine: "Sarge...it's the Spice Girls...We use them for psychological warfare."
This is a Shout-Out to a scene from the first game of the series (Combat Evolved) in which the Sarge (Avery J. Johnson) is blasting old music. One of the marines questions why they're listening it, and gets essentially the same response from Avery.
In Time to Shoot Down the Moon, both sides of the Rissian civil war played patriotic music when charging, but their choice is different.
Jeff used this against LOST, to get LOST out of his head.
Soundwave from the Transformers cartoons and comic books would regularly do this.
As do Jazz and Blaster.
An episode of Camp Lazlo featured Raj and Samson trying to get each other to leave a secret hot spring by singing very loudly and very badly.
The David Koresh incident (see Real Life) was spoofed on South Park in "Two Guys Naked in a Hot Tub", when the ATF try to force people out of the house where a "comet party" is being held (believing them to be suicide cultists) by playing an obnoxious pop song that's a thinly disguised parody of "Believe" by Cher. It went unnoticed because the same song was playing on the stereo. They specifically refer to the Waco fiasco.
Barbra Streisand sang until Cartman told her the location of the Triangle of Zinthar.
Cartman: Damn your black heart Barbra Streisand!
He again revealed information when a CIA agent scratched a balloon.
Appears on The Simpsons, when Skinner, Krabappel, and Bart have sealed themselves inside the school. Chief Wiggum tries playing romantic music to make them snap and leave. Skinner and Krabappel, who have fallen in love, merely begin enjoying a romantic dance. This causes Bart to snap and scream "Turn it off!", which only convinces a smug Wiggum that it's working and to turn on a spotlight...which gets reflected through a colander as mood lighting.
When Homer's mom is trapped inside the Simpson house, Mr. Burns drives up in a tank, and threatens to blast her out with music. He turns on Ride of the Valkries, only for it to abruptly change to Abba's Waterloo. It was Smithers.
One of the Snorch's punishments on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is forcing students to listen to opera singing or bagpipe music.
One Total Drama Island episode featured the contestants being tortured in various off-kilter ways, including being forced to listen to new-age music.
Courage the Cowardly Dog, "King Ramses' Curse": One of the plagues Pharaoh Ramses unleashes on Courage and his owners is obnoxious disco music ("King Raaamses! The man in gauze, the man in gauze!") This is subverted in that Courage found the source of the music and took a Hammer Space baseball bat to it; this only provoked Ramses to upgrade to all-devouring locusts.
In one episode of Freakazoid!, Freakazoid is given the choice of being sentenced to 30 days in prison or 30 minutes of having to listen to Fan Boy talk about TRON. He chooses the former. Unfortunately for him, Fanboy is his cellmate.
The Question once successfully tortured a man with the use of crappy, overproduced pop music. He's a well-known crackpot.
Sponge Bob Square Pants: There's a jellyfish party at Spongebob's that's been going for 18 hours that annoys Squidward, so he turns his house towards Spongebob's and plays his clarinet through full-blast speakers. The jellyfish are not happy.
An episode of The Mask animated series had the hero taking out a stereo playing "The Mask's Greatest Hits" to use on Ms. Peenman - first out loud, then through headphones.
During an escalating feud between Scrooge McDuck and his new neighbors, one of his assaults is to break out his favorite bagpipes and a speaker system. The neighbors' response? Accordion.
Used in the second episode of Megas XLR, Magnanimous where Coop defeats the eponymous villain by firing up Megas' super sound system and singing The Riddle Song, very badly.
The Smurfs episode "Romeo And Smurfette" had a dueling Loud of War between two groups of serenading Smurfs led by Hefty and Handy who are trying to out-woo each other for Smurfette's affections, ultimately resulting in a brawl that Papa Smurf had to stop.
In one episode of Family Guy Peter gets obsessed with the song "Surfin' Bird" and plays/sings it nonstop, intentionally trying to annoy people with it.
Peter: Brian, can I see that paper for a sec? <looks at paper> Huh, that's odd, I thought that would be big news.
Brian: You thought what would be big news?
Peter: Well, there seems to be an absence of a certain ornithological piece. A headline regarding mass awareness of a certain avian variety.
Brian: What are you talking about?
Peter: Oh, have you not heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heard.
In a later episode Peter has gotten amnesia, and then discovers this great new song: Surfin' Bird...
And in a different later episode, Peter gets amnesia and turns on his house stereo.
Peter: What an annoying song.
An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had Lucius fondly remembering his time in a marching band...because he played so badly it hurt everyone in Miseryville.
Similar to the Megas XLR example, one episode of Danny Phantom has the villian, Ember Mclain, being defeated when Tucker sings her signature song at her concert. His singing is so bad, it competely breaks the spell Ember's own singing put on the audience.
In the Family Guy Star Wars spoof Laugh It Up, Fuzzball, the torture scene from Empire is recreated with Han (Peter) being tormented by "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?"
Happens in an episode of Tom and Jerry on Jerry's part (though not intentionally) in "Rock'n'Rodent" when he plays his drums all night as part of a music ensemble in the nightclub on the other side of the wall from where Tom is sleeping. Tom spends the entire night trying to stop the music at its source but to no avail. After a night of shenanigans, the defeated Tom is gleeful that the music has finally stopped. However, moments before the sleep deprived Tom can finally get a quiet sleep, he's awoken again by his alarm clock which continues to ring despite his desperate attempts to silence it.
This is an acknowledged siege tactic often used by the police in situations where criminals have barricaded themselves in a building and refuse to come out.
When Manuel Noriega, former leader of Panama, was holed up in The Vatican's embassy, U.S. forces bombarded the embassy with loud music (including Van Halen's "Panama") played through boomboxes.
The US Army has tortured Iraqi prisoners with Metallica songs... and with Barney singing "I Love You, You Love Me." Many Iraqis have decided they'd rather tell on their comrades than listen to the stuff. See articles here and here. More specifically, the music is apparently played very loudly 24 hours a day. Sufficiently loud and constant classical music would probably do more or less the same thing. But that wouldn't be funny.
Not to mention the ATF playing 24 straight hours of Barry Manilow outside of David Koresh's mini-fortress in Waco.
US military forces have demonstrated new "less lethal" weapons that use sound.
Some shop owners have discouraged teenagers from hanging out in front of their stores by playing opera music on the loudspeakers.
Similarly, in an attempt to lower the numbers of delinquent teens hanging out in a subway station, a city council decided to play show tunes over the intercom. It worked.
There's an absurdly popular shopping center near the University of Central Florida that constantly streams a mix of the least enjoyable music they can find at peak "young people hours," presumably to make them go the hell away. Doesn't work; the youth counter by bringing their own music (think iPods and boom boxes) to drown out the muzak.
There's also "The Mosquito," a device that outputs high frequency tones that only kids can supposedly hear.
Similar devices have been on the market for rodent control for several years.
Ironically, the device in question is sold in Ireland and the UK as a ringtone, specifically so teenagers can use their phones in schools without their teachers hearing it.
Another news story: A man was punished for playing rap music obnoxiously loudly. The judge told him he'd waive the fine if the offender listened to 20 straight hours of Beethoven. He only lasted 15 minutes. (...because he had things to do and 20 hours is a long time.)
There was a similar story in Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, but it was four hours of polka music instead. (And they didn't specify what kind of music the offender was blasting from his truck.)
Bagpipes were apparently confiscated from the Scottish after the Jacobite uprisings, as they were viewed as weapons. While this had more to do with their use to rally and direct troops (much like other countries used bugles and drums), anecdotes have it that bagpipes were effective at countering British cavalry charges as even trained horses are terribly unnerved by the sound. Completely understandable for anyone who has ever had the misfortune of standing in front of a half-a-dozen men playing the bagpipes at the same time.
To this day, a bagpiper within most Commonwealth militaries is considered "armed" with the bagpipe as his "weapon".
And there's the Scottish saying "Twelve armed men and a bagpipe equals a rebellion."
An obnoxious feature of dorm life is "stereo wars".
Another fun thing for dorm dwellers: resonance. A typical dorm floor is a row of identical rooms with the same spacing between the walls. That creates an echo chamber for the one isolated sound frequency that has a wavelength equal to the size of the rooms. That part will rise out of a song and become louder all by itself. If the rooms are about two and a half meters wide the magic number is 140 hz, a nice low note somewhere in the fat part of a bass drum's range. You don't even get the whole song, just the least subtle part of the drum line, and a few snippets of the bass here and there.
Occasionally happens at protests or similar situations, as competing sides attempt to drown each other out - and may even be a deliberate attempt to cause disruption to communication or drive away business while using the shelter of free speech. One example that comes to mind is anti-Wicca activist Bill Pricer's attempt to prevent the performance of an equinox ceremony by attending it himself. With a truck, and a sound system cranked Up to Eleven, and a CD of Christian rock. And, just to be sure, a group of friends who walked around chanting Bible verses. The attempt was a success: One cannot conduct a ceremony if the words are inaudible. There have been reports of an escalation of the Muslim call to prayer in some areas following the introduction of amplified speaker technology - as mosques competed to have the loudest call, the arms race led to some in areas of high mosque-density reaching the levels that can cause hearing loss to nearby residents.
Some airports use loud rock music to keep birds away from the runways.
Some law enforcement officials, when wanting to discourage patronage of a bar that's been the center of much trouble in a community, have had success with leaving loud classical music playing in the vicinity.
One moderately effective way of keeping coyotes away from livestock is to leave a radio playing at a loud volume outdoors all night long. The only thing is that you have to occasionally change the station, or the coyotes will become accustomed to that type of music and lose fear of it. Either that or the hipster coyotes among them start to complain about the bands that they used to think were cool before the rest of the pack started listening to them.
Years ago, North Korea built a fake town along the border of the DMZ, equipping it with loudspeakers to blast propaganda at the South Korean border, trying to trick southerners into defecting. Recently, the South has retaliated by building speakers of their own, aimed at the North—which blast Korean pop music that drowns out the propaganda. And is presumably annoying as all get-out.
Both sides have since agreed to stop doing this just to get the other to shut up.
A cyber attack on an Iranian nuclear facility left the entire crew THUNDERSTRUCK.
heavy duty dehumidificator (the kind you need after a house flooding) tend to drive you nuts after the first 6 hours but are needed 24/7 for at LEAST 3 days
Avast! Anti-Virus makes loud voice notifications. You are listening to a relaxing music with your headphones and then this plays louder than anything in your computer can. Fortunately, this can be turned off.
Sony Vaio laptops, circa 2001, did something similar to inform you that "Your battery is running low."
In American Football, it is common for the fans to scream during certain plays in an attempt to disrupt the opposing side. The Seattle Seahawks are notorious for this.