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

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



Live-Action TV
  • The pulses signal the end of the peacefulness in Terra Nova.
  • In a 10 O'Clock Live segment on the media's treatment of the Japan earthquake in 2011 showed Sky News doing this with a preview for its upcoming coverage, accidentally underlining their own tastelessness in dramatizing a real disaster in such a way when it was immediately followed by a trailer for Game of Thrones that used exactly the same style.

  • Diablo Swing Orchestra's "Justice for Saint Mary" (the final track off Pandora's Piņata). At 5:45 into the song, just after the final chorus, there are two low-pitched trombone notes, signaling to the listener that the song is about to kick it up a notch.
  • "Pound the Alarm" by Nicki Minaj uses a blaster beam as the eponymous "alarm" that signals the end of the chorus and starts the beat break.
    • Inna's similar song "Be My Lover" uses the same or a similar blaster beam sound during its dance break.
Video Games
  • In Halo 4, the orange pulses used to scan the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn create a noticeable rumble, possibly from the ship shaking from the scans.
    • Spartan Ops: The recovered Forerunner artifact in Episode 5 gives ominous pulses as the crew approaches to study it.
  • Endgame areas of Borderlands 2 use this liberally, especially in areas with volcanic activity or severe industrialization, as well as transitions into and out of combat.
  • This trailer for Prototype.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Another chord from Hans Zimmer himself.
  • Mass Effect 3's trailers had them. The "pulse" is actually in-universe: it's the sound the Reapers generate when charging their massive lasers. It also is apparently a pitched-down version of the Inception sound.
  • Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta's Death Ray uses the same sample as the later Inception pulse.
  • The alarms in Dishonored have this type of sound.

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