[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/ShowBizBugs http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/xylophone_gag_574.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:This is ''not'' going to end well.]]

-> ''"When he strikes this note, instead of a xylophone, he'll be playing a harp!"''
-->-- '''Daffy Duck''', ''[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Show Biz Bugs]]''

Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam, or some other villainous cartoon character has decided to dispose of the Road Runner, or WesternAnimation/BugsBunny, or whoever. Normal methods have failed... it's time for the Xylophone Gag.

The villain [[MusicalTrigger screws a stick of dynamite to the C above middle C on a xylophone]], puts the sheet music [[StandardSnippet (usually "Those Endearing Young Charms")]] on the stand, and hides, cackling maniacally. Sure enough, TheMark arrives, sees the music, and begins to play... but instead of hitting the high note which would set off the bomb, he hits a flat note (or a sharp note, or a pair of clashing notes). The villain [[CorrectionBait winces (as does the audience; it's a very dissonant note)]], and yells "No, that's all wrong! Try it again!" The Mark does, with the same results. Ultimately, the villain rushes out in frustration, grabs the mallet from The Mark, and says "[[BlunderCorrectingImpulse This is how you do it!]]" Kaboom.

Sometimes executed with a piano instead of a xylophone, but though the exact outcome varies, the end results are the same -- the [[DoubleMeaning smoke clears,]] the piano keys bounce off the unfortunate villain's skull (or land in his teeth), or the xylophone bars land in a cluster and repeat, or occasionally complete, the music line.
It is most often left unstated if the target was aware of the trap and did that on purpose, though the ContrivedCoincidence seems to support it.
A subtrope of MusicalTrigger. Not usually related to OrchestralBombing.



* During the 1994 baseball players strike, Creator/ComedyCentral ran a series of bumpers counting the days, showing empty stadium seats and organ playing. When the season was canceled, the last bumper had the organ playing "Those Endearing Young Charms", followed by a big explosion.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In a rare case of this trope actually working, ''ComicStrip/SpyVsSpy'' has White Spy rigging a piano so that when Black Spy plays two certain notes, nitroglycerin gets squirted into his mouth.

* A typewriter varitation is played straight in a short story in a ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'' spinoff publication. One of the Angel pilots has to type up a letter from Colonel White, not realising that the Mysterons have placed a bomb in the typewriter powerful enough to destroy Cloudbase. The bomb is set to detonate as soon as the letter E is typed, since E is the commonest letter in the English language. [[spoiler:As luck would have it, the letter only has ''one word'' containing an E, right at the end, and our unsuspecting Angel manages to hit the W by mistake.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In a rare live version of this trope, on ''Series/FamilyTies'', Elyse plays "Those Endearing Young Charms" on guitar during a pledge break at her husband's PBS station. The guitar doesn't explode during the key notes; instead, Elyse goes into labor.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'', Chang sets up a detonator key on his own keytar to burn down Greendale's records room. Instead of [[VillainBall torching it right away]], he plays an 8-minute keytar solo at his birthday party with the trigger as the last note. [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight For some inane reason, nobody seems concerned that one of his keys is red and has a wire running out of it.]]

* ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' had the piano version, when Moriarty and Gritpype-Thynne tried to blow up the Chinese nationalist leader General [[PunnyName Kashmychek]]. Following the failure of the "[[RunningGag fiendish]] Chinese pianist" to get the music right, [[spoiler: our enterprising villains are spared the necessity of playing the keys themselves by a musical individual from earlier, who offers to sing and asks for an A. [[StuffBlowingUp Detonation ensues]].]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Apparently originated as part of a ''WesternAnimation/PrivateSnafu'' WartimeCartoon where the eponymous bumbling US Army soldier was humorously used to warn real-life [=GIs=] against [[http://youtu.be/wU256cGwMHM?t=2m enemy booby-traps.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1rXcm2mbKI uses this frequently:]]
** As shown in the trope picture, "WesternAnimation/ShowBizBugs" has Daffy rigging a xylophone.
** The version in "WesternAnimation/BallotBoxBunny" involves Yosemite Sam rigging a piano rather than a xylophone.
---> "Can ya play a pi-yanna?"\\
"Have ya ''got'' a pi-yanny?"
** Wile E. Coyote also tries it on the Road Runner with a rigged piano ("Rushing Roulette").
** A game in the DS title (based on [[WesternAnimation/DuckAmuck the short of the same name]]) ''Duck Amuck'' uses the piano variation. [[note]] To win, one must play the correct notes VideoGame/GuitarHero style, but you must purposely miss the rigged keys to win. Pressing a rigged key or the wrong key when it isn't rigged results in a failure.[[/note]]
** Music/DexysMidnightRunners' "Come On Eileen" starts with "Those Endearing Young Charms", so ''WebVideo/ToddInTheShadows'' put clips of "Show Biz Bugs" in his review of the song to confess he can't hear the intro without expecting Daffy blowing up.
** Amusingly, the note that triggers the explosion is a middle C... or in other words, ''C4''.
* {{Subverted|Trope}}, and given a massive LampshadeHanging, in ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfCubfQBg1Q Doug The Dog tries to pull this on Slappy Squirrel.]] Slappy, seeing the xylophone, notes that it's ostensibly a hatchet-burying gesture, and decides to play "Those Endearing Young Charms." Skippy, her nephew, insists she can't play the song, because it's surely a trap, but Slappy ignores him. She reaches the critical note, plays it right...and watches as Doug is the victim of a random explosion. "[[MediumAwareness Old gag,]]" [[NoFourthWall says Slappy]]. "[[PlayingWithATrope New twist.]]" ([[https://youtu.be/1JRUQMS1suk See for yourself.]]) The episode goes on to {{Double Subver|sion}}t it again when Doug, after a later gag, is sent flying into the xylophone, which rolls into a tree. Nuts fall from the tree, the pattern of their falling just ''happens'' to play "Those Endearing Young Charms" as well, stopping just before the final two (explosive) notes, just in time for Slappy and Skippy to walk past. Slappy tosses two rotten nuts behind her, and...
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** Played totally straight in an episode where the B-plot is a blatant homage to classic cartoons set in a summer camp for special needs children. Jimmy Vulmer's rival, Nathan, rigs Jimmy's ukulele with explosives. Jimmy, naturally, can't get the "Those Endearing Young Charms" passage right during his solo. (Note that Jimmy is playing "That Honolulu (or 'Tardicaca') Hula Gal" - but the solo section is ''still'' "Those Endearing Young Charms".) Nathan sends his {{mook}} Mimsy to try to correct the situation by demanding the solo. Jimmy gives him the ukulele and asks him to do it. Just before Mimsy gets to the explosive part, Nathan runs in and grabs the ukulele from him. Frustrated with Mimsy's incompetence, he yells "If I want something done, I'm going to do it myself!", and without thinking, plays it himself with predictable results.
** In the season 1 episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride", Jimbo and Ned plan to sabotage a school football game by planting a bomb on the rival team's mascot. The bomb is set to detonate during the half-time show when Richard Stamos, John Stamos' brother, hits the high F note in the song ''Lovin' You''. Unfortunately, Richard fails to hit the note, foiling their plan. At the end of the episode, Richard shows up announcing that he finally got the note right and blows up the mascot before Jimbo can stop him.
* Used on the ''WesternAnimation/TopCat'' episode "The Missing Heir", only the tune used is "While Strolling Through The Park One Day".
* A cutaway on ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' has Stewie teaching piano (a missed note = electric shock). He also has a bassoon student hanging over a shark pit.