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Loud of War

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Nekki Basara, Macross 7

Loud of War is when a character harasses another through the use of sound or music. Perhaps Alice has pointed her speakers at the annoying neighbor and is playing Beethoven's Fifth at full blast. Or an exasperated Bob uses a megaphone at point-blank range to tell Carol he's not her boyfriend. If the neighborhood is especially unfortunate, Deathtöngue and Toxic Vomit will be locked in a band practice battle of ever-escalating volume.

Usually refers to playing music at loud volumes, though not always. The important criterion is that the sound is (1) loud, (2) annoying, or (3) both. Often played for laughs (especially if bagpipes are involved). Any risk of hearing loss will be ignored as an Acceptable Break from Reality. Might constitute Cool and Unusual Punishment (even more so if Suckiness Is Painful).

Also see Sensory Abuse, Brown Note, Dreadful Musician, Gale-Force Sound, Super-Scream, No Indoor Voice, and Music to Invade Poland to. Sister Trope to Torment by Annoyance, which is the same concept but with something other than music. Supertrope of the Stuka Scream, at least in its original incarnation. Right Through the Wall often has similar results, but the annoying noise in question is specifically sexual in origin.

Not to be confused with the Loudness War, or with Lord of War. Contrast with Musical Assassin. Also compare Incessant Music Madness, which is this trope done unintentionally.


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  • Heineken ran an ad in the UK featuring a godawful 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.
  • A 2003 ad for Toys R Us had a group of bunnies singing "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" in squeaky, high-pitch voices to get Geoffrey to hold a big Easter sale.

    Anime & Manga 
  • When Guts tries to kill the Sea God from the inside in Berserk, its heart beat is enough to deafen and severely injure him.
  • Doraemon: Giant's singing is so bad, everyone's scared of it. And his lifelong dream is to become a singer. Suneo even posits that his singing can be weaponized.
  • Dragon Goes House-Hunting has Pip/Piyovelt, whose screech is loud enough knock out adventurers.
    ''The Chick attacks! It uses Cry!!
    It's super effective!
  • 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 wide-range roar, which would normally mean a gigantic fireball. Nope, it's actually an extremely loud, actual dragon's roar.
  • 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.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya with her megaphone.
  • This is one of the many techniques used by the Onigafuchi Guardians during the Dam War in Higurashi: When They Cry. They would park a van in front of the dam construction site and blast buddhist prayers through megaphones at an insane volume to make the police and the workers go mad. And they can't be arrested for that since religious freedom is protected.
  • When all else fails, Uvogin from Hunter × Hunter can kill another (superpowered) human being with his roar alone.
  • Nonon from Kill la Kill with her subwoofers and Symphony Regalia.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Kyoka Jiro's "Earphone Jack" Quirk lets her weaponize the sound of her heartbeats against her opponents.
    • One of the teachers, Present Mic, is even less subtle: he just yells incredibly loudly. We mostly see him use this as a Mundane Utility, such as doing commentary during the Tournament Arc, but during a final exam that pits students against teachers, we see how effective it is when targeted against people.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • "The Legend of Dratini", one of the banned episodes of the original series, featured the Team Rocket trio torturing the Safari Warden by (among other things) making him listen to Meowth's singing.
    • In the 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.
  • 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 the ears of his allied Ninja friends standing some distance away. Consider that Enishi's heightened senses include hearing and you can guess the effect it had on him.
  • 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 adaptation Robotech, however, is considered to be so god-awfully grating that fans accept the latter description as accurate, with Fanfics sometimes portraying it in exactly those terms.
  • One chapter of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga has a karaoke-obsessed delinquent torturing Yugi with his loud singing.

  • Carta Marina: South of Iceland, a ship is being pursued by two 'pristers' (giant whales) while a man standing on the ship is blowing a trumpet. The commentary explains that the sound of trumpets frightens pristers away, which is necessary to prevent them from capsizing ships.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Comics are full of this, in the form of the ever continuing hostilities between Donald Duck and his neighbor, Neighbor J. Jones. Their warfare encompasses the entire range of musical instruments and practically anything that can be used to make loud noises.
  • 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 Asterix comics, the village bard Cacofonix's singing is so bad, it was used once to teach invading Normans the meaning of fear.
  • In the comic book "Spike vs. Dracula" #5, Spike threatens to haunt Dracula with an endless singing of "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am".
  • In the very first comic of the Belgian series Billy the Cat (before the reboot as "dans la peau d'un chat"), Billy goes to Hell after Heaven is proved to be too boring and is shocked to find out an eternal party in Hell really means it goes on for ever.
  • Dylan Dog's clarinet rendition of the Devil Trill Sonata is treated as such, owing to it being a work for solo violin and Dylan being bad with the clarinet. During his stint in jail he drove the other prisoners to beg for him to be freed just so he'd stop playing it, and it's one of the things that have driven his neighbour to build a homemade cannon and point it at Dylan's apartment (and could well cause him to shoot it).

    Comic Strips 
  • 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 is a Life in Hell strip about this. The title was "My War with the Ghost of Mary Pickford", 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."
  • One non-The Family Circus Bil Keane comic depicts a man holding a giant megaphone behind his back while talking to the receptionist in a TV network building.
    Annoyed man: I'd like to speak to someone about loud commercials.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Madison Russell uses the ORCA's artificial bio-acoustics at the Berezniki battle to painfully disorient Keizer Ghidorah, giving Godzilla and his allies an advantage in the fight.

  • A Chance Meeting of Two Moons: Artemis, when extremely angry with his brother, turns on his music to very loud levels and leaves off the sound-muffling spells that would normally keep the noise confined to his own room.
  • Nora reveals in ''Attack on Titan A New Path" that whenever Ren doesn't feel like hanging out she sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to him. Of course her being incredibly off-key makes it very effective.
  • Child of the Storm: in the finale of Unfinished Business, Doctor Strange, formerly Taliesin and a literally legendary bard, uses this as part of his planetary scale Magic Music response to the Arc Villain's schemes. As in, part of it is keeping the damage she's doing in check. Part of it is picking exactly the right songs to a) distract her, and b) annoy the shit out of her. Music that, thanks to cosmic senses and magic, she can hear from Mars. Considering the amount of frustrated screaming this induces, it can be considered to be a complete success.
  • Guys Being Dudes: In case Spark and Arlo have sex during the first night they spend together at Team GO Rocket HQ, Sierra specifically gives Arlo permission to blast whatever music he wants as loud as he wants in an effort to avert Right Through the Wall. So, Arlo, being the Troll he is, chooses to blast a meme song that Sierra hates, heavily implied to be "Old Town Road", at maximum volume.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: In chapter 27, Rex gives Wind Breaker a special alarm he can use to wake everyone up in case of emergencies and startle and disorient those attacking them. A demonstration is eventually made in chapter 44, in which it is revealed as an extremely loud foghorn... and that was the lowest setting (it's also a Shout-Out to the one in This Bites!). According to Rex, had it actually been set off while they were in the forest, it would have been heard all the way back in Canterlot.
  • Things I Am Not Allowed to Do at the PPC: Someone once made someone else's computer play ""it's a small world"" on loop.
  • This Bites!: In Chapter 31, Cross discovers that his Snail Transceiver has a foghorn button built in. He very quickly comes to love it. Everyone else, not so much.
  • In The Zero Context Series, Missy Coco sleeps with powerful noise-cancellation headphones. An unaware Bahija tries and fails to wake her up, decides to grab another hour of sleep herself... and is startled clear through the ceiling when Missy's alarm clock blares Denis Leary at 140 decibels.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Mansions of the Gods: As usual for an Asterix story, 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.
  • In The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, Sour Note's clarinet creates powerful sonic waves from its bad playing. It manages to keep the book away from Burger-Beard in a Last Ditch Move.
  • 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 [him] squawk" - one of the most dreaded being a record playing loud yodeling.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls the title detective's interrogation technique involves scratching a fork and knife on a plate.
  • Back to the Future has Marty, pretending to be an alien, improvise an Agony Beam by sneaking headphones onto George's ears and blasting Van Halen through them. Not only is it loud, but this is 1955, when rock and roll is just coming into vogue, so squealing metal guitars are a sound George has no experience with whatsoever.
  • 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 climax of the film A Clockwork Orange has a man who had been assaulted by Alex in the past torture him by locking him in a room and playing Beethoven at him (it Makes Sense In Context).
  • 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, points them towards the neighbors, and begins playing classical music at full blast.
  • 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 The Expendables, Hale Caesar mentions how the sound of the AA-12 automatic shotgun is just as effective as any weapon on the battlefield. Never mind that it fires shotgun shells at something like 110 per minute.
  • In Ghost (1990), 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.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): In an effort to disorient Ghidorah and save her father's life, Madison Russell sends the ORCA, which communicates with the Kaiju using bio-acoustics, into overdrive, causing Ghidorah to writhe around in pain and fury, and almost leading him to shoot the copter carrying Madison out of the sky to make the noise stop.
  • During the climax of Hush, Maddie, who is completely deaf, gains the upper hand against the Serial Killer who's been hounding her by holding a piercing loud smoke alarm in his face, designed to be so loud that it would cause nearby objects to vibrate to alert her in lieu of an auditory warning.
  • In the Gag Dub movie J-Men Forever the evil Lightning Bug's rock and roll music runs cars off the road, destroys buildings and eventually the Moon after he cranks up his stereo too loud.
  • Another film example with a ghost, in Just Like Heaven Elizabeth is functionally a ghost and is singing incessantly to get David to stop ignoring her.
  • Kelly's Heroes: Oddball's tanks all come equipped with loudspeakers. Oddball claims that playing very loud music calms his men down. If that's true or Oddball's just nuts is up for debate, but watching three Shermans roll through an exploding German railyard to the tune of "I've been working on the railroad" needs to be seen.
  • In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Max uses a dog whistle to defeat Blaster in the Thunderdome arena.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats has a particularly dark moment featuring this; detainees are being kept constantly awake by endlessly blasting Barney The Purple Dinosaur's "I Love You" song at them. When the main character reveals this, the news media response is to treat it as a ha-ha-how-funny story. Also, this actually happened.
  • 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 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.
  • The sound of Nails on a Blackboard in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
  • In Resident Evil: Retribution, the captured Alice is tortured by having an ear-splitting shriek played over the intercom of the interrogation room.
  • Screamers. The eponymous Killer Robots are called this because of the earsplitting scream they emit while attacking. You can either cover your ears or fire your weapon at them, but it's difficult to do both.
  • The protagonists of the obscure Brazilian slasher film Shock: Diversão Diabólica spend most of the running time barricaded in a room. The killer at one point attempts to drive them nuts by incessantly playing a drum just outside the door for what is implied to be several hours.
  • 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!"
  • Star Trek Beyond: To counter the baddie's swarm of attack ships, the crew blast "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys over the same frequency the enemy ships use to coordinate their movements. The result is a massive fireball as the attack ships crash into each other.
  • 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.

  • 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 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, our heroes are indeed forced to listen to (and then appreciate) Vogon poetry, the third worst in the universe. (The very worst, fortunately, had been annihilated along with the rest of Earth, but since Arthur Dent comes from the same place that produced said poetry, his perception is skewed, so he doesn't react nearly as badly.)
    • 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.
    • And there's Disaster Area music which has to be broadcast through an entire planet (or sometimes a completely different planet) before the volume is lowered enough so people can safely hear 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 lures the zombies to their firing boxes by playing loud music or at least making as much noise as possible. The Africans use war chants, the British use bagpipes, the Chinese use bugles, the Americans use heavy metal music . . . and so on.
  • 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 Dresden Files story Peace Talks, we see Harry Dresden use this trope by casting a spell which merely sings Happy Birthday as if sung by a T-Rex — at 160 decibels. For comparison, a jet aircraft taking off is 130 decibels. This is nearly as debilitating to Harry and his ally as it is to the enemies.
  • Discworld
    • Llamedosian battle choirs are 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 Gonnagle, who alternates awful poetry with the ultrasonic mousepipes, the least excruciating effect of which is to cause ear-wax to melt and run.
  • The Bible narrates the walls of Jericho falling when the Israelites all shout (at God's direction).
  • One of Mercedes Lackey's Serrated Edge books has a captured hero drive his telepathic jailers insane by mentally singing They Might Be Giants songs.
  • 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.
  • Tsunami from Wings of Fire likes to sing the song "The Dragonets Are Coming'' very loudly and off-key to annoy the guardians when she's mad at them.
  • The Dogs of War. The mercenaries attack President Kimba's palace and barracks not only with mortar bombs and bazooka rockets, but also gas-operated foghorns to further disorient the defenders. Faced with a sudden and overwhelming onslaught of sound and violence in the middle of the night, Kimba's Praetorian Guard Run or Die.
  • "As Easy as ABC" by Rudyard Kipling: The airships of the Aerial Board of Control use an industrial-strength sound and light show to pacify a Powder Keg Crowd.
    "I hate to interrupt a specialist when he's enjoying himself," said De Forest. "But, as a matter of fact, all Illinois has been asking us to stop for these last fifteen seconds."
    "What a pity." Arnott slipped off his mask. "I wanted you to hear us really hum. Our lower C can lift street-paving."
  • In 1632, the American forces use this, along with a light show, as part of the psychological attack on the Spanish who've taken refuge in the Wartburg castle. For about six hours. Before they start throwing napalm.
  • The Four Horsemen Universe: Jim Cartwright plays rock music on loudspeaker while piloting the raknar in Cartwright's Cavaliers, including "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" by Drowning Pool and Ray Manzarek's Carmina Burana.
  • In the Franny K. Stein book The Invisible Fran, Franny makes a suggestion to Lawrence after he demonstrates his skill in playing the accordian that he could use a satellite to bother everyone with his accordion playing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The annoyance factor is probably why The Amazing Race production crew often hires musicians to play at a couple tasks a season.
  • In Are You Afraid of the Dark?: "The Tale of the Hatching", the reason the students were instructed to keep quiet in the boarding school was because of the reptiloid aliens' intolerance to loud high-frequency sound. Accordingly, at the climax, Augie plugs his Walkman into a set of loudspeakers and plays hard rock music, which causes all of the aliens to messily explode.
  • 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.
    • The Shadows employ this, somewhat, when their ships "screaming" as they pass, which adds to their generally terrifying appearance.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Buffy uses a loud scream to defeat the Gentlemen in "Hush".
    • In "Living Conditions", Buffy's roommate's playing of Cher albums is driving Buffy crazy.
    • On the Angel episode "Five by Five", Faith mentioned using 'loud' as one of the basic torture methods when she kidnapped Wesley, but she never got to use it.
  • Doctor Who has done this a time or two, with the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. Once it's plugged into a pair of speakers, he's pretty much won.
    • "Partners in Crime" demonstrates what happens if two active sonic devices are held against each other. The results are loud and glass-shattering.
  • 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.
  • 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, implying he was the horn-blowing cunt concerned.
  • 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.
  • On Heroes, Mohinder knows his mortal nemesis Sylar has absorbed the power of super-hearing. His hearing is so keen he can hear other people's breathing and heartbeats, and in fact suffered terrible headaches from the noise. So when Mohinder goes to torture Sylar, what does he do? He strikes a tuning fork and holds it up next to Sylar's ear in all of its shrill, discordant glory and lets Sylar scream for mercy.
  • The CIA uses loud, intermittent grindcore against a terrorist in Homeland. See Real Life.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • Kamen Rider 555's Hyper Battle DVD introduced the Faiz Sounder, a boombox that transforms into a pair of sonic cannons. Noteworthy mainly because it was the winner of a fan design contest.
  • The Kill Point: The FBI tries to psych out the hostage takers by blasting loud stereo noise into the bank. Horst Cali has to point out that they're ex-military who are already used to sleeping in a war zone with bombs going off around them. Mr. Wolf starts prank calling the FBI negotiator until she gets so annoyed that she turns it off.
  • On the M*A*S*H 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.
  • The Millennium (1996) 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.
  • On The Office (US), 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.
  • Planet of the Apes: In "The Interrogation", Wanda uses the sound of bells and drums in order to disorientate Burke so he will talk.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: The Monster of the Week Decibat has this as his modus operandi, curtesy of his shoulder sub-woofers.
  • In Psych episode "Think Tank", Shawn stuns a gunman long enough to escape by unexpectedly using a cheap pocket air horn at close range.
  • In The Sopranos episode "Whitecaps", Tony 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.
  • 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 in human form, and discover that he isn't human.
  • Negan tortures Darryl in The Walking Dead (2010) by having "Easy Street" played endlessly. For those curious about the effects it might have, there's a ten-hour loop of the song available online.
  • 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.
  • Raised by Wolves (2020): The android Mother was revealed to be a "necromancer", a superweapon whose sonic scream could either deafen people or explode them into bloody messes, depending on the intensity.

  • 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.
  • Referenced in Sam Hunt's "House Party": "We'll wake up all the neighbors 'til the whole block hates us".
  • The video for The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" involves the band and their straitlaced neighbors doing this to each other.

  • In Electronic Arts' Crüe Ball, Alister Fiend does this in the opening cinematic, waking up his sleeping neighborhood with his music.

  • Jemjammer: When ambushed by bandits, Jylliana uses the spell Thaumaturgy to increase her volume to "voice of god" levels, then shouts at the bandits until they flee in terror.

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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 Nineteen Eighty-Four 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 been modeled to represent punk/metal bands on the tabletop for a bit of comic relief. (Games Workshop's original Noise Marines were even sculpted with that look— and they recently released an updated version of the early Noise Marine as a tribute.) There's also an Imperium superweapon called an Ordinatus, where at least one variant is armed with a Sonic Disruptor.
  • BattleTech:
    • The Northwind Highlanders who 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.
    • The ''Gabriel'' Light Reconnaissance Tank was named due to an accidental discovery by pilots that if they angled the forward fans just so, it made a wailing trumpet sound from the pitch-back noise.
    • Rhonda Snord was a mercenary who was known for having a bunch of external speakers rigged to her customized Highlander battlemech, which she used to blast 20th Century rock 'n roll during combat. She had a preference for Elvis Presley, but used heavy metal just as often because it was good at demoralizing her opponents.
  • In some WW2 wargaming rule-sets, especially those set in North Africa, the presence of bagpipes on the Commonwealth side is a negative factor on German and Italian morale, as once the Axis soldiers start to hear bagpipes on the breeze, they know exactly what's going to come next - lots and lots of fight-crazy Scotsmen.
    • Indeed, Revell (German) and Italeri/ESCI (Italian), manufacturers of 20mm figures for wargaming, both include bagpipers in their WW2 British Infantry sets - a sure indication that the terror of Scottish soldiers lives on, over sixty years after the end of the war. It must have done something to the psyche of the former enemy...

    Video Games 
  • Brütal Legend: You build a rockstage to compel spirits under the earth to fuel your army with The Power of Rock with music that matches the genre your army is themed around, while trying to destroy the enemy stage.
  • Noise Marines in Dawn of War II. "THIS QUIET OFFENDS SLAANESH!" Naturally, most fanvids use dubstep as their background music of choice.
  • You defeat the final boss of EarthBound Beginnings by singing.
  • 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. As they should.
  • Kirby:
    • 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 Crash 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 Adventure lampshades the trope's ability to destroy enemies by noting in the pause screen, "I wonder why that song hurts enemies..."
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can wake up a hung-over Ashley by threatening to have Joker sing over the intercom.
  • In ''Armed & Delirious, when the character Granny enters a room with a set of huge speakers, the Big Bad turns them on to blast her out of the room using a discordant jazz tune. Given the game's overall weirdness, wearing a set of earmuffs keeps her safe - and breaks the security camera the Big Bad was using.
  • PAYDAY 2's ECM can be upgraded to produce a deafening screech to the earpieces of nearby cops, stunning them while you pick them off.
  • Pokémon:
    • Loudred and Exploud are built upon this trope; their shtick is using sound to power their attacks. They also have the ability Soundproof, which 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).
    • Many Steel-types can use Metal Sound, while Hyper Voice is common on Dragon-types and some others.
  • Saints Row IV has a Dubstep Gun, which fires wubs that force anything hit by them to dance themselves to death. Leave to the Saints to find a way to weaponize dubstep.
  • In Sonic Heroes, Team Chaotix's blast uses their horrible singing to cause the robots in their radius to explode.
  • In every Valve game or third party mod that allows mic chat, this type is bound to happen, thankfully players can mute obnoxiously loud players via the player menu.
  • 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.
  • Splatoon has the Killer Wail as one of its super weapons. After it charges, placing it down will have it emit an ungodly screech in the direction it was placed, reaching across the entire stage. Of course, if a player is caught in it, they get immediately splatted. It even features in single player, where DJ Octavio uses it against the player. While it doesn't appear in the sequel as a special, a modified version is used by Pearl during both the end of Octo Expansion and the game's "Chaos vs. Order" Grand Finale Splatfest to even greater effect. Splatoon 3 would introduce the Killer Wail 5.1, which is a smaller variant of the original.
  • In Monster Hunter, monster roars are usually just a nuisance, as while any hunters in range are immobilized, the monster also stands still for the duration of the roar. However, if there are two monsters in the same area at once, the other monster can take advantage of the window of opportunity to get a few hits on the hunters. And then there's the Tigrex, who has a special "super roar" attack that will damage hunters in its range.
  • In Disney Magic Kingdoms, Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto finally defeat Pete by playing the trumpet, playing the tuba, and barking at him respectively.

  • xkcd has featured inventive audio revenge on loud car stereos and neighbors who are loud in bed.
  • 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.
  • Thog (of The Order of the Stick infamy) suggests using a rather well-known Canadian singer as a torture device, but Nale thinks that particular choice is uncivilized.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!!: Mike threatens to drive Dave into submission by poking them repeatedly and singing My Heart Will Go On in a very high-pitched voice.
  • In The Noob, Ohforf is punished by listening to the bards, and temporarily goes crazy.
  • In Weapon Brown, loud music was used to torture Chuck Brown.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • In a Halo flash animation There's Something About Halo, two soldiers are waiting for battle while the Spice Girls play in the background. The newbie questions why they're listening to it, and gets admonished by the sarge.
    Sarge: "Watch your mouth, son. This stuff is your history. It should remind you of what we're fighting to protect."
    Marine: "'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.
  • They Call Us Keepers: Jeff used this against LOST, to get LOST out of his head.
  • In one of Thomas Sanders' Vines, he demonstrates that loudly flipping your test paper over in class equals yelling "I'm better than you!" at his classmates with a loudspeaker.

    Western Animation 
  • One of the Snorch's punishments on Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is forcing students to listen to opera singing or bagpipe music.
  • In an episode of Animaniacs, Satan threatens to torture the captive Warner siblings by forcing them to listen to "whiny protest songs from The '60s." They scream in terror.
  • 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.
  • Happens in the Captain Flamingo episode "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Liver" where Tabitha's brother plays his drums very loudly, distracting her badly from studying. Milo did have a couple of failed solutions to have him stop playing such as taking his drumsticks away with a lasso (which although it originally succeeds, Milo accidentally trips over a toolbox, causing Tabitha's brother to continue playing with tools which makes the sound worse) or trying to play even louder music with more noise over his music so he won't be able to keep his beat (it fails as he founds a new beat from the more louder music). Finally, Milo's last solution is to trick Tabitha's brother that if he continues playing the drums and not change his habits, his "liver" will go bad (which is actually Milo's leftover liver he was meant to eat for dinner), which causes him to stop playing.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "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 Hammerspace baseball bat to it; this only provoked Ramses to upgrade to all-devouring locusts.
  • 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 completely breaks the spell Ember's own singing put on the audience.
  • DuckTales (1987): 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.
  • 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.
    Brian: Heard what?
    Stewie: Brian DON'T!
    • 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.
    • When an endangered species of bird took up residence in Peter's recently-grown beard, he tried to drive it out by playing loud music.
    • In the 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?"
  • 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 Fanboy talk about TRON. He chooses the former. Unfortunately for him, Fanboy is his cellmate.
  • 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.
  • Justice League: The Question once successfully tortured a man with the use of crappy, overproduced pop music. He's a well-known crackpot.
  • Kaeloo: Several episodes have Mr. Cat pull out a megaphone and yell at somebody who he finds annoying at the top of his lungs.
  • 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.
  • In Matchbox Hero City, The Cars make noise to shoo away the Ghosts who hate loud noises.
  • Used in the second episode of Megas XLR, "Magnanimous", Coop defeats the eponymous villain by firing up Megas' super sound system and singing The Riddle Song, very badly.
  • In Mia and Me the most powerful weapon for dealing with the villains in the first season is the Trumptus what is invened by Phuddle, an instrument that makes a very loud and annoying sound. Unfortunately for the heroes, Panthea is able to take it from them in episode 4, break it apart and have her minions hide the pieces all over Centopia.
  • Samurai Jack has one episode where the Scotsman counters the brainwashing song of some sirens with his bagpipes.
  • Tex Avery's short Shhhhhh deals with a man in a hotel room desperately trying to get some sleep while his room neighbor loudly plays a horn and laughs with his wife.
  • The Simpsons,
    • In "Grade School Confidential", 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.
    • In "Mother Simpson", 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.
      Smithers: I'm sorry sir, I must have taped over that.
  • The Smurfs (1981) 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.
  • South Park:
    • The David Koresh incident (see Real Life) was spoofed 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 in "Mecha-Streisand".
      Cartman: Damn your black heart Barbra Streisand!
    • He again revealed information when a CIA agent scratched a balloon in "Starvin Marvin in Space".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: 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.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Temporal Edict", Ensign Beckett Mariner plays her electric guitar at such a high volume that the sound causes tremors throughout the ship and can even be heard by the Klingon ship Captain Freeman is talking to.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Triple Dark", Kaz helps drive off a pirate attack on the Colossus by broadcasting an earsplitting feedback loop through their communications channel.
  • One episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! had a group of cute little aliens saving the day by using their kazoo-like noses to hum a tune which drove King Koopa NUTS and forced him to flee. The song they sang? The theme of The Legend of Zelda!
  • 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.
    • The roles were switched in another episode, with Tom and his buddies throwing a wild party while his owner was out and Jerry trying to get some sleep. They start picking on Jerry when he tries to convince them to shut it down, and after an escalation Jerry ends up calling Tom's owner to throw him out. It works... until the owner starts playing the same music to make up for her ruined evening.
  • One Total Drama episode featured the contestants being tortured in various off-kilter ways, including being forced to listen to new-age music.
  • Soundwave from the Transformers cartoons and comic books would regularly do this.
    • As do Jazz and Blaster.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Bad Neighbors", Lord Hater and Emperor Awesome are living next door to each other while hiding from Lord Dominator. Awesome plays his music too loud, so Hater blasts his stereo even louder. The two keep turning the volume even more, until Awesome turns his speakers up to infinity, causing Hater's speakers to explode.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Some speculate that the majestic BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT! of the A-10 Thunderbolt II's truly monstrous GAU-8 Avenger Autocannon serves as a form of psychological warfare on its own. Imagine in the heat of battle, you're hiding behind whatever flimsy shelter you can find, and in the distance, all you can hear is this. With every passing minute, you hear the sound again, but it's getting closer, and closer, and closer. It becomes the last thing you hear as the aircraft finally strafes your position, effortlessly chewing you to pieces with a barrage of bullets that can pierce tank armor and auto catch fire. The sound of your demise will only serve as further terror for your comrades.
  • 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 of war and inmates at Guantanamo Bay 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.
    • Apocryphally, this ended up backfiring somewhat when one Guantanamo inmate turned out to be a huge metalhead and took to singing along. Maybe they should have broken out a copy of St. Anger...
  • 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.
  • One store in England tried to drive away the nastier teen elements in the neighborhood by playing soap opera music and the like. They fought back with standing at the store's doors playing in their speakers... Russian marching music, Gustav Holst's ''Mars'', songs of U2 and... Do You Remember Love?.
  • Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, played the Hanson song "MmmBop" over the PA system until a fundraising goal was reached. Story from CBS news.
    • Other "Stop The 'Bop" campaigns have since been staged elsewhere.
  • A judge known for his unusual sentencing once made delinquent youths attend Opera.
  • 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.)
  • A woman in the United Kingdom was arrested for playing Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" at high volume for 30 minutes, which was considered "disturbing the peace".
  • 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".
      • To be fair, the pipes are a bulky instrument and leave very little room for an automatic rifle, rocket launcher, flamethrower, chakram or other lethal device. Besides, at least one soldier has used bagpipes in combat.
      • And there's the Scottish saying "Twelve armed men and a bagpipe equals a rebellion."
    • And at the battle of El Alamein in 1942, the German and Italian defenders knew the infantry assault was coming when they could hear the massed Scots and Irish bagpipes - quite clearly, over the sound of an artillery barrage from several thousand guns...
    • In quite a few German cities (including Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, and Munich), it is explicitly forbidden to play bagpipes in public.
  • 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. Worse, notes that low usually aren't heard but felt, as in the whole dorm (as well as your whole body, meaning covering your ears won't do much) is probably vibrating at this point.
  • 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, 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.
    • Interestingly, the South Korean villagers the North's propaganda speakers were aimed at got so used to it that they eventually just wound up treating it as background noise, like how city dwellers treat the sound of city traffic. One time, when a visiting journalist asked one of the villagers about it, the villager actually had to pause what he was doing and listen for a bit to figure out what the journalist was talking about. They got that used too it. Needless to say, they also didn't actually listen to what the North Korean speakers were saying, much less put any stock in them.
  • A cyber attack on an Iranian nuclear facility left the entire crew THUNDERSTRUCK.
  • Heavy duty dehumidificators (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, such that their fans are nicknamed "The 12th Man". It's not uncommon for the home team's displays to actively encourage this; "Make some noise!", along with warnings of when to not do so; "Quiet - offense at work!". In Germany - yes American Football in Germany exists - there are laxer regulations on what is allowed in a stadium, so in most places the fans will bring all the drums, horns, pipes and whatnot they can carry. The resulting noise is seriously unnerving.
    • The English national football (soccer) team has an official travelling band at games, featuring drums and trumpets. Though like the North Korea example above, it's mostly background noise.
    • In basketball, fans will often make as much noise as possible when a player from the opposing team is making a free throw in order to disrupt their concentration.
  • Tennis players are known for grunting, which in the women's case is usually on the shrieking side. Often there are accusations that the loud noises are deliberate to affect the opponent, with on-court complaints raised against offenders like Michelle Larcher de Brito (109 decibels, which is as loud as a rock concert! Says something she is also known as Larcher de Grito after the Spanish\Portuguese word for scream...).
  • This New Yorker article is about music being weaponized.
  • The Carnyx, a kind of tall Celtic Vuvuzela, was used to intimidate the Romans.
  • Back in the 1940s, a boxing match at the Chicago Stadium ended with a controversial call. The crowd became very unruly and a riot erupted. The stadium's organist, Al Melgard, attempted to pacify the crowd with religious and patriotic songs to no avail. His next idea was to open most of the 800-plus stops on the huge pipe organ, floor the volume pedal and slam the keyboards. The resulting sound blew out many of the arena lights and stunned the crowd, which stopped fighting and exited the building.
  • The Brazilian river monitor Parnaíba has made headlines for two things. The first is that she is the oldest combat vessel still around today (launched in 1937). The other is that the 80+ year old vessel has a very powerful speaker system installed and will blast metal to flush out cartel members during raids.
  • Crops up frequently in the Middle East where militias (and sometimes armies) will harass each-other with music played from loudspeakers mounted on armoured vehicles or tanks. The flavour ranges from aggressive church hymns (such as the now-infamous Deus Vult) for Christian factions to militaristic anthems for nationalist or Shia Muslim factions.
    • Iraqi forces were known to use this trope when they closed in on Daesh-held cities.
      • They also blasted loud religious music through speakers mounted on hummers during Kirkuk blitz against the Kurdish Peshmerga in 2017.
    • Supposedly, the training of the Iraqi counter-terrorism forces at the hands of the US instructors involved gratuitous use of metal music.
    • There were unconfirmed reports that pro-Government forces in Syria blared loud music towards a Turkish-held outpost after they surrounded it.
    • Hardcore Sunni Muslim factions (including Daesh) tend to avoid this trope. The traditional nasheed music has no instruments and the vocals tend to be too soft for this trope to work. That said, nasheed have a certain haunting quality that works just as well sometimes.
  • One method of jamming radio communications is to blast music over the frequency in question. In many modulation formats, higher volume translates to more transmitting power, making it even harder for other signals to be heard over it.


Video Example(s):


"Good Afternoon, Demo Venom!"

Even with a demonic boost from Lilith, Venom retains his weakness to sonic assaults.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoudOfWar

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