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Musicalis Interruptus

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Kuzco: Ow! You threw off my groove!
Palace guard: I'm sorry, but you've thrown off the Emperor's groove.
[old man gets thrown out of a window]
Rudy: Sorrrrryyy!
Kuzco: [to Theme Song Guy] You were saying?
Theme Song Guy: (singing) What's his name?!

Musicalis Interruptus is a form of Musical Gag. A song is gearing up or getting into full swing, and something interrupts the singer, so the music abruptly stops. Heroes will interrupt villains. Villains will interrupt the hero. Sidekick types will interrupt either or both. Sometimes the singer will even interrupt himself. Occasionally used by Media Watchdogs to allow the song to flavor the scene, but stop short of something they consider objectionable for the audience. In any case, the song usually will not continue after the interruption.

For added effect, there is sometimes a Record Needle Scratch just as the music/action stops. The silence that follows may be punctuated with one or more sound effects such as a glass breaking, or a cat yowling in the distance (or perhaps both).

Letting the Air out of the Band is related, but not as instant. Compare The Day the Music Lied. A subtrope is No Reprise, Please. Compare Stop and Go. See also Musical World Hypothesis, Musical Number Annoyance, or Left the Background Music On. For Background Music suddenly stopping, see Sudden Soundtrack Stop.


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  • A series of Bounty radio ads begin with a song themed around a certain drink, such as "Raise Your Glass", "Juice", "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)", or "Red, Red Wine," which is interrupted by the sound of somebody spilling that drink. The music starts again once the announcer explains how well Bounty paper towels can clean up those messes.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • In the Soul Society arc, Ichigo squares off against the Chessmaster who's been playing the entire Soul Society like a cheap violin. The Theme Music Power-Up song kicks in, the audience settles in for another awesome beatdown... and Ichigo's Theme Music Power-Up cuts off suddenly as his opponent blocks Ichigo's blow with a single finger.
    • Five years and two and a half hundred chapters later, they square off again, and Ichigo is ready to turn the tables on him. Aizen gloats how he is going to break Ichigo's sword in one blow, his Ominous Latin Chanting builds up to a crescendo... And cuts off when Ichigo catches his blade with his bare hand, mirroring their previous example. But it does not stop there, as he attempts to use his other trump card, Kido #90: Black Coffin, again gloating how it will basically swallow Ichigo in a black hole... And again his music cuts off as Ichigo shatters it effortlessly.
  • School Days does this at least twice, in episodes 5 and 6, each time using previous ending themes. And it's not played for laughs, especially in episode 6, when the music stops as soon as Kotonoha reaches the school rooftop and sees Makoto making out with Sekai.
  • Happens in episode 11 of Rozen Maiden. "Battle of Rose" plays whilst Shinku fights Suigintou, who proceeds to crush her against a junk pile, cutting the music.
  • Fushigi Yuugi does it in episode 34: Miaka and friends find the Shinzaho, the MacGuffin needed to summon Suzaku. The ending theme "Tokimeki no Doukasen" plays, and then...they find out they have A Shinzaho, not The Shinzaho.
  • The non-Bowdlerized version of Episode 7 of Gurren Lagann has the moment where Kamina and Simon are gearing up to climb the wall in-between the men's bath and the girls' bath in order to see the girls fondling each other. "Rap is a Man's Soul" kicks in, the first instance of the vocal version ever being used in the show, in fact — only to get cut off when they realize the wall's simply too high.
  • A diegetic example in Trigun, when one of a gang of marauders threatens Legato in a bar, and the jazz band continues to play through physical abuse of a captured girl and gunfire scattered around Legato. The saxophonist, one of Legato's henchmen, abruptly stops when Legato finally gives the gangster his full attention.
  • Well played in an early episode of Kanon, when Yuuichi unintentionally barges in on Makoto in the bath.
  • In Black Lagoon "My mother has killed me... my father is eating me... my brothers and sisters, sit under the table, picking up my bones! They'll bury them, under the cold marble stones...
  • Often used in Kiniro Mosaic, but a noticeable instance is in episode 2 when Aya ruins a poignant moment with a logical comment. And again in episode 6 when she's interrupted by Shinobu floating down the stream.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor. After the crew of the Soyokaze escape from quarantine and declare that their Born Lucky captain must surely be alive and that they're going to rescue him, the Leitmotif that always plays when the crew starts doing something awesome is suddenly interrupted by a squad of armed guards ordering them back into detention.
  • At the end of the final episode of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying, the credits theme stops when Karou's pregnancy test turns positive. It then starts up again and plays until the episode finishes.
  • During the Doma arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, this happens when Jonouchi (Joey) draws his Legendary Dragon against Ryuzaki (Rex)
  • One Piece:
    • Oars, an ancient, zombified giant, has just finished mopping the floor with the Straw Hat crew's fighters when Luffy shows up in a new form after absorbing 100 shadows to increase his strength. Having previously absorbed Luffy's own shadow, Oars promptly attempts to use one of his signature techniques against Luffy, who calmly stops it along with the music using nothing but his bare hand. He then retaliates by punching the giant with enough force to send him flying into the nearby forest.
    • Played for Drama right after Luffy beats Caesar, where the music abruptly stops... because Caesar is using his powers to choke Luffy into unconsciousness.
    • Law has pulled off a desperate gambit to kill Doflamingo using one of his most powerful attacks and left exhausted and unable to move, yet even that was not enough to kill the Shichibukai. As Doflamingo prepares to kill Law by crushing his head underfoot, Law loudly curses his fate... until Luffy uses his own foot to stop both Doflamingo's foot and the music.
    • Not long after, in the same arc, Doflamingo uses his strings to force Rebecca to kill Viola, who tells her niece to close her eyes and to not blame herself. As Rebecca swings her sword, screaming and crying her eyes out, suddenly the sword snaps in two and the music is brought to a halt; Rebecca slowly opens her eyes only to find that Luffy has switched places with Viola at the last second using Law's power and used Haki to harmlessly tank her attack. A more fittingly triumphant musical piece begins to play as Gatz announces to the entire country that Luffy is back for one last round against their tyrannical king.
    • As part of the Straw Hats and Law arrive in Zou, Ryunosuke (the drawn dragon that took them there) is dying. A sentimental, grandiose soundtrack plays in the background while Luffy, Usopp, Robin and Franky cry for him. The music (and cries) simply stops as the scene cuts to Zoro and Law, who say crying over a bad drawing is just ridiculous.
    • As the duel between Luffy and Kaido reaches its climax and both fighters charge at each other to end the fight, the music stops as one of the CP0 agents jumps in at the last second and, under orders from the Five Elders to make sure Luffy loses the fight, restrains him so that he can't attack Kaido or defend himself, leaving Luffy wide open as Kaido hits him with all his might.
  • This trope signifies that Kenshiro has shown up to stop the bad guy. Permanently. Usually happens in the middle of an attack.
  • The penultimate episode of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders has an odd Meta version of this. Near the end of the opening theme song, DIO appears behind Jotaro seemingly via teleportation; the previous episode revealed that DIO has the power to stop time, so this time it's shown happening from his perspective. When the singers get to the lyric "End of the World", DIO cuts them off by shouting "THE WORLD!", which puts the song on hold until he gets into position and restarts time again.

    Asian Animation 
  • At the end of the Simple Samosa theme song, the Background Music stops but Samosa keeps singing. His friends Dhokla, Jalebi, and Vada have to remind him that the song has ended.
    Samosa (singing): It's because I'm simple-
    Dhokla, Jalebi, and Vada: Simple, the song is over!
    Samosa: Oh! Heheheh... sorry.

    Fan Works 
  • My Little Caboose: Blue is Magic!: During the wedding arc, Church snaps at Cadence and Chrysalis to stop singing during "This Day Aria" and its Dark Reprise, respectively.
    Church: Shut the fuck up! Jesus, what the hell is with everybody and singing today?
  • This Bites!: Courtesy of Iceburg, Rocketman's smokestack cuts into Sniper King's introduction.

    Films — Animation 

  • In the movie 9, the song "Take It All" in the film stops abruptly about three words before the song actually finishes. This is used for dramatic effect, the director said in a commentary about it, because "there is nothing left to say".
  • From Fun and Fancy Free in the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" segment:
    Goofy: Lots of starches, lots of greens, fancy chocolate-covered...
    Mickey: Beans!
    • Bonus points for having the interruption still rhyme.
  • Near the end of The Aristocats when Roquefort yells "QUIET!!!!!" and causes the cat and Edgar to stop brawling. The music also cuts off as well!
  • In The Book of Life, "I Will Wait," "Just A Friend" and "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" all end this way. The former is cut off by Carlos dragging Manolo off to prepare for the bullfight, while the latter two are stopped by Chuy attacking the Rodriguez brothers.
  • Cinderella: Dual example for "Sing Sweet Nightingale" which is sung by Cinderella and Drizella. The former washes the floors while singing it, stopping to scold Lucifer for ruining her work. Drizella sings it during her music lesson which is cut short when she gets into an argument with Anastasia.
  • Coco:
    • While Miguel is talking with a mariachi man in the village square, the mariachi hands Miguel his guitar and offers to be his first audience, much to Miguel's delight, but Elena enters right before he gets a chance to strum the guitar.
    • When Miguel is singing "The World Es Mi Familia" to get Ernesto's attention, he isn't watching where he's going and accidentally falls into the pool.
  • "Long Ago" from Eight Crazy Nights ends with Davey discovering his home on fire after he and Jennifer sing about their childhoods.
  • Kuzco's opening dance number in The Emperor's New Groove gets accidentally interrupted by an elderly man named Rudy, who pays the penalty. In the end, Kuzco, now less of a jerk, apologizes to him.
  • Frozen (2013):
  • In The Great Mouse Detective Ratigan's song "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" is interrupted mid point when one of his henchmen Bartholomew (who's incredibly drunk) sings "To Ratigan the world's greatest rat!", this pisses off Ratigan who despises being called a rat and as punishment he feeds him to his pet cat Felicia, after a period of mourning from the other henchmen he tells them, "I trust there will be no further interruptions!" while threatening them with the bell he used to call her, they then pick up where they left off.
  • In The Jungle Book, a set of vultures singing "That's What Friends Are For" stop when Shere Kahn appears and joins in.
  • Pumbaa's last verse in "Hakuna Matata" on The Lion King (1994), a case of Curse Cut Short:
    Pumbaa: And I got downhearted, every time that I...
    Timon: Pumbaa, not in front of the kids!
    Pumbaa: Oh, sorry.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989) has some of the funniest, a particular one being "Daughters of Triton", meant to be the singing debut of Ariel, which is interrupted when she doesn't show. Apparently mermaids don't have aquatic stage managers.
  • In Moana, while climbing the cliff to the entrance to Lolotai, Maui starts to give Moana doubts about being the Chosen One. She reaches the top, looks out over the ocean while reassuring herself, and the music swells up for an Award Bait song... then Maui cuts in with "If you start singing, I'm gonna throw up".
  • In Mulan, the army is marching to its rendezvous point with other troops, singing "A Girl Worth Fighting For", a song about what they see in women (awkward for Mulan, especially since they keep shooting down her half-reasonable ideas), until they reach their destination mid-stanza and see that the whole village has been burned to the ground, and everyone in it killed. Doubles as this for the entire movie, as no one breaks out into any more songs after that.
  • In Peter Pan, Captain Hook shoots one of his pirates down from the rigging as he's playing the accordion and singing a stanza of the Villain Song. Smee reprimands him for it.
    "Oh, dear, dear, dear, Captain Hook. Shooting a man in the middle of his cadenza?"
  • In Quest for Camelot, towards the end of the first musical number "United We Stand", the knights raise their shields, stating their obligations of Camelot. And when they lower their shields, Ruber ends the song right there by slamming his shield down, shouting "ME!"
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Ariel starts to break out into a "Part of Your World" parody about getting to wear a t-shirt for the first time, when Vanellope interrupts to ask where the music and the mood lighting came from.
  • Rio: There are more songs in the movie that are interrupted than are not. "Real in Rio", "Mas Que Nada", "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)", "Fly Love" and "Funky Monkey" are all interrupted, and three of those five are non-comedic examples. The sequel manages to avoid this.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: The ''Kyle's Mom Is A Bitch" number begins grinding to an awkward halt when we see the majority of the main youth cast's expressions of horror. Then Cartman, after finishing the number, catches up to why everyone stopped singing and is waving their hands excitedly when he notices Sheila (Kyle's mother) towering above him with an expression that can only be described as rage that has been slowly building, presumably for the duration of the entire song, and has reached the breaking point.
  • Happens several times in the Shrek series:
    • In Shrek, Donkey tries to convince Shrek to let him tag along with him, by belting out a dramatic rendition of Bette Midler's "Friends". Shrek is having none of it, and snaps on the run-up to the chorus.
      Shrek: STOP. SINGING. It's no wonder you don't have any friends!
      Donkey: Wow. Only a true friend would be that truly honest.
    • Robin Hood also gets this treatment when Fiona gets fed up with his unwanted "rescue" and the ensuing musical number. She cuts him off during a high note with a flying kick to the face before demolishing the rest of his men, breaking Friar Tuck's accordion for good measure.
    • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother's song "Holding Out for a Hero" is stopped in mid-note when Shrek and Donkey come crashing through the doors to the courtyard.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron:
    • "You Can't Take Me" is interrupted with a gunshot that startles the title character in the middle of flailing around, trying to escape. The song finally gets to finish near the end of the film.
    • A triumphant segment of "Run Free" starts blaring when Spirit first thinks he's being released from the Lakota village... until the mare he's tied to stops abruptly at the edge of the village, stopping Spirit and the BGM as well.
  • In the beginning of The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water, the talking seagulls begin singing the Theme Song, but Burger-Beard stops them and threatens to burn them, showing the same thing happened to his parrots. It happens again before the credits. Bubbles interrupts the theme song and expresses his hatred of it and, apropos of nothing, goes into a rap battle with one of the seagulls.
  • In Toy Story 3 when the heroes are captured and placed in bins reminiscent of the classic movie prison Hamm plays a somber harmonica that is interrupted by Buzz banging on the cell bars telling him to knock it off.
  • In The Transformers: The Movie, during Starscream's coronation, the Constructicons play a loud fanfare which Starscream cuts short by blasting their instruments with his null-ray.
    Starscream: Get on with the ceremony!
  • In Turning Red, Ming interrupts the 4*Town concert in the middle of their opening song.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In 3 Idiots, the insert song played when our main characters manage to make their upperclassman's helicopter-prototype work( and they equipped it with a camera!). Cue the scene where they found said upperclassman dead body hanging on a ceiling fan
  • 10 Things I Hate About You starts with One Week playing, and eventually it cuts to a group of girls listening to it in their car. Then Kat drives up playing Bad Reputation, which changes to the background song.
  • At the toga party in Animal House, a whimsical folksinger (played by Stephen Bishop, who wrote and performed the movie's theme song) is strumming a wistful ballad to two young girls on the stairs. Bluto seizes the guitar and smashes it against the wall, then mutters a sheepish apology.
  • Attack of the Clones, when Anakin and Padme are about to kiss, then she decides not to.
  • The Avengers (2012) has Loki deliver his A God Am I monologue with dramatic underscoring, which cuts off the moment Hulk delivers his rebuttal.
  • Blazing Saddles: The Buddy Bizarre Number "The French Mistake" is interrupted twice: once when a dancer trips, and once when the fight comes crashing in from the Blazing Saddles set next door.
  • In The Cabin in the Woods, the Controllers start celebrating a job well done once Dana is seemingly the last college kid standing, breaking out the liquor and putting on some REO Speedwagon. Then Sitterson is told that some of the glitches that went on during the sacrifice came not from the team's mistakes, but from direct interference from "upstairs". As Sitterson and Hadley realize that something has gone very wrong, the red phone starts ringing, and Hadley orders the music turned off. Marty caused those glitches by breaking into a "backstage" area and tampering with the electrical equipment. Also, he's still alive, meaning that the sacrifice ain't over yet.
  • In Camp Rock, at Final Jam, one of the songs gets cut short because the singer notices someone using a cellphone. There was likely more to it, though.
  • A famous scene from Clue.
    "Dada, da dump dump dump! I am your singing telegram!" *BANG!*
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, during the Slumber Inc. sequence, a soft organ melody in the key of F major loops throughout the first half of the scene, save for the part where Morton Slumber begins Peter Franks's final journey, right up until the moment where Albert Wint and Charles Kidd brain James Bond with an urn in the Garden of Remembrance. Later, the Wagnerian music they play when they try to burn Bond alive cuts out when Michael "Shady" Tree has Mr. Slumber get him out of the retort so that he can suss out the location of the real diamonds.
  • In Dirty Dancing, the entire summer camp is singing a rousing song ("Kellerman's Anthem") when Johnny bursts in. The choir drops out first, with some of the principles continuing obviously until he begins to speak into the microphone. (Captured perfectly on the More Dirty Dancing soundtrack album.)
  • Enchanted:
    • Prince Edward starts to reprise "True Love's Kiss" during the showstopping "That's How You Know" sequence, and gets about four words out before being run over by a pack of bicyclists. Later, after finally finding Giselle, Edward attempts to reprise the song again, this time stopped when Giselle drops her cue.
    • At the end, at Edward and Nancy's wedding, "Ever, Ever After" is interrupted by her cellphone ringing which she throws away.
  • In Get Smart, an orchestra is playing the "Ode to Joy" as part of a concert for the visiting President. Maxwell Smart manages to tackle the conductor and disrupt the orchestra moments before the song ends, because he's figured out that the closing notes will trigger the bomb that's hidden in the concert hall.
  • Several times during Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) the Awesome Mix songs fade or cut abrutly for dramatic effect. Perhaps most notable: the eerie fade-shift from Peter Quill/Starlord dancing to Redbone's Come and Get Your Love to his discovery of the Power Stone.
  • Downplayed in Into the Woods. No One Is Alone is sung in its entirety, but the very last line is interrupted by the Giantess's footsteps. But thankfully, the soundtrack averts this.
  • Joe Dirt provides an interesting example where one of the characters indirectly interrupts the Background Music. As Joe decides to return to Silver City, Blue Oyster Cult's Burnin' For You begins to play. However, the song is interrupted when a car drives up to Joe, with Bachman-Turner Overdrive's You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet blasting from their radio. The song drowns out and eventually replaces the Background Music.
  • Little Shop of Horrors:
    • The reprise of "Suddenly Seymour" is interrupted (and Lampshaded) by a marketing guy... "Excuse me, pardon me, beg your pardon, If you two kids would stop singing for just a moment, I've got something I want to discuss with you."
    • In the original cut of the proposal, Audrey cuts the reprise short with "What am I doing here singing? I've gotta go get ready."
  • In Love Actually, the PM (Hugh Grant's character) starts singing and dancing all over the place, only to be interrupted by one of his associates.
  • Played decidedly not for laughs in M. We never hear the killer whistle the famous climax of In The Hall of the Mountain King; he repeatedly builds up to that point and abruptly stops, usually when he's made the decision to kill his next victim. As a result, the audience associates whatever horrors happen offscreen with the unheard climax. The overall effect is downright terrifying.
  • Inversion in Mean Girls. The Plastics are performing "Jingle Bell Rock" at the talent show — as in just dancing along to the music. Gretchen accidentally breaks the CD player but Cady thinks on her feet and starts singing the song. The rest of the audience are prompted to join in and Ms Norbury plays the piano to save the performance.
  • 'The Skeletons of Quinto' in A Mighty Wind. After a twenty minute introduction setting the scene for the song (most of which happens off-screen), The Folksmen are about to launch into this number when they are rushed off-stage because Mitch and Mickey have finally turned up.
  • In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the prince of swamp castle wants to break out in song but his father intentionally interrupts him every time ("And no singing!"). Eventually however, the king is unable to prevent it when it becomes a Crowd Song production number. Interestingly, the audience never does get to hear the whole song, outside of a ridiculously overextended introduction.
    Prince Herbert: I'd rather... just... sing. [Orchestra starts playing. The King of Swamp Castle jumps in-front of the camera.]
    King of Swamp Castle: Stop that, stop that! You're not going into a song while I'm here.
  • In Nacho Libre, Nacho sneaks into a party where he expects to learn more about Ramses. He does so under the guise of a mariachi band and starts singing a song praising Ramses. This gets cut short when Ramses splashes wine on him.
  • Cheyenne's theme in Once Upon a Time in the West has a sudden and short pause in it. Each time it is played, it is synchronized to the scene so that the pause happens at an appropriate moment.
  • The Other Guys: When The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson jump off a tall building to catch some criminals, "My Hero" from Foo Fighters plays as they reach the ground. The song grinds to a halt when they end up smashing dead on the pavement.
    There goes my hero! Watch him as he goes! There goes— *SPLAT*
  • At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Angelica attempts to seduce Jack by (pretending to) confess her love for him. At first, seems to fall for it, confessing his love for her. The music swells up as the two lean in to kiss... and then abruptly stops as Jack turns around, declaring that he's "Gotta go."
  • The audition scene in The Producers.
  • In the film adaptation of The Prom, Alyssa's solo verse in "You Happened" gets cut short by the camera panning to Shelby and Kaylee, who have put Alyssa and Emma's secret relationship together.
  • Also decidedly not played for laughs in Ran, where one battle scene starts out with silent action overlaid with a sorrowful music and then jarringly switches to the sound and fury of the battle with no music.
  • The Rocketeer. The Big Bad, Hollywood movie star Neville Sinclair, is filming a swashbuckling sword-fight scene (with the usual dramatic music playing over it) until the moment Sinclair's female co-star (a relative of the director) delivers her line in an incredibly corny manner. Sinclair's swashbuckling smile vanishes and the music comes to an instant stop.
  • Twice in a row in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). Robotnik's media player slows down and stops (despite being digital) when he first wires up Sonic's quill, causing all of his circuit breakers to trip. When they're reset and he starts dancing, he's startled by Agent Stone, and the music stops instantly with Robotnik's scream.
  • The Sound of Music:
    • "Maria" comes to a pause when Maria rushes in after coming back from the hills, washes her face at a well, then leaves to put on her nun outfit.
    • "I Have Confidence" — Maria stops in the middle when she sees the sheer size of the Von Trapp house. She murmurs "oh help" before slowly picking the song back up again.
    • "My Favorite Things" ends abruptly when the Captain walks in on Maria and the children.
    • The reprise of "Eidelweiss" has the Captain unable to continue as he's overcome with emotion. This prompts Maria and the rest of the family — and eventually the entire audience — to join in.
  • Suicide Squad (2016). Harley Quinn is doing her Lipstick-and-Load Montage to "Without Me" by Eminem, which comes to an abrupt halt when she asks why every soldier in the vicinity is staring at her.
  • The Suicide Squad opens with Johnny Cash singing Folsom Prison Blues as Savant sits Brig Ball Bouncing in his bare concrete cell in Belle Reve. When he uses the ball to crush a small bird that appears in the cell, the background music is suddenly replaced by the same song playing faintly over the prison speakers.
  • The Water and Power guys interrupt Tank Girl and Jet Girl as they force everyone at Liquid Silver to sing Cole Porter's "Let's Do It".
  • Another Asian movie where it's Background Music and not played for laughs: In Temptation of a Monk, there's a deer hunt. When the deer is hit, instead of us seeing the arrow hit the deer, it's represented by the footage of the deer slowing down and freeze-framing. When this happens, the Background Music slows down and, at the freeze-frame, slowly fades out.
  • In This Is the End, the music that plays during the rapture is heard when Franco is about to be raptured to Heaven... until he flips off and insults Danny and his cannibal crew which gets his rapture cancelled.
  • In What a Girl Wants, Colin Firth tries out his old rock-and-roll clothing, and starts playing air guitar. His fiancee interrupts him. When she goes on, he plays a final cord on his air guitar.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, The Wicked Witch of the West's entrance interrupts the munchkins singing "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead".

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the All That pilot, Annie (portrayed by Katrina Johnson) makes three attempts to sing, "Tomorrow", each of which gets a ridiculous interruption. First, someone dumps flour on her. Then, an explosion occurs, but Annie continues singing, until the show cuts to a new sketch. Finally, the announcer and the audience become so annoyed with Annie, security carries her offstage.
  • One episode of Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger features three monsters, who are parodies of the rangers, break out into their own version of the show's theme tune...until Abarekiller walks in and tells them to stop goofing off.
  • The Boys (2019). In the pilot episode, London Calling starts playing when British vigilante Billy Butcher grabs a crowbar to take on Translucent, only to come to a sudden stop when Translucent knocks him to the ground.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the Musical Episode "Once More, With Feeling":
      • "Dawn's Lament" gets cut off after two lines when she's shoved into a Bag of Kidnapping.
      • Sweet's Villain Song stops in mid-dance when Dawn reveals her sister is the Slayer.
      • Then when one of Sweet's minions is captured by Spike and ordered to "sing", the music obligingly starts up...only to stop as the minion just speaks normally.
      • Tara's "Under Your Spell" is getting quite sexually suggestive only to Smash Cut to Buffy and Xander back at the library.
      • Anya interrupts Xander (during "I'll Never Tell"). Anya also interrupts Tara during "I've Got A Theory" to sing "The Bunny Song."
      • A more abrupt and tragic interruption occurs during Season 7's "Selfless", where there's a flashback to Anya during the musical and she's singing about getting married and how happy she is and mid-song it abruptly cuts to the present...where Buffy has just impaled Anya on a sword.
    • Played for Laughs in "The Zeppo". Buffy and Angel are having an wangst-filled argument over their need to stop the latest apocalypse (with mutual Love Confessions and It's the Only Way). As usual in such situations the Buffy/Angel theme "Close Your Eyes" starts playing, only to stop as Xander bursts in on them and makes a half-hearted attempt to get their help with his own problems. As soon as he leaves the music cranks up again. Earlier when Xander loses his virginity to Faith we have a montage of them snuggling in bed while romantic music plays, only to Smash Cut to her booting Xander out the door now she's finished with him.
    • In "Restless", Giles' musical exposition gets interrupted by feedback.
    • Played for laughs in "Smashed". Sinister music plays as Buffy gets a mysterious phone call from vampire Spike.
      Spike: [talking in a low voice] Slayer...
      Buffy: Spike?
      Spike: Meet me at the cemetery. Twenty minutes. Come alone.
      Buffy: Spike?
      Spike: Bloody hell [music cuts off and Spike talks normally] Yes, it's me.
    • In "Lessons", Buffy is giving Dawn a dramatic speech with accompanying dramatic music about how dangerous the vampire just breaking out of the soil is, only for the music to cut off as the vamp in question interrupts to ask for a helping hand, as he's got his foot stuck on a root.
    • Happens In-Universe in "Sleeper", when Spike stakes a vampire at the Bronze, right in front of singer Aimee Mann. After a Stunned Silence, she continues singing right where she left off.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a hilarious sequence involving this: Rebecca, believing she's pregnant with Josh's baby, sends him 17 texts telling him to get home. When he does, she starts making out with him hardcore, but when he pushes everything off the table for them, he sees post-natal pills. She gleefully tells him that she's pregant, to his clear horror. Immediately after she says that she actually needs to pee and leaves upstairs to do so, all while leaving Josh in silent, unmoving shock. When she gets back to informs him offhandedly that she just got her period so it turns out she wasn't pregnant after all! And immediately tries to segue into Period Sex, a song about... the obvious. However, she can barely get two lines in before Josh is yelling at her to stop because the last thirty seconds have been the most upsetting of his entire life and he can't deal with a song right now, or even being with Rebecca at all anymore.
  • Possibly the most justified use: In Doctor Who "The Pandorica Opens", The BGM cuts off because the universe explodes. Difficult to have a mysterious string theme when the musicians don't exist. Silence will fall, indeed.
  • Farscape. The episode "Scratch 'n' Sniff" has John Crichton relating to Pilot via flashbacks the bizarre events that got them thrown off a Pleasure Planet, including D'Argo being given a potion that made him dance. The dance music (and flashback) is brought to an abrupt halt by Pilot saying—
    Pilot: Stop stop STOP! This makes no sense; YOU make no sense!
  • Galavant:
    • The Jester/narrator is interrupted at least twice, once at the end of the first episode, when Madalena calls him back to bed, and in the last episode of the first season the other prisoners make him shut up when he tries to recap the events of the season in song.
    • Galavant tries to sing "Moment in the Sun" three times, once interrupted by chloroform. When he's finally allowed to sing it, he realizes that the song really only has one line, leaving everyone rather underwhelmed.
  • In the first episode of Glee, the club gets through about thirty seconds of You're The One That I Want before Mercedes interrupts to complain about having to be one of the background singers. In episode 11 Rachel and Finn get through even less of the same song before Finn feels the need to speak up about Rachel's "sad clown hooker" getup (she was dressed the same as Sandy at the end of Grease). The club finally gets through a complete rendition of it...three seasons later, after Rachel and Finn have graduated.
    • In the season 2 premiere, Rachel and the new Filipino transfer student Sunshine have a (one-sided, Sunshine thinks she's just made a new friend) sing-off in the bathroom with the song Telephone. They get to the end of the first chorus before Sue Sylvester walks in and tells them to shut up.
  • In an episode of The Good Guys, a sexy song plays when everyone at the precinct sees Liz wearing a sexy dress for an undercover sting operation but it stops when she drops her purse and tries awkwardly to pick it up.
  • In Kamen Rider Kabuto, every time one of the Riders activates Clock Up, the music is dropped in favor of trippy, Matrix-esque sound effects.
  • Lost Girl. Lauren and Dyson are Distracted by the Sexy sight of Bo washing her car. Coming for you baby by Jay Price plays as the fanservice aspects are played up to their fullest extent, until a third party snaps his fingers above their heads to snap them out of their trace, bringing a stop to the music as well.
  • Maid Marian and Her Merry Men had a particularly fourth wall-breaking debate with the omniscient background singers in the opening credits to "The White-ish Knight"'. The Clannad-esque music begins by describing a "WHITE Knight," but Robin vehemently decries this description. Ultimately, the song is stopped, restarted and revised to announce the episode title.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The "Summarize Proust" sketch has one entrance being a choir. They start singing, "Proust, in his first book, wrote about, wrote about," only to be cut off by the contest's buzzer before being able to say exactly what Proust wrote about.
    • "The Lumberjack Song" breaks up when the backup singers refuse to go on singing about crossdressing. The later live shows extended the song to include an actual ending.
  • In between items on the Morecambe and Wise Show, musician Arthur Tolcher would come on stage and begin to play his harmonica, only to be stopped after a few bars and told: "Not now, Arthur!" At the very end of the show, following the credits, he would come on and play — only for the screen to cut to black.
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "Soundcheck", the music video for the titular band's song "Take Away Four", as well as Otto's sing-along to the song, is interrupted by Olive clicking pause on the video and asking Otto how on Earth he likes that kind of music.
    • Occurs twice in succession in "The Confalones". When Olive runs into the kitchen, she finds Otto, Sylvia and the other chef in the restaurant doing the Confalone Dance with Luigi on accordion. She asks her partner what he's doing, and the music stops as everyone looks at her for a moment before they respond with "The Confalone Dance!" and begin dancing again with the music. Olive then yells that there's a snag in the case, and the music then stops for good.
    • A common Running Gag in "Soundcheck Part Deux" involves Olive stopping the reunited band members of Soundcheck from singing their new song, "The Force of Gravity", as she tells them to get back on track.
    • In "The Creature Whisperer", the Jazz Room agents' song is cut short by Olympia and Ocean barging into the room to warn them of the incoming Hopinbob. The lead agent, playing a trumpet, is understandably not happy about it, and once Olympia and Ocean leave, he gets right back into the swing of things.
    Jazz Room leader: You're lucky I like starting from the top!
    • In "The Perfect Score", Olympia attempts to appease Baby Genius by giving him a song that she prepared as an offering. She doesn't even get past the very first lyric before the Brainy Baby begins to cry and Rivka tells her that he agrees to help if the agent doesn't sing anymore. It gets to the point where Olympia offers the duo a CD with the song that she was planning on singing, and Baby Genius begins to cry louder than before. She opts for leaving the CD on the ground and running away.
    • At one point in "The Ninja Situation", Oona and Olympia are passing the time in the ice cream surveillance van by singing a little ditty about Otis disguised as the local villain Evil Ninja when the agent himself runs up to the van and interrupts them in a fluster to get some mac and cheese in order to please the Yum-Yum Twins, whom the real Evil Ninja is helping in hopes of obtaining the MacGuffin-inator.
  • On the House: The builders singing "We Shall Not Be Moved" in "Take Me to Your Leader" gets cut short by the arrival of Dr. Stanley:
    Dr. Stanley: Oh, please, gentlemen, do not stop. That is almost my favourite song.
  • In the Musical Episode of Once Upon a Time, The Music Meister spell gives both Regina and Zelena epic Villain Songs. When Charming and Snow visit Rumpelstiltskin, the Background Music seems to be building up for a third one, before it suddenly breaks off as he snarks "The Dark One doesn't sing."
  • Olive's musical numbers on Pushing Daisies are prone to this, sometimes multiple times within the same sequence.
  • Contemplative scenes in Scrubs are often accompanied by singing and guitar music. In one episode, Dr. Cox has had enough of this. He approaches the musician (Colin Hay), takes the guitar, and smashes it into pieces. It turns out to be an Indulgent Fantasy Segue representing Cox interrupting JD's musical montage Imagine Spot.
  • In an SCTV takeoff on the movie "Melvin and Howard," Melvin Dummar gets Howard Hughes to join with him in singing "The Name Game." All goes well until Hughes tries to sing a verse using the name "Chuck," leading Dummar to smack Hughes in the mouth before he gets to the inevitable naughty word...
    Hughes: Chuck, chuck, bo buck...banana fanna fo —" (SMACK)
  • A pair of comedians on the game show Make Me Laugh were singing "The Name Game" and started "Art'. They stopped themselves at "banana fanna fo ... oh." About ten seconds later, one of them announced "I'll do Chuck", prompting a "Nooo!" from the other, at which point the contestant lost it.
  • Happens in Spectacular! when Stavros finally finds out that Nikko has been lying to him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Happened to Picard in the episode "A Fistful of Datas". He's attempting a clarinet minuet (with his Ressikan flute), and is interrupted repeatedly with various crew members knocking on his door asking for something or other.
    • In "Qpid", Geordi tries to pluck a melody on an untuned lute with little success. Worf remedies the terrible noise by violently smashing it against a nearby tree and handing it back to Geordi with an apology.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. "The Thaw" involves a rogue program (in the form of a Monster Clown) who has taken over a Lotus-Eater Machine, holding those within hostage with his murderous and insane antics. Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram is sent in to negotiate with him. At one point the Clown and his chorus are dancing in a conga line when the EMH appears and the music stops dead.
    CLOWN: Well, you certainly know how to bring a party to a halt.
    EMH: I don't get out very much.
  • Supernatural. Sam must kill the Girl of the Week because she turned out to be the Monster of the Week. "Silent Lucidity" by Queensrÿche plays as Sam goes to do the deed, with the music ending with the gunshot. Cue credits.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Frat Party, a Sleepover and the Mother of All Blisters", Missy can't hear Sheldon over the loud music at the frat party, so Sheldon unplugs the stereo. This gets them both thrown out.

    Puppet Shows 
  • This is the whole point of the Wayne and Wanda sketches in The Muppet Show.
    • One episode involves a gang of thieving prairie dogs. Their musical number, "The Best Things in Life are Free", in which they steal everything in a barbershop, is cut short by Fozzie as Bear on Patrol from the sketches of the same name. The song then degrades into a full blown Bear on Patrol sketch, with Link Hogthrob appearing on stage as the Chief.
    • Indeed, if we were to list every instance of a Muppet character getting blown up/eaten/yanked offstage by a giant hook/interrupted in some bizarre fashion mid-song, we'd be here all day.
  • Odd Squad:
  • The Chica Show: Mrs. C briefly interrupts "Closing the Shop" with "Did someone say one more time?"

  • Béla Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, movement IV, "Intermezzo Interotto", begins with a beautiful, flowing melody that is interrupted partway through with a mocking parody of a theme from Shostakovich's Leningrad Symphony, the rendering of which is hilariously insipid. Eventually the interruption putters out and the original theme resumes.
  • Used at the very end of Ayreon's Rock Opera The Human Equation — just as "Me" is waking from his coma and the music is playing in all its glory, it's interrupted by a series of beeps and a voice saying that the Human Equation program is being aborted and the Dream Sequencer system is now off-line. Then another voice (probably a Forever) says that it can remember emotions.
  • Happens frequently on The Beatles Anthology releases. Something will cause the band to stop playing and abort the take. This usually results in either laughter or shouting, depending on what caused it.
  • The Beach Boys sessions for "Help Me Ronda" (the Today! album version) were plagued by the band's drunk manager (and father of the Wilsons), Murry Wilson constantly interrupting the takes and telling the band what to do. The band tried to record the song for well close to an hour and at points Brian Wilson gets so annoyed that he shouts at his father, reminds him of how he injured him (Murry hit Brian in the ear which is thought to have contributed to his partial deafness), tries to send him out of the room and eventually the band just give up. They were so dissatisfied with this session's recording of the song that they rerecorded it soon after as "Help Me, Rhonda" (the single version, also put on Summer Days).
  • Occurs in "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream." Dylan sings the opening line "I was riding on the Mayflower" before breaking down in laughter over the whole band missing their cue. The recording engineer and Dylan briefly pause to laugh, then the words "Alright, take two!" are heard and Dylan starts all over again, properly accompanied this time.
  • The Clash's version of "Wrong 'Em Boyo" begins with a stanza of "Stagger Lee," which is interrupted by a cry of "Start all over again!" before "Wrong 'Em Boyo" proper starts.
  • Stan Freberg loved to employ this trope in his parody cover versions of popular songs.
    • His 1951 version of "I've Got You Under My Skin," after many mishaps, abruptly ends when it reaches the word "stop."
    • The 1955 cover of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" is repeatedly interrupted by an overeager "Yankee" snare drummer drowning out the other instruments and being reprimanded by the singer, who eventually pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here after the song ends and the snare drummer keeps going.
      Singer: [slamming door behind him] He ruined the ending! One of the loveliest parts in the whole- [door opens, snare drummer plays one final riff as if to say "Screw you too!", door closes again] -piece!
    • Freberg included a variation on the "Yellow Rose of Texas" gag in his 1956 cover of "The Great Pretender"; this time, the pianist keeps deviating from the vamp in the score to play jazz riffs (including the opening of "Lullaby of Birdland") to increasingly impatient protests from the lead singer (who eventually tells him "You will play that 'clink clink clink' jazz, or you won't get paid!"). Once again, in the final verse, the pianist decides he likes the vamp and starts playing the same chord faster and louder, forcing the singer to flee before he can finish the song.
      Singer: [slamming door behind him] He ruined the ending! One of the loveliest parts in the whole- [door opens... and the snare drummer from "The Yellow Rose of Texas" plays a loud riff before slamming the door again] -piece!
      Backing singer: [singing] The whole piece!
    • The Elvis Presley soundalike in Freberg's 1956 cover of "Heartbreak Hotel" keeps asking for more echo on his voice (parodying the reverb-heavy lead vocals in the original) until he effectively drowns in it, stopping the song in its tracks.
    • In the 1957 cover of "Banana Boat (Day-O)", the bongo player is a beatnik who keeps interrupting the song to complain that the singer is too loud (he tries telling the singer to stand next to the guitarist; "He sent me over here," the singer replies), or because the lyrics "Highly deadly black tarantula" set off his arachnophobia. Eventually, the bongo player tells the singer to leave the room to sing "Dayyyy-o!" in the chorus; for the final chorus, the singer accidentally locks himself out of the room and has to smash a window to get back in.
  • In J.S. Bach's "The Art of the Fugue," the final fugue is incomplete due to his death; many performances leave it that way.
  • The ingenious Bait-and-Switch approach of the pirated version of the brentalfloss album "Bits of Me" is built around this very trope (except for the first track, which just contains different lyrics by Brent). Every first ten-fifteen seconds of the track is heard and is then interrupted by some nail-grinding sound effect, (or in the case of the album's engineer, who has two tracks, Letting the Air out of the Band) and goes on to either something totally random, or chastising the listener for pirating the album... or worse, BOTH. Of course, the final track even goes so far as to play all of the tracks from the album at once. No waiting. No track changing. ALL. AT. ONCE. The result is the kind of musical torture that is so great, by the end of the track, you will be reduced to a helpless, mindless vegetable, all because you pirated something that took a great amount of hard work and money to create...
  • At the end of Vangelis's "Pulstar", the epic finale is interrupted by a sample of the British Speaking Clock.
  • mindXpander's "Connection Reset By Peer", the last track on Triumphant Return, skips to a halt at the end, like a malfunctioning CD or interrupted audio stream (hence the title).
  • ionnalee's "Not Human" stops mid-sentence during the spoken-word coda.
  • Every track on Type O Negative's October Rust album abruptly cuts to the next one.
  • Played for incredibly dark laughs in Brentalfloss's ''DK Rap 2018'': "And then there's Chunky... he's dead."

  • In an episode of The Goon Show in which Jim Pills is brought on to sing while Seagoon and Bloodnok are deep in thought. Naturally Mr. Pills is given a grand orchestral buildup, and just as he starts to sing Bloodnok shouts "I've got it, Seagoon, I've got it!"
  • From The Burkiss Way, an Old Grey Whistle Test spoof brings us the classic delta bluesman, "Caught Short" Williamson:
    "Caught Short": [plays opening riff] Well I woke up this mornin'... OoOoh!
    [Music stops, sound of running feet, door slams in distance]
    Whispering Bob Harris: ...Yeah, that was great, Caught Short, really great. And you can hear four hundred and fifty-seven of Caught Shorts other numbers on the new Blue Horizon single "Second Door on the Left Revisited"...
  • This was one of the numerous running gags infesting The Jack Benny Program, in that Jack Benny would futilely attempt to reign in his quartet, The Sportsmen, from going crazy with their latest wacky song, by repeatedly hollering at them "WAIT A MINUTE!" Sometimes some of the cast, especially one of Mel Blanc's avatars, would join in trying to stop the Sportsmen.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) has Zaphod building up a speech after landing on the planet Margrathea with Marvin cueing up "Thus Spracht Zarathrustra" until Zaphod tells him to "can it."


  • Legally Blonde LOVES this trope, using it to varying extents in at maybe half the songs.
  • My Fair Lady:
    • When Freddy gets some alone time with Eliza, he starts singing what sounds like it's going to be a full musical number about how her presence makes everything seem better, but she cuts him off after a couple of lines to do her own musical number venting about the way Higgins has treated her.
    • Near the end, Eliza sings "Without You" to Higgins, informing him that she can stand on her own two feet and won't miss him. In concert and on the soundtrack album, the song ends on a triumphant high note, but in the show itself Higgins breaks in just before the last note to claim credit for Eliza's new-found self-reliance, preventing her from finishing the song.
  • "The Tony Award Song," [title of show].
  • In the play Sheik, Rattle and Roll, there is a running joke involving the a character called the Lost Legionnaire attempting to sing his signature song "I'm Wandering" and continually being interrupted after the first line. He eventually gets to sing the whole thing towards the end of Act 2.
  • Evil Dead: The Musical: Ed, a person who gets constantly interrupted dialogue-wise and later gets turned into "the bit-part demon" because of it, is about to break out into his own musical number, and is promptly shot by Ash.
    Ash: Now you'll have a bit part. In Hell.
  • Spamalot, obviously, recycles the Monty Python and the Holy Grail gag, and they also sometimes let the air out of the music. Later, during the big finale, the father comes barging in one last time, yelling "Stop it! Stop it! NO MORE BLOODY SINGING!" At which point Lancelot clonks him on the head.
  • In Camelot, when Lancelot and Guinevere are having their quiet duet ("I Loved You Once In Silence"), Mordred sneaks up on them with his knights and interrupts their embrace before the end of the song.
  • One scene in the Romberg and Hammerstein operetta The New Moon had the Romantic False Lead trying to sing a love song and constantly getting interrupted.
  • Multiple examples occur in The Phantom of the Opera:
    • Carlotta's rendition of "Think of Me" is interrupted when the Phantom causes a backdrop to fall behind her, and later he causes her to start croaking in the middle of an aria.
    • The Phantom's entrance interrupts everyone's singing "Masquerade".
    • The Phantom gets his own back at the show's climax, when Christine rips off his mask mid-song.
  • In Love Never Dies, Gustave's scream interrupts the Phantom at the end of "The Beauty Underneath" when he removes his mask.
  • In the opera The Rake's Progress, Baba the Turk's aria of rage is interrupted in the second act, when Tom pulls a wig over her face. She resumes singing it in the third act immediately after the wig is taken off.
  • In Wicked's opening scene, the song accompanying Elphaba's birth gets cut off by the midwife screaming at the sight of the green-skinned infant.
  • A few of Stephen Sondheim's shows tend to do that. In particular:
    • In Follies, the number "Live, Laugh, Love" never reaches an ending. Ben gradually stops singing and starts ranting about his life. The chorus tries to continue the number on their own, but this only leads to a Madness Montage.
    • Company has Bobby interrupt the last "Company" reprise to begin "Being Alive" (as well as the last chord of "Another Hundred People" cut short for dialogue).
    • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street interrupts "Poor Thing" with a Big "NO!".
    • Guiseppe Zangara interrupts his own song in Assassins.
  • In Carousel, after Billy dies, Julie, at Nettie's prompting, begins to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" but breaks down in tears after a few lines. Nettie takes over from her.
  • The revue New Faces of 1952 (filmed as New Faces) did this as a Running Gag with the emcee singing "He Takes Me Off His Income Tax" with her every entrance, usually getting off five lines before being silenced.
  • We Will Rock You:
    • Killer Queen starts to sing the opening verse "Don't Stop Me Now" to celebrate the defeat of The Bohemians, when she is interrupted by Commander Kashoggi, who informs her that Galileo & Scaramouche were able to escape. He, of course, pays the penalty, as she executes him to the tune of "Another One Bites the Dust".
    • Subverted once during the play’s sixth anniversary, where Killer Queen told Kashoggi she was going to finish the song this time. Also, McFly came out to play the song when the musical was played on what would have been Freddy Mercury’s 60th birthday.
  • P.D.Q. Bach's oratorio The Seasonings includes a Fugue for Orchestra which begins with the first violins introducing a subject which runs on for a ridiculous 40 seconds (with a number of fakeout breakpoints) before any other instruments can join; it gets cut off soon after. A later recitative is interrupted in a different way: the text ends "but in vain, for he interrupted her, saying," but the ritornello of the following aria obliterates last syllable of this and the following cadence.
  • Some productions of the stage version of Little Shop of Horrors also use this gag-Audrey dies before finishing the reprise of 'Somewhere That's Green'. It generally ruins the moment.
  • Cats:
    • during the chorus of the Prologue ("Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats"), a man's shoe is thrown out in front of them. They stop, look at the shoe for a second, and start back up again.
    • The clattering and sirens that hail Macavity's arrival cut off songs a couple of times.
  • 13:
    • Eddie starts to sing a reprise of "Hey Kendra" but Lucy cuts him off
    Eddie: Hey Lucy, I've been thinking..
    Lucy: Can it, Hobbit.
    • It appears in "Hey Kendra":
    Eddie and Malcom: "Why don't you climb up here, mama
    Eddie: "And rock it, rock it all night long..."
    Brett: "OK, OK stop! 'Rocking horse?' Yeah, not gonna work!"
  • In Carrie the Musical the chorus of "Dream On" is cut off by Carrie's scream.
  • Cabaret: In the scene where Fraulein Schneider considers ending her engagement with Herr Schultz and he attempts to reassure her, there is a moment when he seems to be succeeding and they start a reprise of the song they sang when he proprosed — which is interrupted after a few lines by somebody throwing a brick through Herr Schultz's window, ending the song and the engagement.
  • Drood is based on an unfinished work by Charles Dickens. It's performed as a play within a play, and during one number, the song falls apart, and after an awkward second, the theater manager announces that this was the point at which Mr Dickens "laid down his pen forever".
  • Les Misérables:
    • The police theme ends in the prologue when the Bishop backs up Valjean's alibi.
    • The students' activities at the ABC Cafe halt when Gavroche tells them Gen. Lamarque is dead.
    • Played for Drama in "Love Will Make The Flowers Grow." Eponine dies before the song is over, and Marius sings the last word.
    • Gavroche's reprise of "Little People" ends abruptly when he's shot dead.
  • In the opera Street Scene, "Wrapped in a Ribbon and Tied in a Bow" seems to be building into a big ensemble dance, with Mrs. Maurrant dancing with Lippo, when her jealous husband walks in and the music dies out instantly.
  • In The Cat and the Fiddle, "She Didn't Say 'Yes'" never makes it through a full verse, though it's a different verse each time. The one time it isn't interrupted before the end is when Shirley turns on a gramophone recording of it and starts singing the words from the fifth line of the third verse.
  • 1776 has a pretty good subversion in "Cool, Cool, Considerate Men". In the middle of the number, while the congressmen are dancing between the desks, the secretary smoothly inserts himself into the lyrics as though he has to do this all the time.
    Congress: Hands attached, tightly latched, everybody match...
    Thomson: I have a new dispatch!
  • In On the Town, Hildy deliberately interrupts the ridiculously lugubrious song "I Wish I Was Dead" in two different nightclubs.
  • In The Most Happy Fella, the big hoe-down comes to an abrupt halt with Rosabella's Pregnancy Faint.
  • In Li'l Abner, "The Matrimonial Stomp" is always interrupted right before it finishes, even after Li'l Abner replaces the Romantic False Lead, though Marryin' Sam several times tries to restart it with, "And so, with my blessing, I pronounces you man and—" ("Wait!") An ending for the song was written but not used.
  • In Mamma Mia!, Sophie sings "What's the Name of the Game?" but she abruptly ends it by asking Bill "Are you my father?" instead of singing the title.
  • In Jesus Christ Superstar, "Roll On Up, Jerusalem" ends with Jesus trashing the market stands around the temple.
  • In Hamilton, the "Stay Alive" reprise has the sound of a bass drum representing Phillip's heart beat and it stops when he dies.
  • In The Drowsy Chaperone, the finale of the Show Within a Show, I Do, I Do in the Sky is cut short when the power goes out. The Man in the Chair insists that the audience hold the last moment of the show in their mind, and when his super finally restores the power, the cast sings the last note as if nothing had gone wrong, and he quickly turns off the record. According to him, the show's ruined anyways.
  • In Paint Your Wagon, Jennifer's encore and second-act reprise of "I Talk To The Trees" are both cut short.
  • In Twisted: The Untold Story of a Royal Vizier, Ja'far tries to warn the Princess of wily princes wanting to get into her pants by seducing her with a romantic love song. Just as he is about to break into a song about it — "A Song is a Dick in Sheep's Clothing" — the Captain walks in and interrupts him to bring him bad news.
  • In The Pirates of Penzance, after "How beautifully blue the sky," Frederic implores the girls to depart quickly before the other pirates will find them. The girls have not quite finished with their half of this brief song when the pirates interrupt and seize them.
  • In Urinetown, "We’re Not Sorry" abruptly ends just before the ensemble, who have been killing the vast majority of the villains (aside from Officer Lockstock, who is the narrator and thus cannot be killed) can sing the final word, as they move in to take out Cladwell.
  • In Six after Anne Boleyn finishes her "I Am" Song "Don't Lose Ur Head", she tries to immediately follow up with another song, "Wearing Yellow to a Funeral" about the death of her romantic rival for Henry Catherine of Aragon. She starts off "Catherine was a massive" before getting cut off by the other characters.
  • In the opening scene of Show Boat, Ravenal's song "Where's the Mate for Me?" ends slightly prematurely as the young Magnolia appears. It is, of course, Love at First Sight.
  • In the finale for the stage version of Kinky Boots, "Raise You Up/Just Be'', Charlie and Lauren sing a duet in the third verse, during which Charlie confesses his feeling for her. Lauren stops the song to clarify a few things:
    Lauren: Wait wait wait wait, hold it right there buster! Are you saying you’d like to take me out?
    Charlie: Yes.
    Lauren: Are you saying you are Nikola are through?
    Charlie: Yes.
    Lauren: Are you saying you are actually available?
    Charlie: Yes.
    Lauren: And you still like girls?
    Charlie: Yes!
    Lauren: Oh. [Cue the Big Damn Kiss] Carry on! [resume chorus]

    Video Games 
  • Almost every Rhythm Game uses this, if you wind up getting a game over in the middle of a song.
  • "I know, I know I've let you down. I've been a fooTROMBE OVERRIDE!" Explanation for those not familiar: In most Super Robot Wars games, a boss' theme song will override the individual theme songs of the player-controlled characters. Due to a programming error in Super Robot Wars Original Generation, the song "Trombe!", theme of boss-turned-ally Elzam von Branstein, will override everything, even other boss themes. This ended up becoming Memetic Mutation, and eventually official in later games featuring Elzam. It helps that the tune is extremely popular with the fan-base. Take A Listen.
  • Leonardo Medici Bundle's ship has "The Blue Danube" as its default Background Music. This song is being played by enormous speakers, and is the only situation in which "Trombe!" has been overridden.
  • Kamille, Garrod and Loran had it in Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden when they used their ultimate attacks.
  • In Super Robot Wars K, if you fight Shinn on Stage 19, "Zips" by T.M. Revolution will override your regular themes.
  • Fire Bomber likes to do this (due to the nature of the mecha's attacks being songs). They even override the final boss theme if you use TRY AGAIN on it!
  • Final Fantasy VI : Ultros plans to interrupt the opera by dropping a 4 ton weight on the lead singer's head. You manage to stop him, but during the struggle you all fall onto the stage, knocking out several important cast members. The Impresario wings it and turns the subsequent boss fight into the final act, complete with a new song.
  • Another Goldfish Poop Gang example from Square's SNES days, in Chrono Trigger: mid-boss Dalton briefly grabs the spotlight by stealing your Global Airship, the "Aero-Dalton Imperial" (Epoch). After gloating for a bit, and just before he takes off, Crono's theme begins playing, until he objects and asks for something more appropriate to the situation. He gets such a song and is quite satisfied.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Happens at least once or twice in the series — the big damn "objection!" music starts playing, only to be suddenly interrupted by the prosecutor, usually simply by the protagonist seeing his counterpart with a sneaky smile on his/her face and realizing that rather than being on top of the game, he's about to be pounded big time.
    • It's used during most cross-examinations. If the music stops when a piece of evidence is presented, you know you got it right. If it doesn't, you'll most likely get a penalty.
  • Elite Beat Agents:
  • Done by accident in Rockman Exhaust: the final boss enters the room with the normal boss music playing, but it abruptly stops once he's revealed... then the real final boss music plays once he starts transforming.
  • In Pierce's loyalty mission in Saints Row IV, Pierce and the Boss sing along to Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" playing on the car radio. Evidently, the song is so catchy that even Zinyak joins in singing with them, though he utterly butchers the song by singing it like an opera. Both the Boss and Pierce are furious and spend a good amount of time cussing him out.
    The Boss: Zinyak stepped on Biz Markie!
    Pierce: Man, I can't wait to kill that bitch!
  • Star Fox 64: When enough enemies have been shot down after the force field is disabled on Bolse, Star Wolf will appear, with the team's theme song replacing the music that was playing before they showed up.
  • On Raiden IV's OST, the track "Tragedy Flame" abruptly ends rather than fading out like the others.
  • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, during Liam's loyalty mission when you're infiltrating an egotist pirate's salvaged vessel, at one point Ryder (the player character) and Liam are arguing about the mission (which keeps on getting one unexpected complication after another). Twice during the argument, the pirate leader Calot (who's a bit of an Attention Whore) tries to pop up on a nearby holoscreen, and the Archon's theme starts to play... only for Liam or Ryder to smack the console, breaking the connection and making the music abruptly cut off, to restart (and be cut off again) when he tries again. Eventually Calot gets fed up, screams "I WILL NOT BE IGNORED!!", and tries to airlock the heroes.

    Web Animation 
  • The OMORIBOY Chronicles: Omoriboy interrupts the song in MESSENGER!!! when the soyjacks start singing about hosting a contest, because he never agreed to that and he finds it disrespectful to the audience.


    Web Original 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has several examples:
    • "My Freeze Ray" is cut off mid-chorus (on the word "stop") by the arrival of the doctor's friend Moist (though it was the third chorus).
    • Penny only gets four lines into "Caring Hands" before being startled out of it.
    • Dr. Horrible's "A Man's Gotta Do" is abruptly cut off by Captain Hammer's appearance. Hammer then proceeds to hijack the song.
    • In Act III, Captain Hammer gets frozen in time just before the high note of his song "Everyone's a Hero"... and then he finishes the song after Dr. horrible gets a song in. The song Horrible interrupts with is "Slipping", during which he interrupts himself.
      Dr. Horrible: This world is going to BURN! BURN! (to a reporter taking notes) Yeah, that's two R's, H-O-R-R...right. BURN!
  • Team StarKid seems to be fond of this trope. It happens twice to Draco in A Very Potter Musical and Flopsy cuts Dick's intended duet short in Me and My Dick.
  • Done frequently in the review show Crossed, where the music often stops in the middle of an explanation of the movie's plot, just the time for Karim to insert a sarcastic remark, before starting again.
  • Averted, then played straight in Deck'd. Shaun expresses dismay that Peter wasn't decked in the middle of his song, and then when Fred hits Peter again, it is in the middle of the Shaun's delight.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, when Vegeta finally has enough and decides to power-up to Super Saiyan to defeat the seemingly-invincible Broly, his epic Bruce Falconer music plays...Only to immediately stop when Broly just casually curb-stomps him, and proclaiming that Vegeta should believe in him now.
  • Story From North America: In the middle of the first video, the music is interrupted for a second by the singer audibly turning the page. This is actually incorporated into the animation, as the scene suddenly cuts to a shot of the narrator character, who turns the page while staring at the camera awkwardly.
  • Unraveled: While ranking the robot masters from Mega Man, BDG cracks a joke about Acid Man, a chemist, that is so bad the Background Music dies immediately and leaves him standing there grinning at his own terrible joke, pushing it over to So Unfunny, It's Funny.
  • Partway through the final song in "Deadpool: The Musical 2," the Marvel character ensemble sings as they brawl Hand ninjas, "What happens now that we're owned by Disney?" The singers and soundtrack abruptly stop for a beat and the massive brawl pauses; someone awkwardly coughs before everyone resumes singing and fighting.
  • At the end of the Map Men episode explaining English counties, Jay picks up a ukulele and starts to sing a song listing all the counties, but Mark wants none of it and takes Jay's ukulele before smashing it against the table.note 
  • AstroLOLogy: Pisces' song in "The Unstoppable Diva" comes to a halt when Aquarius and Cancer accidentally slam the door to the karaoke place into her.

    Western Animation 

  • In The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Dadzilla", Kootie Pie and Big Mouth take over the Hollywood Bowl and perform their own concert. Their song is cut short when an angry crowd throwing things becomes too much for them to handle.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Origins", Darwin's song is interrupted when an eagle suddenly snatches him up. When she tries to feed him to her chick, Darwin slaps the chick in the face and continues crawling on while singing.
  • American Dad!: In the two part episode where the family moves to Saudi Arabia:
    • One of the locals begins to sing. He's then shot dead since singing is against the law.
    • Subverted as Francine sings her song about how Saudi Arabia is the 'worst place in the world' (if you're a girl), in public, in a very skimpy costume (complete with provocative dancing, including rapid-fire kissing a whole string of stunned Saudi Arabian men). There is nothing Stan or the outraged locals can do to stop her until she completes her song, no matter how many death sentences she accumulates along the way.
  • Animaniacs (2020):
    • In the beginning of the episode "Bun Control", the Warners have completed a fruit sculpture of Giuseppe Arcimboldo in three months, but just as Yakko begins to sing a song about him, he is interrupted by a doorbell ringing.
    • In "Manny Manspreader", the Warners are attempting to deal with a man who lacks a sense of personal space while watching a movie in the cinema. At one point Yakko starts singing "When a maaaaan—" only for Dot to shush him off.
    • In "Soda-pressed", the Warners sing with an overworked tween influencer named Gigi Soda about being a normal kid, but as they sing a lyric about chicken wings, Nora stops the song short to scold Gigi.
  • Arcane. When an angered Silco confronts Jinx about killing six Enforcers with the aforementioned explosion, Jinx is busy tinkering with machinery while blasting Get Jinxed over a gramophone and fails to notice him as he shouts her name repeatedly, making Silco appear less like an enraged crime lord and more like an annoyed dad trying to get his teenage daughter to turn down her music. She only takes notice when he slams down his fist next to the gramphone hard enough to stop the music (and make the camera shake).
    Silco: Jinx! Jinx! JINX!
    Jinx: That's meeee!
  • Apple & Onion: In the minisode "Car", while the main duo sings and dances to a car alarm (along with Hoagie, the robber who tried to steal it), Chicken Nugget manages to arrest the robber right away, stopping the song. Later, when the duo is promoted to "Special Super Force Detectives" for luring the robber with the song, they do another one with Chicken Nugget, who abruptly screams when noticing Hoagie has escaped.
  • In The Backyardigans episode "Race Around the World", just as Pablo finishes his verse during the song "Snow Is Cold But I Am Cool", he falls off the snowy ledge and gets stuck between two flags. Then, Austin's verse gets cut off by Pablo's yelling for help, abruptly ending the song.
  • In the Celebrity Deathmatch episode "Presented By Big Bull Beer" during the Leonardo DiCaprio vs Jack Nicholson fight it appears that DiCaprio has won and he does the famous "king of the world" pose from Titanic while "My Heart Will Go On" plays in the background, suddenly Nicholson regains consciousness and brutally beats him to death, the song comes to a sudden halt with a record scratch sound.
  • Central Park:
    • In Season 1 "Garbage Ballet", Molly's song, "I'm the Worst", is interrupted by Hazel when she gets fed up with Molly not contributing to their science project.
    • In Season 1 "Live It Up Tonight", when Owen and Paige decides to use their alone time to catch up on chores and housework, "Live It Up Tonight" plays in the background while they clean the bathtub. The music is cut off when they realize they're wasting their free time cleaning when they could go out tonight.
  • The Cuphead Show!: The Devil has a villainous "I Am" Song in the pilot episode, "Carn-Evil", but one of his henchmen interrupts him (much to his ire) to inform him that his plan is going awry.
  • Zig-zag/inversion: The Daffy Duck cartoon Duck Amuck has the animator drawing Daffy as a singing cowboy, but as he plays and tries to sing, nothing comes out. He whips out a sign to the animator that reads "Sound, Please!".
  • "Daria! The Musical" had one of Helen's co-workers seranade her, only to leave two lines in for an appointment.
  • Family Guy: In Road To Germany, during a time travel adventure to WW2-era Germany to rescue a time-lost Mort, Brian and Stewie are captured by Hitler and threatened with execution... unless they can perform an elaborate musical number (all three previous Road To... episodes contained one). Brian and Stewie quickly grab a pair of top hats and cane and prepare to burst into song, only for Mort, who's had more than enough at this point, to interrupt them.
    Brian/Stewie: Wheeeneeever-
  • Fantastic Four: The Animated Series has the newly flame-powered Frankie Raye bursting into song. Johnny interrupts her with a kiss, mainly because the next lyric is considered inappropriate for a kids' show.
    Frankie: Hey! We're just like the song! Frankie and Johnny were— [Johnny kisses her].
  • In the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back", Hermes has gained his confidence back and expresses it through a song. At the end Zoidberg tells them he has a song of his own, which he starts to sing before he's cut off by the closing credits and lets out a disappointed "Aw!"
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Golf War", the Lilliputtians offer to "elaborate through song" on how they control the balls at the mini-golf course, but Dipper turns down their offer.
  • Happens to Eugene in the Hey Arnold! movie, with Arnold stating simply that it's not that kind of movie (much to Eugene's chagrin).
  • In an episode of Kaeloo, Stumpy tries to sing a song. He sings so badly that Mr. Cat throws a frying pan at his head to stop him.
  • In the Let's Go Luna! episode "Hola Mariachi", as Luna's song about mariachi music starts speeding up, she starts to dance uncontrollably and winds up yelling "STOP THE MUSIC!" to abruptly stop the song and keep it from going out of control.
  • Mickey and the Beanstalk has an interrupted song. Goofy is singing about food because he, Mickey, and Donald are all starving. Mickey rushes in and interrupts him by shouting "BEANS!" Goofy and Donald stare at Mickey like he's nuts, and the beans eventually get spilled, which leads to the fairy tale happening.
  • The Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "This Island Mouseville" has Mighty Mouse in a fish-slapping fight with an alien cat, and during the fight they sing their lines. The alien cat lampshades it.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): Lunella does this during Beyonder’s first song, cutting him off before he can explain how he will be deciding humanity’s fate. The second time is after he reveals this and sings another song about how humanity is doomed.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship: When Sunset Shimmer discovers Wallflower Blush is the one responsible for erasing her friends' good memories of her, the latter breaks into an Anti-Villain Song about how much she hates being ignored and unnoticed. About halfway through her song, it abruptly ends when she notices Sunset rummaging through her backpack trying to find the Memory Stone, the very item that was used to erase the girls' memories.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The season 3 finale, a Musical Episode, has Twilight Sparkle opening with a song and dance number, only to suddenly be cut off at the end when she gets drenched with rain water.
    • In "Somepony to Watch Over Me", Apple Bloom starts singing about her plan to prove to Applejack that she doesn't need to be babied, but Scootaloo interrupts to point out "No time for a song! Applejack's coming!"
  • Done several times during songs of Nature Cat, especially in the Extra-Long Episode "The Return of Bad Dog Bart!", although the characters did manage to finish them.
    • In "The Praying Mantis Hunters", Daisy sings a song about the said insect, revealing that they are carnivores that lie in wait for their prey and Nature Cat, Hal, and Squeeks yell at her, abruptly stopping the song.
  • Played for Drama in The Owl House. In "Eda's Requiem", Eda and Raine play a duet together, using a combination of Eda's curse and bard magic to try to kill Darius and Eberwolf, at the cost of their own lives. However, Eda accidentally drops a photo of herself with Luz and King. When Raine sees this, they ask her in shock if she has kids, causing her to jump and stop playing with a very off-key note. She tries to keep playing after getting over the initial shock, but Raine stops her again by getting rid of her mandolin.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
  • In Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor, Sindbad never finishes his Villain Song because it segues into Popeye's theme.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • In "Which Moon is Best?", Jet interrupts Carrot and Celery's duet.
    • In "Zerk Visits Earth" and "Water, Water Everywhere", Sean starts to sing "Tiny Blue Dot", but is interrupted both times.
  • Happens to Daffy in Robin Hood Daffy, as he manages to do this to himself during his intro song. While he sings about "tripping along merrily", he manages to trip down a slope and into a pond, interrupting his song. Unusually for this trop, he manages to finish the song once he pops back up out of the water.
    This is ridiculous. Why are we singing?!
  • Word of God is that The Simpsons always tries to end the big musical numbers this way.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • When Sandy arrives home from a trip, SpongeBob starts singing a welcome home song, only to be stopped by the bus driver who yells "No one wants to hear you sing!".
    • Happens when SpongeBob starts singing, "There no place like hoooome..." then gets cut off by Sandy's crying.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "It Could've Been Great", Peridot gets on Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl's bad sides when she implies that Rose Quartz's rebellion was All for Nothing and that the Earth would have been destroyed whether it was through gem production or the Cluster emerging. Steven tries deflating the tension by starting up a reprise of the earlier song "Peace and Love on the Planet Earth", but Garnet gives Peridot a stern warning anyway.
    • In "Mr. Greg", the workers at Le Hotel, along with Greg, Pearl and Steven, sing the titular "Mr. Greg", but when Greg tries to dance with Pearl, she backs up and yells “NO!”, ending the song. A staff member then complains that she ruined the song.
    • In "Raising the Barn", Steven goes out to sing to clear his head about the mess between him and Connie. Three seconds in and his phone rings, sending him into a panic.
    • In the episode "Homeworld Bound" from Steven Universe: Future Spinel starts to sing "Change" at Steven, who gets annoyed at her parroting his own advice at him and quickly ditches her.
  • In the Tuca & Bertie episode "Yeast Week", Bertie starts to sing a song about Yeast Week, only to get interrupted two lines in by Pastry Pete saying, "Bertie, please, only first-timers sing by the fountain."

Alternative Title(s): Musicalus Interruptus, Musical Interruptus


Get on with the ceremony!

An irritated Starscream cuts the Constructicons' fanfare short.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / MusicalisInterruptus

Media sources: