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#1
Old 03-01-2012, 02:31 PM
bup bup is offline
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"Sad Trombone" origins?

Everybody knows what the sad trombone is - Wah Wah Waah Waaaahhhhh (and you can go to sadtrombone.com if you don't).

My question is, what's the earliest known instance of it? Can we trace back to sad-trombone-zero, as it were?
#2
Old 03-01-2012, 03:20 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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Will this Wikipedia article on "wah-wah" suffice? It's not specifically about trombones but it points to sad-trumpet-zero.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 03-01-2012 at 03:20 PM.
#3
Old 03-01-2012, 03:34 PM
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I suspect the OP wants to know who first used the "sad trombone" sound to punctuate a failure. I know I do.
#4
Old 03-01-2012, 03:39 PM
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Surely it predates The Price Is Right variant, correct?
#5
Old 03-01-2012, 04:11 PM
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Wouldn't be complete without this...
#6
Old 03-02-2012, 03:28 PM
bup bup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Will this Wikipedia article on "wah-wah" suffice? It's not specifically about trombones but it points to sad-trumpet-zero.
Well, if we can accept that article's implication that early jazz created the "wah-wah" our earliest possible date for sad trombone is the 20th century.

At some point, this had to become a "meme" - those 4 notes are understood to punctuate a failure. It became more than just 4 notes.

Bozo and The Price is Right both debuted about the same time, but I don't know when either started using the sad trombone, and don't know how to find out. I'm pretty sure I'm not inventing a memory that the Flintstones used the sound in their original run, so it's at least that old.
#7
Old 03-02-2012, 03:32 PM
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Urban Dictionary claims it was around since the Vaudville days.
#8
Old 03-02-2012, 03:40 PM
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It would be interesting to know if there is something innate about the sound that conveys sadness or failure, or whether it is a culturally ingrained perception. I suppose one would need to expose people from other cultures to the cadence and conduct a survey afterwards. Doubtful that any formal study has been done in this clearly important field of research, but who knows?
#9
Old 03-02-2012, 06:47 PM
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Yes, yes, yes, a federal grant. Also date the use of the slurr for football kickoffs.
#10
Old 03-03-2012, 09:37 AM
bup bup is offline
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Originally Posted by Apex Rogers View Post
It would be interesting to know if there is something innate about the sound that conveys sadness or failure, or whether it is a culturally ingrained perception. I suppose one would need to expose people from other cultures to the cadence and conduct a survey afterwards. Doubtful that any formal study has been done in this clearly important field of research, but who knows?
Yes, that's an interesting question too.

I'm not much for scatalogical humor, but the flatulent sound of the wah-wah is undeniable. Also, the descending notes denoting a 'letdown' are also seen in the 'sad slide-whistle' noise. So I suspect it's innate, at least partly. But it's been so well codified - there are four notes exactly, the last one stretched out. The four notes are always the same. Where did that come from?
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