Sting (musical phrase)

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A sting is a short musical phrase, primarily used in broadcasting and films as a form of punctuation.[1] For example, a sting might be used to introduce a regular section of a show,[2] indicate the end of a scene, or indicate that a dramatic climax is imminent.[3]

It can be played on a variety of instruments and performed by a group or orchestral ensemble.

Another form of sting, often mistakenly called a rimshot, is used only in comedy and played just on percussion instruments (such as drums or cymbals) as a payoff after the delivery of a punchline.

A musical sting can be used in drama, comedy, horror or any genre, and in radio and television advertising. It is a part of the music director's lexicon. It is often used to build tension. Stings are often used in horror movies to accentuate jump scares.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Glossary of common media terms, BBC News, 8 July 2008, retrieved 27 January 2012 
  2. ^ TV Speak, Skillset, retrieved 27 January 2012 
  3. ^ Glossary, The News Manual, retrieved 27 January 2012