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There are several sound clips that are widely understood to mean "(epic) fail". I think the most famous one is the one with the oboe or trumpet... 4 notes with declining pitch, the last one being stretched out.

  • Is there a common way to capture that in writing?
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One note is worth 76 words. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 25 '14 at 14:28
up vote 20 down vote accepted

The most common ways I've seen are writing out the words:

sad trombone
:( trombone

Or to use the onomatopoeic

Wah, Wah, Wah, Wahhhhhhh …
Womp, Womp, Womp, Wommmmmp… (at the behest of several commenters)

Or to combine them:

sad trombone: wah, wah, wah, wahhhhh …

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Perfect... I was trying all kinds of "wua, ua, wue" on Youtube and I couldn't find anything :) – Emanuel Mar 25 '14 at 14:32
Yes, onomatopoeia varies from language to language. It makes it challenging to look it up … – David M Mar 25 '14 at 14:34
+1 I would have used similar onomatopoeia, but had never heard of "sad trombone". – TecBrat Mar 25 '14 at 17:40
@TecBrat I initially couldn't remember it either. I googled sad trumpet which didn't sound right to me. And sad trombone came right up. It was an aha moment … – David M Mar 25 '14 at 17:48
I also saw "womp, womp, womp" and I like "wom, wom, wowowom". – TecBrat Mar 25 '14 at 17:59

This is known as the "sad trombone" (see as a reference: http://www.sadtrombone.com/)

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Sound like a duck for me... – Danubian Sailor Mar 25 '14 at 21:31

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