For example, Watch around 2:10 here. What is this false stop called? is there a single word?

  • The only term I've heard used is False Ending Feb 22, 2014 at 4:01
  • 1
    The accepted answer is good - but let me recommend music.stackexchange for future questions about musical terminology. Feb 22, 2014 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


In classical music tradition such a dramatic break in the music (not so much a false ending) is called a grand pause, a caesura, or very informally, railroad tracks.

A grand pause is a more expansive break, often notated with a whole measure of rest, sometimes with the initials "G.P." over the bar.

A caesura is typically a shorter break that often happens abruptly. It's notated with two right-slanting parallel lines (looking like railroad tracks, whence the informal label) that can be placed at any point within the measure.

Your Yanni example is somewhere in the middle of the two, and could be appropriately called either one - either a shorter grand pause or a caesura.


In music theory, it simply referred to as a whole rest or a blank measure. But in sound engineering and electronic music design, the simulation of a malfunction, false-start/stop etc is referred to as an "edit" which comes from "edited glitch" and is also sometimes shortened to "itch" for the meaning of the word itch and how an intentional error in a composition creates the feeling of an itch that needs to be scratched, the scratch being the point in the composition where the edit resolves itself, having temporarily tricked the listener into thinking that something may have gone wrong.

For wild examples of edits in electronic music, see the works of composer/producer James Holden, especially his piece "a break in the clouds" which was meant to introduce the edit-techno genre as the first release on his record label "border community" -- better still, see his dub remix of Britney Spears' "Breathe on Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC7G8LpckhY which is almost 100% edits & itches with ONE final satisfying scratching of the edit-gl/itch.

  • Do you have a reference for this? Feb 22, 2014 at 15:08
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glitch_%28music%29 is close, points to a lot of relevant things, which, in terms of finding a citation, is probably in an indie record label's mission statement or interview with an electronic musician. only reason i know this particular terminology is that i and/or people with whom i've worked (as the band "meerkat") had to invent a lot of the terminology ourselves. -- (Warp Records is particularly established, you might find a good mission statement there, or something from their artists such as Aphex Twin or Boards of Canada)
    – miercoledi
    Feb 22, 2014 at 17:04

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