General Question

Steve_A's avatar

How do you write/compose "scary music"?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) February 14th, 2010

How do composers and songwriters best approach this?

Like Jaws,Saw,Resident Evil, Friday 13th,etc..?

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21 Answers

buckyboy28's avatar

I find the creepiest of scary music is from the theremin. From what I’ve seen, the best music from it comes from just messing around waving your hands at different speeds and different angles.

Steve_A's avatar

@buckyboy28 How much are those?

buckyboy28's avatar

@Steve_A I’m not sure of the qualities because I don’t play it, but a quick search on Amazon seems as though it will run you around $400 bucks. You could probably find a cheaper one on eBay.

LeotCol's avatar

I’m not sure how real composers do it. But I just sit at a piano and depending on my mood I can come up with happy or scary music. I find that scary music requires a lot more off sounding keys and rapid changes of intensity.

Steve_A's avatar

@LeotCol what do you mean by off sounding keys?

answerjill's avatar

Use minor chords?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Minor chords. Or diminished chords would work too; they’re especially jarring after a few sprightly major melodies in G or C.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

Minor chords are huge in setting a mood, and so does playing it lower on the piano. My piano teacher describes minor chords as sad or scary, and major chords as brighter, or happier.

@Steve_A, I think @LeotCol meant to have notes that just sound off played together. You know what I mean, like where you play two keys together by accident and you instantly know you made a mistake.

Cruiser's avatar

Any composer worth his salt will just start emoting to the images on screen and compose what they feel. Kind of like a good foot massage!!

Steve_A's avatar

I was thinking something more along the lines of very tense chord progression…?

minor chords feel sad to me, I suppose there the right direction per say but not exactly what I am thinking.

Sampson's avatar

It has to do with theory. Knowing what notes sound “creepy” together. Usually minors. Like for example, the Jaws them is just a repeated minor 2nd.

Sampson's avatar

@Steve_A More what? Specifics? Do you know much in the way of music theory?

Steve_A's avatar

@Sampson Basics, not that deep into it, but can you tell me more?

Sampson's avatar

@Steve_A Well, minors are the sad sounding note combinations. My advice for writing a creepy song would be to play around with minors (F# is the creepiest key, imo) and throw in some off key notes, like a flat 5th. Some more advice would be to pick up a book in theory for your particular instrument and go through it.

Steve_A's avatar

@Sampson Can’t you apply music theory to all instruments?

Sampson's avatar

Yes, but a good book will be instrument specific, showing diagrams, explaining hand positions, have tips and tricks, ect.

Steve_A's avatar

@tragiclikebowie Yeah like the headache kind those are scary

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MClasper's avatar

I use piano with lots of reverb, mixed with gongs, cymbals and Chinese Tam Tams. Slow piano solos in minor chords, supported with slow violin and random tam tam noises make a perfect horror track!

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