What makes music scary? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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What makes music scary?

With Halloween coming up real soon, I was just wondering what makes scary music scary? Y'know the creepy stuff that they put in horror movies and the like.

Is it the key it's in? Is it the association with other creepy things, like huge church organs and the like? Is it the tempo?

I'm stuck for answers. Anyone got the real reason for me?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 07:31 AM
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i think the music has to be minor and you have to repeat a riff and increase the volume to create the scary part of the music.

you can also increase your speed, so you'll come to a climax, that makes music scary i guess
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 07:48 AM
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actually, its alot of things put together that make a piece of music scarey, or happy or any other feeling for that matter. for the scarey things, i would say its the use of scarey sounds (organs, violin flutter) , but a lot has to do with the 'feel' of the piece, ie the intervals. they dont call the diminished fifth the 'devil in music' for nothing...
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 07:51 AM
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Jono- I'm still trying to get you an answer to your "5 x 5" question. Of course I now hear that in just about every movie I watch. :-)

A Berklee friend once told me that F# Phrygian was really creepy. I agreed. She also told me of a very scary F minor or F# minor chord. It was one of those "F#m 7+5 add 11" chords; I'm sure someone here will remember it. Keeping it in that key might raise some hairs on backs of necks. :-)

Check out some classic movie soundtracks too- Jaws, Psycho, Halloween 1 &2, The Fog, Lon Chaney movies, Bela Lugosi movies, and of course, Strange Brew.

As a general rule, keep it in a minor key.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 08:07 AM
 
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Harmonic Minor scales can be made to do some pretty Halloweeny stuff. There's a scale mode referred to as the "Gypsy Minor" scale that's also pretty neat to throw in with that kinda stuff, for that old vampire movie sound. And play it on an old harpsichord or organ!
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 08:44 AM
 
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Check out Fantomas: The Director's Cut.
They do some horror movie tunes. Scary as heck.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 01:48 PM
 
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Atmospheric. Do lots of overdubs with echos and string noise and little squeaks and chips and rumbles coming out of the guitar, and you'll scare the crap out of anyone.

Incedentally, check out Floater's "The beginning" off their disc "Sink."

-Drew
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-28-2002, 06:22 PM
 
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The ideal Halloween song:

Bach - Toccata and Fugue

If you are unfamiliar with it at first, try playing the following and you will instantly know what it is:

e--17--16--17~~---15----------------------------------------------------
B---------------------------18-----17------15-------14----------15~~~---
G------------------------------------------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 08:48 AM
 
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in general- harmonic minor, melodic minor, phrygian, and diminished
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 02:27 PM
 
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the combination of Phrygian and Harmonic Minor (Phrygian Dominant, I believe) also works well.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, part b of the question, what makes these scales scary?

Is it just by association? Or do they sound scary to folks from other cultures not used to our western scales? Or is it a universal type "scariness"?

2 days to go folks
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 03:12 PM
 
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I agree with the atmospheric stuff. Check out finger eleven's "Sick of it All (sullen)" to learn how to create atmosphere. All you need is a lot of reverb, some modulation effects (if you like), some delay, and maybe some distortion. And lot's of creepy high-note melodies.

I also think really really heavy riffs do it too. Look at Rammstein's stuff. Really slow chugging riffs work well too (Korn "My Gift To You").

One song that always gives me shivers is "Until it Sleeps" by Metallica. Just plain cool.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two hands31
I agree with the atmospheric stuff. Check out finger eleven's "Sick of it All (sullen)" to learn how to create atmosphere. All you need is a lot of reverb, some modulation effects (if you like), some delay, and maybe some distortion. And lot's of creepy high-note melodies.

I also think really really heavy riffs do it too. Look at Rammstein's stuff. Really slow chugging riffs work well too (Korn "My Gift To You").

One song that always gives me shivers is "Until it Sleeps" by Metallica. Just plain cool.
I'm not on about "guitar" music, just music in general in fact I'm more on about the psychology behind it. And whether it's an inate or conditioned response and the like. Willin posted about Bach's Toccata and Fugue piece which is pretty much the quintessential "scary" piece of music, but I what I want to know is why it's scary?

And would it be scary to folks who weren't brought up in our culture? Would it be scary to a japanese person or someone from an indian tribe in the amazon rainforest? That sort of thing, or is it something that western culture has been drilling into us for the last few hundred years of our western music much like Pavlov and his dogs?
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 03:49 PM
 
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For me, it's just the atmosphere and feeling in general. Y'know, usually tense, dissonant, very very dramatic dynamic changes, minor-ish, y'know, that kinda stuff.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 10-29-2002, 07:32 PM
 
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It's not the notes themselves, but the space between them. The "interval". The interval heard between the notes has the same sonic "taste" together or apart, that's what makes a chord sound sad. Yes, it does seem to be somewhat universal.

The interval referres to the distance between notes. How an interval sounds happy, sad, or unlistenable has to do with the way the notes vibrate together.
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