How to Write Scary Music

By Y.T. Lin
Write scary music in C minor and F minor keys to achieve that moody, creepy effect.

Learning to make scary music can enhance your music composing experience. Whether you are making scary music for a film soundtrack, to scare your friends or just to entertain yourself, common methods exist for composing in this musical genre. You can use these techniques to create terrifying horror music rather than just adding scary sound effects using digital media.

Decide what theme will inspire your scary music. Some favorites are stormy weather, insects, graveyards, blood and supernatural beings.

Write music in C minor or F minor keys as they are crucial in creating a scary atmosphere. This is particularly so when playing those chords lower on stringed instruments and the piano. Minor chords suggests sad or scary feelings, while major chords evoke a happier and brighter mood.

Play some minor keys on a guitar or piano. If you use a guitar, make sure to let the string slide. Keep the sustain pedal depressed all the time if you play the piano. Doing so creates haunting feelings in the audience.

Add a high-pitched solo female vocal to impart an eerie feeling to the listeners. You can also add barely audible footsteps or record panting sounds.

Create unusual sounds using everyday objects. For example, use clattering wooden chopsticks to simulate bones clacking. Incorporate loud percussion noises to surprise your listeners.

Add dissonance to create tension in the music. You can achieve this with cluster chords, groups of minor notes that scatter in your music. An example of a minor notes group would be F-Eb-D-Db-Fm.

Record your finished scary music and load it into a computer music making program. Use the software to add special spooky sound effects or remix your composition. You can fine-tune your music with the software's MIDI playback and mixing functions.

Tip

Study privately with a composer to improve your ability to write scary tunes.

Make your scary music directly in the music creating program to eliminate the hassle of recording and transferring music.

About the Author

Y.T. Lin has been writing articles professionally since 2008 and for other content websites relating to his field of expertise since 2004. Lin holds Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Arts degrees in graphic design and interior design, respectively, from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He is a professional digital graphic artist, interior designer and Web developer.