Asked • 07/03/19

Elements of a horror musical song?

When composing horror music for musical drama in general, what does one need to consider as in harmony, melody and rhythm, etc.? For harmony, I am especially interested in what chords are normally used as the root, what chord progressions are common and what special chords(all types of diminished, etc.) are typically used. For melody, I am particularly interested in what scales are normally used to compose the melody (including non-traditional scales such as various pentatonic scales, etc.). Lastly, for rhythm, I am curious about whether any particular form of rhythm is common and what meter is common.

Francesca D.

For a slow horror song I'd suggest using a Dorian mode for parts of it - it'll evoke the same kind of felling as those medieval Latin sacred hymns. ... dissonant chords. In particular, augmented fifths, and diminished major sevenths. Try even a Lydian mode. Use odd intervals, and don't resolve anything. Unexpected progressions work great, too. And the spaced-out WHOLE TONE scale works well, also. Monotonous rhythms make for impending doom, yet syncopation keeps the heartbeat on edge. I've always told my piano students to "mush the middle and make it minor, moody & mysterious".
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07/21/19

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Francesca D. answered • 07/21/19

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