Scary music has become synonymous with scary movies, and the two go hand in hand. A lot of people even comment on the fact that horror films would be far less scary without the music. So, how exactly do you use scary music to amp up your horror movie? What is it that makes scary music so scary? Let’s take a look at some tips, effects and ideas for how to get the most effect out of your music!
How Scary Music Makes Your Horror Movie Better
1. It Compliments What The Audience Sees
The whole purpose of film music is to heighten and intensify what is happening on screen. That’s why romantic movies feature large, gushing string orchestras, and comedy films feature quirky tracks. For horror movies, the music in particular is iconic. A peak in the music or a sharp violin sound at the same time as a jump scare on-screen accentuates the effect. This therefore makes the audience react more. A dark graveyard shrouded in smoke is more unsettling with eerie, suspenseful music building up to the main action. Matching the visuals with the music is the best way to heighten whatever mood you’re trying to portray – especially in horror movies.
2. The Impact Of Foley Sounds & Sound Effects
For gory horror scenes, sounds like bones breaking and blood spewing are created using Foley. This is a technique in which sounds are recorded separately. Then, they are layered over the top of the visuals to exaggerate sounds for effect. Other sound effects can include rumbling thunder, rain, branches snapping whilst a character walks and so on. These additions intensify the audience’s sense of unease, and makes parts of the action more noticeable and memorable. Speaking of sound effects, Audiosocket have a wide catalog of sound design for you to use to your heart’s content!
3. Using A Signature Sound Or Motif
If asked, we could all hum the Jaws theme. This has become synonymous with danger, sharks lurking and an impending sense of doom. Composer John Williams not only captured the essence of the movie, but also created a signature sound that embodies the shark itself. When the shark appears in Jaws, the audience know that it is coming by the addition of the theme. In this way, you can signal to audiences the appearance of a character through a musical motif. This further builds up something that they know is coming soon.
4. Suspense & Surprise
The key elements of any scary music for a horror film is the idea of suspense and surprise. Music should build suspense, making the audience nervous for what’s to come before surprising them when it does. Scary music does this through:
- Building layers
- Hinting at small musical ideas
- Hitting the audience full-force with loud, in your face moments of surprise
5. Using Dissonance & “Horror Chords”
Dissonance refers to discordant sounds, or put simply, chords that sound “off”. These sounds have a lack of harmony, which makes audiences feel uncomfortable and out of place. This therefore works incredibly for horror movies, and “horror chords” usually feature clashing notes or dissonant sounds for this reason. Finding music that features dissonance is a great way to heighten your scenes and get that classic scary music sound.
So, there you have it! Scary music is so integral to horror movies because of the way it intertwines with the action. Horror music should compliment and exaggerate what is happening on screen. This is done through sound effects, building tension and alarming sounds that make the listener feel on edge.
How Audiosocket Can Help
At Audiosocket, we have a wide range of top quality scary music! From sound design to use in scenes to our organized moods such as Scary and Dramatic that work perfectly for this spooky genre. Check out our wide-ranging catalog now for all your music needs – scary or otherwise!