Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Shadows of a thousand years."

"Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!"
~Dexter Kozen

     What makes a song scary? With Halloween fast approaching, the appropriate music has the power to set ghoulish moods for ghostly celebrations or frightening  tricks-or-treater's from the front porch. But what elements of a composition make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end or send a shiver down your spine?   Researcher Daniel Blumstein, professor and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California (Los Angeles ) may have an answer. Blumstein is an expert in animal distress calls or in scientific terms "nonlinear chaotic noise.”  He began exploring the link between nonlinear noise and scary music in a 2010 study of film soundtracks discovering horror scores significantly amp up the creep with blood curdling shock waves. Animal screeches, screams, crying babies, a haunting dissonant piano chord all trigger biologically ingrained responses in human beings. Since music is a huge part of our existence and permeates almost everything we do it seems natural that we associate certain sounds with terrifying moments of suspense. Recall any horror or paranormal movie that gripped your imagination, had you covering your eyes or squirming in your seat. You can shield your view but you can't get the sound out of your head. Sounds move us faster than our visual  perception. Your sense of hearing is never really turned off.  So what scary songs are on your bewitching Halloween soundtrack?  Here are a few to consider.

       My all time favorite creepy composition was created by legendary British band Bauhaus. Considered the fathers of Goth rock music, Bauhaus composed an eerie tribute to late Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi (Dracula). The song "Bela Lugosi is Dead" has been featured in horror films  The Hunger, and 2009's The Collector.

      The Thirst by Wymond Miles
      Dracula by Gorillaz 
      Halloween by The Misfits
      Red Right Hand by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
      Down by the Water by PJ Harvey
      Dark Legacy by  Midnight Syndicate
      The Prestige Movie Soundtrack
      & this hauntingly beautiful classic track from the Exorcist- Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield

Enjoy making your own spooky soundtrack.

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