July 31, 2019

Being surprised in a musical soundtrack

By Elijah

The most effective and scary example of a soundtrack that I can remember is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Bernard Herrmann, the famous composer of the soundtrack, created a chilling effect with squeaky and squeaky violins played on their highest records. In the course of the movie, when you hear a repeated beep, you know that something really bad will happen. Another known signal that works this way is a 3-note phrase in a low-string orchestra that announces the presence of a killer shark in the first film, Jaws.

The soundtrack moments, similar to those of “Psycho,” are excellent for describing evil and horror, but emphasizing the feeling of fear can be done in a more subtle way.

Normal actions become extraordinary.

Sometimes the soundtrack informs the audience that what they see has a darker meaning. The Michael Clayton movie I saw last weekend long ago. The events on the screen are quite common: a woman dresses for work, however, she is accompanied by a soundtrack that makes her feel chilling.

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Music acts against the scene, contrary to it. This tells us that these events are not ordinary and matter beyond their actions. In fact, music tells us that these normal events are somehow frightening. Something terrible will happen.

The audience knows the secret.

Sometimes the audience reveals a secret, maybe a dark secret, about which the main characters of this story still do not know. You observe how events unfold and see that they get into more and more problems. Again, a dark or anxious underline can work wonders, creating tension against what is happening on the screen.

Internal fight

Suppose that in his story, his main character, the seller, sits on a plane, but we, in the audience, already know that he is very afraid of flying. Flight attendants’ welcome families and other travelers aboard the plane. The cabin is full of background music quite harmless, but nice. Then we cut the main character boarding the plane. Now the music changes to a terrible and terrible soundtrack. Music represents their inner psychology, their feelings of fear.

News Event / World Crisis

If you are creating documentaries or news programs, you may need to occasionally show painful sequences of current world events. This is another time when dark underlining works well. It establishes the basic emotional environment for the frames that accompany it.

Part of the soundtrack arsenal of each media producer includes the ability to emphasize fear, fear and events that are difficult or painful. Horror music tracks look like dark colors, dark tones in their set of soundtracks. Using them draws a cold or scary image.