ArtsEdge – The Music of Sound

The Music of Sound – Listening Unit on Movie Soundtracks from ArtsEdge

– play the podcast The music of StarWars – excellent show on the job of creating sound effects


Spooky Sounds and Scary Tales

The music in a theater performance, television show, or movie often tells you that something scary might happen. But how? To create frightening music, composers might use:

  • fast tempos (speeds) that can give a sense of alarm, wildness, or a chase.
  • very slow tempos, often with lower notes, that suggest someone or something might be sneaking up on you.
  • high-pitched notes that can represent a wicked laugh or whirling wind.
  • different combinations of tones to create unpleasant or uneasy sounds

Chills and Thrills, Music that goes Bump in the Night – Theme from Jaws and Psycho – Listen to the Hall of Fame Video


Tear Jerkers – ArtsEdge – Different Cultures, Different Scales, Different Feelings

The effect of using major and minor keys mainly holds true for people who grow up listening to Western music—musical styles that first developed in Europe. (Western countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of the countries on the European continent.)

When you are ready, listen to the examples in the audio player below. You will hear the same song played two different ways. As you listen, think about each version and how it makes you feel.




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