Which came first spooky music, or music we think is spooky?


Okay, so when you hear a song, let’s say In the Hall of the Mountain King – it’s a little bit spooky, a little bit creepy-crawly.

Does the music sound this way, and we feel this way because of the inherent sounds themselves? Or have the particular instrument/note combinations been so frequently used for spooky situations that we now automatically associate it as spooky music?

The same can be said for anything really, ‘space’ music, romantic music, sad music. Which way round is the association?

In: Other

I believe music came first. The whole gothic sounds that are in say Skyrim and such were once a genre people listened to in church and festivals and such. Then today we feel freaked out. One day Tupac may be the battle music for a dragon fight

It was associated with the era it was in. Gothic and ruins hand in hand. Space in the 70s trying to imagine what the future thought would be cool. It’s just what we imagine each sound deserves. I guess that goes there

There is a concept called “reification”. An example is the Star Wars theme. When you hear it, you think of Star Wars, not the music as it is. You represent the abstract music, which has no such association on its own, as a concrete thing, in this case a movie world.

As a 21st century person, you’ve probably grown up watching TV. All those cartoons have backing tracks which programmed you to assign feelings to certain chords, modes and methods of musical resolution.

For instance, this does not sound like a wedding to me, but on a certain subcontinent they would disagree.

I dunno, other people can explain it better, like this guy who actually knows a lot about music.

Music is sound arranged in time. Musical notes are sound waves that work together because their wave lengths sync up… different notes together have a different effect – the perfect fifth interval works together best (because the ratio of the waves syncs up in a pleasing way to our ears). When you go against established relationships of notes together we almost naturally find this jarring – if you flatten the fifth interval that works so well, you get a diminished fifth, which doesn’t work as well. It was actually banned by the church and called “the interval of the devil”.

We also naturally favour regular, repeating rhythms – our hearts, the way way walk, the night and day cycle etc. are regular rhythms, so they’re around us all the time. Our responses to these “rules” are part nature from what we’re used to, but when people know how to play these rules they can create an emotional effect. Sad music will always sound kinda sad, happy music sounds happy, and some music is just creepy.

The flip side of that is we learn to make associations. Tubular Bells is a relaxing piece of music unless you’re watching the exorcist. So in answer to your question it’s a bit of both, but I would say it’s more down to the music itself.