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Continuing my 13 spooky tricks or treats for music production we move to part four.

 

 

 

10.Reverb

 

 

 

People often reach for a long hall or ambience reverb when they are trying to make a sound etherial and scary. But may I suggest that you just try thinking in the opposite direction. If you want to make a voice feel up close, intimidating and personal really in your face,

 

 

 

you might want to use a short room reverb perhaps with very strong early reflections and minimal reverb tail. We can really make sound sources feel very spookily close.

 

 

 

 

 

11. The Grain Of The Voice

 

 

 

Roland Barthes postulated that there was an indeterminable fingerprint to each voice, something that could not be described in words necessarily, he dubbed this "The Grain Of The Voice". See my article on this here. One most of the most famous grainy voices of course would have to be that of Christopher Lee. The old Hammer Horror villain voice with which we are so familiar a has a super lower register, and we can use a singing technique called vocal fry to create this creepy vocal texture.

 

 

 

You will often here pop artists such as Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga implementing vocal fry. The voice is dropped to essentially one octave below the normal register this creates a crackling sound hence the name vocal fry. You can hear me implementing this as an example in the video! Yes it's cheesy we can use it to different degrees to create different levels of taste in spooky music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check back in tomorrow for the final instalment of these 13 creepy tips.

 

 

 

 

And so we come to part three of the music production tricks or treats miniseries.

 

The Minor 2nd

The Minor 2nd is simply an interval, just as an octave is 12 semitones the minor second is one semitone. Play to notes a minor second apart in succession and you get the Jaws theme...DUM-DUM.

If you want to apply chords to this use a simple fifth power chord and you shouldn't go far wrong. You can also make a chord out of a minor second. This can be pretty tricky on stringed instruments depending on the scale length but if you utilise an open string you can get quite an interesting jarring sound. In the accompanying video I play a simple diad (two note chord) with a fretted note against the open string above.

 

Panning

Not a lot of people realise that the further left or right that you pan a source within the stereo panorama the more difficult it is to encode ambience. Therefore the source feels closer to the listener, this can be a really interesting effect for bringing a spooky voice "into the head" of the listener. 

 

Whispers

By simply stacking a number of whispered tracks against the lead vocal you can create a spooky thickening effect. Depending on how tight you get the timing of the whisper tracks you can create different effects. Whispers are particularly conducive to use of preverb.

 
Hope you enjoyed these tips...more skeletal sounds coming tomorrow!

 

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