Creepy compositions!

Can we use science to make the world's most terrifying tune?...
28 October 2016

Interview with 

Antony Bagott, Composer

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Can we use the science of spooky to make a chilling composition? Georgia Mills teamed up with composer Antony Bagott to try and make the world's scariest theme. 

Antony - Hi, my name's Antony and I'm a composer.

Georgia - Antony's scored film music in the past and he's also done a piece for us. You might have heard...

[NS theme tune]

Georgia - I got Antony on board to see if we could use the science of fear to compose the world's most scary soundtrack...

Antony - Huh huh yes, that's exactly what we were doing.

Georgia - I dropped by his composing studio, which turned out be a laptop with some nifty software installed.

Antony - And that just helps me get all the tracks together so you can choose lots of different instruments and mix them together on different tracks.

Georgia - Okay, so we can have all the instruments we want, but the only one I can actually see here is a keyboard.

Antony - Exactly, yes. So everything that goes through the keyboard can be outputted as any sort of sound that you want.

Georgia - So right, how do we start?

Antony - I think we should probably start with some sort of low bassy note. So let me see if I can find one of them.

Georgia - So this would be representing the sort of big unseen menace?

Antony - Exactly, yes! If I do a really low note on this instrument it does this sound...

Georgia - Oh - like an insect.

Antony - Like an insect, exactly yeah.

Georgia - You should use that definitely.

Antony - Yes, definitely. So we could mix those two base notes together. We could have that one as a sort of base tone or drone type thing and have the insect coming in now and then.

Georgia - So we're actually getting a plot to our film as well.

Antony - Yeah exactly. Maybe this could be some sort of killer insects or something.

Georgia - So we've got a plot to our movie soundtrack - I'm sure most film makers come up with the plot before the soundtrack, but hey. So next we need some of those high clashing notes Janet was talking about.

Antony - Perhaps we could have something like - if we use violins which are used, obviously, in quite a few film soundtracks and film scores. We can get something like this...

Georgia - Am I going to get sued for copyright?

Antony - Yes, maybe. So obviously that's a well  known sound. That's just using the tritone.

Georgia - Ah, the devil in the music?

Antony - Exactly, that's the one. That was staccato violins, so we could also do something like... And one thing we can also do with that, there's a sort of pitch-bend pedal here that I can use to make it go...

Antony -   high sounds we can have a pizzicato violin which is quite often used to give  a creepy another sort of insecty sort of feeling, a feel...

Antony - like that

Georgia - Oh, I like it.

Antony - So that can also go in the background and you can have it going low to high... to sort of build tension.

Georgia - That's the insect creeping up the wall.

Antony - Yeah, exactly. You can also have a few more electronic instruments... those sort of strange sounds.

Georgia - So that's quite noisy?

Antony - Yeah. Noise, obviously, is a good way of making people feel uneasy because it doesn't sound nice, basically. Filling the score with noise is a good way of making a person feel on the edge of their seat.  

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