Many techniques can be used to create a variety of ambiences and ominous settings, or they could used them to layer a section of the film music or the soundtrack to drive the mood towards something more sinister or to further the narrative by creating suspense.
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The Texture of a piece of music is possibly the most important, as it creates a creepy-crawly soundscape. Sonic textures are useful for evoking fear in the audience through the sense of movement and mass. Texture is used to make a sound feel although it has cut right through you, or that an eerie spirit is near you. Our senses are able to go into overload through the creation of virtual sensations that heighten the mood of the experience. The main textures that are able to be created are; roughness, smoothness, and brittleness. However, it is important to only use one main texture, as an overload of different textures can cause confusion and ruin the aura.
Synths are also a useful way to create an interesting textural material; Noise generators, FX and filters.
Layers Upon Layers
Another very important element in creating a sense of horror through sound is the use of layers. This is achieved by using many different sounds at one time, to create a new sound all together. Band-pass filters, high or low, are used to separate layers and to emphasis a certain sound at a certain time, and allows you chose which parts of a particular sound you would like to use. Drones are very useful when dealing with lower portion of a soundscape; as they help to underpin everything and contribute to balance.
The Pitch which is used in very important in swaying the listeners emotions, creating tension and anxiety. Typically, within a horror sequence, high pitched noises are used as they promote anxiousness and fear. The harmonic relationships that is emphasised will create the mood for the entire sequence and help the audience to understand where the narrative is going.
Overall, the aim should be to only use sounds and pitches that compliment each other as well as not interfering with one another.
Drowned in FX
Reverbs are ideal for the task at hand – they help blend sounds together as well as situate them in a common space. Distortion helps to make things seem bigger, louder and anger, but if you modulate the drive to wet/dry settings, the audiences’ fear will grow as the soundscape evolves. Overall, Distortion works best on the lower parts of the soundscape, however they can be efficiently employed moving gradually throughout the layers from low to high. By adding a more percussive layer to your soundscape and sending it to a delay on a bus track and Automating the delay time. This will create a creepy and eerie atmosphere which will help to create setting.