What's a good low instrument for creepy suspense

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ironpony
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12 May 2020, 6:43 pm

Oh okay thanks. I will look for that.

As for the theramin, I haven't heard it make bass sounds that low before, that's cool. Can the theramin be played more like other instruments though? What I mean is can you play music that is already written with it, or is it not accurate enough to hit the notes on written music?



auntblabby
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12 May 2020, 11:14 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay thanks. I will look for that.

As for the theramin, I haven't heard it make bass sounds that low before, that's cool. Can the theramin be played more like other instruments though? What I mean is can you play music that is already written with it, or is it not accurate enough to hit the notes on written music?

you can always transpose the music down or up on the printed sheet.



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13 May 2020, 2:51 am

waterphone.

good luck playing the same tune with it twice though.


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ironpony
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13 May 2020, 3:13 am

Okay thanks, I thought of using the waterphone for some sections, as well. Can it make lower sounds that that even though, like as low as a double bass can go for example?



auntblabby
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13 May 2020, 4:11 am

ironpony wrote:
Okay thanks, I thought of using the waterphone for some sections, as well. Can it make lower sounds that that even though, like as low as a double bass can go for example?

you could always take the recorded audio and slow it down to half-speed or even quarter speed.



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13 May 2020, 7:12 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay, but a theramin cannot produce low bass sounds, can it, or at least I've never heard it do any, in the past.


Record what you're after an octave high and pitch shift it down to where you need it when you're done.


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funeralxempire
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13 May 2020, 7:13 pm

auntblabby wrote:
ironpony wrote:
Okay thanks, I thought of using the waterphone for some sections, as well. Can it make lower sounds that that even though, like as low as a double bass can go for example?

you could always take the recorded audio and slow it down to half-speed or even quarter speed.


He won't need to slow it since he's almost certainly using a DAW with the option to change pitch and tempo independent of each other.


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ironpony
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14 May 2020, 2:47 pm

Okay thanks. I don't have any theramin sounds to change the pitch one but I can get some and try.

I already tried changing the pitch on the waterphone, but it doesn't seem to change much, probably because of the physics of the sound of the water phone, because it goes from low to high very quickly, if that makes sense.

As for the waterphone and might use it in small parts here or there. Thanks for the suggestion!

For the low bass instrument, I think I might just use a synthesizer like one of these two low bass sounds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4zh8RwhjZ0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbJE_L80QRI

The second low synth sound is harder to find, maybe I need older style synth samples for that.

As for using a brass bass instrument for the low bass, they sound good, but I don't know if I like the buzz sound they produce. It sounds good in short bursts but if I want a really long sound, the buzzing might not sound good then perhaps. But I can try some theramin samples as well to compare.



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14 May 2020, 7:05 pm

I don't play sny instruments and have never done a soundtrack with music.

I have however done foley and soundtracks with ambient and atmospheric sounds.
And after doing some foley, you think you can make any sound sound like any other sound.

For low and creepy I'd usually take some random bits, maybe even some voice (humming and such) and pitch it down and slow it down to the point where it was more of a rumble than anything else.
And sometimes I'd add a bit of artificial sound - a sine wave at 6Hz, that would be more or less inaudible but create a palpable pressure on the ears.

Obviously that will not give you a "musical" or instrumental sound, but a more experimental, purely affective sound. - as in: why use an instrument, when what you want is to make people's neck hair stand up?

But of course, maybe you do want an instrument for the nuance it adds


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ironpony
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14 May 2020, 10:18 pm

Yeah I guess I want creepy but also the nuance. I am also thinking of it in terms of a soundtrack marketability prospect to, but maybe a soundtrack can be still be good to listen to on it's own, if there are sound effects in parts, and not just music maybe :).



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16 May 2020, 5:54 pm

I had a dream a few years ago where I'd been thrown in prison for reasons that weren't elucidated in the dream, that the prison was corrupt and organizing fighting/gladiating of the inmates. It had these sort of weird Max Payne elements in that I fell asleep on my prison bunk in the dream, drempt that I was out around town at night, found what looked like a blood drive, got shot up with some drug by a nurse, and woke back up in prison with the current prison gladiatorial champion standing over me and saying that we were going to make a break for it.

That whole sequence got really strange because as we were sneaking through and occasionally snapping necks of people who saw us there was this really minimal plucked acoustic base along with some drifty Parisian street accordion but what I think would be impossible for a sound engineer to redesign - the ground was absolute silence and you could hear these micro-nuances of each instrument even if it sounded disembodied. The whole feel of it was 'this is grown man business with grown man consequences' folding into the sort of hyper-vigilance I can only remember seeing in a movie like the end of Descent 2.

Where I think that dream hit on something - if you could make a track that's so silent, so minimal, that every secondary and tertiary consequence of every instrument's notes and all of the idiosyncrasies of that instrument start jumping out - I think that would resemble a hyper-vigilant state and probably help induce it in your listeners.


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16 May 2020, 6:00 pm

Also pretty clear - a lot of electronic music producers have used suspense sounds a fair amount to pack dance floors and keep people riveted. Some good cases in point:





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17 May 2020, 10:12 pm

Bass clarinet! It does quietly sinister very, very well.


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18 May 2020, 12:15 am

one of the contrabass clarinets even better-



ironpony
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19 May 2020, 12:47 am

Actually, the bass clarinet sounds quite good! I would have to hear it in more of a horror/suspense music fashion to be sure about it, but it sounds better than the bass trombones and tuba in my opinion possibly. Thanks!

There is one instrument, a lighter one, I was also thinking about using, the tenor saxophone. However, even though I like the sound, whenever I hear it, I think of erotica, since it's been used so much in erotica and porn movies. I asked a friend and she agreed that she thinks of it too, when she hears the instrument. So when using that instrument, does it always have that stigma attached to it?



auntblabby
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19 May 2020, 1:19 am

when i hear tenor sax i think of just plain old jazz.