Horror Music

Here you have a considerable amount of music of horror genre, mystery, creepy and suspense, exactly what your dark project needs. Just remember to write my name Patrick de Arteaga and a link to this website in the credits of your project.

2nd Sonata – Malign Chords
Spooky notes played on an old piano. Perfect to express a paranormal situation.
Abuse In The Orphanage
Inspired by terrifying stories. A music box can sound very creepy.
Best stories usually have sad moments caused by tragedies. Violins and cellos are perfect for this.
Tell horror stories about mad characters. Instill fear and darkness among your viewers.
Beware The Monster
With a BPM in crescendo, this song helps to increase the suspense.
Biological Weapon
A strong and rhythmic battle theme focused on horror. This can be useful for playing a monster.
Center Of The Earth
Intriguing dungeons and caves, mystery places with soundscapes and maybe scary atmospheres.
Dancing Pumpkins
I was influenced by typical Halloween waltz when I made it, creepy parties with witches and ghosts.
Death At My Heels
Shuddering chase and intense persecutions with an orchestral style.
I think this one could be useful for staging strange dreams, memories, or fantasy places.
Here are no harmonic chords, this is pure dissonance for your horror stories.
Forgotten Spaceship
Mystery notes, old orchestral strings and ghostly choirs. All this to get a dark atmosphere.
Homicida Paradógico
Just think about a friendly and mad assassin. Think about it.
Horror Stories
The name says it all. Use it in your creepy video games.
Infested City
In my mind, a city was infested by zombies. Then, I composed this dark song.
It’s Time To Run
The monster is chasing you! Terror theme for spooky stories, maybe? It’s up to you!
Let’s Play With The Demon
Some people have said that this is the loudest song they’ve heard. I’ll take it as a compliment.
Looking for a new beginning
Unusual instruments on an unusual scale. The result is something like post-apocalypthic?
Lord Mavras
Unusual rhythm and two pianos. This can only mean one thing: something evil is coming.
Ouija A
Terror theme with a harpsichord and an oboe. Good combination for paranormal plots.
Ouija B
This is like a soundscape, can be used to set nocturnal ambients.
Ouija C
This is a slower version of ‘Ouija A’. Ideal for terror games, too.
Simple but rare. I composed this when I was a child and I think I can’t make anything alike now.
The Ninth Crewman
Inspired by a famous sci-fi movie, this terror track can be used as a terrifying soundscape.
They Are Already Here
If you are abducted by aliens, you will listen to music inside their UFO, and it’ll sound like this.
Typical Lullaby
As every horror story, your horror game must have a song for the memories of some character.

These works are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY):

Allowing distribute and modify these works for any purpose, even commercially, provided that the author Patrick de Arteaga is cited with a link to this site.

What is horror music?

It is a musical genre that is aimed at causing fear in the spectator. Generally, horror music should convey expectation, suspense, fright, and strong emotions that are opposed to joy and pleasure, such as terror, repulsion, and even drama or sadness. If the music manages to keep the listener fearful, expectant and tense, the mission is accomplished.

Visually, it is closely linked to darkness, cruelty and strange or mysterious atmospheres, and is used to set movies, video games and any type of audiovisual representation, where the image on its own does not efficiently transmit what it intends. Background horror music is the underpinning part of any kind of story of fear or suspense.

For example, what makes you jump right out of your chair when you see a scary scene in a movie or when playing a horror video game, which can even contain violent and bloody scenes, is not the image itself, but the sound, its volume and its changes of rhythm, which cause you to experience a sense of alarm.

Try to watch any horror scene without sound and you will notice the difference. If you still keep jumping out of the chair it is because someone has put a thumbtack under you. (Joke)

Speaking of jokes, since a long time the so-called screamers move across the Internet, which are jokes in which people receive a link to a small horror video, which at first does not seem to be related to the genre until suddenly a demonic creature appears in the foreground with the intention of frightening. These videos wouldn’t have much effect if they weren’t accompanied by horror audio at the time of the scare.


History of horror music in video games

It all started with the alien invasion games, when Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 video game consoles experimented with the first games in the eighties.

Games like the well-known Space Invaders or Demon Attack, had a musical soundtrack that consisted of a single song formed by four notes that were repeated constantly in a loop but had the peculiarity that the rhythm was accelerating as the danger was increasing, resulting in a kind of scary music.

Later, better elaborated and sophisticated songs like the one of Panther (1986) came out, with a style that, still being 8-bit music, could more be assimilated to the current electronic music, but that still contained variants in some of its notes, modifying its tone gradually and causing tension in the player like every suspense soundtrack.

Already in the nineties, with the advent of the fourth generation of video games, titles emerged whose horror genre extended beyond the classic invasions of aliens and they experimented with vampires, ghosts and zombies. All with a horror music much more varied and, of course, more terrifying.

We can also highlight the advent of the gore subgenre, especially on Sega Mega Drive with games like Mortal Kombat, where blood splatter and “dark” audio made its gameplay a horrifying experience. Who would not be traumatized to see a fatality?

Currently, in music for video games there is everything, from horror music inspired by films with orchestral instruments to soundtracks that follow the chiptune theme of yesteryear. Any style can sound thrilling.


Keys to compose horror music

Before we move on, I recommend you listen to some of my songs from the list above while reading the rest of this article. Here we go:

Since music is composed of melody, harmony, and rhythm, this genre can contradict its meaning because it does just the opposite. Horror music is not usually composed of harmony and is also arrhythmic, so it would not always fall within the correct definition. However, due to its beginnings and because a horror soundtrack in movies used to contain pieces with musicality, nowadays it is popularly considered a musical genre.

While there is no unique way to compose horror music or scary music, history has set guidelines that are still valid today. Leaving aside the harmony and the rhythm, since it is about making you shudder, there is no better way than to create discomfort in the listener with the dissonances.

Composing scary music is an activity that has no limits and can be innovative. Jason Graves, composer of the chilling video game trilogy Dead Space, created his own sounds with even his own instruments to get the most piercing sound effects and the most terrifying video game music.

As for the rhythm, in case of songs with percussion intended for creating a sense of danger or panic, unusual time signatures are often used. A 5/4 is ideal, being able to fiddle with half measures and create a sense of asynchrony that keeps a correct rhythm at all times.

The intention is to make the player stay so tense because of the fear that he ends up sweating his gamepad or computer mouse. In the case of a mobile device, if you manage to make the player sweat until soaking the screen and not being able to interact, it means that either the player has a problem with his sweat glands, or you are the best horror music composer of the moment.


Non-copyrighted horror music

There are various licenses for musical works, regardless of genre and whether or not it is music for video games. Music, in general, is governed by copyright, something necessary for authors to be able to collect royalties corresponding to the art they have created.

Even copyright-free or royalty-free music usually handles licenses such as the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY), which allows music to be used for commercial activities or even to modify it if necessary, but always attributing authorship to the original creator.


Download horror or scary music

In this section, you have many of my original tracks of music for videogames or multimedia projects, which you can use to set scenes of fear, terror, suspense or mystery. You can download and use them as you wish, even modify them, they are ideal not only to use them as horror background music for video games but also as horror music for videos or podcasts.

Just remember to mention that I am the original author, Patrick de Arteaga, since these audios are subject to the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY).

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