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By: Ben Fraser

3 jack-o-lanterns, a bat, a smiling face and a cat

October is here! It’s a time of chillier weather, leaves changing and falling, and of course, Halloween is at the end of the month. Halloween is a holiday filled with costumes, decorations, and music.

Some of the greatest Halloween hits include: Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, I’ll Put a Spell on You, Five Little Pumpkins, Zombie, Ghost Busters, and Bad Moon Rising.

There are certain musical elements and dynamics that make these songs Halloween-esque.

First, there are the spooky or scary lyrics that fit the theme. Phrases like, “I am the one hiding under your bed, teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red,” are definitely scary! This example is from the song, “This is Halloween” from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

Another important element could be writing the song in a minor key. This can make the music sound ominous or spooky. Within the minor key, embellishing the music with more frequent diminished chords can make for an even spookier song! A diminished chord has a lowered third and fifth, while a minor chord only has a lowered third.

One last music dynamic that could make a song fit the theme would be a sudden crescendo from soft to loud or even using a sforzando (forceful accent). This can be done really well on a piano!

So, listen to, practice, and perform some Halloween music. It’s the time of the season for some spooktacular tunes!

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