Halloween Music by Genre
musical styling have different a dialect that are more effective than
others at conveying certain messages, and lyrics follow from
Halloween music springs from several genres, whereas others (e.g.,
polka, country music) yield almost no Halloween-worthy material.
The primary criticism of this genre (though rarely acknowledged by
fans) is that most of the bands really do sound alike. It's
almost as though this is too new a style to have diversified.
It's more a style still than a genre.
Musical elements: Lots of heavy
guitars borrowing licks from their rockabilly roots. A lot of the
guitarists tend toward similar instrumentation as their forebearers as
well, often playing Gretsch guitars or single-coil-equipped solid
Lyrical content: Campy humor
built around science fiction and horror themes and references to older
movies, particularly B-movies more-so than the accepted classics.
The Phantom Rockers
The Ghastly Ones
there aren't a lot of break-out hits. Like punk, this is a genre
that really hasn't had much airplay or mainstream exposure.
This sub-genre is sort of a cross between the lyrical fixations of
psychobilly bands and the musical stylings of punk. Further
Musical elements: There is some
overlap with psychobilly, but mostly it's solid, heavy rock (nothing
flashy) that doesn't quite push into the territory of metal. Good
songs played fast.
Lyrical content: Many artists
have a similar aesthetic, especially in their lyrical fixation with
B-movies, both sci-fi and horror.
Ramones - Pet Sematary
A diverse set of groups fall under this heading. The defining
trait seems to be that they aren't afraid to slow down and get
moody. Further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_rock
Musical elements: Often a
dreamy feel. Not a lot of reliance on distortion. Guitars
have some effects on them such as chorus and delay, but they are more
likely to play drones than riffs. They are not afraid to use
synths, as keyboards feature prominently to give a cohesive atmosphere.
Lyrical content: Varies by
band, but there is a morbid, bleak fixation on darkness. However,
the focus is usually on emotions, not the supernatural.
The Cure -
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Spellbound
Sisters of Mercy - This Corrosion
Heavy metal broke out from mainstream rock music in the '70s and it has
matured beside it every since, so there are many sub-genres with
different stylings and musical focus, many of which still qualify as
Musical elements: Distorted
guitars, often bottom notes (or even extra-low notes via 7-string
guitars/5-string basses). This isn't unique to metal, of course;
jazz guitarists originated the 7-string guitar, but the emphasis on the
low end of the register is a trademark of metal.
Lyrical content: Plenty of
fixation on death (by nearly every means imaginable) and all manner of
mythology. Everything from Christian imagery of hell to Ragnarok
from Norse legends.
Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne
White Zombie/Rob Zombie
Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare
Alice Cooper - Feed My Frankenstein
Alice Cooper - No More Mr. Nice Guy
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon
Rob Zombie - Dragula
Van Halen - Running with the Devil
Metals descendants sometimes chose to force new paths altogether rather
than simply evolving existing metal conventions.
Musical elements: This is a
broad category that encompasses a lot of musical cousins rather than
direct descendants. The central element is that the intensity of
metal is still present, though not the musical stylings (e.g.,
scales/modes). So there are still distorted guitars and heavy
percussion, and even many of the atmospheric approaches.
Lyrical content: Again, all
over the place, depending on the group in question. There is
generally a bit of the death obsession.
Nine Inch Nails (NIN)
Sisters of Mercy (thought they're often
classified as goth rockers as well)
Manson - This Is Halloween
Ministry - Every Day Is Halloween
Sisters of Mercy - This Corrosion
This genre dates from novelty songs in the '50s and '60s through to
movie songs from recent years (although I regret that I can't think of
a memorable hit to include since my childhood).
Musical elements: It depends on
which genres a given song draws from (e.g., rockabilly, dance), but
there are often sound effects and spooky instrumentation (e.g., a
theremin) somewhere in the mix.
Lyrical content: Almost
invariably campy. There are no serious scares. Instead,
superstition is treated as the joke it is. We all know ghosts
aren't real, and so we're going to have a laugh at being scared by them.
Mistress of the Dark (she has recorded several original songs as well
as compiling classics)
Zacheriey (several albums of original
'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash
Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy
Golden Earring - Twilight Zone
Jumpin' Gene Simmons - Haunted House
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Nightmare Before Christmas - This is
Oingo Boingo - Weird Science
Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters
Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
Rocky Horror Picture Show - The Time Warp
Screaming Jay Hawkins - I Put A Spell On
Sheb Wooley - Flying Purple People Eater
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
Zacherle - Dinner with Drac
Although many stand-alone orchestral works have been composed, the
compositions best remembered by the majority of the public are those
that have appeared in films, often composed directly for the films
Musical elements: Dissonant
chords (e.g., minor and tritones, of course) with droning notes.
Add an intensity and sense of urgency, and you have the winning
combination for your horror movie.
Lyrical content: Most pieces
forego lyrics (even if vocals appear), but not all.
Noteable classical pieces:
Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana (O Fortuna)
Frédéric Chopin - Funeral
Grieg - In The Hall Of The Mountain King
(see also Trent Reznor's version from The Social Network)
Mussorgsky - Rimsky-Korsakov - A Night on
Noteable pieces from tv and films:
Mike Oldfield - "Tubular Bells"
Halloween - John Carpenter
Psycho - Bernard Herrmann
The Omen - "Ava Santina"
Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra - The
The Munsters - Jack Marshall
many avant garde composers out there as well as whole soundtracks, but
George Crumb and Gyorgi Ligeti are two whose works are worth checking