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X2Star's Guide to atmospheric music (HORROR)

A topic by X2Sたr created Apr 13, 2020 Views: 144
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Hello fellow game developers, jammers, musicians, whatever you are. Before I start listing off my tips, I would like to let you know these are NOT rules that you MUST follow. You can use these tips for whatever reason you want and hopefully you might learn something. Also note that these tips wont work for everyone. And if you have any other tips you would like to share, please let me know. I would love to know what you have. And finally, Most of these effects where done in Audacity so, thats how I'm going to be explaining how to do it (though I'm sure any other audio editor will work as well) Anyway, lets begin my little and BAD guide :3


These are just some instruments i tend to use, so lets have a look at why.

Drums: Does not matter what kind of drum, really. As long as it has a kick or tom in it (Sorry, I don't really drum so i'm probably messing this up XD) it should work. Slowing down a kick, tom or even both makes a sound of either heavy footsteps, explosions from the distance or a massive earthquake. For the best results, try using pualstretch or any kind of audio stretch tool. Doing this might make it sound a little more ghostly.

Bells: My personal favorite, Slowing down a bell can make it sound like a scream. Especially if you add a distortion to it. Adding a stretch to the ix sometimes results in a ghostly scream. Hence why I named my bell Satan's Charm.

Glass Bottles: If you don't have a bell, this is a perfect alternative. The sound from hitting a glass bottle is a little different from a bell but in some cases will sound harsher. Like the previous entries. A slowdown and pualstretch is really all you need.

Vocals: A distorted voice can be the most horrifying thing you may ever hear. This is due to the fact we (most of the time) know its a 'human' voice but something is just slightly wrong with it (Search Uncanny Valley) If your too shy to speak into a microphone, text to speech programs will aid you with this one. 


Okay, so now that you have your recorded sounds or a song you wish to distort, i shall introduce some effects I like to use when creating horror sound tracks.

 Lucid Nightmare/Mirrors Edge effect: I created this effect back in 2018 when I created the song Lucid Nightmare. I however lost the original effect file and i was not able to recreate this effect for a while. But then i re-discovered it. To do this do Slow it down until its about eight minutes long. then go under Effects > Filter Curve and create a scale similar to this

After that press OK. This will create another effect I call Mirrors Edge (Because it sounds like its being played through glass)

You can leave it there if you wish but if not, go to Effects > Bass and Treble, crank the dB up to 30 (max) and hit OK.

Finally, Go into Effects > Distortion and do both a Hard Clipping and Hard Overdrive. I recommend you either normalize it or  compress it before listening to it because trust me, it hurts 0_0. 

Armageddon Effect: This one is pretty simple. Import a bunch of songs (I tend to go for 10 but more is welcome, minimum of 5 songs) combine them and do whatever the F### you want :D.  

Combined Effect: Similar to Armageddon effect, You will require a S### ton of songs. However, this time each song will be played either to the left or the right. And just like the Armageddon Effect, you can do whatever you want with it :D

Infra-sound: Infra-sound is not exactly an effect. Its more of...... I'm not really sure :3

I do know, however it is creepy.  I don't exactly want to get into a lot of detail so here is the basics. Infra-Sound is any sound the human ear cannot hear but can feel (it is usually 20Hz or Lower). If you use this, DONT USE MP3 OR ANY COMPRESSED FILE. Files like MP3 remove the stuff you cant hear. So if you export your song with MP3, you will probably loose it. Use OGG or something like that. Do note, there has been some research on Infra-sound causing physical issues. Not sure how accurate that is but I'm not a doctor so don't ask me -_-

And that is it so far, i hope you learned something :)

There was a lot more that probably could have been on here but I'm too lazy LOL.

I hope this helps some developers who need a little boost when it comes to making horror music. If you created any songs using some of my tips, i would love to hear it or play the game it is in. Good Luck to all.