scary sound effect

What exactly makes “scary” sound effects “scary”? By that I mean, what characteristics do they possess? A typical one is a high pitched, reverberated dissonant chord played on strings in certain films. Dissonance is a given, being in opposition to consonance that is often characterized as “pleasing.” But not all dissonant sounds are scary. Most are merely unpleasant, and one may even learn to enjoy them. It isn’t mental association, either, since certain sounds are intrinsically “scary,” without having been heard before. So what is it?

My best guess is, these sounds may recall the vocalization of some kind of open-range nocturnal predator of humankind’s ancestor, something one is innately equipped to recognize and fear.


  1. Anonymous
    June 17th, 2009 | 1:15


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