GarageBand/Creating the sound of fear

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These instructions are designed for GarageBand 3 plus the sounds of a symphony orchestra.
GarageBand is easy and fast yet powerful enough to do film scoring.
Please, tell me if you find anything as good!

This course in music and filmmaking is:
Film scoring introduction for filmmakers
This lesson is:
Lesson #01: Creating the sound of "Fear" with GarageBand and the sounds of a symphony orchestra
The pages in this lesson are:
Lesson Summary: Creating moods using the instruments of the symphony orchestra
Page 1: Getting started with GarageBand and symphony orchestra
Page 2: Creating the sound of fear with GarageBand - 6 points
Page 3: Creating additional moods with individual notes - 6 points
Optional: Create a musical cue for the motion picture "Graduation Day" - 20 points

Creating the sound of fear with GarageBand

Step 1

1. Create the note
Start a new project file in GarageBand and add just one note that sounds scary.
In the pop quiz, you determined which instrument and pitch is the most frightening. Now you use that instrument and pitch to create just one note in a new project in GarageBand.
Note: Once you have created the project with a single note, you can easily adjust the velocity of the note. That is the next step.

Step 2

2. Shape the volume

Open up the volume for the track and create a fade in and a fade out for the sound of the violin trill (or whatever instrument you selected.)

3. Send me your results

Once you are happy with your sound of fear, send me the project file. Done!


You create the note at the bottom and then you look at the volume of the note. The volume is just a straight line. You need to fix that.


You then shape the volume line so if fades in and out. That is all you have to do. Just shape the line. Easy!

More advanced Techniques

In the exercise above, you used on only one track in GarageBand. If you wish, you can try to create additional tracks to enhance your sound of fear.

Option 1 · Rich and thick sound

One way to enhance music is to add a second voice which enhances your first voice. One way to to play a complete cord which thickens the sound. Try a cord of violin trills or the same note with a different trill sound.

Option 2 · Add a new sound

Another way to enhance music is add a totally different sound which conflicts and interacts with your original sound. Listen to the sound effects of the Orchestra Kit and add one of the musical sound effects softly in the background.

Option 3 · Add a sound effect

Programs like GarageBand allow you to mix music with ordinary audio files (sound effects from a sound effect library.) Pick a fearful sound effect and combine it with your musical sound. Perhaps the sound of fingernails on a chalk board will make your violin more disgusting. Or the cry of a wolf in the distance.

Simple musical sounds which create the mood of fear

  • Tiego Louis Zontag (Zon) has created the sound of fear using Protools and Miroslav plugin. Zon says, "In Miroslav, the trills violins not exceed 3 or 4 seconds. So, I use trem violins." - 13 December 2007 - 10 points - - - Most interesting sound of fear yet!!!!
I used Logic Pro, and Miroslav strings. The strings did not last six seconds, so I layered them. I allowed a bit of space at the end for the reverb to die away.
I used track automation to provide a gentle volume slide into the sound, and panned the violins into their correct orchestral position. I used a long tunnel reverb to make the violins sound so scary. - 23 February 2008 - 10 points
May 15, 2008
Tonto Silver has created the sound of fear.
Tonto Silver says, "I have created fear with Protools using structure sampler. One note sudden then fade then swell then fade out. The strings tremelo 1 from garageband orchestra loaded into structure. I added medium hall reverb with TL space plug in. using GarageBand with Jam Pack Symphony Orchestra."

The next page

Let me know when you are done or if you have problems Robert Elliott. To email me, you simply Click Here.

Once you have sent me your project file for creating the "Sound of Fear" using a violin trill, etc., you should try to create other moods using only a single note with GarageBand .

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this film scoring class is Robert Elliott.
You can email me by clicking here.