Brian Funk releases Halloween Theremin a free Halloween-themed Ableton Live pack.
It’s that time of the year again when even adults are allowed to play makebelieve and go a little crazy; the scarier, the better. I mean, don’t go full Michael Myers, but scare some folk, by all means.
Brian Funk is a musician, producer, and educator with an online Music Production Club (first month free). He’s also an Ableton Certified Trainer, and prolific creator of very cool free stuff, like this Halloween Theremin Pack.
You can download the pack for free from Brian’s website and check out some of his work while you’re at it.
The Theremin sound was created using Ableton Live’s Wavetable and built-in effects. Brian has a video that details how he made the Theremin and added expressive controls better than I could, so check that out, too.
When we think of the Theremin, most of us probably picture a 1950s Sci-Fi movie or think of early horror films and Halloween. A good example is “The Day The Earth Stood Still” (1951); Bernard Herrmann’s use of the Theremin on that score helped define how we feel when we hear the instrument.
While the creepy, other-worldly vibe is a pretty fair stereotype, it doesn’t mean the Theremin needs to be packed away after Halloween.
Brian picked out a great example of Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys) to show a completely different side to the Theremin. Erykah Badu’s Incense is another example of the Theremin stepping out of its stereotype.
There are plenty of creative ways to use the Theremin, but right now, it’s a good excuse to geek out on old soundtracks and compose something of your own.
The thing I love about spooky soundtracks is the clever use of tension.
There are simple tricks like not resolving a dissonant chord as expected, letting it linger to create a feeling of unease. Or using irregular time signatures to enhance a sense of breathlessness or desperation.
However, it’s about doing it in a way that isn’t immediately overwhelming, as the protagonist feels hope start to slip away. Slightly dramatic, I know, but I love a good score.
Another thing I love is the atonal approach that composers often take with the use of random clusters, Polychords, or chromatic Tetrachords/X-Cell’s (famously used by Bernard Herrmann in the movie Psycho).
Chromatic clusters like X-Cell’s can be spread out over multiple octaves, creating a more immersive quality without losing any tension.
Around this time last year, Brian Funk (AfroDJMac) released Birds of Prey, his 200th Ableton Live freebie. So, check him out, check out his work, and please make some Theremin-driven Halloween soundtracks!
Download: Halloween Theremin (free Ableton Live pack)