Hey, I've been wanting to basically combine hard rock and an eerie sounding haunted carnival kind of music together into something pretty cool. The only thing is I have no idea to make it sound "carnival-ly" other than it is usually a 2/4 or 3/4 time signature and it works so much better with a bass guitar hitting some of the notes. But I don't know how to get the classical carnival sound, nevermind making it weird. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks xx
Hmm. Thats a pretty odd sub section to focus on to really get something concrete to help you... I mean.. Maybe I could give you a reference for some inspiration/example. Check out the intro to Old Mans Child - Black Seeds on Virgin Soil. The acoustic intro kind of gives you an eerie vibe that I could see being "carnival esque" maybe that could give you something to reference????? If not Sorry. Lol
I've actually asked about this a couple years ago. It's suggested that you emphasize the offbeats (2 and 4) with your instruments (kinda like a reggae rhythm). There's certain reoccurring rhythms and articulations commonly found in creepy carnival music. I'm not an expert but these are just a few guidelines.

Also what you want to do reminds me of the band, Creature Feature. They are a Gothic Rock band that tastefully mixes hard rock, circus music, and Gothic Rock with black comedy lyrics. I'd suggest learning and/or analyzing some of their songs.


"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Maybe you can try learning how waltz music works? Try focusing on the bass/rhythm and progression first, then you can start writing the creepy melody that you're going for.
The only way I know (I never really got into that) is a basic idea a friend showed me a few years back based on the A minor chord shape with an alternating bass.


Basically just do that for however long, then walk the bass up or down chromatically however far, and repeat the same thing there, and just move that shape around chromatically. We would just screw around with that for quite a while with one person making up whatever random progression they felt like while the other person played dissonant chaotic melodies over the top, partially following the chords the other person's playing, then switch up and let the other person take over the chords for a while, etc.

It was a lot of fun and sounded really creepy. It's one of those kinda things that you can just jam on with a friend for a long time and play almost anything over and it sounds good.

So yea, if I was to actually write something in that style the advice here sounds pretty good. Give it a waltz feel, keep the bassline nice and simple, use chromatic lines and dissonant notes to add that creepy feel while still using more basic chord shapes as the foundation to give it that weirdly cheerful sound to contrast with dissonant melodies.

The whole point is to strike a disconcerting balance between scary and overly cheerful.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Jan 26, 2016,
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Use chromatic and the tritone interval. Also the whole tone scale weird plays this
D- 8080808060606040404060606060 ( sorry for the crap tab)
Sounds like it never end like a maze....
And try the diminished scales and augmented chords.
'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite', from The Beatles' seminal masterpiece Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, is a good starting point here. Though not entirely creepy, some of the organically sampled and produced sounds are evocative of the Victorian freak show, but also reminiscent of classic vaudeville performance. Generally, you want to paint vividly by recording extra-musical sounds from a variety of settings. Imagine yourself on the Waltzer, put yourself in the teacups and try your hand at the coconut shy - then, reproduce, in your soundscape, the unease, excitement and sensual indulgence that any circus or fairground offers its patrons.