As Halloween approaches this year we’ll all be surrounded by spooky tunes, haunted melodies and scary soundtracks. As a musician you might find yourself wondering: what makes that music so Halloween-y?

Wonder no more! Whether you’re a budding song-writer or film composer, want to improvise some suitably scary sounds during October, or just wish you understood why the music you hear does (or doesn’t) sound like a horror show, here are 5 tried-and-tested ways to add some spook to music.

1. Start with a Minor key

It’s probably the best-known ingredient for a spooky music track: being in a minor key.

Choosing a minor key means focusing on minor chords and minor scales, both of which have a particular musical character to their sound. It can vary a lot by context but when used in the right way these musi