Spooky season is in full swing, which means it's time to find some scary tunes to play this Halloween. This year, look beyond pop classics like "Thriller" and novelty tunes like "Monster Mash" and dive into these chilling classical masterworks. Tone poems about witches and goblins, requiems and dances for the deceased, atonal and unsettling modern compositions - these spooky classical are perfect for Halloween scares!
Toccata and Fugue in Dm, J.S. Bach
Instantly recognizable, this organ piece has long been associated with all things spooky and ghoulish due to its frequent use in silent horror films.
Danse Macabre, Saint Saens
Literally translating to 'Dance of Death', this unsettling symphonic poem is based on a French legend wherein Death appears at midnight on Halloween to play his fiddle and summon the dead from their graves.
Night on Bald Mountain, Mussorgsky
Featured in Disney's 1940 film Fantasia, this terrifying tone poem is based on a Russian tale of witches who gather on Bald Mountain and perform black magic through the night.
In the Hall of the Mountain King, Grieg
You've undoubtedly heard this creeping and suspenseful piece from movie trailers, film scores (including The Social Network), ads, and beyond. From Peer Gynt, this iconic motif tells the tale of a troll king and his goblin minions contemplating the best way to eat a kidnapped Norwegian boy. Spooky stuff indeed!
Water Goblin, Dvorak
A symphonic poem based on a mythical goblin who traps drowning souls in upturned teacups, this piece certainly gives off spooky and unsettling vibes.
Requiem in Dm, Mozart
Dark and forboding, this brilliant composition was left famously unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. Requiems are undeniably spooky, given that they are composed for funerals and remembrances of the dead. Mozart's masterpiece in Dm may be the most famous requiem ever composed.
Funeral March, Chopin
This piano sonata is actually quite lovely and moves through both major and minor keys. However, most people are familiar the instantly recognizable and deeply somber opening lines.
The Planets: Pluto and Mars, Holst
Holst's planets suite has several excellent and unsettling pieces perfect for Halloween. Pluto, the god of the underworld, sounds foreboding, distant and abstract. Mars, the god of war, is the more famous piece with its odd time signature and omninous, driving strings.
Requiem, Gyorgy Ligeti
A ghostly and dissonant choral piece that captures an undeniable sense of terror and existential dread, Ligeti's Requiem will haunt you long after the first listen. The piece achieved notoriety after being used to great effect in Stanley Kubrick's 2001:Space Odyssey.