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Nialler9 Podcast: The devil in music, a short history of horror soundtracks & spooky tunes

Nialler9 Podcast: The devil in music, a short history of horror soundtracks & spooky tunes

Episode 112 is a spooky music special:

This week, Dre deep dives into the mysterious ‘diabolus in musica’ tritone and dispels a spooky rumour you might have heard about it. Also in this segment, a brief history of musicians who have made deals with the devil, one who won a golden fiddle. 

Niall gives a short history of some of his favourite horror soundtracks like Psycho, John Carpenter, The Exorcist, Italian Horror soundtracks and segue into modern horror-inspired music from Clipping.

Finally, we discuss genuinely spooky songs from Scott Walker’s 2006 album The Drift and The Caretaker.


Happy Halloween!

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Running Order:


The Devil In Music

Diabolus in Musica

I heard there was an evil chord, that Satan played and it spooked the lord…

Musical works cited:


A short history of horror soundtracks

  • Dies Irae – Day of Wrath – 4 descending minor notes in a chant used in The Shining theme and many other horror scores.
  • The Mummy (1932) opening sequence – used Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake
  • Psycho (1961) – Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece with Bernard Hermann’s score was an early example of jump scare music.
  • The Exorcist (1973) – the use of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
  • Halloween (1978) – John Carpenter and the proliferation of ’80s synths and horror
  • Italian Horror – Dario Argento – Goblin for Suspiria (1977) and Tenebre (1982)
  • Modern Horror and retromania – Stranger Things (2016) and It Follows (2014)

Spooky songs played

Novelty Songs – Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash (1962)

Yvonne Gage – Doing It In A Haunted House (1984)

The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (2011)

Clipping – Nothing Is Safe (2019)

Clipping – ’96 Neve Campbell (2020)

Scott Walker – The Escape (2006)

Scott Walker – Jolson and Jones (2006)


Closing Track

Psyche – The Saint Became A Lush


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Previous podcasts in this series are listed here.

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