What makes the OST of Cyberpunk 2077 sound dark? And why do we like it?
Usually, when we hear about dark music we imagine rock bands and gothic-styled music spliced with creepy orchestra soundtrack from horror movies. But it’s not an electronic, pop, background, or even hip hop track that comes to mind when we think about dark sounds.
The emotion of dark music can be cinematic — and that’s a big reason why there is so much appeal to darker emotions. If you think of scary movies or particularly poignant love scenes, the music is dramatic and pulls at your heartstrings. While hearing symphonic-esque soundscapes, you feel that cinematic quality exists in the undertones of background music beats. Generally, distended dissonance makes the music sound creepy, and stronger dissonance is more frightening. When it comes to orchestration, tremolo strings and the low end of the piano are often considered to be very grim or creepy. It’s important to understand, however, that at different points in history within different cultures, music had different connotations. What we consider creepy or dark now, used to just be considered dissonant or tremolo. Sure, a midi synth can’t compete with an orchestra, while talking about electronic and modern music, it can emulate an orchestra сreating those rich and lush chords and ambient atmospheres.
A lot of music, while “dark”, is also very thought-provoking and creates a slight pleasurable tension. And it’s important to distinguish here between scary, creepy music and dark music as even though they’re related they have different purposes and atmospheric tones. Music, fear, and pleasure have always been related, then. Scientific studies have found that animals with a stronger ability to distinguish pitches also have a heightened ability to specialize their emotional responses to given situations. There is a direct link between our ability to interpret pitch variations and our ability to feel. Dissonant music puts our pitch-interpreting abilities to the test because they’re unfamiliar. We get a cognitive workout struggling to derive an appropriate emotional response to such a challenging group of tones. And when all that tension gets released back into a more harmonic or normal passage, we experience a tremendous rush.
But everyone has a different tolerance for these things, and certainly, not everybody likes darky music. But it surely has a lot of influence on contemporary artists and all of the genres. And on some fundamental level, when music slightly scares us, that’s because we want to be afraid. It feels good to let loose.
Animation and compilation by: Bina K. (Music Lab Team)
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Genre: Electronic music, Downtempo
Mood: Night, Future, Cyber
Duration: One Hour
Feature: Without Lyrics, No vocals
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