Halloween Piano Concert: music from horror films

Halloween music can come from horror movies or those with ghosts, vampires, monsters, and other fantasy creatures. Anne Ku gives a piano concert to celebrate this occasion on Maui.

In the spirit of themed piano concerts, I decided to do one for Halloween, after my previous one for Earth Day in April 2014. Because Halloween is so popular in the USA, rather than run away and hide from trick-or-treaters as I usually do, I thought I’d face the music and celebrate with an audience that may appreciate a journey down memory lane.

The word Halloween originates from “All Hallows’ Even” or “the eve of All Hallows’ Day.”  All Hallows’ Day is simply another name for All Saints’ Day, the day the Catholics commemorate all the saints.

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Music for Halloween

When we think of Halloween, we think of music of horror movies. Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King come to mind. But there are others suitable for beginning piano students.

After posting the re-writing of the first section of the Mountain King piano piece for beginners on my blog, I became curious about other suitable tunes for this spooky occasion.

Halloween conjures up night time, darkness, horror movies, scary things, costumes, and kids that go trick or treating.

In the classical music world, we think of Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre” (Dance of Death). This would make a very engaging lecture recital, with audio and visuals.

The Twilight Saga is about vampires and a love story. In Breaking Dawn, there are two songs that are hardly music for Halloween. After testing the arrangement I made in C major for nearly a year, I will soon upload “A Thousand Years” on my own website, two versions: very beginner’s level and a next level one; together with a piano duo version.  Note: since the first time I checked, there is now a proliferation of youtube tutorials on how to play this sticky love song.

Bella’s Lullaby is also a lovely tune from Breaking Dawn, but I have not yet looked into rewriting it for my beginning piano students, simply because there has not been a request.

Harry Potter is about wizards, hence appropriate for Halloween. Hedwig’s Theme is easily adaptable for beginners.

One of my friends from high school reminded me not to forget Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells,” a minimalistic work that became very popular while we lived on Okinawa. The work was created BEFORE the movie “The Exorcist” which made it famous. After the movie, we’d associate Tubular Bells with the movie and not the instrument. How interesting!