Techniques for Scoring Horror-Thriller-Suspense Genres

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Course Number: MUCP210-HS2018
Course Instructor: Christopher Young
Guest Artists: Directors from Chris’ feature film projects

Composer Christopher Young was born on April 28, 1957 in Red Bank, New Jersey. After graduating from Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, Young went on to pursue his post-graduate studies at North Texas State University. Christopher moved to Los Angeles, California in 1980. He was originally a jazz drummer, but decided to become a film composer instead after listening to some of Bernard Herrmann’s work. Moreover, Young not only has studied with noted composer David Raksin at UCLA Film School, but also teaches at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Christopher was honored with the prestigious Richard Kirk Award at the 2008 BMI Film and TV Awards.

Learn more about the instructor Christopher Young

Course Description

Techniques for Scoring the H-T-S Genres

This 5-week course focuses on how scenes from an H-T-S film can be broken down into 1 of 10 categories. Each category will be broken down and analyzed, discussing useful techniques to successfully score these types of scenes. Clips will be drawn from Chris’ body of work and analyzed for applicable musical and structural features.

Special Project: Scoring the feature film, “Sinister”

As we discuss how different categories are discussed, “Sinister” will be examined as a whole. Topics discussed will include the process from initial concepts to execution, organization techniques, and presentation tips. Examples will show the composer director interaction from spotting sessions and show and tells. Following these lessons, students will spot the film, submit thematic material; melodic, textural or atmospheric in nature. Then, through a voting process, the music material selected will become part of the primary palette for the new score. Chris will review and critique all of the student’s work.

Class Schedule – Summer 2018

This course is available during SESSION 2  – classes from July 16th – August 15th
There are two SECTIONS offered for this course. Select ONE of the following options;
SECTION 1 – Mondays from July 16th – August 13th from 1:00pm – 2:30pm or…
SECTION 2 – Wednesdays from July 18th – August 15th from 8:00pm – 9:30pm

For a complete class schedule for all ETHOS courses go to the calendar

Virtual Classroom

Christopher Young will present his course “live” from Los Angeles via the ETHOS virtual classroom. Details for access to the virtual classroom will be made available to you after you register for the course.

Course Content

Lessons Status

Lesson 1 – Composition for Film (HTS) – Overview of Musical Approaches – HS 2018


Lesson 2 – Composition for Film (HTS) – Mystery – HS 2018


Lesson 3 – Composition for Film (HTS) – Explosive Dramatic – HS 2018


Lesson 4 – Composition for Film (HTS) – Suspense – HS 2018


Lesson 5 – Composition for Film (HTS) – Continuous Action – HS 2018


Lesson 6 Composition for Film (HTS) – Passage of Time – HS 2018


Lesson 7 Composition for Film (HTS) – Cross Cutting – HS 2018


Lesson 8 Composition for Film (HTS) – Dramatic Atmosphere – HS 2018