halloween music

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This AI-generated scary music offers a personalized Halloween soundtrack

Make your own spooktacular mix of creaks, screams, and heartbeats.


Stephanie Fillion


Published Oct 31, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 2:50 am CDT

Door creaks, evil laughs, screams, heartbeats—what scares you most? A new MIT project is generating scary music from AI. Inspired by classic horror movies, it offers Hollywood-worthy, personalized chills—and it could use your help.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is inviting the public to augment its AI-generated songs with special sound effects to create a dataset that will figure out what the most frightening sounds are. The experience is user-friendly: Researchers have generated scary music (inspired by movies such as The Exorcist, Halloween, and Psycho), and you can use the mixing board to add samples and create your own Halloween soundtrack.

“Generating scary music with AI is an unexplored territory so far: There is really no work we could find on scary music generation,” Pinar Yanardag, a former postdoctoral associate at MIT’s media lab, told the Daily Dot, “But a more important innovative approach we took is to incorporate crowd’s feedback into the picture.”

Yanardag created MIT’s Uncanny Music Box and is the CEO of AI Fiction. You can try the Uncanny Music Box for yourself, and share results on social media.

uncanny music box
Uncanny Music Box

The findings of this study could then be used for different purposes in the entertainment industry. “We are hoping to deploy this technology to Hollywood to bring a ‘personalized’ touch to horror movies where the soundtracks are personalized to frighten you as much as possible,” Yanardag said. The study essentially wants to figure out what sounds most commonly frighten people—and the end game is getting AI to compose authentically bone-chilling music.

In 2016, this team used AI to make scary photos; in 2017, its AI wrote scary stories. Next year maybe Yanardah’s AI can put it all together for the motion picture.


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*First Published: Oct 31, 2018, 6:30 am CDT