The Creepiest Piano Riff Ever?!

Jordan Leibel - Jun 8, 2018

Film music was my first love as I started to dive into the piano as a kid. I used to put on a movie mainly to just sit a listen to that film’s soundtrack, and I’d have all the songs in my head long after the credits had rolled.  

 

As I listened to more and more film scores, I began to hear a very specific sound in so many movies. This little riff had this creepy, suspenseful vibe that I just could not get enough of. I had to figure out what it was!

 

So I figured it out. And I’ve been using it to creep my friends out ever since!  

 

Image result for creepy piano

Do yourself a favor and DON'T google 'creepy piano pictures'.

 

The riff is actually really simple, and a great way to build on your ear training and understanding of the minor triad. Here’s the riff broken down for you…

 

Take it in the key of A minor, and play the chord broken from the bottom to the top. That means you play the notes A - C - E, but here’s where the creepiness comes in: Once you play that broken triad, you also play the minor 6th note, just one semitone above the 5th note (in this case, F).  

 

Image result for creepy piano

 

That semitonal rub is what gives it that creepy flavor. So in the key of A minor, the notes would be A - C - E, and F.

 

But you can take this into any key and make that riff. All you’ve got to do it take a basic minor triad in any key, and add the minor 6th note (one semitone above the 5th) to give it that creepy, suspenseful vibe.

 

There you have it! Have fun busting this creepy riff out the next time you’re in front of the piano!

 

Image result for puppy piano

Wow.  What a ride that was.

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Hi, I'm Jordan Leibel

I've worked as a composer for film, commercial, and theatre projects as well as a session musician and producer for recording projects. And now, I'm super excited to teach you a thing or two through Pianote!