A Musical Halloween


It doesn’t do to linger around MusiCB3 on a dark night. The labyrinth beneath the Anderson Room is home to witches, spirits, and unusually musical skeletons, and many unwary travellers have fallen foul of the long winding underground passageways full of ghostly music. The Pendlebury likewise is rife with scary monsters and creepy film music. Scroll down to discover some of our spookiest items…

Hallowe’en / MRS.8.2306

Charles Ives’ Hallowe’en for string quartet, piano, and bass drum is scary from the start, the players coming in one after another with scales in different keys. The piece is intended to be played several times through, with different combinations of instruments each time. In the introduction to the piece, Ives notes that it was “written for a Hallowe’en party and not a nice concert” and advises that the playing get faster and louder each time through, to “keep up with the bonfire”.

Halloween scores

Come Sisters! / MR280.a.80.5

A trio of three witches, with words from Act IV Scene I of Macbeth set to music by M.P. King:

“Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, And show the best of our delights. I’ll charm th’ air to give a sound, While you perform your antic round.”


The Moan / B1921.262

Moving on to the delights of the unbound sheet music, the cover of this song shows a spooky silhouette appearing at a bedroom window…

The moan

The Ghost Galop / A1871.2554

This piece for piano, composed by ‘A. Fantom’, has a cover illustration by Thomas Packer featuring Banquo, Caesar (possibly?) and ghostly pepper-pots.

Ghost galop A1871.2554


Ta Ta Polka / A1887.692

A couple of quite friendly-looking witches wave to each other on the cover of this piece…

Ta ta Polka 2

March of the Spooks / B1924.1511

This piece featured in The Cat’s Outa Disney ‘Silly Symphony’ cartoon.

March of the spooks B1924.1511

Phantom Visions / B1921.248

Another piece from a ‘Silly Symphonies’ cartoon, this is The Skeleton Dance.

Phantom Visions

There is plenty more Halloween-worthy music over at the Pendlebury, where the DVD collection is a good source of scary films. You could try Psycho (DVD.F.2) or Jaws (DVD.F.16) for a scary film night…

Happy Halloween from MusiCB3!




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