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  #1  
Old 10-01-2009, 06:00 AM
Kryst Kryst is offline
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Default Odd question involving "The Dark Knight" movie

How's everyone?

My friend/co-worker asked me a question I couldn't answer so I thought I'd post it here to the pros.

In this scene: The Joker

When the Joker is going on about his father, there's a progressive ...hum that gets louder and higher in pitch throughout his speech. My friend googled every key word(s) I would think to google to find out what makes this sound and/or if there's the same sound available to download, separate from the rest of the audio. The results turned up nothing for him.

Does anyone know what makes that sound, how you can replicate it, or if there's an available wave audio file for download?

Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:50 AM
Carl Kolchak Carl Kolchak is offline
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Default Re: Odd question involving "The Dark Knight" movie

Only had a listen using some crappy desktop speakers (will check the dvd when I get a chance), but it just sounds like a guitar rising in pitch.

This is really common in film scores, mostly done using the string section to create an overall / ensemble dissonance (rather than an apparently solo'd version here).

You can also use some percussion instruments to get similar effects (a violin bow on a cymbal for example).

I seem to remember the "Stargate" sequence in Kubrick's "2001" doing the full on version of this. It's also pretty common in modern thrillers (again, if I recall Se7en had some similar elements in the finale).

I would guess this was done on an electric guitar using either an e-bow or a real violin bow, and using the whammy bar to increase the pitch without the frets causing a problem.

Or alternatively it may have been done on an electric violin, as it would traditionally be done (though of course you rarely see full orchestras breaking out the guitar FX).

It's also possible it's been augmented - perhaps with a synth, but on these speakers I couldn't say anything for sure.
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:02 AM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Odd question involving "The Dark Knight" movie

Interesting. I have a different take on it and think it is a mix of a couple of things at once. Start with a low synth note with an arppegiator for the bubbling effect. Then add a few violins(real or keyboard) slowly rising in pitch but not in sync(think the Beatle's A Day in the Life). the strings likely have some distortion added as well. Note that I was listening on good computer speakers(JBL 5.1) but not a high-end monitoring setup.
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:11 AM
barstool719 barstool719 is offline
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Default Re: Odd question involving "The Dark Knight" movie

from wikipedia, re the soundtrack:

Quote:
The nine-minute suite for the Joker ("Why So Serious") was based around two notes played by Electric cello, solo violin, guitars and a string section. Zimmer compared its style to the band Kraftwerk, who come from his native Germany, as well as his work with bands like The Damned.[4] throughout the piece, Zimmer used razor blades on string instruments to achieve the tortured, twisted sound to accompany the character onscreen. When Ledger died, Zimmer stated that he felt like scrapping his original material and composing a new theme, but decided that to do so would compromise the "evil [performance] projects".[5] James Newton Howard composed the "elegant and beautiful" themes for Harvey Dent/Two Face, to work as a aural contrast.
the bit playing in that scene is part of "why so serious"
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:03 AM
Kryst Kryst is offline
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Default Re: Odd question involving "The Dark Knight" movie

Quote:
Originally Posted by barstool719 View Post
throughout the piece, Zimmer used razor blades on string instruments to achieve the tortured, twisted sound to accompany the character onscreen.
Razor blades, hmm? Interesting. Not sure how that works, but never played a guitar with a razor blade... It doesn't say what strings Zimmer used for this nor the effects? That would be key. I'll look that article up and read a bit more.

The "...tortured, twisted sound..." is exactly what we'd like to duplicate. I was pretty sure I heard guitar in that with a whammy bar as well. Funny, there's a similar sound (no pitch bend) coming from a construction site blocks from my house right now. If only I had a tape recorder, I could pitch shift it and see what it would do.

Thanks all so far.
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