What is this type of background music called?


I want to know what this type of music is called.


I don’t know the theoretic description of these kinds of scores, I usually call them underscores as they’re not really musical in quality and they don’t stand out like the fanfares of Star Wars. Michael Giacchino is awesome at this, just look at his work on Lost. He uses very interesting string end percussion techniques to achieve this kind of soundscape.


I’m not sure what the best label would be for that scene specifically.

I’d call it “ambient,” but that doesn’t capture all of what you might be looking for. Ambient music in general is all about creating feeling/atmosphere and less about traditional melody/harmony/rhythm. Note that the term “ambient” kinda got coopted in the 90s by sects of electronica so it now also means something else (e.g., “ambient house,” etc.).


Thanks for this awesome share , would really help me out.


That’s the exact word i was looking for. Thanks for furthering my research. Do you by know any chance know the sound which is used in a high tension scene called ? Like from these scene in Westworld. There are like two sounds , one is continuously increasing , the other one around comes around 00:46 , sort of like from inception. Mostly used in trailers too.


Maybe name it Sound Design cue would work ?
It feels more sound design to me than actual music.


Hmmm, again not sure if there’s an “industry” name for this. My knowledge comes from more traditional classical orchestral music and theory, so while there are words from those worlds to describe what is happening, I’d be willing to bet good money that film-specific composers have standard names for a lot of the tricks/tools used to manipulate emotion in film scores.

Unofficially, at least, I see the word “rises” and “builds” thrown around a lot.

@FreddieW, any ideas from working with Igor on VGHS or other industry insider tidbits?


Steady tones like these can be referred to as drones, while the aforementioned risers are the ones that slowly ramp up. It’s a bit of a grey zone in that it doesn’t refer to a specific arrangement or technical aspect, but it’s the general lingo I’ve heard for “that thing that sounds like that”!