Which styles of music might be best at representing an underwater silent menace? Specifically, the underwater silent menaces of submarines and sharks? Musicologist Linda Maria Koldau, professor of musicology at the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Aarhus University, in Denmark, examines this problem in the current (inaugural) issue of the scholarly journal Horror Studies. The essay, entitled ‘Of Submarines and Sharks: Musical Settings of a Silent Menace‘ cites various films which have featured menacing submarines and sharks, e.g. Das Boot (1981) and Jaws (1975), and presents a detailed examination of the accompanying musical scores. Finding, in each case, that the “… highly emotional essence of both the submarine and the shark myth is exploited especially in the design of the soundtrack.”
But, in the final analysis, is there such a thing as ‘typical submarine’ or ‘typical shark’ music? “Certainly not.” explains the author. And adding – “To examine the relation between stealth and overt action, between sound and silence in submarine and shark films would require a study of its own.”
Perhaps for the next edition of Horror Studies?