Dark music with delicate strings

Please recommend me some “dark” sounding albums with delicate constitution involving stringed instruments, as in having a somehow oppressive, devilish, black atmosphere. Note, not in a harsh way, emphasis on delicate.
Imagine a very black space with the strings creating an impression of silvery, menacing slivers that gently scrape your emotional reception. (This is in my head and absolutely must find matching music)

Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony (“Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”), perhaps? Or portions of George Crumb’s “A Haunted Landscape?”

You might also try film music from dark or thriller films. Try Daniel Hart’s soundtrack to “A Ghost Story.”


I do like these. Portions of them certainly fit the description, exactly even. As wholes they might not and no doubt it’s hard to recommend music based on a description like “a very black space with the strings creating an impression of silvery, menacing slivers that gently scrape your emotional reception” - surely everyone imagines that differently.

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I don’t know about the “delicate strings” but it could be considered dark.


How about some of the film music of Bernard Herman? Some of it is certainly dark!

Greg Osby “Symbols of Light”

Dark Wood by David Darling.

Cello by David Darling.


Movie soundtracks are great for this type of music. Hans Zimmer’s work’s would be a great place to start.

Hildur Gudnadottir’s soundtrack to “Chernobyl” might strike the mood you are hoping for.

Also, while the emotional range is somewhat broader than you asked for, Hans Zimmer’s new “Dune Sketchbook” has some interludes of the nature you asked for.



The track “Fables” by Harling is quite exactly fitting to the mystic vision I have in my head of these silvery strings in a pitch black space!

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Care to recommend something that could be properly considered gothic?

I have to be in a certain mood in order to play Gorecki’s No. 3.

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A piece that has always struck me as both uplifting and dark at the same time is Alan Hovhaness’s Symphony No. 2, Op. 132, “Mysterious Mountain”.

Even though it’s an orchestral composition, the string sections dominate the tone and timbre throughout.


Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more recent, there’s Joni Mitchell’s " Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" from the album “For the Roses”.

The open D tuning utilized for this piece is fitting with the somewhat "noir’ lyrics.:blush:

It might not exactly fit the given criteria, but the emotional content of Barber’s Adagio for Strings is worth checking out. The commonly heard orchestrated version is full of sorrow and stately gravitas, but in its original form, from his String Quartet Op. 11, it sounds like someone’s heart being wrenched out of their chest.


I finally scored the George Crumb CD after you’d mentioned it a few times. WOW! To whomever decides to try it out, I’ve got a suggestion. Listen to it first at a lower-to-medium volume. Doing otherwise might cause involuntary bodily movements.

Great call. Thanks again

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Try the beginning of Shostakovich 14th Symphony ; there’s a bass voice, but I guess it fits your expectation for strings. Dark and creeping contrebasses, and shiny mournful violins. Very slow.

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I’m going to drop something totally different. The solo work in Genesis’s “Firth of Fifth” meets that definition even though it’s not classical. IMHO. Feel free to kick me out if you like.

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One could also advise:
Jan Sibelius, Valse Triste
Richard Strauss, Metamorphoses