Scary 2014!

A composition contest for Halloween
Rules, Instructions and Awards

It's time for our Annual Scary Sixty Seconds contest!  

UPDATE 11/17/14:  The Hall of Fame has a new home:   Sixty Seconds Hall of Fame

UPDATE 11/1/14: Scary 2014 - Results
UPDATE 10/27/14:  
Listen and Vote 

In response to comments from several members, we have compiled a list of pros and cons for online competitions. Online Composition Competitions - Pros and Cons

We invite you to read this document and share your experiences. We'd like to hear from you! 

Rules for writing your Scary piece:

  • Must be exactly 60 seconds long
  • Must be written using Finale or Sibelius, or any other notational or DAW software
  • Can use any instruments, but no sound effects this year
  • Does not have to be playable by "real" performers
  • Can use special effects for any orchestral instrument, any register or range, fancy things like six octave glissandos or growling sounds.  The only limit is your imagination!!
  • One entry per person, please

Instructions for entering your Scary piece: 

  • Declare your intention to enter by midnight EDT, Wednesday, October 1, 2014 (10/1/14)
  • To declare your intention to enter, just post a message on this page - do NOT include the name of your piece or your secret Halloween name
  • Save the audio version of your completed piece as an .mp3 - How to create .mp3 files from Finale or Sibelius
  • Create a score of your completed piece as a .pdf
  • Must be a member of VirtualArtists - membership is free and easy - Sign Up
  • Notify us through a posting on this thread when you are ready to upload and we'll send you instructions for uploading to your own personal, free VirtualArtists MyVault account.

Instructions for uploading:

  • Deadline for uploading your completed piece is Midnight EDT, Friday October 24th  (10/24/14)
  • You must upload both an .mp3 file and a .pdf file.  Please make sure your files have the appropriate extension.  We will not convert files in the wrong format.
  • Your piece will have a better chance of winning with a name like "Catacombs" then a name like "Op. 42".  
  • Please name both your files with the name of your piece as it will appear in the public voting list.   Example:  Catacombs.pdf  and Catacombs.mp3


  • Top winners will be decided by online voting on VirtualArtists
  • Online voting period is 10/25/14 - 10/31/14
  • All top winners will be premiered at our Halloween Concert and Party  in Chapel Hill, NC.   Check VirtualArtists Events for details!
  • The list of winners will be finalized by audience vote at the concert
  • FIRST PRIZE :   $100.00  - piece is added to the Sixty Second Hall of Fame
  • SECOND PRIZE:  $50.00  - piece is added to the Sixty Second Hall of Fame
  • THIRD PRIZE - piece is added to the Sixty Second Hall of Fame
  • All composers will upload and share their scores to verify originality and to teach us all some composition tricks!
  • Listen to past winners - Sixty Seconds Hall of Fame

UPDATE 10/27/14:  Listen and Vote

Composers declaring an intention to enter:

Update 10/10/14:  Composers marked with ** have completed their entries.

1.   ** Gav Brown, Parkville, MD, USA
2.   ** Ken Nickels, Downers Grove, IL, USA
3.   ** DuNiKu, Beijing, China
4.   Tim Corpus, Chicago, IL, USA
5.   Luke Flynn, Indianapolis, IN, USA
6.   ** Andrew Freeman, Surrey, UK
7.   ** Norbert Hoffmann, Seefeld in Tirol, Austria
8.   ** Greg Bartholomew, Seattle, WA, USA
9.   Jillian Flexner, Astoria, NY, USA
10. Devin T Fanslow, Muncie, IN, USA
11. Evan Ingalls, Bellingham, WA, USA
12. Noah Balamucki, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
13. Christopher Schlechte-Bond, London, UK
14. Evelyn Castiglioni, College Station, TX, USA
15. ** Stefaan Himpe, Belgium
16. ** Georgia L Lockwood, Kirkland, WA, USA
17. ** Michael Ashjian, Rayfoun, Keserwan, Lebanon
18. ** Andres Lopez, Chile
19. Scardino, Buffalo, NY, USA
20. nailah, New York, NY, USA
21. ** Tracy Zhang, New York, NY, USA
22. ** Johan Halmén, Loviisa, Finland
23. ** Erik Olsson, Pitea, Sweden
24. ** Richard Montgomery, Harlow, UK
25. ** Eugenio Cotardo, Italy
26. ** Kevin Kopczynski, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
27. Brett Copeland, Tampa, FL, USA
28. ** Maciej Bałenkowski,
Wrocław, Poland
29. Greg Brus, Poland

30. ** David Berlin, Gibsonia, PA, USA
31. ** P. Cowell, London, UK
32. ** Atte Tenkanen, Turku, Finland
33. ** Anna Markowicz, Wrocław,Poland
34. ** Alessandro Sicardi,
Milan, Italy
35. Pooh Chan, Bangkok, Thailand
36. ** Otto August Halmén,
Vantaa, Finland
37. Sławomir Zamuszko, Warsaw, Poland
38. ** Burton Goldstein, Santa Monica, CA, USA
39. Fred Larsen, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
40. ** Johnathan Segovia, San Antonio, TX, USA
41. ** Kris Gilbert, Endicott, NY, USA
42. Jeffrey Craig Schaller, Chicago, IL, USA
43. ** Gustaf Blix, Piteå, Sweden
44. Daniel Falk, Manor, PA, USA
45. ** Joseph Coleman, High Point, NC, USA
46. ** William Clyne, USA 
47. ** Norberto Oldrini,
48. ** Alistair Stark, Edinburgh, UK
49. ** Mitch Allen, Rocklin, CA, USA
50. ** Krista Pojman,
Topeka, KS, USA

UPDATE 10/27/14:  Listen and Vote

In response to comments from several members, we have compiled a list of pros and cons for online competitions. Online Composition Competitions - Pros and Cons

We invite you to read this document and share your experiences. We'd like to hear from you!


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Comment by Michael Ashjian on November 18, 2014 at 4:10am

CONGRATULATIONS to all the 3 winners: Great pieces of Music. Bravo......

Comment by SoftDesigns on November 17, 2014 at 11:57am

The Hall of Fame has a new home:   Sixty Seconds Hall of Fame

Comment by Gav Brown on November 4, 2014 at 11:37pm

Thanks for hosting the contest! It was fun to participate in. Now that it's over, I look forward to listening to all the entries!

Comment by Joseph G Coleman on November 4, 2014 at 11:32am

Congratulations to all the winners!!!!!!

Comment by Johan Halmén on November 4, 2014 at 7:34am

To me, creepiness made many pieces scary enough. Some were creepy, some were only mysterious. Making it only mysterious was not a failure in my ears. I might have voted only for scary and creepy ones, but I loved a lot of the others, too.

I'm looking forward to next year, too. Through a broken mirror. Covered with spider web.

Comment by M. B. on November 4, 2014 at 7:17am


Yeah, „Zombie tango“ is a little grotesque and ridiculous piece ;)  „Mysterious disappearance“ is also more „mysterious“ than scary ;) In connection with this I would like to take this opportunity and compensate this insufficiency by sharing my quite old piece „Ghosts‘ Hour“, which I have composed when I was 17 ;) At this time I had some crazy and mad ideas :D Have fun! ;)

Comment by Norberto Oldrini on November 4, 2014 at 5:58am

Thank you Maciej and thanks to all for your words about my "Zombie's Tango". It's true, it is not a 'scary' piece, it is a dance piece (?) a little ironical with our friends zombies, may be? ;-)

I'm very glad to have taken part in this enthralling competition! In my opinion "Don't look back" is the best, and since the first listening of all compositions, it was - as I already commented - definitely my favourite. Congratulations to Tracy Zhang! And to Maciej Balenkowski too, for the surprising and powerful 'finale' of his piece and also for midi quality! And to all composers and organizers! I'm looking forward to the next year!

Comment by M. B. on November 3, 2014 at 12:55pm

I forgot to add that I'm delighted about strings part of Zombie Tango ;) Thank You for this! :)

Comment by M. B. on November 3, 2014 at 12:38pm

Thank You very much and congratulations to all participants! It was pleasure and amazing experience to take part in this competition ;) Each of participants approached the issue on different way, what is very valuable and opening new horizons. Particularly I want to congratulate to Tracy Zhang - from the first hearing I was impressed with "Don't look back" and I think this piece fully deserved of 1st place. Congratulations to all for their music imagination and thank You for organising this extraordinary competition. I'm very glad about my 2nd place ;) Greetings from Poland ;)

Comment by Harmonia on November 3, 2014 at 9:10am

Congratulations and a huge round of applause to Tracy, Maciej and Norberto!  

Last night's audience was actually mesmerized by ALL the pieces and had a hard time deciding on just three.  It was especially fun to watch the little kids jump and squeal at Boo!!! and Beelzebub's Lair, and make scary faces along with Monstrum and Under Hypnosis.  They kept wanting to hear all the pieces over and over!! 

One of the teenagers said that Don't Look Back was a perfect piece of music and everyone agreed.  Everyone also loved Mysterious Disappearance, which they said was beautiful in addition to being great for Halloween.   The whole group, little kids, teenagers, adults, even grandparents danced along with the Zombie's Tango!   We almost had a tie for first place -

Don't Look Back - 34 votes
Mysterious Disappearance - 33 votes
Zombie's Tango - 21 votes

Everyone was inspired and immediately went home and started writing music!!

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