Music question, origin of spooky 2 measure phrase in novelty songs

This is similar to the question about the famous snake charmer music from a while back. Actually it is more similar to the “famous asian riff”. 

Can someone please supply the origin of the following 2 measure phrase which is quoted in countless novelty songs, pop songs, kids songs, cartoons, tv and movie soundtracks, and which denotes something scary, spooky, wierd, or mysterious?

Here it is in the key of D minor:

First measure, four quarter notes:
D, F, A, D

Second measure is a half note and then 4 eight notes:
Bb, A, G, F, E

I think that’s Handel’s Fantasia in IForgetTheKey, but it could be D Minor.

Perfect pitch must rock.

or not, YMMV

Gruh? What on earth can these symbols mean?? Hold on a sec…

::grabs guitar… fiddles for 20 mintes::

Ahhhhhh. Okay. THAT spooky theme. Yeah. I have no idea. I did come up with this though:


I doubt it’s Handel, it sounds more 19th-century than that.

For those who can’t read music: Is this that “Nah NUUUUUUH … nuh nuh NUH nuh nuh nuh” that usually sounds like it’s played on a church organ? I though that was Handel, too.

I’m going to move this to Cafe Society, where questions like this get answered.

Gfactor, General Questions Moderator

That would be the high D the second time around, not the return to the original-octave D it started out with, yes?

Know it well. Haven’t the vaguest idea where it hails from.

I’m guessing this isn’t Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor you hear on Phantom of the Opera and other spooky horror-type movies?

No, that’s

This one is very much like the “Spirits of Ammonia” song from the classic (1936) cartoon “Bottles”. I actually thought it was the same, but apparently misremembered.

This link should work to watch. (requires Divx codec).

For those who want to hear this, I made a quick mp3 to listen to.

Thanks for that!

You’re thinking of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, as mentioned by DrCube. But the OP’s tune is different.

Oh, that music!

No idea. Heard it lots, though.

thats right, it is the higher d the second time in that first measure,
of course it doesn’t matter what key it is in,
let me see if i can write it like this


X | o
X | o

I believe this is “Mysterioso Pizzicato,” possibly written by J. Bodewalt Lampe, as discussed here.

yes! (Mysterioso - Burglar Music 1)

and see (no. 8 villain’s theme).

found discussion here:

wow. you guys are good. thanks.

i have been collecting halloween music for years now, and i must have at least 25 different songs that quote the riff.