String instrument used to make the classic 'spider' sound effect?

It’s going be hard to phrase this question properly, what with bieng a sound and all.

Okay, you know that sound effect that they always use in nature shows or creepy movies when a spider is scuttling around or when there’s a tangle of ants? It sounds like a very small stringed instrument bieng plucked rapidly.

Deedlede Deedlee Deedle Deedlee Deedlee…

A friend and myself have been trying to replicate it with limited results. The best result so far was with a mandolin with over-tightened strings, later tweaked on the computer. Only problem is that were trying to segue the ‘spider’ sound into another piece of music, and the speeding-up messes with the phrasing.

Anybody got a clue? I suspect it’s a the higher regester strings of a harp, but without knowing for sure we’d like to avoid the cost of renting a harp.

I don’t think there’s a single one that they always use–can you name one example? Your harp guess is good based on your description but I would also guess a violin played pizzicato or in the high register.

Probably a synthesizer.

Yes, very possibly a synthesizer. We were toying with a programmable synth loaded with the mandolin and “Twangs” from a de-stringed tennis racquet. Problem was we couldn’t manage chords.

I’m intrigued by the idea of plucking violin strings. We could probably get one on-the-cheap from a pawn shop.

But how long has this “sound effect” been around? Certainly they couldn’t have used synths back in the 50s.

If the sound is what I think it is, I think you can get that sound by plucking the strings of a violin way up at the end, on the other side if that thing that separates the neck from the screw thingies.

Hope this isn’t too technical :smiley:

God, I know the sound effect you’re talking about. I wish I had a way to describe in in text…ah, well.

If it’s any help, I have a CD of Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” and a few other pieces, that has that sound effect used in some of the later tracks. You might want to find a copy for youreself, for reference.
Remind me to ask about another creepy sound effect, that was used in the old “Dennis the Menace” cartoon occasionally, during “creepy” scenes…I think it was made using some sort of glass instrument.