In this unique tutorial, you will discover 3 little-known steps the pros use to make hardstyle screeches sound great in their songs. You now have a chance to copy that and get the same brilliant results. So, stay with me to the very end and let’s get into it.
Why you need screeches in your song
Mostly used in hardstyle and rawstyle music, screeches come in a wide variety, such as hoover screeches, high screeches, low screeches, distorted screeches and so forth. These days, they are an absolute MUST to have in your songs if you are making hardstyle or rawstyle.
The problem with screeches
But what if you have difficulties to fit these screeches perfectly in your mix? Or what if you struggle to make them sound interesting in your song, so you can keep the attention of your audience? This can be a very frustrating problem for many of you and that’s why I’ve created this special post.
Make awesome screeches once and for all
In 3 easy-to-follow steps you will finally nail it and be able to make clean and exciting screech intros and outros once and for all. Therefore, let’s focus on 1. tuning a screech, 2. mixing a screech and 3. using a screech in a song. So, pay close attention as you don’t want to miss a thing.
By the way, I am not going to explain how to make a hardstyle screech from scratch. I’ve already got tons of hardstyle screech tutorials on my website, so be sure to check them all out after this one.
Before we begin…
For the sake of this article, I am assuming you want to use screeches in the intro and outro of your song. However, don’t feel obligated and feel free to experiment by putting them into the break or even the climax of your track.
If you want hardstyle screech samples to practice, you can find them in my free hardstyle sample pack. If you haven’t yet, download it now by clicking that link. Now, let’s begin.
STEP 1: TUNING – Find & use the right key
What most producers forget to realize is that any instrument, whether we’re talking about screeches or not, is built on a certain key. This means that if you are using a screech sample, that sample is created on a particular note. And if you don’t match this note exactly with your track, you can mess it up and ruin the flow.
Match the pitch of your screeches with your track
So, if you don’t want to mess this up, make sure to match the screech’s key with the root key of your song. For hardstyle and rawstyle this means that the screech typically follows the same note as the kick. Generally, the kick stays on the same note throughout the intro and outro.
For example, if your kick plays a G note, you want to make sure your screech is tuned to a G note as well. This ensures the harmonics line up and don’t cause any musical errors, which could occur if you don’t do this.
How to find the key of a sample
And I know what you think. “So Cep, how do I get the screech on the same key as my kick?” And let me give you a very effective trick that most people don’t know about.
- Open your screech sample in the audio editor of FL Studio, which is Edison.
- In Edison, right-click on the waveform, select “Regions” and click “Detect pitch regions”.
- Then, just read the label(s) at the top of the sample to find the key of the screech.
Now, this trick works 9 out of 10 times, but it can be a little more difficult if the screech has a pitch movement. Then, you have to guesstimate at which point in the pitch movement the tone reaches its baseline value. This can be in the beginning, middle or end of the sound.
It can take some practice and experience, but you will get it right most of the time. Just try it out and don’t forget to use your ears. You can teach yourself to recognize when keys are slightly off.
You must know a little bit of music theory
By the way, if you have no idea what the heck I’m talking about, like root notes, the key of G and so forth, start first by getting some basic musical understanding. For this precise reason, I’ve released The Ultimate Melody Guide that you can obtain by clicking this link. Many people have already read it and it’s all you need to get started. So, go ahead.
How to match a screech sample with your kickdrum
Once you know the key of your screech, you must match it with the key of your kick. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by opening the screech in the Sampler and then use the pitch function. The pitch function can change the key of your sample higher or lower.
Thereby, a 100 cents increase means moving up the pitch by 1 key. And vice versa, a 100 cents decrease means moving down the pitch by 1 key.
So for example, if your kick plays on the key of F and your screech plays on the key of G, you have to lower the screech by 2 notes to get it to an F. So, you start at G and then move it down to F# and then F. This is a decrease of 2 times 100 cents, which is negative 200 cents. Again, get The Ultimate Melody Guide if you don’t know about notes and intervals.
To spare you having to do all this, every sample in my free sample pack already has the key in its name. This way, you can immediately spot the note each sample is built on.
How to set the root note in FL Studio
Finally, you also must tell FL Studio about the new root note of your screech. This is needed to sync the screech correctly with the Piano Roll. Now, to do that, open the screech in the Sampler. Then, select the envelope tab and right-click on the correct note in the piano layout at the bottom. This will set the root note of the screech.
So, for example, if you have an F screech after applying the pitch function, right-click the F note on the piano. Similarly, if you have an A screech after applying the pitch function, right-click the A note on the piano. The key of the screech will now correspond with the right notes on the Piano Roll.
This is all there is to it and you only have to apply this to your own project. But one last thing: if you are using the pitch function, you may want to experiment by changing the mode. The mode sets the pitching algorithm and setting it to a different one may produce surprising results.
STEP 2: MIXING – Remove some lower frequencies
One big mistake I see most producers make is forgetting to EQ their screeches. If you don’t do this, certain frequencies may clash with some of the instruments in your song. And this can hurt the quality of your mix.
How to mix hardstyle screeches
To prevent this from happening and to make sure your screeches stand out, you have to clean up the lower frequency region. You see, the lower frequencies are the territory of the kickdrum. The kickdrum eats up all the headroom here, so your mix is better off by removing them from your screeches. This will immediately create room for your sounds to breathe.
So, the easiest way to fix this is by sending your screech to a free Mixer track and add an equalizer. Then simply use the equalizer to remove some of the lower frequencies.
How to remove low frequency noise from your screeches
Therefore, you can choose to use a high pass band and locate the cutoff point anywhere between 90 to 300 Hz. It really depends on how it sounds in your mix and which type of screech you’re dealing with. Just listen to your track while moving the cutoff point of your equalizer and simply stop when the low noise rumble goes away. That should be about right and directly clean up any low frequency problems.
Mix like a pro
If you want to learn more effective mixing strategies like this, just start with the EDM Mixing Guide. This is another special guide I’ve written to help you mix like a pro with 12 powerful rules. Click the link to check it out.
STEP 3: SONG BUILDING – Make a nice rhythm & variations
The last thing many producers forget to create are interesting rhythms and variations. Your songs need interesting rhythms and variations to keep the attention of your audience. Moreover, they give that professional feel and pushes your music to the next level. So, if you want to get there, be creative with your screeches.
How to make awesome screech rhythms & variations
Now, in one of my other tutorials, I’ve already showed in more detail how to make appealing screech rhythms and variations. If you haven’t seen it yet, click this link: How to Make a Hardstyle Screech Melody. That’s why for this post, let’s keep it brief and quickly explore a few promising song-building strategies.
So, what are the key strategies to get amazing results?
First, open the Piano Roll to draw some notes. And the way you draw the notes dictates the rhythm of your screech. Thereby, feel free to follow the next 4 guidelines to make your screeches sound sensational.
- As we’ve talked about in step 1, it’s a good idea to put your screech at the same key as your kickdrum. This forces tonal consistency. Thereby, you could experiment by using different octaves. A higher or lower octave changes the pitch of your screech, but still keeps it at the right key. However, depending on the screech, you could use different notes as well. But keep in mind, it’s quite uncommon to make actual melodies with screeches. They are usually organized in a straightforward manner, which keeps your intros and outros more serious.
- Use different note lengths and timing intervals. Vary between longer and shorter notes and try to make a creative rhythm. Thereby, don’t be afraid to experiment with very short notes and much longer notes in an alternating fashion of some sort. Also, don’t place every note exactly onbeat, but change it up a little.
- Make variations in your rhythm at the end of each 8, 16 or 32 beats. This is a natural place to shake things up and create a more exciting track. Though, if you want to push it to another level, you could also use automations. Automations can create sound movements for special effects. This way, you can add crazy twists and tweaks to your screeches at specific times, which is perfect for badass variations.
- Use multiple screeches together and alternate them while still applying the other 3 guidelines. Alternation will create much more diversity and uniqueness. Use them in a way that if one plays the rest are silent. So, give each screech a small moment in time to shine. Then, try to build an exciting rhythm with all the screeches working together. This is the ultimate screech-building formula.
Again, these are guidelines and not set-in-stone rules. However, you may find them surprisingly helpful, so absolutely give them a go.
Make screeches sound good in your song
There you have it. These are the 3 main steps the pros use to make screeches sound great in their songs. And all you have to do is simply copy that, so you can get the same brilliant results. So, in summary:
- Step 1: use the right key.
- Step 2: remove some lower frequencies.
- Step 3: create interesting rhythms and variations.
Now, go apply it and reread this post as much as you need. Also, make sure to get your free sample pack and special music production guides by clicking the links below right now.
Go ahead while they’re still live and I’ll see you there.