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Recreating the Stranger Things theme song

Learn how to make the Stranger Things intro theme song in Soundation — the easy-to-use online music studio. The hit Netflix show Stranger Things is full of ‘80s nostalgia, and a huge part of that comes from the music which is inspired by the soundtracks of classic horror and sci-fi movies.

The Stranger Things theme song that can be heard in the opening credits was composed and produced by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from the band S U R V I V E. This main theme song perfectly portrays the show’s mysterious, retro feel, and we can learn a lot by recreating it. So let’s turn it up to eleven and expose the upside down!

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Stranger Things theme

Stranger Things theme

Drums

The only drum part in the theme is a thumping kick in an 84 bpm heartbeat rhythm. In the original, it’s made with a synthesizer, but we managed to get pretty close with the bass drum from the “808 kit” preset on the Drummachine. Cut away the high frequencies and boost around 400-500 Hz to make it stand out more in the mix.

Synthesizers

The warm, retro sound comes from vintage analog synthesizers. Some synths used in the theme are the Oberheim Two Voice, Prophet-5, Roland SH-2, and ARP 2600.

In this re-creation, we used VA synth and GM-2 to get a similar effect. The VA synth is a virtual analog synthesizer, the perfect tool for the job when you want a vintage sound. The GM-2 is a sampler, which has some cool processed synth sounds.

Arpeggios

The focal point of the theme song is arguably the synth arpeggio. An arpeggio is a chord played note for note, like a melody. In this case, it’s a Cmaj7 chord (C, E, G, B, C) played up and down again with 16th notes.

We layered two VA synths to get more dimension to the sound and automated the filter cutoff to make the sound evolve over time. The intro is playing the same arpeggio but sped up.

Bass

For the bass, we used layered sounds, a distorted ”Chiffer lead” preset, which gives a warm and wide sound, and the ”Analog bass” preset on the VA synth, which has a dope filter sweep. The original bass doesn’t really have a filter sweep but other synths do, and it gives the same overall vibe.

Leads

There are two instruments playing the same melody at different times. We used the ”Synth voice” preset for the first melody, and then for the second one, a slightly changed ”Synth strings 2” preset. Both synths have a bit of reverb for more atmosphere.

Sound effects

An easy way to make your music more cinematic is by adding sound effects. We added some samples from our Sound library for metallic, noisy, sweeping, spacey, or impactful tones. Change these sounds by pitch stretching, reversing, or adding audio effects. We also used the GM-2 for sampled applause as an impact sound.

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