Are you looking for ways to increase your vocal toolbelt and advance your skills? Perhaps you’ve always fancied screaming like a rocker or death metal artist.
Learn how to scream sing without shouting, for beginners, in a way that will protect your throat and produce an impressive piercing tone. This technique allows you to cheat up to some dizzyingly high notes and access sultry rocky vocal fry on the lower notes.
In this article we’ll take you through the potential pitfalls, explaining how to achieve this sound without hurting your throat. We’ll also provide guidance on how it’s best used in songs and show you some superb examples of famous artists doing it.
How to scream sing without shouting for beginners
Most of us cam into the world screaming. It didn’t hurt out voice, nor did it do any vocal damage. So why is it so difficult to achieve as you get older?
Babies and small children naturally use the lungs and diaphragm extremely effectively. But as childhood continues, we adapt in ways that limit our capacity to produce a loud noise. This is down to poorer posture from sitting most of the day and shallower breathing – partly learned from those around us.
The technique is closely related to falsetto and whistle register found commonly in pop music. But a true scream is more prevalent in metal and rock genres. To the untrained ear, it may sound like noise, but it takes a lot of talent and skill to do it effectively.
How to scream sing for beginners
Scream singing is risky. Some people have a natural aptitude for it and manage to vocalise in this way with few repercussions. But long term use of the screaming style can result in issues like nodules and minor haemorrhages.
Excessive talking, throat clearing, coughing, inhaling irritants, smoking, vaping, screaming or yelling can all contribute to a vocal problem. This is because they can cause the vocal cords found in the larynx, to become irritated and inflamed.
You can read about some of the roadblocks famous names have encountered after years of bad habits.
How do you properly scream?
Screaming can be good for your health if done properly. It allows a release of emotion and tension. Yoko Ono even underwent scream therapy, later transferring the practice to her singing – which unfortunately didn’t prove to be very successful, as scream-singing is quite different.
The key to scream-singing is to create a pleasant effect for the listener, even if it is quite hardcore. The kind of screaming produced in fear, therapy or anger, isn’t what we’re looking for in music.
To give a good scream, you’ll need to work on some foundational principles of singing. These are:
- The release of any tension (particularly in the throat). Keeping the knees bent is helpful as it encourages a looser, less locked sensation in the body. You can also try silent laughing or silent sobbing ahead of a scream, to get the soft palate relaxed.
- Breathing from the diaphragm and not allow the air to rush out as you produce the note.
- Good posture. A steady neck is vital in safe screaming. The key is to keep it free, but well-aligned.
How do you scream while singing?
If you want to produce a loud sound, you need to put your body in a position that allows the sound to escape – but not too quickly. That means having good alignment with released throat and larynx and a relaxed face. Your mouth should be open wide otherwise the noise will echo around the cavity of your hard palate. Then before you begin, you’ll need to make sure you’ve taken in enough breath to fuel the power. When you launch into a scream, your vocal cords should open and vibrate, but never actually collide. It should feel quite freeing in terms of face head and neck, yet relatively athletic in the diaphragm and belly.
Remember that anything in excess is bad, so don’t overdo it. Not only for the benefit of your vocal health but for the enjoyment of the listener too.
Screening music bands and singers
This is a technique to be used in moderation, but is extremely effective when properly employed, as shown by many artists through recent music history. Here are some of the famous names and bands who have incorporated it into their acts:
The Bee Gees
Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
Corey Taylor (Slipknot)
This should give you a better idea of the kind of songs and music that suit this technique. Next, let’s take a look at what a great sing-scream actually sounds like. Here’s an example from pop royalty, the artist formerly known as Prince.
The fry scream – Is fry screaming bad for your voice?
In short, yes. Fry screaming puts a lot of pressure on your vocals. So it should be used sparingly, properly and not when you are experiencing vocal fatigue or illness. Vocal fry is the term used to describe a low, gravelly tone that sounds. The fry scream takes this to another level.
If you want to try this, you’ll need to follow some steps.
- Warm-up completely. Never is this more important than when sing screaming. Take at least 15 – 30 minutes for this routine and start with closed mouth sounds like humming, lip trills and sirening on an ng sound.
- Use your diaphragm to breathe. This means breathing low down engaging the muscles in your belly. Now push the air up like a whirl of wind.
- Now make a gravelly sound with your spoken voice to place the voice into a fry.
- Exhale with a raspy gurgle. Then develop it into a quiet fry scream. Ease your voice from the spoken fry to a very gentle scream sound.
- Now try singing in your head voice and ease it into a fried sound. The fry scream is a blend of head voice and a lower gravelly sound.
- Open your mouth wider if you want to go up in your register.
This is an incredibly tricky technique to master, so you’ll need more than the written word to understand it. Watch this video to see these steps in action and get an idea of what not to do, as well as what to do.
How to fry scream louder
Vocal fry isn’t a pretty sound that’s for sure. But it is an effective one when used appropriately. Having a high-quality mic will help to pick up your voice, saving you from forcing it while fry screaming. But if you want to go louder, you’ll need to power it from the diaphragm, even more, open your mouth and go!
Here’s another expert in the field of screaming. Adam Lambert has mastered everything from hard rock to mainstream musical theatre, incorporating a soaring falsetto that often slips into a beautiful scream or an expert vocal fry. Watch how he does it and see if you can identify what he’s doing with his body and voice to achieve it.
Metal screaming for beginners
Metal vocals are intentionally harsh. It’s somewhat of an acquired taste and less frequently seen in TV competitions and on festival main stages. But it’s a huge, evergreen genre with an army of ardent fans. If you have a talent for metal, this can open the path to a very successful career in music.
Screaming came into use in the 1960s, at the dawn of heavy metal and later, as part of the thrash metal explosion of the 1980s The first notable artist who used screaming as a means to deliver lyrics was Chuck Schuldiner of the band Death.
You’ll need to acquire the vocal fry scream to sing metal. If you want to do hardcore death metal vocals, this is what you’ll need to do.
First, identify whether it’s actually screaming you’re wanting to do, or a metal growl. The fry and growl are closely related but the latter contains no element of head voice.
Next, do you want to have a speak-sing tone or a sung tone? The speak-sing only needs throaty forced air and doesn’t have to match up to a note. This is widely prevalent in metal, with the musical elements coming from the backing. But if you want to stick with a tune, however abstract, you’ll need to ensure you’re not slamming your vocal cords together. This is a kind of pitched, gritty sounds and is achieved by adding a small amount of fry to your singing.
How do beginners sing screaming?
Some people can just do it. Those with very powerful, resilient vocal cords may have a natural aptitude. Otherwise, you must follow the technique we describe very carefully and be sure to monitor your breathing, relaxation and posture. These will serve you well. And even if you are a natural, it’s worth checking in with the right technique, to ensure you’re protecting your voice from any damage.
Some people ask if girls can metal scream, as it’s often guys who do it in bands. The answer is a resounding yes, this style is equally as achievable for females as for males. While the genres associated with a screaming style have often had an uneven gender split, this is changing. So there’s never been a better time to explore something a little bit different.
What is screamo music?
You may have heard the term ‘screamo’ popping up in musicians’ lingo. It isn’t a term used to describe aby music that involves screaming. Instead, this is a sub-genre of emo music, often confused with metal. The style is aggressive, with a lot of screaming involved (hence the name), but it features soft as well as loud sounds and a more melodic, vocal feel. In Screamo the scream element is used for contrast and emotion, often in harmony, highlighting introspective lyrics. Metal has less contrast and stays on a darker, less emotive spectrum.
screamo music alternates between soft and loud music, featuring introspective,
Are you excited to learn how to scream sing without shouting for beginners? Do remember to consider how it fits with your genre. If you’re singing a light pop ditty, a crazy scream will sound out of place. Jazz type singers will also not need to employ this tool. But if you lean toward a rock style punk or metal, then this one’s for you. If you’d rather have a thinner, purer sound that’s super high pitched, you can learn to sing in whistle register instead. Should you have any difficulty, do seek out the help of an experienced vocal coach, who can monitor your technique in person or via a video call.
How can I sing without shouting?
You’ll need to hold back a little. Bringing a little of that should quality in will aid your projection. But it should sit on a steady stream of air as you sing the note. You may need to lift the soft palate a little and work on sweetening the voice to give it a beautiful tone.
Is belting just yelling?
Not if it’s done properly. Belting has a yell type quality but is far more pleasant to listen to. It’s more about projection and power and producing a piercing yet pleasant tone. It’s commonly used in musical theatre and for emotive pop ballads.
What is the correct way to sing?
There are a number of different schools of thought when it comes to singing – each genre has its own form. But deep, low breathing with sustained control is a fundamental tenant of singing technique. Similarly singing ‘on your throat’ os singing in an overly nasal way are considered incorrect.
Have you perfected the technique of scream-singing without shouting? Did it come naturally or did you have to learn how to do it? Let us know and share clips of your scream-singing below.