How To Do Harsh Vocals: Scream, Growl, Squeal, Etc

This is a basic run-through covering the following vocal styles and how to actually do each one: Screaming, Growling (inhaling and exhaling), "Pig Squealing", and "Pterodactyl Screaming".

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Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion, an expert at these vocal styles. I'm making this lesson to teach people that are new to it how to do the vocal styles correctly. If you don't agree with my methods, by all means, use your own. But don't post your lesson on how you'd do it as a comment. And if you have a negative opinion about how I do my vocals. Don't post it as a comment. PM me about it. Anyway Screaming There's no truly easy way to do this in my opinion without making your screams sound awful, so I'll explain this the only way I really know how. Listen to a band that screams, and imitate their vocalist. FOr me, I listened to Flyleaf's "So Sick", and imitated her at the "Break!" part. To get into detail, I'll say this. Begin by whispering "Aaaaaahhh". Now force out a lot of air, but not so much that you cannot sustain it. Close your throat as you do this. If the air you're forcing through your throat has the energy that it should, you will feel it between your throat and your chest. This will take quite a bit of practice and will hurt at first. When this happens, stop immediately and et something to drink. Honey will work wonders for this. When your throat feels COMPLETELY fine, only then should you try it again. Growling (Exhaling) This one's a bit easier, mainly because, without knowing it, everyone has growled at some point in their life. Okay, for this, my easy explanation would be to do what I said in the first paragraph of the screaming section, just make it lower. To get into detail, this is the easiest way I can explain it. Clear your throat. Do it like you've got some thick mucous in your throat you MUST get out. Okay, that rough feeling in your throat is exactly what you're going for. To do this without clearing your throat, think back to a time where you let out a heavy sigh, like right before you say, "Man, I hate that kid!". Now sigh, like that, but draw it out and close your throat more. It helps alot if you stand up while doing it. And force the air in and out of your stomach, not your chest. To do this, make a bulge in your stomach by inhaling. Now force it out by growling. It gives the growl alot more energy and allows you to hold it out longer. Growling (Inhaling) Well, this is actually the easiest way to growl, but unfortunately, it seems to be the hardest one to learn. But I'll try to help with that. There's no easy eplanation, sooooo To get into detail, follow these steps. 1. Get away from people. You will be laughed at if you are a beginner at this. Trust me, I know. 2. Completely close your your throat, but leave your mouth open in an O shape. 3. Try to breathe in. If you can, you're doing it wrong. 4. Open your throat just enough so that a really wierd, kinda stupid sounding rattle-like sound comes out. 5. Now breath in more air. This is the only way I know how to do it. I learned from the best people in my school and they all told me to do this, so I'm relaying this onformation to you. And if it hurts, you're doing it wrong and you need to stop. Inhaling should never hurt. Might tickle, but not hurt, not even slightly. Pig Squealing and Pterodactyl Screaming These are both relatively easy to do and follow generally the same method, so I grouped them together. To pig squeal, inhale growl, but higher. TIP: say "bree bree" while doing it. Pterodactyl screaming will take a bit more explaining, but it's still rather easy to do. Okay, form your mouth like you're about to say "E". Now close your throat extremely tight, but leave a VERY small hole for air to come in. Now inhale with a lot of energy. TIP: move your tongue close to the roof of your mouth as you do this. It should make it easier to close your airway. Also, these two tecniques are considered new and somewhat odd, and unlike screaming and growling, not everyone can do it. So don't tear up your throat trying if it wont work. Some final advice IF your throat hurts because you're doing exhales, that's okay. Just take a break until it doesen't hurt AT ALL. Then try it. If it starts to hurt, take a longer break. Inhales NEVER HURT. If they do, you're doing it wrong. Don't drink or smoke if you want to do these types of vocals for a long time. This will ruin your vocals. Try not to yell alot at sports, parties, shows, etc. If you do, take a break for a week or 2 before attempting the vocals again, for 2 reasons. 1. Your vocals will sound awful during that time period, and 2. You can damage your voice to the point of needing surgery if you try it too much. If your throat is hurting, drink honey or warm tea. DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL OR ANYTHING COLD. Also, if you're doing inhales, I've found that Cheeze-It's and Mountain Dew Voltage help. Maybe that's just me. --- Thank you for reading my lesson. Hopefully this will help you. Read the disclaimer at the top before leaving comments. And If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

24 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Gatrie
    WTF. Seriously? I don't mean to be harsh but this is non-sense. If it hurts it's wrong, as simple as that. Ask asny vocal coach. It shouldn't hurt. It hurts because you're slowly damaging your vocal chords. Just check out M. Shadows- remember his operation for vocal nodules? How does he perfoms now? HE SINGS.
    patrickmeyer887
    Actually in an interview M. Shadows said that he can still scream, but he and the band decided that to further themselves they would not do as much screaming. Even then he still does some screaming. I'll see if I can find the interview
    rememberthename
    sorry dude but the point of a comment is so people can discuss the article, (is it good, is there something someone disagrees, is someone else has the same question, is it worth following..etc...) sure its annoying when some one puts a stupid comment...but i dont think you should encorage people to try screaming styles without having all the knowlege about that topic...someone might hurt himself.
    sparticus17511
    um exhales should never hurt either..... dude, you're going to the hospital very very soon..... i also agree with avengedfrk A7X decided to cut back the screaming watch all excess dvd explains it all..... barring that watch Live in the LBC on you tube, Shadows can most defiantly still scream
    AllanWChurch
    Dude, I been doing the exhales, exactly as he described, for 6 years. I'm fine and I don't need surgery. If it hurts, then take a break. If not then scream your heart out. You obviously don't know.
    lacriptapluma
    hey about the screaming part...we have same ethics on it...and also so sick by flyleaf is the one im trying also..what a coincidence
    jeffkimisback
    I agree with Gartie, pain is a warning sign. Also, the only thing you should drink is room temperature water or vitamin water. Anything else is not good.
    ehpanon
    @VisualK31,The part about not moving your tongue is incorrect. If you flip your tongue up to touch the top of your mouth and make less room for the vibrations of the scream to bounce around it makes your growls a noticeable amount lower. I've been using the tongue technique used by VokillCovers for a year or so and I've been screaming for around 2 years. @JeremyKing, great article I enjoyed reading it. A little bit of advice though that I've learned from my personal experience. When doing high fries if it hurts at all, immediately stop screaming, take a break for a week. The higher your scream the more likely you're going to use your vocal chords and the more damage you'll cause. If it doesn't cause you any damage if you do high screams then thats great. Low growls on the other hand should never ever ever hurt. You can damage your throat even if your throat doesn't hurt during a growl. Exhale pig squeels and low screeches will damage your throat no matter what you do and how much water you drink. BUT before this is written off as a hate comment I want to say this is my personal experience and if it doesn't damage your throat keep doing what you're doing, it's obviously the right way, but as a general rule of thumb, the body gives off pain as a sign that something is wrong. Take your bodies warning, you only get one.
    thrashenstein
    They can write their own lessons and trash me in them if they wish. That's their choice.
    AMEN!!
    JeremyKing
    This is true, but I created this as a lesson on how I do my vocal style, and a way any other person may chose to do these vocals, that being his/her choice. The reason I put up a disclaimer is because I predicted the flood of people that would say that my vocals are incorrect simply because they are not identical to everyone elses. And I dont want people filling up the comments box with their own little 2 cents as commonly seen in YouTube videos. They can write their own lessons and trash me in them if they wish. That's their choice.
    JeremyKing
    Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, form, or fashion, an expert at these vocal styles. I'm making this lesson to teach people that are new to it how to do the vocal styles correctly.If you don't agree with my methods, by all means, use your own. But don't post your lesson on how you'd do it as a comment. And if you have a negative opinion about how I do my vocals. Don't post it as a comment. PM me about it.
    shay.hughes.773
    I was wondering if it's OK for your throat to hurt well not really hurt but be like sore or have a raw feeling to it after practicing screaming for a Little while I've been told that it's OK for it to hurt or be soar and you're supposed to take 2 days to get your voice back after practicing screaming is this right I also wanted to know how do you close your throat?
    Downfault
    Yes in the beginning your voice is going to be a little soar until it becomes conditioned. In other words it has to get used to this kind of vocal style. It shouldn't take long to get over it but if it continues to hurt over a period of time like a week or so than you may possible be hurting your your self and may need to re-evualate your technique. You should get to a point where it never bothers you anymore after you scream and if so then that is good. Now to close your throat you're going to just constrict your vocal chords though I would be weary of that advice because you really want to kind of keep your chords relaxed and this may cause unecessary tension.
    Timo9500
    Dude, great article, but i think you just like cheeze its and mtn dew to much
    JeremyKing
    And I agree with both of you.
    This will take quite a bit of practice and will hurt at first. When this happens, stop immediately and et something to drink. Honey will work wonders for this. When your throat feels COMPLETELY fine, only then should you try it again.
    And everyone has their own opinion. jeffkimisback, I appreciate that you posted yours in the manner that you did. It makes it advice, instead of slamming. You're welcome to share advice, but I dont want everyone coming on here and telling me how wrong I am and correcting me. That's not advice.
    SIRRON_KCUHC
    Gatrie wrote: WTF. Seriously? I don't mean to be harsh but this is non-sense. If it hurts it's wrong, as simple as that. Ask asny vocal coach. It shouldn't hurt. It hurts because you're slowly damaging your vocal chords. Just check out M. Shadows- remember his operation for vocal nodules? How does he perfoms now? HE SINGS.
    M. Shadows sings now becuase #1 He didnt want to completely kill his voice and #2 the band agreed that his singing is better then his screaming.
    Avengedfrk
    by the way M. shadows still screams it was just a choice the band made cause thats what they wanted and he still sounds like a bat out of hell r.i.p. rev good lesson btw
    VisualK31
    3 years is not a long enough time to realize any significant damage. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong. Period. If you have to move your tongue for any reason, other than shaping words, you're doing it wrong. If you close off your breathing at all, you're doing it wrong. Keep this up without learning to do this stuff properly, and your career will not last a very long time.