Recreating the theme from Stranger Things

To celebrate the return of Stranger Things, in the video above we share our recreation of the series’ timeless theme song.

The theme was written and composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the electronic band Survive. It features a variety of popular synthesizers from the ’80s, which perfectly reflects the nostalgic atmosphere of Stranger Things.

The theme for Stranger Things is at a tempo of 84 BPM and in the key of E minor. However, the main synth line is an arpeggiation of a C major 7th chord—this is the VI chord in the key (check out our in-depth analysis of this arpeggio here). This synth line acts as both the main melody and an ostinato, repeating itself throughout the entire track. Most of the forward momentum is achieved by filter automation and shifting timbral layers.

How to recreate the theme from Stranger Things

For our recreation, we used an eclectic collection of synths spanning Xfer Records’ Serum, Softube’s Parallels, and those included in Arturia’s V Collection.

Download the Ableton project file and follow along with our tutorial video above, where we walk through how we produced our recreation of the Stranger Things theme step-by-step.

Below, we also highlight the instruments that we used to recreate two particularly key sounds from the theme.

The synth arpeggio

Stranger Things arpeggio MIDI

The instrument we used for the main synth line is Arturia’s SEM V, which is modeled after the Oberheim SEM series.

The synth bass

Stranger Things synth bass MIDI

To recreate the bass, we used Arturia’s Prophet V, which emulates Sequential Circuits’ legendary Prophet 5.

While these two MIDI lines and synth presets outline the foundation of the Stranger Things theme, be sure to check out the video to see a more detailed walkthrough.

Do you have any favorite sounds from the Stranger Things theme song? What popular tracks would you like to see us break down next? Let us know in the comments section of the video.

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June 13, 2022

Nick Chen Content Marketing @ Splice. Nick Chen is a producer, performer, and educator under the aliases "nickthechen" and "Enix."