Anyone know how to get a siren sound?

• Apr 11, 2021 - 07:42

I've been working on a piece that I really want to have a siren (think Shostakovich Symphony 2, 3rd Movement) and I just can't find one. Does anyone know how I could get a siren sound or instrument and use it in a score?

Thanks in advance!


I tried looking for a siren in a soundfont. A quick search didn't find one, but there might be one. Keep looking!

If you have access to a real siren you could try making your own soundfont. Make a recording and then use tools such as Polyphone to make the soundfont. You might also be able to use the same approach using sound samples which are already available - for example in public domain sound archives. The BBC in the UK has such an archive - you could try looking there.

I thought I'd try an experiment, and produced the attached musescore file - using standard (ish) instruments.
If you use the articulation for a bend - which appears as full in this sample score - horn bars 7 and 9 onwards - you might get the effect you want. To modify or edit the bend you need to select the note with the bend articulation, and use the Inspector to get the pitch varying effect. You probably need to have quite long notes, and if you want a wider pitch range you might have to link several notes together. The effect shown starts on a note, and then goes up then down. If you want it to go down then up you'll probably have to start on a higher note.

It is possible with a bit of experimentation to get a "wider" bend - I changed the test file. Experiment!

Does that help?

Attachment Size
test siren.mscz 17.32 KB

In reply to by dave2020X

Another way to get a siren effect is to use a synthesizer - though not sure if the soft synths in MS will work.

This is possible in many DAWs - you just need to make sure the DAW you use has a software synthesiser available. Logic has some built in ones, but there are free ones for use with other DAWs such as Surge and Dexed.

Here is a video showing how to make a siren sound within Logic
The principles are pretty much the same for other DAW/synth combinations, so you could use Reaper or Lmms with a suitable software synth.

A bit more work is required to get the Doppler shift effect as police cars or fire engines pass by.

You could output the audio from a DAW+Synth and build up a soundfont from that - using a tool such as Polyphone.

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