This emindsca teaches you how to use Audacity to create a new song (or “mash-up”) that combines the vocals of one song with the instrumental of another. Finding two songs that work well together, adjusting the pitch of the vocals to fit the beat, adjusting the tempo of the two songs to align, and synchronising the vocals with the proper point in the instrumental are the four primary components of creating a clean mash-up.
Part 1 Gathering Audio Materials
1. Choose the two songs you want to mash up. You’ll need the vocals from one song and the instrumental from another to make a mash-up. You’ll need to decide which two songs to use, as well as which song to use for vocals and which song to use for background music.
2. Download an a cappella version of one of your favourite songs. Downloading MP3 files from YouTube is a good way to get an a cappella version of a song, but you should always give credit to any artists and YouTube creators whose audio you use.
It is permissible to use copyrighted audio in your own music, but it is not permissible to sell or use the music for commercial purposes (or in any context other than personal enjoyment).
3. Download the other song’s instrumental version. Again, YouTube is a great place to find song instrumentals.
If you can’t find an instrumental version of the song you’re looking for, try looking for a “karaoke” version.
4. Launch Audacity. Double-click the Audacity app icon, which looks like a pair of blue headphones wrapped around an orange wavelength.
5. Import both songs into Audacity. Once your audio files have been imported into Audacity, you can begin working on your mash-up. To import files, do the following:
Click Import Audio…
Hold down Ctrl (or ⌘ Command) while clicking your music files.
Part 2 Changing the Vocals’ Pitch
1. Choose the vocals-only track. Drag your mouse cursor from left to right across the a capella track until it is completely selected.
2. The Click Effect. There’s a tab at the top of the Audacity window for it (or the screen on a Mac). There will be a drop-down menu.
3. Click Change Pitch…. This option is near the top of the drop-down menu. Clicking it opens a new window.
4. Click the “Semitones (half-steps)” text box. You’ll find this near the middle of the window.
5. Pitch your song higher or lower. Each octave is represented by the number “0.12,” so you’d type 0.12 to raise the pitch of the song by one octave (or -0.12 to lower the pitch by one octave). Increasing or decreasing pitch in 0.12 increments is the cleanest and most accurate method.
If you need to fine-tune the pitch of your vocals further, you can use half-octaves (0.06), but you shouldn’t deviate from the 0.12 increment otherwise.
6. Click OK. It’s at the bottom of the window. This will apply your pitch adjustment to the selected audio.
7. Take a listen to the song. Listen to the pitch of the song in conjunction with the instrumental with both tracks unmuted. You’re good to go if the song sounds in sync with the beat.
Keep in mind that the song will most likely not yet sync with the beat.
8. Pitch can be adjusted as needed. Much of making a mash-up is trial and error, and this is no exception. If your song is still out of key, go to Edit, Undo Change Pitch, and adjust the pitch once more. When the pitch of your song’s vocals matches that of the instrumental, you can begin synchronising the files’ beats-per-minute.
Part 3 Synchronizing the Tempo
1. Find out each track’s tempo. In order for your tracks to line up with each other, they have to have the same beats per minute (BPM) number. You can find out each track’s BPM number by doing the following:
Go to https://songbpm.com/
Type your song’s name and artist name into the search bar at the top of the page.
Press ↵ Enter
Review the “BPM” number on the right side of the page next to the correct song.
Repeat with your other song.
2. Choose which track to change. If you want to speed up your mash-up, increase the BPM of the slower song to match the faster one; otherwise, decrease the BPM of the faster song to match the slower one.
3. Select a song. Click and drag your mouse cursor across the song for which you want to alter the BPM.
4. Click Effect. The Effect drop-down menu will appear.
5. Change the Tempo…. This option is near the top of the drop-down menu. This brings up the Change Tempo window.
6. Enter the original BPM of the track. Enter the BPM for the track you’re currently changing in the “from” text box on the left side of the “Beats per minute” section.
For instance, if the song’s current BPM is 112, enter it into the “from” box.
7. Enter the BPM of the second track. Enter the BPM of the second track into the “to” text box on the right side of the window.
For example, if the BPM of the other track is 124, enter that into the “to” box.
8. Click OK. It’s at the bottom of the window. Doing so applies your BPM settings to the selected track.
9. Listen to the song. If you’re not happy with the results, you can always undo your changes from the Edit menu and change the BPM of the other track.
Keep in mind that you must still align the vocals with the beat.
Part 4 Lining up the Vocals with the Beat
1. Choose the point where you want your vocals to begin. Find the point in the instrumental’s soundwave where you want to insert the vocals, then mark it with a click.
2. Please click. It’s located in the upper-left corner of the Audacity window. This tool allows you to move a track back and forth to help you position it.
3. Move your vocals to the left or right. The start of the vocals should correspond to the vertical line that represents the point where you clicked earlier.
If you’re having trouble getting the location as precise as you want it, you can zoom in by clicking the + magnifying glass icon near the top of the Audacity window.
4. Play your song. In the upper-left corner of the window, click the green “Play” button. Your track should begin playing right at the point where the vocals should begin.
5. Adjust the position of the vocals track as needed. You can finally export your project to its own sound file once your vocals are where you want them to be.
Part 5 Exporting the Mash-Up
1. Click File. It’s in the upper-left side of Audacity. Clicking it prompts a drop-down menu.
2. Click Export Audio…. This option is in the File drop-down menu. A window will appear.
3. Enter a file name. Type in whatever you want to name your mash-up.
4. Select a save location. Click a folder in which you want to save the file (e.g., Desktop).
On Mac, you may first have to click a Where drop-down box before you can select a save location.
5. Click Save. It’s near the bottom of the window.
6. Enter any tags you wish to include. When prompted, add the artist name, album, and so on if you like.
7. Click OK. It’s at the bottom of the window. This will save your project in your selected location as an MP3 file, which can be played virtually anywhere.
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