Sunday, October 31st, 2010 | Author: Pencil Bugs

If you like editing songs or sounds, try this free program called Audacity. I originally found this program when looking for a way to “chipmunk” a song. (To make it sound like the Alvin and the Chipmunks.) I also found it very useful for bleeping out bad words in a song. After I bleeped out the bad words from a rap song and then just for fun, chipmunked it, Mom said that sounded much improved. She could actually tolerate it – well, at least for maybe a minute.

Here is the link to download it completely for free. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Now that you have the program, follow these simple instructions to “chipmunk” and bleep words out. Obviously, the program also does a lot of other special effects so have fun and experiment.

Open the Audacity program.

Click File>Open to insert your song.

For “Chipmunking”: (Very easy)

  1. Click Effect>Change Pitch>Drag bottom scroll bar until the Percentage Change box says about 50. Press OK.
  2. Now the song should be in a high, squeaky voice (aka Chipmunks). You can play around with the percentages.

For bleeping out bad words: (This is a little more involved.)

  1. You’ll need to zoom in so you it’s more detailed. Click View>Zoom In repeatedly until you see the time bar go in .5 increments. You can also use the Zoom tool instead which looks like a magnifying glass with a + sign.
  2. Play the song until you hear where the bad words are. Make note of the exact tick mark on the time bar.
  3. Stop the song using the square stop button. Not the pause button! The vertical bar will not show at the stopped point.
  4. Highlight the portion of the song that has the word in it. To do this, click the “Selection Tool” which looks like a text cursor I. It is located at the top to the right of the Pause, Play, Stop, Etc.
  5. Once you click on the selection tool button, click your mouse in the song bar at the point where the word is. Try not to cut out the other words.
  6. Drag your mouse to the right slightly which will make a dark grey bar. You can check the clip you selected by hitting the play button. It will then just play that selected portion. If you need to adjust to shorten or lengthen the clip, put your mouse in the grey area at either the left or right edge. A pointer finger will appear. Then just drag to lengthen or shorten the grey area.
  7. FOR THE REST OF THE STEPS, MAKE SURE YOU DON’T CLICK IN THE GREY AREA WITH THE SELECTION TOOL . Otherwise, you will have to repeat some steps, undo, or restart.
  8. Once you highlight the part you want to bleep out, select Effect>Change Tempo> Drag the bar until the Percent Change box is between 110-120.
  9. Hit OK (The selected clip should be shortened.)
  10. Select >Effect>Change Speed> Drag the bar to about 120-130
  11. Hit OK (The selected clip should be shortened again.)
  12. Select the “Envelope Tool” which is located directly to the right of the “Selection Tool”.  This changes the volume of the selected parts. The section should still be highlighted.
  13. Click the top blue bar above the lighter soundwave section right before your selected clip and drag all the way to the top.
  14. Before you do Step #15, if the selected clip is too narrow to see, zoom in so it’s about a half-inch wide. This will make it easier to work with.
  15. Put your envelope tool cursor in the middle of the dark grey selected clip area right below the blue bar and click. The top blue bar should be lowered as a result. If the lighter soundwave area goes up, you’ve done it wrong so click Edit>Undo.
  16. Click after the dark grey selected clip area on the top blue bar and drag all the way to the top again. The line should make a V shape.
  17. In the top blue line, drag the lower part of the V all the way to the center of the sound wave until a double blue line appears in the middle.
  18. Notice how the blue double bar space is wider than the dark grey area time bar above. These need to match up. Put your mouse over the right or left white dot in the top blue bar and drag it to match the dark grey area/box in the time bar. Do the same for the other side. You are kind of eyeballing it to match. Be careful not to drag your mouse downward. If you do, you’ll have to move the blue bar back up to the top.
  19. Congratulations you have successfully bleeped out a bad word.
  20. To test how it sounds, press the purple skip-to-start button. |<<
  21. Press Play. If you hear that the bleeped word is not completely gone or you need to make revisions, it’s easier just to start over than to try and modify your settings from here.
  22. Now that you’ve got the hang of this, repeat Steps #2-19 for each word you want to bleep out.
  23. Don’t close the program until you save the project for future editing. Note: This will only save it as a .aup file.
  24. To save the edited song as an mp3, follow the next steps.

To export as an mp3:

  1. To save the music as an mp3 you have to export it from Audacity. To do this, you must download an encoder to save as an mp3 at http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/
  2. Follow the instructions when you are there! It is not a separate program but it is needed to run a function on Audacity.
  3. Once you have downloaded the encoder,  follow these instructions for export.
  4. Click File>Export
  5. The rest is self explanatory.

Troubleshooting:

If the Effects or any other options are grayed out or are not working remember to always STOP the song not pause it. To change anything it has to be done while it is stopped.

Of course, if you want to spend your money on a more involved program, go for it. But I like finding free programs and Audacity is good for the average person who just wants to play around with songs for fun.

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