How to make an alternate key of your worship loops and click tracks

A common question is how to edit audio files.

For example…

  1. How can I take off the vocals of a music file?
  2. How can I put the song in a key tailored for my voice?
  3. How can I take out the middle section of this song to make it shorter?
  4. How can I make the song slightly faster, but keep the pitch?

Let’s address just one of these — changing the key of an audio file, such as a loop with a split click track.

Let’s say you just got a tasty loop/click track from mymusicwriter.com to use in your worship gathering. The loop is in the original song key of F#.  However, let’s say you prefer to lead the song in the key of E instead of the loop/click file’s key of F#.  This is because your guitarist would get a hand cramp before measure 8 in the key of F# because he’s too cocky to use a capo.

So here’s how you can change the key, even with a split-track or loop/click track.

1. Download the free open source software Audacity. Then use Audacity to open up that MP3 click track or loop track.  The file will open in one stereo track in Audacity.

2. Then, clicking the pull down menu (arrow), select “Split Stereo Track” so that Audacity will take the stereo track and split it into two tracks, one LEFT and one RIGHT.

3. Highlight the entire track where the LOOP is located. To do this, click just above the SOLO button in a blank area on that track.  This will highlight the entire track.

4. Change Pitch. From the menu in Audacity, we are going to go to Effect > Change Pitch…

5. Select your origination and destination key. In the “Change Pitch” dialog box, simply select the key the loop is already in (from) and select the key that you desire to do (to).  In this case, the original key was F and we are going to G.  Once you’ve established the “from” key and the “to” key — click OK, and you are all set.

Voilà! Almost done.  You’ll notice that when you click the play button — the loop is altered, but the click track and vocal cuing on the opposite panned side is left unaltered.  The tempo is not changed each (since we selected Change Pitch earlier, instead of Change Speed).  By the way, if the loop/click is slightly slower or faster than you’d like — Audacity will bump the tempo from BPM to where you want it.  Simply select Effects > Change Tempo and follow the dialog box.

6. Export to MP3. The final step is to export the track as an MP3 file.   Be sure to rename the file with the new key — to circumvent any rewrite of the original loop/click file.

Happy key altering.

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