Sunday, July 12, 2009

audacity tutorial

I couldn't find any good beginner exercises for audacity so I developed one myself. I have road tested it with a couple of classes now and the students enjoyed it. A few teachers have said they like it too and so sharing I'm it here for a wider audience.


The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
The adjective_1 adjective_2 noun verb over the adjective_3 noun

Teacher supplies sound files (in his voice) as show below:
Adjective 1: Quick, Slow, Speedy, Lumbering, Fast, Accelerating, Energetic, Rapid, Swift, Twitchy
Adjective 2: Brown, Red, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Black
Noun: Fox, Dog, Snail, Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Elephant, Lion, Cat, Snake, Robot
Verb: Jumped, Lept, Fell, Collapsed, Dived, Bounced, Lurched, Vaulted, Parachuted, Lunged
Adjective 3: Lazy, Foolish, Flea-ridden, Sleepy, Short-sighted, Dead, Gigantic, Scrawny, Shaggy, Curly

Starting with generic sentence and cutting and pasting from the other files make three new sentences of the above structure

Example: The energetic orange rhinoceros parachuted over the dead cat

File > New to start a new file
File > Import > Audio to import a new audio track
Mute button for the tracks that you don’t want to hear
Select by clicking and dragging with mouse (for copying, cutting)
For playing one section select first and then play
Copy Ctrl + C; Paste Ctrl + V; Cut Ctrl + X; Undo Ctrl + Z; Duplicate Ctrl + D
Fit in Window: View > Fit in Window or Ctrl + F
Fit Vertically: View > Fit Vertically or Ctrl + Shift + F
Saving: The default is *.AUP which retains all tracks, use this initially
File > Export to save your work as a WAV file (or MP3 or OGG for small file size)

Outcome: Three different sentences: sentence1.wav, sentence2.wav, sentence3.wav


Start with one of the sentences you have made. Make duplicates (Ctrl + D), at least six.

Change Pitch – both up and down, so that the voice changes significantly
Change Speed – 30 to 45 and 30 to 78
Change Tempo – Increase and Decrease so that the voice changes significantly

Rename you duplicates as you go along, it helps to keep track with meaningful names

Save As … audacity project (*.aup) so as to retain all the pieces for later


Open a new file.

Select your best three effects and put them onto one track

From the music folder on the L drive (Winds, Synthesiser, Strings, FX etc.) add music before and after each sentence

Create new tracks and add background music which plays over the voices but has its loudness reduced so the voices can still be clearly heard.

When finished save as an MP3 or OGG (small file size) and give it to the teacher for marking

Effect > Fade In
Effect > Fade Out (use this for transition between music and voice)
Envelope Tool (for changing the volume)
Time Shift Tool (for moving selections of sound)


Record your best sentence in your own voice!

Then add Effects and Music to produce a final product similar to above but this time in your voice

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