Clipping an audio track

Many times you get a karaoke track and will want to make some changes to it. For e.g.,

– cut off the leading or trailing silence

– end the track at a specific time interval

– increase pitch or tempo

– increase volume throughout,

– etc.

A freely available software application/program is Audacity. You can download Audacity here. If you have used an application such as Microsoft Word, knowing basic functions such as copy and paste and menu navigation will help.

Here I will walk through trimming  a track to a specific length.

First I open the track (an mp3 file in this case) by going to File->Open and selecting the file.Audacity-1

You see the menu along the top much like any other software program like Microsoft Word, etc. The wavy-blue graphic is a representation of the sound. There are two tracks in this picture – one each for the left and right channels. Also notice the timeline (sort of ruler) above the wavy blue tracks themselves. Move the scroll bar below to the right and you will see the end of the track.

Let’s say we want to ‘chop’ or trim the track length to 2 minutes even. At the bottom of the window, you see the ‘Snap To’ text and a drop down below it. Select ‘Nearest’ from the drop down. Then in the second box next to the drop down, click on the radio button ‘length’ and type in 2 right before the letter m which stands for minutes. The numbers and text you see depict the time interval, in our case the length. So we have asked Audacity to snap to the first two minutes of the track. You see the first two minutes of track selected – the selected length is in grey color as below.

Now from the menu, select Edit-Copy to copy the selected part of the track to memory. Then select File-New from the menu to create a new Audacity project. Select Edit-Paste to paste the contents from memory. Now you have just the first 2 minutes of the original track. To save the track, you have to export the content. Select File-Export Audio and it opens up a dialog box.


Enter a file name and location to save and keep the default settings. Now you have your trimmed audio track.


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