How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audacity.

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How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audacity.

Postby Hugh-AR » 28 Mar 2024 15:00

How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audacity.

I remember once going to listen to a keyboard acquaintance of mine playing at a local pub. He said to me that a lot of players play their pieces much too fast .. almost as if they are in a rush to finish and get home! So he made sure he knew the TEMPO he should play each song at and stuck to it. I suppose on the other side of the coin one could play a piece too slowly .. and then it will 'drag' and people will be saying to 'wind it up'!

I find that I often play songs too slowly, particularly if there are a lot of complicated chord changes. When I was in the Scottish Country Dance Band the Piano Accordionist seemed to have fingers made of rubber. How he managed to play those melodies for Scottish Country Dancing I shall never know! There is no way my fingers will move that fast! So if I want to play one of those Scottish Country Dance numbers, the only way I can do it is to play it very slowly .. and then speed it up afterwards.

Here's an example of me doing this. The tune I wanted to play is a real favourite of mine called The Mason's Apron, and I have incorporated this into a Medley. Mind you, playing that number 'slowly' worked a treat .. but the other two songs in the medley I found almost impossible to play 'slowly' as these are songs I play at normal speed and my brain is not geared up to do that!

First, listen to how this sounds 'played slowly'. Haven't put the whole track up .. just what I have referred to above.



So having recorded this medley at this speed I will load the MP3 into Audacity and speed up the Tempo.

First, we have to select the part of the waveform we want Audacity to work on.
In this case, it's the whole MP3 .. so Select All.
This turns the background to WHITE.

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We then need to find Change Tempo..., which is in Effect.

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A drop-down box comes up. A bit of experimenting needed here.
Let's try 100%

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Have a listen, and see what you think.



Don't think so! Click the UNDO button to go back to where we were before, and set it up again.

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This time I'll try 25%.

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Reckon that's about right. Have a listen.



By the way, if you want to make a piece run more slowly, you have to put a MINUS number in there. Eg. -10.000.
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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby Ron » 29 Mar 2024 13:51

Unfortunately, this does not work when playing live in a band or on your own. This needs fingers of rubber or years of playing regularly at the appropriate tempo to match the tunes being played. :D

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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby dentyr » 30 Mar 2024 12:55

Hello Ron, Or get a chromatic button accordion where you don't have to move your hands just your fingers. This one is not a chromatic but a diatonic.



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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby Ron » 30 Mar 2024 15:24

Brandon McPhee is a polished performer :D

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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby Hugh-AR » 31 Mar 2024 00:15

Den has pointed out to me that there is no need to use Audacity to do this as you can adjust the TEMPO on the keyboard itself. Well yes, you can .. but not if you have recorded as AUDIO. Den is talking about recording as MIDI .. then when you play the MIDI across and record as AUDIO you can set the MIDI file up to play faster. That's all very well so long as you 'saved' the MIDI file and still have the keyboard it was recorded on. You can certainly speed the recording up on another keyboard, but the VOICES might not sound as they should if you have imported any voices and these are not available on the keyboard you are currently using.

Thing about an AUDIO file (either WAV or MP3) is that the sound you hear is set in stone. It will not change, whatever device you play it on. But using AUDACITY you can do certain things with it. And it is more likely that it will be an MP3 you have been listening to and decided it would be nice to make some adjustments to it .. like speeding it up. You certainly wouldn't have been listening to a MIDI file playing on your laptop or computer!

See my next post below to see (sorry .. hear!) another example of why you might want to speed up the TEMPO.

Hugh
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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby Hugh-AR » 02 Apr 2024 00:22

A White Sports Coat (And A Pink Carnation).

This was sung by Marty Robbins. I have set the METRONOME going on my keyboard so I can check the TEMPO songs are being played at.
This one below is at 114bpm (beats per minute).



Now this is a number we used to play in the 50s in the band at school, and I have recorded it played on my AR80 organ 'as I remembered it'.
I am playing this at 104bpm.
So a bit slower than it should be played at.



We had a Member of our Forum called tyritzer (Roy Tungate) who was a 'singer', and had a Tyros 4 setup. He sent me his 'take' on this piece, which you can listen to below.



Love the sound of that! He is singing/playing at 126bpm.

And I have found another video on YouTube of Marty Robbins singing it.
This time he is singing it at 136bpm.



You have to come to the conclusion that there is no 'correct Tempo'. You play it/sing it as you wish to hear it.

But I did feel that the way I played the piece at 104bpm was 'dragging', and needed 'winding up'.
So I shall use Audacity to speed it up a bit.
First, I have loaded my original recording into Audacity.
Then, as I want Audacity to change the Tempo of the whole piece, gone for Select, All.
This changes the background of the waveform to WHITE.

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Next, the TEMPO. This is in Effect.

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This time, instead of doing a 'percentage' change I decided to do a 'Beats per Minute' change.
After some experimenting, I reckoned that 120bpm would suit the piece best for the way I had played it.
Remember, there is an UNDO button (the circle above, with the anticlockwise arrow) for you to click on if you want to go back to what you had before.

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This is what my piece sounds like now, having speeded it up a bit.
Have a listen and see what you think.



This time it was not a question of not being able to play it at this speed .. but I didn't want to sit and record it again. And I didn't have a MIDI recording of it so couldn't have speeded it up the way Den had suggested. I just had the MP3.

Hugh
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Re: How to Increase/Decrease the TEMPO of an MP3 using Audac

Postby Hugh-AR » 02 Apr 2024 23:15

There are times where using Audacity to speed up a recording just does not work.

Take a listen to this:



This is being played at 90bpm.

Now listen to this .. Foster and Allen singing it .. at 160bpm.



Speeding up the MP3 using the bpm method ...

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... we get this.



Although playing at a faster speed, it doesn't sound right!
This is because, when playing it 'slowly' the EXPRESSION PEDAL has been used. That might be OK when playing the piece slowly, but when you speed it up the expression pedal would be used differently. I've just noticed too that the 'vibrato' on the trumpet has been speeded up too! Not something you'd want to hear! So no option but to record the piece again at this faster speed (if that was what you wanted to do)!

Hugh
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