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Using Audacity to transpose tracks (change pitch without changing tempo)

April 25, 2010

Earlier, I shared what I’d learned about transposing tracks in GarageBand (i.e. changing the ‘key’ or pitch, without changing the tempo).

Here’s another way, using Audacity (, which is a free open-source audio recording, editing and — to some extent — a mixing software. It’s written for Macs and PCs.

The basic steps in transposing a track in Audacity goes like this:

1) Fire up Audacity. Import the track into Audacity (file menu > Project > Audio Import)

2) Once the track is imported, select the entire track (file menu > Edit > Select > All)

3) After making your selection, go to file menu > Effect > Change Pitch.
Audacity - Effect menu

4) With the Change Pitch option box, tweak the settings as needed. You can shift it up or down… the menu options are quite self-explanatory. If not, just select the option and click on Preview. Or you can always choose ‘Undo’ (file menu > Edit > Undo…) if you don’t like the changes you’ve made.
Audacity - Change Pitch

Give Audacity a try. It’s been a very stable and reliable product. And free too. I tend to use Audacity to complement what I do in GarageBand (for instance, using Audacity to convert file formats — or compress, remove clicks etc. — before importing to GarageBand).
Audacity - Effect menu

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 12:02 am

    Glad I found this site, finding it very interesting. 🙂

    • August 10, 2010 12:13 am

      Hey Vicki, after watching your Final Cut Express video, I think this blog should branch out to FCE and have you as a guest blogger 🙂

  2. Hunter permalink
    January 6, 2013 1:03 pm

    Okay. I’ve known about Audacity for a while but haven’t used it. I exported something record and reversed in Audacity to GarageBand but after inserting it, it corrupts the file. Is there anything I can do? I was thinking about putting the file onto youtube and then using a video to MP3 converter and redownloading it. Would that work by any chance?

    • January 6, 2013 7:45 pm

      Hi Hunter, I’m not sure what’s the problem you’re trying to solve, other than there’s a corrupted file. I didn’t fully get what you mean. If you could explain this part again: “…exported something record and reversed in Audacity to GarageBand but after inserting it, it corrupts the file”.

      • Hunter permalink
        January 6, 2013 9:19 pm

        The problem is, that I recorded something in Audacity then exported it into iTunes. After importing it from iTunes into Garageband, it basically breaks the .band file.

      • January 6, 2013 9:25 pm

        What version of GB do you have? And do you still have the Audacity file? See if your GB version has the latest software update from Apple. If you have your Audacity file, export the file as WAV or AIF format. Then try importing into GB. I’ve never had any GB files become corrupt after importing a file. But the above would be what I’d try. Good luck.

  3. Sai Prashanth permalink
    March 8, 2013 11:01 pm

    Thanks a lot man!!

  4. September 5, 2017 2:51 am

    Anyone know how to transpose part of a selection. It transposed but the tempo was increase 100 times or more and couldn’t get it back to normal speed.

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