How To Change A Song’s Pitch In Audacity (To Better Suit Your Voice)


The Time Shift tool is used for moving a sound forward and backward in time. This is very useful when working with multitrack recordings. The Time Shift tool will allow you to make timing adjustments to your sounds very easily.

To use the Time Shift tool you first need to find the Time Shift tool on the tool bar and click on it.

Using your mouse you now click and hold on a waveform while moving your mouse to the left or right. This will allow you to move your waveform forward or backward in time.


Change the known key from A to the C#/Db above that A

If we have music that we know is in the key of A, Audacity may estimate the pitch as A if the first note is an A. However, music does not always start on the same note as the musical key it is in, so the detected note will not necessarily be an A. That does not matter because we know the current key and the key we want to change to. Whatever the detected pitch, we will set the “from” pitch to be an A and the “to” pitch to be the C#/Db above that A.

In the image above, the first note detected was actually B4. This makes it the second note in the scale of A major or A minor in fourth octave position (that is, nearly an octave above C4 which is commonly known as “Middle C”).

  1. Change “from” pitch to A by clicking in the dropdown menu.
  2. Change “to” pitch to C#/Db by clicking in the dropdown menu.
  3. Observe the octave text box to right of “to” pitch is still at 4, indicating a pitch change down of 8 semitones.
  4. Click the upward-pointing arrow to right of the “to” octave text box (or click in or select the box and press Up arrow) to change the octave to 5. This is necessary because the octave number always increases by 1 when moving up through C.
  5. We now have the change we want from A4 to C#/Db5, so we could click OK to make the change.

Before changing the pitch, observe that the pitch change could have been entered in other ways. Had we realised that A to C#/Db was 4 semitones, we could have left the pitch controls alone and just entered 4 in “Semitones (half-steps)”. It does not matter that the pitch change indicated would have been from B4 to D#/Eb5, because it is the interval of 4 semitones that Audacity is applying.

We could also have achieved an identical result by simply setting the “Percent Change” to 25.992 (if we happened to know that 4 semitones upwards is equivalent to 25.992%).


Import and Time Stretch an Audio File

Follow these steps to modify a song's playback speed in Audacity.

  1. Ensure you have the latest version of Audacity. You can download it from the Audacity website.

    Before you download and use Audacity, review its privacy policy to ensure you’re in compliance.

  2. With Audacity running, select File > Open.

  3. Choose the audio file you want to work on by clicking it and selecting Open.

    If you get a message saying that the file cannot be opened, install the FFmpeg plugin. This adds support for more formats than Audacity comes with, such as AAC and WMA.

  4. Select a stretch of audio and choose Effect > Change Tempo to access the time-stretching option.

    Press Command+A to select the entire file.

  5. To speed up the audio file, move the slider to the right and click Preview to hear a short clip. You can also type a value in the Percent Change box if you prefer.

  6. To slow down the audio, move the slider to the left, making sure the percent value is negative. As in the previous step, you can also enter an exact value by typing a negative number in the Percent Change box. Select Preview to test.

  7. When you are happy with the change in tempo, choose OK to process the whole audio file. Your original file remains unchanged at this stage.

  8. Play the audio to check that the speed is OK. If not, repeat steps 3 to 6.

Step 2: Open in Audacity

Now that the file our readers wish to edit is on their computer’s hard drive, they will want to open the file with Audacity.  Right-click the file and choose Open With and select Audacity from the list.  Don’t see it listed?  Open Audacity from Programs folder in the Start menu.  Open the software and click File >> Open, selecting the audio to be edited.

Once the file opens in Audacity, our readers will see something like this:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Frequency (Hz)

The “from” input box initializes to the first meaningful detected pitch in the selection and does not update if the other controls are changed. However if you know the original frequency and the frequency you want to change to, you can enter these in the “from” and “to” boxes. Detection of a steady sine tone will often be very accurate (with the upper frequency limitation noted below) in which case you may only need to change the “to” input box to the desired frequency for the tone.

  • Percent Change: If you would like to change the pitch by a given percent, enter a value in this input box or use the slider.

Part 2: How to Change Pitch in Audacity?

Sound editing is becoming increasingly popular in music and other relevant industries. Several applications offer sound editing tools to serve the needs of the people. Pitch-changing is one of the common tools that people look for in sound editors.

Audacity is one of the notable software that allows users to change the pitch of the voice. It comes with an Audacity pitch shift mechanism to facilitate users. So, if you are editing sound in Audacity, changing the pitch is just a matter of a few clicks. Are you still wondering how you can apply the Audacity change pitch technique when editing? Here’s how you can do it in simple steps.

Step 1: Select the audio portion

Launch Audacity and add sound recordings you want to edit. Click on the timeline and drag to select the portion of the sound.

Note: Only the portion whose pitch you want to change.

Step 2: Open Effect menu

Step 2: Open Effect menu

Click on the Effect tab at the top right of the screen next to Generate. Select Pitch Change from the drop-down menu.

Note: You can also make other changes, such as Change Speed and Change Tempo option will let you alter the speed of the sound. So, the pitch can also be altered using this process.

Step 3: Adjust pitch

Step 3: Adjust pitch

Drag the slider to alter the pitch of the sound and press the OK button to apply changes.

Note: To increase pitch, slide towards the right. Similarly, slide towards the left to a lower pitch. In addition, the pitch can also be changed by configuring From and To parameters.

Learn Audacity Series

Learn Audacity Series

The following is a list of all the Audacity tutorials and activities found in this video series

TUTORIALS1 How to Create a New Audacity Project

2 How to Open or Import Audio Files in Audacity

3 What are Audacity Tracks

4 Audacity Transport Controls

5 How to Save an Audacity Project

6 How to Record

7 How to Set Input Volume Levels

8 How to Export MP3 and WAV Files

9 How to Select and Delete Sound

ACTIVITY 1 – My First Recording

10 How to use Undo and History in Audacity

11 How to Use the Zoom Tools

12 How to Use the Time Shift Tool

13 How to Use the Change Pitch Effect

ACTIVITY 2 – Make Your Voice Sound Like a Chipmunk

14 How to Use the Fade In & Fade Out Effects

15 How to Download Sound Samples from the Internet

16 How to Use the Amplify Effect

17 How to Edit Metadata

18 How to Multitrack Record

19 How to Use a Click Track

ACTIVITY 3 – Multitrack Recording in Audacity – Beatbox

20 How to Make Silence

21 How to Use the Change Tempo Effect

22 How to Use the Equalization Effect

23 How to Reverse Sound

24 Stereo Mono

ACTIVITY 4 – How to Mess Up a Piece of Music

25 How to Remove Vocals from a Recording

SETUP TUTORIALSSETUP 1 How to Install Audacity

SETUP 2 How to Configure Recording and Playback Hardware

SETUP 3 How to Install the LAME Encoder

PROJECTS PROJECT 1 – Create a Halloween Soundscape

PROJECT 2 – Interview a Superhero

PROJECT 3 – Create a Radio Play


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