I’ve just finished making up an edited piece of music for a private performance I’ve got coming up.  I’m not, nor ever have been, a DJ, but I got pushed into figuring out how to make little edits to songs due to one I wanted to dance to a while ago that started just too abruptly, with a set of drum beats that I really wanted to ‘hit’.  There was no way I could ever manage that because I’d never know exactly when they would start – there was no lead in at all on the track and the thought of trying to figure out exactly when the DJ pressed ‘play’ was plainly ludicrous!

So I had a hunt around the internet and found Audacity, a free piece of software that you can use to edit music.  It had excellent reviews on CNET (always a good port of call to check out any software you’re thinking of getting!).  It took a bit of fiddling about with before I could do what I wanted to (which was copy a few introductory drum beats from another piece of music and paste them into the start of the track I wanted) but once I figured out what to do it was not that much harder than copying & pasting in something like Word – select the bits of the music you want, press ‘copy’, select where you want them to go and them press ‘paste’.  The hard bit (for me) was getting exactly the bit I wanted to copy, finding the exactly right start and end point of the selection.  The other thing that took an age for me to figure out is that the program won’t do anything useful like copy or paste while the pause button is clicked – you have to press stop (STOP!) for it to behave.

The bit, however that nearly made my brain explode was that I couldn’t save it as an MP3 file (or any other easily played digital music file).  I just about freaked having spent all that time learning the package and tweaking my intro to be just the way I wanted it.

Internet to the rescue!  I had to do a bit of fiddling about with another package but once that was done I could save the edited piece of music as an MP3 (well, they call it ‘exporting to MP3’ but it’s the same thing).

It’s not something I do a lot, but it’s so handy to be able to do it when I need/want to; I thoroughly recommend teaching yourself if you have the time.  I know Laura Monteith of Sarasvati Tribal recommends this sort of thing (for the very same reasons that I taught myself to do it!) too.  So that makes two of us – it must be a good idea 🙂

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