Change the Keys of Songs For Singing – Free!

If you’re like me, you may have often been left wishing you had a wider array of songs to choose from. The overwhelming majority of songs are not going to be perfect for practice with your voice.

A big reason for this is the key that songs are recorded in. Depending on the range of notes in the song (how high and how low the notes are) and where those notes fall within your range, the key of a song can make the difference between struggling impossibly and experiencing the thrill of singing.

In this post, I will walk you through how to change keys of your songs to suit your voice so that you can use them on your music player to sing along to – free!

audacity1) Download Audacity.

It’s free! There are versions available for all computer platforms (both PC and Mac).

2) Install and open the program.

Don’t be put off by the seeming complexity of the program.

Although this is recording software with many options, we are only using it for transposing the keys of songs.

3) Drop in Your Song

Singing Songs KeysIn the big grey area, drag and drop the song you want to transpose the key of.

Make sure you use a vocal version of your song so that you can practice along with the vocal. Once you know the transposed key using the transposed version of the vocal version, you can drag and drop, then transpose the karaoke version and practice with that later.

The track should show up with two audio waves – one for the left and for the right side of the audio.

4) Select the Track

Singing - Changing Songs Keys 2Make sure the track itself is selected by clicking in the empty area at the far left of the track so the whole track is highlighted (a darker grey).

Don’t click where the audio waves show up as this may select specific sections of the songs audio file. We want to make sure the entire track is selected.

5) Change the Key.

From the navigation menu at the top, select “Effect” then “Change Pitch”.

Use the “Semitones (half-steps):” option to adjust the songs key either up or down.

Singing - Changing Songs Keys 3If you are looking to change the key of the song to make it slightly easier to sing, adjust it either -1 (one half-step lower), -2, -3 (three half-steps lower) or +1 (one half step higher), +2, or +3 (three half steps higher).

If you are looking to change the key of the song from a female range to a male range, adjust it anywhere between -5 (5 half-steps down) to -7 (7 half-steps down). Any higher than 5, and the notes may be too high. Lower than 7, and the range may become too low.

If you are looking to change the key of the song from a male range to a female range, adjust it anywhere between +5 (5 half-steps up) to +9 (9 half-steps up). Any lower than 5, and the notes may be too low.

6) Test it out.

Listen to the track by playing it and singing along. If it’s not the right key, adjust up or down one half step as feels right. If you want to undue your key changes, just select undo, or start over. Just be careful you dont’ make it too easy on yourself by making it too high or too low that you avoid transitioning between registers. Learning to transition between the different areas of your voice is what the art of singing is!

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 12.27.45 PM7) Export the final track in your transposed key.

Select “File” from the navigation, and select “Export…”. It will ask what you’d like to call your track, and where you’d like to save it. A good rule of thumb is to save your track with however much you have transposed it at the end of the title (“+5” or “-7”, etc.) for future reference.

8) Repeat for your instrumental/karaoke version.

Once you’ve practiced with the transposed version of your vocal, you can try your hand at the instrumental. Just remember that not all karaoke tracks are made in the same key as the vocal. So you may need to do some tweaking if they feel different.

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