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This workshop is a quick introduction to working with digital audio. It uses the free, open-source Audacity software. Digital audio software like Audacity shows sound as a waveform, which is a visual representation of the audio over time. Sound can be edited in much the same way that words are edited in a word processing program – i.e. by copying, cutting, and pasting, as well as modifying the sound (e.g. EQ or changing volume) which is similar to styling text.

Getting Started

Download Audacity

For this workshop, set the recording settings: AUDACITY>PREFERENCES>DEVICES>RECORDING>

  • DEVICE: Built-in Microphone
  • CHANNELS: 1 (Mono)

Make use of the Audacity help system

  • HELP>QUICK HELP
  • HELP>MANUAL

Topics

Recording & Playback

Record a short sequence of you saying “One, Two, Three… One, Two, Three…”

To play back audio, use the green play button, or hit the spacebar. Hold the shift key down when pressing the green button to play back in a continuous loop.

Waveform Editing

A waveform is a visual representation of sound, where time moves from left to right, and loudness (amplitude) is represented as height.

You can cut, copy, and paste the waveform just as you would in a word-processing application.

Do the following kinds of edits

Controlling level with the Envelope Tool

You can change the loudness of the sound as time progress by using the envelope tool. Use it to change the volume of the entire track, or set different points in time, and use the tool to change the volume up or down over time.

Working with Multiple Tracks

To create a mix of several different sounds, you can create multiple tracks in Audacity. Each track will contain a different sound, and you can control where in time each sound plays, and what the volume relationships are between the multiple tracks.

  • Use TRACKS>ADD NEW>AUDIO TRACK to create a new, empty track OR Record a new track
  • The TRACK MENU
  • Use the Time Shift Tool to move audio left and right in time to match up with another track
  • Mixing
  • Use mute and solo
  • Use track volume and pan
  • Auto Duck

Effects

  • EQ – Change the tone of the sound – e.g. bass, mid, treble
  • Pitch change – Change the pitch of a selection without changing the length of the sound
  • Tempo change – Change the length of a selection without changing the pitch of the sound
  • Reverb – Add the on the characteristics of a room to your sound
  • Etc.

Outputing final audio