Changing the pitch of an audio file with Audacity

Published by TheJoe on

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes


This article was published more than a year ago, there may have been developments.
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In today's tutorial we begin to delve into the world of digital audio. Let's start with a simple solution of the problem, problem that many people will ever encounter. How to change the pitch of a file (or of a part of file) lossless audio? The answer is “can not”. To change the pitch you need a small (laughable) loss of information, imperceptible, but it is better to know.

For this tutorial we will use the open source audio editor Audacity, and we will use this audio file.

First of all open Audacity and import the file: “File” – “Import” – “Audio”.

We select the file (or part of it) with the mouse. To select all of the audio track on information chicchiamo, in the left part, to select part of it, drag the mouse over the track.

Selected track in full
Partial selection

At this point we go on “Effects” – “Change pitch”.

You do not need to know what the actual note that we are changing. It may not be a note, but of an entire song. The important thing is to know how much we want to raise or lower. Let's say that a song is played in the key “SOL”: will select from the first drop-down “G” (Sol in inglese), decide whether to translate it into acute or severe, and from the second drop down choose the tone in which we want to play us. The rest of the settings are not useless, but they are used to a more advanced level.

Now we can confirm and listen to the pitch change.

This technique reminds me of when I was younger and I was trying to play along with the songs of AC / DC to learn. I could not though because my guitar was given seemed forgotten. The truth is that the guitar was tuned to 440hz, while the AC / DC I think they play on 415hz, I was their lowest of my half semitone. To play along I had to forget I even half a semitone, but if I had the knowledge of today, I would have saved a lot’ tunings.


I keep this blog as a hobby by 2009. I am passionate about graphic, technology, software Open Source. Among my articles will be easy to find music, and some personal thoughts, but I prefer the direct line of the blog mainly to technology. For more information contact me.


lucia · 27 January 2018 at 7:39 PM

Hello once changed intonation how do I carry it on your desktop

    TheJoe · 28 January 2018 at 3:43 PM

    The subject like any other audio files on the desktop: “file” – “exports”.

Maximum · 14 February 2015 at 12:55 PM

Hello , I'm a hip hop producer . I do not know if it makes sense to my question but I would like my beat to sound at 432 Hz . Amount the track and take off 0,32 tone and keep the setting in 1,181 etc. … But this is’ a universal law ? The sound can be a disappointment ? I notice a few mistakes but I have the trained ear distortions

    TheJoe · 14 February 2015 at 1:52 PM

    Hello Massimo, thanks for the comment.

    Your question makes little sense. Audacity can set to go off at 232hz. With the data that you write I do not understand much, but take a look at the last screenshot article. “Frequency(Hz) the 195,- a 232,-“. Please note that if you make a jump so many Hz the sound will be noticeably distorted, especially hip-hop sounds that are very clean and crystalline.

    I have a question. The sounds you do them or download them in libraries and then assemble them into a drum machine? In the latter case I were you I would try to pitchare individually every sound and fit after. And it's’ possible loss of quality of less.

    Anyway you… This is a universal law. Other software, also commercial, They do the same work… the result is no longer satisfactory for this.

    If you feel you would like to send me the track convert, I try to analyze it and give you an opinion on what could be done or not. Good luck with the hip-hop!

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