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Starship Krupa

Detect and shift the pitch of an audio track

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This is one of those things that I need to do from time to time that seems like it should be a lot more straightforward than it winds up being.

I have a song from a movie soundtrack, and it sounds like they pitched the thing up by a few cents, not sure exactly how much, but what I want to do is nudge the whole track down so that can I add instruments to it. The instruments I'll be adding on are tuned to concert pitch, and I want it all in tune.

First issue: analysis. What's the best way with the tools I have at my disposal (Cakewalk, Sound Forge Audio Studio, Mixcraft, Acid Studio, Melodyne Essentials, Quadrovox MAutopitch) to find out where it is now? Second issue: adjusting the pitch. What's the best way to nudge it about once I know how much I need to nudge it?

I thought that Cakewalk and many others were supposed to have fancy algorithms to do detection and shifting? Are they not front-facing? Using Melodyne is, to me, like doing my income taxes. Happens about once a year, is a confusing, miserable chore, and I forget how to do it in between times. Besides, I get the impression that rolling those golden logs around is for single bum notes, not a whole song.

Isn't this a basic thing in modern music production, matching the pitches of samples to make them work with other samples in a larger song? It seems like techniques for doing it would be less obscure. But when I've asked about it in the past, people have kind of scratched their heads and recalled a stranger who came through town years ago wanting to change the pitch of an audio track. Odd-looking fella he was, can't remember where he was from. Don't recall if he ever got an answer....

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And again, I am puzzled by the (non) response.

Is there perhaps another DAW that would be better suited to this task?

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Well, I've gotten at least as far as:

  1. Open the clip in Loop Construction View.
  2. Select Clip/Clip Properties
  3. Check Stretch to Project Tempo

That gives me access to the following dialog:

image.png.39a2fc2eb8b2bf1b81b7bc3a63d84412.png

It's kind of unintuitive to have to check "Switch to Project Tempo" when I want to keep the tempo and shift the pitch. It also leaves the heavy lifting of detecting the clip's original key to the user, but if I know how far off it is and just want to crowbar it up or down, it looks like Cakewalk can do it.

Just seems like those fancy algorithms could be put to use here detecting the base pitch and key of the original clip.

It looks like Cakewalk is doing a better job of tempo detection these days, but maybe I just fed it a better sample this time.

 

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Did you get it working Erik? Not sure Melodyne would work for this. I had forgot about the Loop Construction. But like you said, knowing what key it's in is the hard part!!

Hornet has a program that detects the key of the audio fed into it. But not sure if it would work on a whole song.

Should be able to get it cheap come BF.

https://www.hornetplugins.com/plugins/hornet-songkey-mk3/

 

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I have more than one key detector, and Hornet's is one of them. My favorite is actually Antares', which runs on my iPhone. Hold your phone up to the monitor and hit play. I also have enough musical theory and a good enough ear to work out a song's key by playing along on piano or organ. I usually don't need key detection if the thing's in concert pitch.

Where I have trouble is, if I hear that it's off, figuring how far high or low the whole thing is.

It seems like the tools for "pitch correcting" that I have access to are about idetecting and correcting performances where notes here or there can be out of tune. It's when I get into the area of the whole song or phrase being sharp or flat due to the performer having an out of tune instrument or the song having been deliberately pitched up/down at mastering time.

I'm just surprised that this task isn't more common; given the hip hop producers, crate diggers, people pulling samples off of old vinyl records that I imagine.

Seems like a pretty basic question: "I want to use this sample, but it's out of tune with the rest of my song. How can I fix that?" I don't know if it's just me, but it's been difficult to find information on standard methods for this. There are tools for finding a song's key, but for checking to see if it's in concert pitch, not so much. I know right away if it is once I try to start jamming along with it or matching it to other samples. But in which direction and how far?

I guess if you want to make sure your song won't be used by me in a mash-up, pitch it up or down by a couple of cents before you send it out.

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Something that came up while I was searching for ways to do this is that FL Studio (not surprising) has tools for doing this as part of their built-in  sampler. So if the day ever comes that Cakewalk gets its integrated sampler, best believe I'll be advocating strongly for it to incorporate those useful features.

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Melodyne Studio > Edit > Macros > Correct Pitch ? 

Full disclosure, never tried this before but threw in a full length stereo stem and it looks like it might do what you want. 

Or you could use the varispeed control on your tape deck or turntable. 🙂

...

fwiw, would have thought this to be the best place to ask your question.  

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10 hours ago, jackson white said:

Melodyne Studio

Don't have. Won't buy, based on how unintuitive I find the Essentials version. So far, if I were to buy more software, a license for FL Studio seems like the most direct route.

10 hours ago, jackson white said:

Or you could use the varispeed control on your tape deck or turntable.

Not so great for the detection part of the task, unfortunately. And with the latter, I don't have the facilities to press a disc. 😄

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