How To Slow Down Audio With Audacity

Being able to adjust the speed of a song can be super handy for learning a part on your ‘ukulele. A fast song with many notes is pretty daunting at performance tempo, but here’s a free way to slow things down for study.

These days I’m a big fan of Anytune. It’s available as an app for iOS and OSX and does this and much more. The mobile version has a free option, but the desktop one is $30. If you’ve got access to an iPhone or iPad, check it out, otherwise, keep reading…

(Instructions written in 2010. A newer version of Audacity might need a different procedure.)

  1. Download Audacity if you don’t already have it. It’s free and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  2. Open the program and start a new project.
  3. You need a .wav file format to import to Audacity, so you will have to convert the file if it isn’t already a .wav. This can be done though itunes by going to “Preferences>Import Settings” and choosing “WAV Encoder.” Then right click on the track in iTunes and select “Create WAV Version”. This copies the file which you can use in Audacity.
  4. In Audacity, click “Project>Import Audio”, then find a .wav file and open it. (If you came from itunes, it’s usually located in the same album folder as the normal MP3) The track now appears in Audacity.
  5. Select (click and drag) the area you’d like to slow down. You can also go “Edit>Select>All” if you want to select everything.
  6. Click “Effect>Change Tempo”. Then drag the slider to the left however much you want to slow the track down (you can also speed it up by dragging right) and click “OK”. Keep in mind that the slower you go the more the effect seems to bog down the computer while it is generating.
  7. If you’d like you can export the file back to MP3 by going “File>Export As MP3”.