cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

As we move into audio week, I wanted to whip together a quick example of a ds106 assignment just in case students are having trouble in Audacity. I hit the random button a few times in the audio assignments and ended up on Theme Verse:

Create your own verse from a song! Pick a few lines from a few of your favorite songs that have the same focus. Then, combine them together to make a new verse in a song. Make sure it makes sense and it goes together!

So the idea is to put together a verse of a song with selections take from multiple songs, but that are tied together by theme or to make sense, like they are the verse of one song. Here’s my thought process. I opened iTunes and tried to remember the verses of my songs there.


I tried a few themes. I have a playlist I call “Allight” a bunch of songs that have that word in the title or chorus. Meh, I’ve played that before ont he radio. I thought of food (starting with the a few versions of Soul Kitchen, I like the punk cover by X) but ran out.

Then I thought of cars and vehicles.

Yeah. So I picked about 5 or 6 songs that all mentioned a car or truck brand by name. I originally was going for justa vehicle theme, so first was James Taylor “Steamroller” but tossed that one out. The final list I had was:

It made sense when I heard the opening to the Kinks song:

I’ve been waiting for years to buy a brand new Cadillac…

and then Mustang Sally’s verse was “bought a new GTO”

So then the theme evolved as running through as many car names as I could toss in there. And the ending clip from Diesel had the shrug off on the whole car idea. Here’s the final edit:

Now let’s do this gig in Audacity. It starts with importing audio (File menu Import). You get the whole song, which we do not want. What I do is place the cursor at the start of a section I think I want, hit play and then drag the cursor just past the end of where I think I want it to end, so I am selecting it like a chunk of text inn any word editor. For this assignment it need not be precise, and its best to select a bit beyond where I need.

While selected, if you hit play, it will just play back the selected portion, so you can check it:

(click for full size version)

While selected, presst the “trim” tool button:

which removes everything outside the selection. This gives us just the verse I want.

I repeat this a few times. Each time I import a new clip, Audacity puts it on a new track, which can mean you do a lot of scrolling. If you are hearing overlapping sounds while you try to play, you can “hide” one by pressing the MUTE button on the left side fo the track (it changes the track to grey color as an indicator)

Now what we have to do is shift our segments left and right on their track to get them in the order we want. This is the job for the Time Shift Tool (HEY YOU CAN SHIFT TIME, like making more time for doing assignments? NO)

It’s the one with the double arrows on it. With this tool selected when you click on a wave form in a rack, you can slide it left or right.

So I just nudged mine in order to get the playback order I wanted. If it is hard to tell where you are between a track that is way down the list, you can move them up or down the vertical axis via the little menu that comes up from the black triangle next to the track name:

Now typically on edits you may want smooth transitions between tracks, but in this case, its okay to have abrupt endings since it goes real fast. Still ti sounded a little bit better when there was a tiny bit of overlap, so I nudged the time shift tool to create a small amount of overlap (your mileage will vary):

(click for larger version)

And that’s trimming and sliding in Audacity. Just export as mp3, upload to soundcloud, end embed away.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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