Mashups, a How To on Audacity

With our final remix project coming up, understanding the idea of mashups may come in handy for many of us. We’re all familiar with mashups. Artists take existing songs and combine them with other existing songs to create something completely new. But, what skills are needed to actually make your own mashup? Listen and watch the following video and see if you can notice how the artist creates a true mashup of both the audio and video of all the contributing songs. 

He rearranges the words of the original songs to make a new meaning for the new song. This is seen in the line “I know you want it… right now.” A single line created from two completely different songs. Beyond creating a whole new story line for his song, the mashup artist does several other things to ensure the compilation of many different songs sounds as if they were written for the same song. In the above video, it is evident that DJ Earworm, the artist, changed things such as the pitch and tempo. He even took vocals from one song and added completely different instrumentals. So, how do we, as amateur mashup artists, accomplish a similar task in our final projects? Its actually quite simple. 

In his video tutorial, Raheem D explains basic techniques of mashups. He begins by selecting an instrumental track and an acapella track. The first thing you should do once you have your audio to mashup selected is change the pitch. To perfectly change your pitch requires playing around with the amount you change it. There is no numerical value that perfectly apples to all songs. To change the pitch, make sure the track you want to change is selected. Then go to the “effect” tab and select “change pitch.” 

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From there, adjust the semitones (half-steps) until your track sounds like it is in a better pitch. As a word of advice, only change by multiples of 12 or 6. 12 semitones is the equivalent to one octave.

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The next thing you want to do to create your mashup is adjust the tempo so that both of the tracks are the same tempo. This will help the songs to “fit” together. The “change tempo” effect is located directly beneath “change pitch” effect. 

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Lastly, you want to adjust the timing of your tracks. This may mean that the vocals begin “when the beat drops” or at another point in the song that you think sounds appropriate. This can be done by using the “time shift” tool. 

I hope this is helpful as you begin to think about and plan your final projects and finish up your audio documentaries. 

-AG

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