Aligning music to beats and bars

Note: A measure and a bar are the same thing. Audacity uses "bar" in places where "measure" would be too long.

Detecting tempo (BPM)

To align music to the beats and bars grid, you first need to know the tempo of the song, usually measured in beats per minute (BPM).

  • If you're recording music on your own, try playing to a metronome to ensure you stay in tempo.

  • If you're using music downloaded from the web, try figuring out its tempo. In some cases, a web search for song title tempo is sufficient.

  • You also can download a bpm detection plugin. The Vamp plugin pack features several tempo detection plugins, such as:

    • IBT - INESC Beat Tracker

    • Simple Fixed Tempo Estimator form the Vamp SDK example library

    • Tempo and Beat Tracker: Tempo from the Queen Mary University of London

Audacity is not yet able to handle midway tempo changes during a song.

Preparing clips for snapping

Audacity will snap the beginning of the clip to the beats and bars grid, depending on your tempo and snapping setting. If your first beat doesn't start exactly at the start of the clip, you can trim the beginning of the clip. To trim a clip, simply drag the upper edge of it inwards.

When trimming a clip, you may need to turn off snapping to make finer adjustments.

Aligning to beats and bars

Once you have everything set up and snapping enabled, simply dragging your clips will align them to the beat and bars grid.

Once you have aligned your music, you can get started with adding loops and other content to the project Working with audio loops

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