Old 11-26-2011, 01:11 AM   #1
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Default Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

People have asked me to cut their songs before, so instead of constantly cutting them I decided to make a tutorial on how I cut songs. There are probably other methods and you are welcome to mention them here.

Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

1] Materials Needed
A] Audacity 1.3.13 (Beta) or Audacity 1.3.12 (Beta)
Audacity Beta is used because it offers a fully functional selection bar, which displays and controls the current selection (your choice of Start and End, or Start and Length), and the current audio position. Audacity 1.3.13 has a millisecond bug, so if you are just using audacity for cutting it would probably be better to use the older version.

A2] Lame mp3 encoder
This is necessary for exporting songs from audacity into mp3 format

B] Stepmania or DDream
If you are viewing this thread I assume you have either one of these if not:
Stepmania
DDream
These are not totally essential, but if you are a stepper and have them handy why not use them.

C] Notepad or something to write with/on

D] Patience
Patience is a necessity as audacity likes to glitch while cutting and most of the time the first time you cut a song it will probably be butchered, but keep trying.

2] Beginning the process
A] First of all find your song, find its bpm, and find its offset
Once again this is not totally necessary, but I am to believe you are wanting to step this song. Based on popular request I will be cutting a song for demonstration.
Sample Song: Hey Fever by guchon
BPM: 200
Offset: -0.058
Length: 3:52

B] Heres the hard part, you must listen to the song and think about some of the good places to cut the song (easier than it sounds). Songs that have repeated chorus or any other repeated section make for easy cutting sections. Ultimately if you are looking to step the song you want to find the parts of the song which would be the most interesting to step, but you must also make sure that you maintain well executed transitions.
From listening to the song a couple of times I marked down a one good portion of the song I believe would make a good cut
1:21 - 2:38

If you want you could just cut from the time listed above though it may not be accurate and might end up sounding a bit weird depending on which portions got clipped out

3] Beginning the Cut
A] Open the song in stepmania and find those time signatures which you have previously listed
So I found 1:21 in stepmania and it is actually at current second 81.658 Current Second
The current second is found in the top right corner of stepmania
If you are using ddream the current second should be listed at the bottom of the screen
And I also located 2:38 and it is actually at current second 158.458 Current Second 2
So our cut is now from 81.658 and 158.458

A2] When cutting songs with non constant bpms refer to bmah's method, but rather than zooming in on audacity you could gain the current seconds using DDream and zooming in the on the songs waveform.

Note: When selecting these times be sure that they are on the same note, 4th with 4th, 8th with 8th, etc... If you cut from 4th to 8th you are giving your song blue note syndrome... This strictly applies to songs with constant bpms, if you are cutting a song which is non constant and you have not yet synced it, it will be a bit more complicated trying to avoid BNS

B] If your song is longer or you figure that you need more cuts you will do the same process as above

4] Cutting the song
A] Place your song into audacity 1.3.13 or audacity 1.3.12

B] Using the selection bar on audacity click the down arrow next to selection start and switch it to seconds
Now that you are in seconds put the following numbers into the selection bar, 81 seconds is your start and 158 seconds is your ending

Note: you do not have to do this step if you can manually convert 81 and 158 seconds into minutes appropriately, this is recommended if you are too lazy to do the math or tired

Now using the click the selection start down arrow and switch to hh:mm:ss + milliseconds
Switching from seconds to hh:mm:ss + milliseconds automatically converts your seconds into minutes
Now simply place in the corresponding milliseconds 658 and 458, the final product should look like this

When it comes to placing the 3rd digit for the milliseconds audacity 1.3.13 likes to glitch a bit when placing numbers:
1: doesn't work
2: doesn't work
3: gives the number 1
4: gives the number 2
5,6,7,8,9,0: All work properly

So the only numbers which cannot be obtained are 4 and 3, this is a bug and probably will be fixed in updates of audacity.

From what I remember audacity 1.3.12 does not have this bug.

C] Now simply go to Edit --> Cut or use the shortcut ctrl-x

Note: Audacity beta glitches at times and when you do cut your song the whole mp3 might be deleted, to fix this problem just exit audacity and reopen it with your mp3

Also Note: If you are doing multiple cuts, start cutting from the portions that are at the end of the song first, if you cut from beginning to end you will ruin your ending cuts because the current seconds you have recorded have now been skewed. So proceed from ending to beginning.

D] Now listen to your song, and if you are happy with your cut proceed to export as mp3. File --> Export. When exporting be sure to click the option button and change the export bit rate so that you don't lose a lot of quality while cutting.

End product - Hey Fever by guchon [cut]
This cut isn't exactly perfect or epic, but it gets the job done and it doesn't sound too bad either

5] Other Stuff
- This tutorial does not mention moving parts of the song just simply cutting from one spot to another, if you really need to move song parts then you can apply these techniques with audacity's cut and paste function then it is possible to construct whatever you wish.
- After exporting the song from audacity you do have to find its offset again because exporting from audacity I believe adds a few seconds to the start of the song.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

bmah's Tutorial on Cutting

Assuming you have Audacity, here's what I do:

programs you need:
- Audacity
- Notepad

1) Identify the start point and end point of the segment of the song you want to chop off.

2) Zoom a lot into each of those two points. For the start point, find the specific waveform of the sound that immediately begins the section you want to cut. And for the endpoint, find the specific waveform of the sound that immediately begins after the end of the section you want to cut. (simply put, find the specific spot to cut)

3) Thing about Audacity is that it doesn't seem to have an option to automatically select between two points. So you'll have to do it yourself. It's not guesswork though. This is what to do:
- In step 2, when you zoom in close to the waveform and put your marker where you want it, you'll notice the specific time (in sec.) where that sound is located within the song on the bottom left corner of the program. Take note of this and put it in notepad for reference.
- Go to "Tracks" on the top menu, and choose "Add Label to Selection". The purpose of this is to flag your exact location. Your marker will automatically select that location if you click on it.
- Do this for both your start point and end point.

3) Now since you can't auto-highlight an area between two labels, this is where the manual work comes in. Start by selecting either the start or end point. Click and drag the marker to the approximate end point. Don't try and do this when you're zoomed in too much, or else it'll take FOREVER.
Note though that you CAN resume your highlighting and dragging after releasing your mouse click. So once you've dragged relatively close to the endpoint, NOW you zoom in as close as possible. Then resume dragging until you've reached your other flag/label/point. For the exact spot of where to finish dragging, go back to your notepad file and refer to the other time you've recorded. Drag slowly and notice the time change on the bottom left as you scroll. Match that time with the recorded time.
Now you have a method to select and highlight EXACTLY between two points.

4) Delete. I personally prefer to delete from the menu option, because I don't think it's the same thing when you delete with the delete key on your keyboard. (w/e)


So the main challenge in Audacity is to find a way to select two points on an exact scale. It's doable if you do a little note-taking.

- Note that it might be difficult to find the exact point of a sound if it's all muddled up with other sounds, resulting visually in a big fat waveform with no clear way of discerning a change in the waveform. That really depends on the song or part of a song you want to cut. It's basically the same sort of issue you might face in DDream Studio (except that program helps a bit with its high-pass/low-pass filters).

- Also remember to fade-out if you're ending the song early (vice versa with fade-out). However, don't get lazy and just fade out a section of the song to "cut" it. Sometimes there are interesting tidbits of the song scattered throughout, so to incorporate those, you need to cut various parts of the song that are repetitive.
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Last edited by ~Zero~; 11-26-2011 at 11:48 AM..
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:13 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Amazing Derek <3
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

What a coincidence. MrPopadopalis just asked me today how to cut songs, and I was also showing Zekramcross how to as well. I'll post what I wrote to MrPopadopalis. My method does not require a time conversion or usage of Stepmania, and can be applied for cutting songs in general:

Quote:
Assuming you have Audacity, here's what I do:

programs you need:
- Audacity
- Notepad

1) Identify the start point and end point of the segment of the song you want to chop off.

2) Zoom a lot into each of those two points. For the start point, find the specific waveform of the sound that immediately begins the section you want to cut. And for the endpoint, find the specific waveform of the sound that immediately begins after the end of the section you want to cut. (simply put, find the specific spot to cut)

3) Thing about Audacity is that it doesn't seem to have an option to automatically select between two points. So you'll have to do it yourself. It's not guesswork though. This is what to do:
- In step 2, when you zoom in close to the waveform and put your marker where you want it, you'll notice the specific time (in sec.) where that sound is located within the song on the bottom left corner of the program. Take note of this and put it in notepad for reference.
- Go to "Tracks" on the top menu, and choose "Add Label to Selection". The purpose of this is to flag your exact location. Your marker will automatically select that location if you click on it.
- Do this for both your start point and end point.

3) Now since you can't auto-highlight an area between two labels, this is where the manual work comes in. Start by selecting either the start or end point. Click and drag the marker to the approximate end point. Don't try and do this when you're zoomed in too much, or else it'll take FOREVER.
Note though that you CAN resume your highlighting and dragging after releasing your mouse click. So once you've dragged relatively close to the endpoint, NOW you zoom in as close as possible. Then resume dragging until you've reached your other flag/label/point. For the exact spot of where to finish dragging, go back to your notepad file and refer to the other time you've recorded. Drag slowly and notice the time change on the bottom left as you scroll. Match that time with the recorded time.
Now you have a method to select and highlight EXACTLY between two points.

4) Delete. I personally prefer to delete from the menu option, because I don't think it's the same thing when you delete with the delete key on your keyboard. (w/e)


So the main challenge in Audacity is to find a way to select two points on an exact scale. It's doable if you do a little note-taking.

- Note that it might be difficult to find the exact point of a sound if it's all muddled up with other sounds, resulting visually in a big fat waveform with no clear way of discerning a change in the waveform. That really depends on the song or part of a song you want to cut. It's basically the same sort of issue you might face in DDream Studio (except that program helps a bit with its high-pass/low-pass filters).

- Also remember to fade-out if you're ending the song early (vice versa with fade-out). However, don't get lazy and just fade out a section of the song to "cut" it. Sometimes there are interesting tidbits of the song scattered throughout, so to incorporate those, you need to cut various parts of the song that are repetitive.
I wasn't aware of the selection bar, and I've yet to see it in Audacity, but either way, both methods can accurately pinpoint the start and endpoints for proper cutting as opposed to "approximately eyeing it".

Last edited by bmah; 11-26-2011 at 01:24 AM..
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Awesome guide! (:
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Good thread info. Hopefully people can make good use of this knowledge =]
You guys are really good at laying out exactly how to do that haha.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:41 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_ator View Post
Good thread info. Hopefully people can make good use of this knowledge =]
You guys are really good at laying out exactly how to do that haha.
Thanks, I tried to make it as easy as possible to follow. I do hope people find this information useful and use it to their advantage.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmah View Post
What a coincidence. MrPopadopalis just asked me today how to cut songs, and I was also showing Zekramcross how to as well.
Thanks Bmah for showing me!
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Glad to see that you posted this over here too, Derek. Now both communities will get the best of this guide.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

how to cut songs ft wc

step one:
ask someone else to do it
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by who_cares973 View Post
how to cut songs ft wc

step one:
ask someone else to do it
Stop being lazy Carlos!
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

The sticky on adding silence at the beginning of an .mp3 has some notes on song cutting but only with fades, so I wrote up a post on how I work with cutting in the middle.

I don't know if anyone ever read this or if it'll help any, but here it is again...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvuh View Post
I used Above (which I sent to this batch) as an example ... The parts of the original track that are in my cut are in green. On the bottom track, I mapped out the melodies.


When doing cuts like this, one needs to keep in mind
● How many seconds are in each measure and how often patterns repeat
● How many instruments are playing at different times and any mixing effects
● How the song feels as a whole

★ To make sure that a cut doesn't cause skips in the music, exact values related to the BPM must be cut from a piece. 60 / BPM will equal the seconds per beat. In 4/4 time, there will be 4 beats per measure, &tc. Patterns often repeat in two- to four- to eight-measure intervals. Depending on the time signature, you can calculate how many seconds it takes for most patterns to repeat and save these values for reference in notepad.

Above is in 4/4 and at a BPM of 150, so each small block (four measures: how often patterns repeat) in my image is exactly 1.6 seconds.

The bottom of the audacity window displays the second where your cursor is. When you make a selection, it will display the start, end, and total time of the selection. Always watch this value. Milliseconds are important. If you don't cut the right length out, all your arrows will be that many milliseconds off.

★ If a song repeats a pattern exactly multiple times with no effects and no new instruments, then it doesn't matter when in the pattern you cut as long as it is the right number of seconds. The start of the selection will match up perfectly to the end of the selection.

If the quality of the instrument changes or new instruments are introduced, then change would be instant and noticeable.

Because of this, one may need to find the start of a measure by zooming in close and selecting from there. It may be a little hit-and-miss at first being able to read the waveform. It's possible that the sounds before and after the measures cut will be too different to sound correct without the measures between them. Using the envelope tool to make the break less noticeable could work, if it's necessary a section must be cut out.

★ It's important to find the "balance" in the piece. Some sections may be easier to cut than others because of the amount of progression on the patterns, but ... don't cut too much of one section. You may end up with an intro longer than the core of the song. Try to proportion the sections so your cut still feels whole and balanced.
There are some good tips in there, I think, but it's not a complete guide or anything... I could rework it a bit, add some more information ... if you would want to add a third guide to your opening post, eheh.

If any of y'all have any more problems with song cutting, though, I think I'd be another person you could come to. I've done cuts for other people before, so ... yeah.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:16 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Very nice post, Silvuh. This is definitely a nice, in-depth touch to cutting songs - it's cool that you've even broken down phrases to make an explanation that much more sensible.

EDIT: I can offer a bit of help with song cuts too, but only verbally.

The audio envelope tool is very useful for making cuts to songs that have phrases which end differently. For example, I was charting Feel So Close (Nero Remix) for ITG two or so months ago. When I went to make my cut, I ended up having to work with a section that had a saw gaining in volume with vocals, and a section that had vocals, no building instrument. Both parts came after a phrase that was structured exactly the same in both locations, but the last measure of the phrase was the difference.

So, in order to make the chop correct, I made three stereo tracks and normalized their volumes to go back and equal the volume of the single stereo track. After doing this, I proportionally inverted fades on two of the channels in such a way that the sum of the percentages of audio envelopes held constant at 100%, making the mix seamless. Both tracks had fades on the start and end of it. With all of the audio envelopes being 33% of their original size, the other two vocal tracks were gaining/lowering proportionally, so that the audio didn't sound like it was going through a choppy transition. When the chorus of the song comes in, the switch isn't noticeable.

(gibberish, etc.)
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

I've been learning how to do this.
I ask bmah all the time if my cuts sound natural or not. It's good to have someone to ask, if they can't tell where you cut it then you're probably not doing too badly.

Thanks for this guide. There's some tips I've learned that will hopefully make cutting less of a chore for me- still probably going to be my least favorite part of making a simfile though.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Cutting song properly is one of the most important skills for stepping to avoid repetitiveness (even though you don't have to do this by yourself) in today's standard so this is quite useful.

I just do this with my own method/software (eg. megane de ne, piano*girl, ievan polkka, husigi, etc) and I can't be helpful about this so this guide is appreciated.

sticky y/n?
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:00 AM   #15
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

lol I already knew over 90% of this guide. I taught myself how to cut songs using the same method as this guide. There are only a few things I didn't know though and that is:

1.) You can resume your highlighting and dragging after releasing your mouse click.(This comes in handy)
2.) Using DDReam Studio to cut songs (though I personally don't recommend this)
3.) Audacity beta glitches that can occur.

That's pretty much it. HOWEVER, I know much a better way to find the most accurate current seconds to cut with by using a formula (yes a formula) I developed. It really works! Even when playing the song at 0.3x rate you won't notice the difference. (though some of you may not be interested in doing math XD) Anyway for those who are interested, here's a guide I wrote about a year ago (Note: This is just a portion of the guide not the full-version guide). The full version is about 7 pages long XD:

How to find the exact current second of a specific note position of a song:

"Ever wanted to cut songs so precisely that it will not affect the BPM? This formula below gives the exact seconds at a specific area of a song so you can use that second to cut the song in programs like Audacity. If you want to cut a song from measure 50 to 75, then you must calculate the exact seconds at measure 50 AND the exact seconds at measure 75. What about if it was in measure 25 at beat 2? Then you find the exact seconds on that position, which is at measure 25.50."

Here's the formula:

Exact Current Second= [Seconds per Measure (Measure Position-1)] -0 offset


Basically, the exact current second is what you're looking for obviously. The seconds per measure can be found by just multiplying the SPB (seconds per beat) by 4. As metioned in this guide, you find the SPB by dividing the SPB from 60. How to find the measure position is already metioned in bold quotes. The 0 offset is of course the offset of the song.

Hope this helps in producing super accurate cuts in the song.

EDIT: Also when you listen to some songs, the last chorus of the song has a higher pitch than the previous chorus. Therefore you might have to adjust the pitch to match the previous pitch of the song. Something to also keep in mind when cutting songs.

Last edited by BeatofIke; 11-27-2011 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

I have no problem seeing this as a sticky; however, it should probably be moved from FFR R1 General Talk to Simulation Files/Stepmania.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

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Originally Posted by TC_Halogen View Post
I have no problem seeing this as a sticky; however, it should probably be moved from FFR R1 General Talk to Simulation Files/Stepmania.
I agree, but a sticky would be nice too.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:57 PM   #18
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

It should be a sticky in both sections
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

How to cut songs ala xander:

Don't, cutting a song ruins the :musical experience: intended by the artist.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: Tutorial: How To Cut Songs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xandertrax View Post
How to cut songs ala xander:

Don't, cutting a song ruins the :musical experience: intended by the artist.
And this is why we have 4 minute long files that everyone hates.
GG


p.s. There's a reason DDR/ITG/IIDX/every music game except guitar hero and rock band have 2:00-ish long songs
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