Editing Music: How to Shorten a Track

Editing Music: How to Shorten a Track

Bev Tjoe

Bev Tjoe

Senior Editor

Alright kids, today we’re talking about editing music, specifically how to shorten a track of music. And I’m going to write 600 words in this blog pertaining to this topic.

30 words down, 570 to go.

Editing music. What does that mean?

To talk about this, I think we need to start from the beginning.

I want to do an edit, I look at the footage, I download music. This music that I have chosen to download will not be the exact duration of my edit, it’ll most likely be longer. Which means, when I get to editing, I will have to shorten that track. When you’re downloading music from a credible music site, they might offer you variations of that track – variations in instruments, variations in duration.

Let’s talk about the variations in duration. Apart from the full length version, you may also have access to 60, 30, 15s versions of the track you want and you can choose the duration that best fits your needs.

This is not an option given for all tracks, it really depends on the composer. So you may have no choice but to download the full length version, which is better in my opinion. 

Why? Well, I’m going to tell you.

Editing is very much like a music composition.

Maybe it starts softer, the shots hold for longer, the edit has space to breathe. And then maybe you introduce a bit of tension, the cutting becomes a bit more frantic, there are more movement shots. And then maybe it calms down again. 

You want your music to reflect that – the highs, the lows, the energy. Everything needs to work together to attain that emotion you’re trying to invoke. And if you find the right track, that one piece of music might achieve all of this.

Expert says: Always shorten a track from the full length version.

(me, I am expert)

Super greedy, I want all the options.
I want to decide the feeling of my edit, I want to decide where the peaks of the edit are, I want to decide how long I want to hold the edit for.

So I download the full length version, because it gives me more freedom to decide how I want to use the track. Freedom because the full length version will probably have a beginning, middle and end. The shortened versions might very quickly hit the bombastic parts of the music and then end. It’s good to have the option to play with a track, so that you dictate the edit, not the music.

In the video (Editing Music) at the end of this blog, I will show you why a manually edited track makes all the difference when it comes to feeling in an edit – how we use different parts of the music to build a grander edit.

But before we go into that, I want to mention the advancements in technology.

Audition has a very clever, very easy to use function called remix and this auto cuts down your music track. All you have to do is enter your desired duration and let the computer shorten the track for you. Video below on how to do that.

Pretty good. But no options. Computer gives, you take and be grateful.

But as I said before, I’m greedy as f**k. So I have no choice but to work for my options.

Since I am video editor and user of Premiere, I do everything in the software. So another video below to show you how to edit music.

In this video, I’ll show you the basics of how to shorten a track and end music properly. We’ll also see a comparison between a manually shortened track versus a track shortened by Audition. And we’ll see why you want to cut the music yourself.

Disclaimer: I have no music knowledge, I don’t know what things are called, I do everything based on feeling. I am simpleton, so I will use simple non-music English words.

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