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Overdubbing and Click Tracks with Audacity

by David Birrow  Birrow.David@MacPhail.org


What I liked about Jon's post yesterday was how it focused on the music rather than the technology. So based on that logic, I'm going to dislike my own post today, which is how to use Audacity to overdub. What is overdubbing? Simply put, it's when you record something, then record a second thing and then play them at the same time so it sounds like two people playing at the same time.

Why is this potentially useful? As a performer, I've recorded two marimba parts so I can here what it'll sound like before rehearsals start. As a teacher, you could create play along tracks for your students: Record a track of you clapping a steady beat and overdub an accompaniment part. Send the recording home with your student to practice along to. Or better yet, have Audacity create a click track and have your student record their playing along with it.  Then you can listen back to both the click track and the playing at the same time. Then your student can hear their tempo and rhythm mistakes (and good stuff too!), rather than just you telling them. And maybe they become a better listener as a bonus too. 

The teaching and performing ideas are endless. Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Check out this short video I made for you,  MacPhail faculty, showing how to create a click track and then overdubbing student playing. I did my best to explain how to do it, but if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comment section and I will update the video. I tried to include all the important details, but the video can be summarized like this:
  1. Create a click track
  2. Put on headphones
  3. Hit record
  4. Student performs
  5. Hit play and listen back

Also here is a set of basic directions for creating a click track:

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