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Do You Want the "Good Life" in 2021? Then Read This Article!
(Who recognizes the song whose lyrics I'm referring to by the way?)
Yes, I took another "no copyright song" that I kind of liked and modified it to where I like it even better. It's kind of a hobby of mine.
The song "Good Life" is a purposeful song for me. The title matches today's date January 1st, 2021 . Everybody is glad that 2020 is over and done with -- and is looking forward to the new year with the hope that it brings us the good life back. But the title is not what I mean when I say that this song is purposeful for me.
See, the thing is, I do teach fitness classes and within those classes there are different kinds of exercises. For the different exercises I need several types of songs in my music playlists. For some rhythmic exercises, I do need songs that have a rather monotonous, continues beat -- like this song does. As I do talk a lot while instructing the classes anyway, it is actually advantageous if there are not too many lyrics in the song.
"Good Life" by "Eneko Artola" fits this bill almost perfectly. It falls short in -- well -- its length. So we need to fix that -- aka make the song a bit longer. And it is also a little too slow for my taste -- and for my exercises, so we need to increase the tempo as well.
Increasing the tempo means playing a song faster while correcting for the resulting change in pitch -- more on that later. Playing a song faster the result even shorter than the original song, obviously -- giving us all the more reason to add some length to it.
Those of you who have read my latest article attentively can lower their hands. I'm proud of you for knowing the answer already. You all get a virtual gold star from me. ⭐
For everybody else, the answer is: We repeat a part of the song.
Most songs are really repetitive anyway, so our version won't stick out like a sore thumb. And I have actually heard of a study that shows most people like songs better the more repetitive they are. But no, Rihanna. That fact doesn't make your lyrics any better...
Ok, so we need to find a part of the song that we can repeat. It should have about the length that we want to add. And preferably, it should be a part that we like, because -- well, obviously, we will hear it more often than in the regular version of the song.
Here is the original song by the way. In case you want to try to find such a part on your own:
I found a part that we can repeat in the original song between 1 minute and 39.397 seconds and 2 minutes and 20.769 seconds. By the way, I write these numbers down in my articles in case I ever need to make that exact song longer again from scratch. Searching for these parts of a song does not take forever if you have some experience, but taking notes makes it a lot faster to find them a second time, of course.
After copy-pasting the mentioned part, we need to check if the song still sounds alright around the 2 minutes and 20 seconds mark where we jump back to the 1 minute and 39.397 seconds part of the song. In my case, the copy-pasting worked beautifully on the first try. The cut is so subtle that I couldn't tell there is one if I didn't know it. Ok, that's good news and now we can move on to
Yes, that is correct. Well almost. When we increase the speed, the pitch changes as well. Increasing the speed is basically playing the song faster. The sound waves are more squished together and therefore, everything sounds higher. Similar to how your voice sounds when you breathe helium. We don't want that. So we need to correct the pitch. My audio editor of choice Audacity can do that for us. All we have to do is select "change tempo" which preserves the pitch -- rather than "change speed" which changes the pitch. As a sidenote: You can even change the pitch without changing the speed. That means you can lower or raise your voice digitally if you're curious how that might sound.
Now that we are familiar with pitch, speed and tempo, let's continue.
For my exercises I would really like the song to be at about 128 bpm. Bpm stands for beats per minute and that is literally how often you tap with your finger in one minute if you tap along with the rhythm of the song. Of course, there is an app for that. Just have a look at bpm monitor apps. You tap the screen of your phone along with the beat of the song and the app calculates the according bpm.
That is the most reliable way to determine the beats per minute of a song. There are also algorithms that do a passable job most of the time, but I prefer to do it myself so that I know it's done right. There are also songs which change their bpm at some point. A human notices that intuitively, but the algorithms that I have tried before usually get confused by that change.
The standard version of the song sits at around 116 bpm. My experience (or Math if you don't enjoy the fun of guessing) tells me that if we speed the song up by about 12%, the rhythm is exactly where I want it to be. The next step is, of course, to increase the song's tempo by about 12% and have a listen. And the result sounds very rushed. Too bad, 12% is too much for the song to still sound good. Using the trial and error method, we experiment to find out with which increase in tempo we can still get away with. Soundwise, an increase of 6% is the sweet spot. I believe it does not sound rushed with a 6% increase. I actually like the faster version better. Unfortunately, the 6% increase brings the bpm to only 123. Not quite where I would like it to be, but close enough.
So that was it. My entire process of modifying the song. Maybe now you feel inspired to try it yourself. The software I use -- Audacity -- is free and it runs on Windows, macOS and Linux. Just download it, import the song you want to experiment with and see what you end up with.