Editing Modes in a Waveform Editor

In my article I will speak about the different forms of edition in the digital audio, and more specifically in the waveform edition.This forms of edition are the common forms for editing audio and actually we can find and hear this editions in a lot of melodies and pieces. Also, I will put some video examples and images that shows the differents forms of editing and provides more information about how to use these techniques.


In first term, we’ve got six differents forms of editing: Insert, Mix, Cross Fade, Overwrite, Replicate and Trim/Crop.

To insert is basically putting an element to our musical creation together with another element. We are not editing in this phase yet, just putting two or more elements in the audio screen of any digital audio editor, like audacity or soundbooth. Doing this allows us to start editing sounds and having a better view of our next step. Also, this action provides us an idea about which technique will be the best to apply.

Next editing mode is Mix. Mix is a technique that we can use for making a variation of our music piece and even to create a new sound from the mixture of songs. Actually we can find a lot of composers that uses this technique to create their songs, specially the Dj’s. This is a type of edition that requires more precision. because we’re working with two differents sounds and it have to be well implemented in terms of making a good sound, trying to not losing they original melody. One aspect that its interessant of making a good mix is to combine the two sounds and make them complement each other. Because of that, it can be more efficient to combine two sounds of the same musical technique or style, like rock with blues, or heavy metal with classical music.

Another interesting editing mode is Cross Fade. To cross fade is a technique that allows us to connect two sounds side-by-side, fading one source with another one at the same time. The technique of crossfading is used in audio engineering as a mixing technique, specially with instrumental solos, for example when the singer record his part or the guitarrist puts a solo and then the mix engineer create a final version which is a composite of the best passages of theses takes by crossfading between each track. This is a very common technique in a lot of groups or composers: for example, when you buy a cd and you hear it entirely, you can percive that some songs have an element that fade one song and the next one, and by making this the artist make a crossfade between two songs, making like a big one song but with differents parts. Also, Cross Fading is a concept that is more common to hear in the “Dj’s” world. Also, Grandmaster Flash, a  hip-hop artist,has been credited with the invention of the first crossfade.

Next editing mode is to Overwrite. Overwrite is the action of overwritting one melody with another. Normally you can use only two musics for doing the overwrite but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a melody, maybe it can be a sound that we want to put in second term to complement the initial song, for example to give the song a new environment or for changing the significate. This action is similar to mix, because you take two or more melodies and you can try to make a different sound, but instead of creating a new song, actually you’re trying to complement the original song with a sound or another song that fits with it. Probably the best way to overwrite a song with another sound is to search similar themes, for example, a sad song overwrited with the sound of the rain.

Also, we have the possibility to Replicate in digital audio. This action stands of doing a copy of a sound that actually we have. This can be really useful, for example for doing an eco effect or for repeating a part of de melody before arriving at the Chorus. This technique is used by many composers, specially on the electronic music. When they repeat the sound or replicates it, often they will keap the volume turning up until you reach the so-called climax of the song, which it explodes. Also, this is an action that we can hear a lot in the discos with this kind of music.

To conclude, we have the last editing mode, which is Trim/Crop. Trim/Crop is the action of cutting the parts of the audio that does not interest us. In terms of edition, this is useful because maybe we can adjust one song that we’ve created, for example  removing one sound that lasts too long, or adjusting the part of the singer with the guitarrist. Also, this is specially important when you want to finish a piece of music, because you have to edit it correctly before leaving it to the public, avoiding the problems of editing in the post-production.






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