How to change the pitch of a sound file with Windows Media Player 12.0

Posted on 2013-11-08
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have a sound file of which I wish to change the pitch. I am using Windows Media Player 12.0 on a Win 7 computer. How can this done?
Question by:gbm33
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LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Marc Z
Marc Z earned 100 total points
ID: 39635532
I would use Audacity.  A free audio recording/editing program. see for how to.
LVL 62

Accepted Solution

☠ MASQ ☠ earned 250 total points
ID: 39635539
Depends what you want to do - WMP will only speed up or slow down playback and automatically adjusts pitch to the new speed.  Because it relies on DirectShow as its backend to do this it's pretty limited.  If you want to change the pitch by a fixed amount (to change the key of a song for example) most of the mediaplayers are not going to be any help.  Even Audacity which is my favorite fallback for audio editing uses the same DirectShow filter so won't help without adding distortion :(

If you want to edit/shift the pitch without changing playback speed you'll need to load the file into something like VirtualDub and then use its Pitch filtering which is buried in the Full Processing menu.

If you want to edit the pitch dynamically the only media player that comes close is going to be VLC where you can get the playback rate and auto pitch correction to disconnect so the autocorrection that WMP does is broken - you can't save the file with your changes though.

So the short answer is not really with WMP the long answer is ^^ up there :)


After posting this I checked the Audacity link from mtz and it looks like Audacity have stopped using Microsoft's filters to edit audio speed - that should be your first choice - if the results aren't acceptable then go for VDub.
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

ArneLovius earned 150 total points
ID: 39635544
for dynamic control of pitch, you might take a look at VirtualDJ which has pitch control as well as speed control.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39635656
Thank you for the answers. I will look at Audacity and VirtualIDJ. Surely, either or both will give me the results I desire.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 39635705
Some great answers were given, and I'm glad you found the information useful.  I was going to post earlier, but was busy.  I thought that I might just add something of interest.

Many applications can only increase or decrease the pitch by increasing or decreasing the tempo (speed) of the playback, the same as running an old vinyl 33rpm record at 45rpm and vice versa.  Decreasing pitch by slowing the playback down leaves you with something very weird that sounds like a sleepy Arnold Schwarzenegger on Lithium medication, and the opposite sounds like an overactive Perky Pig freaking out on Amphetamines.

With Audacity you can increase or decrease the pitch in fixed musical half-steps (semi-tones in musical theory), by Percentage, or by specifying the new frequency, using the Effect menu > "Change Pitch..."

Doing it by semi-tone is the most logical because I would guess that most people will be editing music in Audacity rather than speech or other sounds.  Taking an example, the guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan both tuned their guitars down a half step from standard tuning, so if somebody wanted to learn the songs by playing along using the same guitar chords as the players used, but without retuning their guitar, then they could just increase the pitch of the song by a half tone and should then be perfectly in tune.  Other guitarists like Chuck Berry just guessed the tuning and the other players in the band had to re-tune, so one of his songs might be out of standard tuning by some increment either side of a half tone, in which case you would need to experiment with % pitch changes to get the song to standard tuning.

You don't have to know the technicalities of music to use this feature though.  Most people have a good musical instinct for the intervals in the do,re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti, do (or tonic sol-fa) scale when hearing western music, and know if a note sounds wrong.

I used to record songs onto a multi-track recorder that used cassette tape, but I sold that device many years ago and retained the tapes.  Fairly recently I used an ordinary cassette player and patched it into my PC to capture the tracks as MP3s.  The problem was that some of the songs were out of pitch by some increment in between a whole tone and a half tone.  Maybe the original tapes stretched, or the cheapo cassette player was running at the wrong speed.  I had to try and compensate by changing the pitch of the MP3s using Audacity, which gave fairly good results in most cases, but it was trial and error.  The problem is that the more effects you apply to digital audio like this, the more it is likely to degrade the song because it has to alter the complete wave form.

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