Introduction: How to Censor a Song

Picture of How to Censor a Song

If you need to remove the bad words or inappropriate lyrics from a song in order to fix it or censor it, you've come to the right place. I'll tell you how to do just that, and I hope you enjoy this instructable!
Audacity is what I will be using, and can be downloaded here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

NOTE: This does not always work for all songs, but it does for most of them.

Step 1: Open Audacity

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If you haven't downloaded it already, download it. It is free. If you have, then open it up to a new project.

Step 2: Drag in the Song

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Drag in the song from your desktop, or any folder. You can also drag in the song straight from iTunes.

Step 3: Split the Stereo Track

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Go to the upper left of the sound track and click on the drop down arrow next to the name of the song. Click on "Split Stereo Track".

Step 4: Select and Invert the Bottom Track

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To do this, double click on the blue part of the lower track. It should turn a darker shade of gray than the other track. Then go to the Effects tab and click on "Invert". This flips around the lower track.

Step 5: Set Both Tracks to Mono

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Next go back to the drop down arrow next to the name of the song, and click on "Mono". Do this for both tracks. This sets it so that the tracks won't be mixed.

Step 6: Drag in the Song Again

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Drag in the song from your desktop again, or any folder. You can also drag in the song straight from iTunes. Drag it below the two tracks that you already have.

Step 7: Select the Part You Wish to Censor

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Click on the track using the zoom tool(found towards the top, it is a picture of a magnifying glass) to zoom in, then select it by switching back to the selection tool(the tool that looks like an I) and selecting the part you wish censor. Make sure that you select the part of the song that you wish to censor only on the bigger track that you just dragged in, not on either of the other two.

Step 8: Mute the Part You Wish to Censor

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Go up to the Effects tab after selecting the part you wish to mute. Click on "Amplify". The number should be close to zero. Drag the little pin head thing to -50. That will mute the part you wanted to censor.

Step 9: Export It

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Lastly, click the play button to make sure that the vocals are gone. If so, go up to the File tab and click "Export". Once you do this, a box or two may pop up asking you to choose what name you want to export it as. Type in the name you want and press either Ok or Export. You should be good! If your vocals could not be removed, I apologize, but some songs have vocals that can't be removed completely. I wish you the best of luck though!

Comments

EDIT101 (author)2016-05-13

I'm sorry I go on, but people may understand if I also explain I have an autism spectrum disorder. I think this itself causes me to concentrate on details of songs and alterations, however minor, indeed the minor things stand out even more and the major thing stand out anyway, part of the 'problem' is that in a public place environment (where I heard numerous so-called 'clean' songs that each caused me a serious reaction) I take in so much more information than the average person and don't shut out some of it.

Anyway, I came back to post that it's also because the soundtrack of altered versions is trying to "hide" the language, the hidden nature to them, when it truly isn't hidden since I know what they mean or get some meaning from them whatever that meaning is, makes the material more uncomfortable (when heard with other people - or in fact - it's worse - the 'clean' version is not merely heard but is *listened to* as it causes me to focus and concentrate on it rather than just hearing it as the original). It's because it's disguised (but truly doesn't disguise anything) that makes me uncomfortable with it and that is part of the offence, as well as its drawing attention. I'm also unhappy with 'having possession of' the word (having the word in my mind) when it wasn't actually said - the 'silent' communication, which isn't as my mind isn't silent, is more uncomfortable, it's got that hidden secretive nature that I imagine the word is in the head of the people around me and I'm uncomfortable that they might be thinking it and that they might know what the material means in my presence when they are strangers in a public place and I'm unhappy about the manner in which the word was communicated - it's not merely about what is said, but the way it which it is said or conveyed or communicated, the snide communication sometimes (snide="offensive in an indirect way") - it's just such an issue and bugbear for me - instead of the word just being said and out in the open and clearing the air, they just make me more bothered by their hidden nature which isn't and by the language lingering in my mind afterwards (sometimes for hours afterwards), pointed out and like being in the air like a bad smell, rather than just saying it, getting it over with, quickly burying it and drawing no attention to it.

EDIT101 (author)2016-05-13

Years after having problems with supposed "clean" versions, which still persist in the form of PTSD now, I don't think this ever works and it never creates an acceptable song in any places in which the original would have been really offensive. It is impossible to alter the sound of an original soundtrack and create something that does not suggest or bring to mind the original words or worse instead in their place. It does not remove inappropriate lyrics as the lyrics remain inappropriate even in their technically partial form. The short space of silence, or whatever, between words carry a meaning and are still inappropriate in all places in which the original word would have been. They clearly are inappropriate if they cause me a physical reaction or make me uncomfortable as they did. Anyway, I don't see that there is a need to remove so-called 'bad' words in places in which those words are not offensive or unsuitable for the people present and therefore you don't need to "fix" the song. The song is already "fixed" in its original form. In places in which the words would be offensive - or cause me such a reaction - the song should not be played in any version at all as any digital altering to the original soundtrack does not work.

I don't know what is meant by needing to remove words in order to "censor it". Inoffensive words, such as "weed" and "gun", are indeed removed by this method and replaced by the implication of a swearword in their place, whichever is the most offensive word possible in the context of the surrounding material. This caused me misunderstanding and offence. I was unaware that it was the innocent words being censored and did not find this out until too late. Anyway, the blank space is now so associated with swearing that I wouldn't even want it even in places where I know the original non-swearword as it always brings something worse to mind and itself causes me upset and/or the PTSD reaction. Whereas words that really are swearing are never removed by this method - it is never possible to remove one particular word even by replacing all of its letters with four dashes and, really, the method does not "censor" the word at all or amount to censorship since the altered material still communicates it.

It censors the original sound or the way in which it was originally said, but the issue is not the sound: it is the meaning. The meaning is never censored by this. And, in some cases, where the word was originally said in a "cheeky" way, as I later discovered it was in the original version of one song, that was removed by the censorship but the meaning was retained, now not in a cheeky or funny way, and it made the song offensive, albeit that the original probably would not have been cheeky, or funny, in the place where I heard the altered version of it anyway - and that itself was worse.

I find the altered versions, created by methods such as this, make such an issue about their own language for me, they draw attention to it, they make clear their own offensive nature, they tell everyone around me even more widely about the words (which I find deeply problematic) - they place the language deeply in my mind as opposed to merely being on a soundtrack speaker somewhat away from me, they have me mulling over and ruminating about the words and getting upset by doing so, and I find them even more bothersome than the unaltered originals that have yet to be played in a place in which they've caused me any offence.

After all this and all the attention drawing they've done, I'd rather have the original unaltered versions. They would, I now feel, be just like a film in the cinema and not offensive. I feel I could just ignore the language that way. It's the replacement material that is edited into these altered songs that I find offensive and carries a meaning for me. And, if unaltered use is like touching me whereas going as close as you possibly can to saying the word without technically saying is like putting your finger or hand as close to me as you possibly can without actually touching me and then moving away - and then sometimes doing that repeatedly in some altered songs - I'd rather you actually touched me than came within a millimetre of doing so without actually doing so, as I find the latter so much more annoying. It causes me the exact same initial reaction as hearing the sound of the actual words - which is alright if I'm entirely alone as I don't find the actual word offensive there anyway but, if I'm with other people, it's exactly the same effect on me - I'm either dealing with the fact the word was said or something was done that meant the same thing and it's the same thing - except that, whilst in that weaker state, the "clean" versions then annoy me and cause me actual offence whereas the so-called "dirty" version I could try to pretend the others haven't heard it. I can't do that with an altered sound that makes itself entirely and totally clear (and is therefore explicit) and stands out from the rest of the material, announcing itself and loudly to everyone present and making such an issue for me about itself being offensive.

So - as to "how to censor a song" - the answer is do not play it in any circumstance in which it might cause offence. It's not rocket science - that song would then be censored and censored effectively as it would be entirely banned (in other words censorship) and not played in such a place at all. One meaning of censorship is to keep information away from people. However, replacing a swearword with the equivalents of dashes or asterisks (or reversing it, that doesn't work either as I know what the reversed sound means, they are too close in sound to the original words for me and in fact that's the worse method of all as it is like the word coming across with a harsh and strident sound to it) - it doesn't censor it as it communicates the information (the word) to the audience more so. Otherwise, with the dashing of the so-called milder swearwords, it's even worse if they are completely dashed out rather than two letters being present, as I usually think of something more severe and then I'm left pondering over which word it is and eventually reaching the original one, only after having gone through several much worse (that would never have happened had the original word just been used). And if the original word is clear and obvious straight off, then it's no difference anyway and just as offensive if the original word would have actually caused me offence in that place. In fact the failed attempt at 'censored' version is slightly more offensive as it now points that fact out on top.

JesusV28 (author)2016-03-11

Works perfectly, thank you.

CassieB10 (author)2015-11-30

I have tried this several times, followed it step by step, and it didn't work. The word just got quieter and the whole track sounded echo-y. This is fixed by simply not inserting a second track and just doing all the editing on the first track.

Not sure if there was supposed to be another step that eliminated these issues, or if the use of two tracks was just unnecessary. Overall useful though, thank you.

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