Pitch Shift

as in Strawberry Fields

Just wondering how to approach a multi-track pitch shift
like in Strawberry Fields.
I read somewhere that they had recorded the first part in
one key then the second part in another key and used (???)
to pitch shift the two together. (Don’t know if I believe that)
I guess if I were using an analog tape recorder, I’d plug it into
a auto-transformer and dial down the voltage to slow the machine down
at that point.
I’d just like to try to simulate that effect over a group of tracks.
Think it’s possible in N?

They slowed down the recording of the first part and sped up the recording of the second part so that they would be in tune with each other. Lennon liked different parts of different takes. So the pitch shifting (done by adjusting the speed of the reel to reel) was a necessity, not something intended itself for artistic purposes. I suspect that the actual difference between the two parts was not much - too much speeding up or slowing down produces odd results.

Hi Gents:

My Teac 38 allows the capstan speed to be slowed down or sped up by some 10%… + or - OF 15" PER SECOND.

So lets say you would like to slow n-Track’s timeline to play in tune with another incoming set of tracks from an external source…

I’ve done this in the past by opening preferences
and clicking on the “Custom” Sampling Frequency (Hz) and entering (for example) say 44500 in the box…
That’s if you want to slow the timeline down…
Then play the re-sampled song back at 44100 Hz. This will slow the Timeline(speed) down by some amount.
Trial-and-Error will get the timeline into Pitch…
However, make sure you have backed-up your files… As you see…
going in the opposite direction will make the timeline in a Higher pitch…
and so-on…

Do a “SAVE AS”…
not a “SAVE”…

That’s how I’ve got different files to play at the same pitch…
Maybe, there’s an easier method…


The tape speed on the machines George Martin were using could vary speed by changing the frequency of the AC. At 50 hz (Britain’s normal freq - not 60 as in in the US) they’d run at regular speed ans regular pitch. He replaced the regular motor power supply with large high-watt audio amps and used the output to power the motors. RPMs on these AC motors is determined by the frquency of the AC, not voltage as is the case with DC motors (the way most of us visualize).

As a side note, this also allowed syncing two machines together. He recorded a 50hz sine wave on one track, played that through a high-watt power amp and used that output to drive the motors in the other machine. If the speed of the master machine varied any, so would the playback frequency of the sine wave track, thus causing the slave machine to change speed at exactly the same rate. (Getting them to start together was trial and error)

Yeh, I used to work with Ampex 28 trackers (later 32)
and they had a feature that if you recorded a frequency
say 25Khz on a special track (I forget which one) it would
use that to sync a tape speed of 15ips. So if you wanted to
mess with the speed, you would just change the frequency of
(frequency control track). Actually, it may have been a external
sync input come to think of it. Ah, now I remember - we put
a sync track on one of the tracks, so when we switched machines,
we could adjust the output of that track by feeding an external
frequency that would cause the measured output frequency of the
control track to be exactly 25K - that way everything was relative
to the control track frequency.
Thanks Bill, I’ll try re-sampling at a custom rate. Only trouble
with that is it won’t be a gradual change. Like a portamento.

You can do a real pitch shift in Ntrack.
In one of your free aux channels, click to add effect (where it says, “no effects” in the strip).
This will open up a list of options.
Go down until you see, “NTrack Pitch Shift” select this, and the program will open in the aux channel, and pop up on your screen.

You can choose from:
The default (which does nothing to the tone to my knowledge)
Adjust 1 Octive up or down
Adjust 2 Semitones up or down
Adjust 1 Semitone up or down

Moving the speed bar (which is centered between fast and slow) will increase the accuracy if you put it as close as you can to "slow"

There is a pitch bar in there too, but I’m not sure what that does.

I’ve used it once before on a scratch track.
I had a song I wanted to play in A, then decided to move it to G, but wanted something to go on so I could overdub everything, so I decided to change the pitch - rather than rerecord an entire song. I sent the guitars, bass, and vocals through the aux channel w/ the Pitch Shift effect selected to “down 2 semitones”, and viola – in about 3 minutes to mixdown, and bring back up in a new song file, I had a perfectly good scratch track in the right key!

Hope that helps.

All the best,