How to Cut, Paste, and Rearrange Sections of Recorded Music on Your iPad or iPhone

By Ryan C. Williams, Mike Levine

Audio editing doesn’t just let you modify individual clips on your iPad or iPhone — you can create more and more clips if you wish. Take these sections, edit, and move them around as you need. They represent the paragraphs in your audio document, and you can do whatever you need to do with them.

Making the cuts

Audio editors offer a couple of options regarding cutting audio clips. The first option allows you to select a section of the audio clip and cut it out. Select a part of the audio clip that you want to cut.

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The scissors icon appears in the upper-right corner of the selected region. Tap that icon to create the cut.

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You can also split the audio clip at the point where the playhead rests. Note the position of the playhead. When you tap the Split icon, you create another clip.

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This technique is helpful for creating a cut during playback.

You can always tap the Undo button to undo the cuts (unless you try operations that require a large amount of data, but you’ll usually see a warning before edits of those kinds). Isn’t technology a miracle?

Copying audio

Copying an existing audio clip couldn’t be easier — just like copying a word or sentence in a word processor. Select the clip and tap Copy. Then, move the playhead to the location where you want to paste the clip and tapped Paste.

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Why would you want to do this? Simple — copying audio saves a lot of time. If you want to repeat a drum part, just take the clip and copy it over and over until you flesh out the song. And what is sampling besides making a copy? The true artistry comes in how you use these copies. Don’t be afraid to chop up your clips, rearrange them, and make it your own.

Moving audio around

Next, take a look at how to move audio clips around the audio editor. Seriously, this process couldn’t be easier. In the case of Auria, just tap and hold the audio clip, then drag it to its new location.

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This functionality helps a great deal if you just want to nudge a part into the right place (so it will be in time with the correct tempo or just off enough to be funky) or move parts around dramatically for a remix effect. Move the clips wherever you need to and get your sounds in the right place.

Avoiding clicks

So after you perform a few cuts and splits here and there, maybe you notice that you hear some unpleasant clicks at the beginning or end of the clips. These clicks take place because the cuts occurred where the waveform doesn’t rest at the zero line.

So what exactly does that mean? Think about every time you’ve seen an audio waveform in an app — there’s a line running through the middle that represents a point where the waveform has no positive or negative movement. If you zoom in close enough on an audio waveform, you’ll see it represented as a line moving through the audio clip. When you cut the audio clip where that line intersects the zero line, you remove the possibility of a clicking sound at the point of that code.

In Auria, find the closest possible view of the waveform and the zero line, and then place the playhead at that point.

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You may need some additional practice to get this technique down, but keep at it. You’ll get it, and you can always undo if necessary.

Adding crossfades

Basically, a crossfade involves overlapping two audio clips, then adding a fade out on the first clip and a fade in on the second clip. If you’ve used DJing apps like djay or Traktor before, you’re familiar with this concept. The cross part just means that you’re adjusting the volume in different directions in the same track.

So why would you want to perform a crossfade? Any time you want to join two audio clips, a crossfade helps make the blend smoother and more listenable. Several situations call for this kind of blend:

  • Combining lead vocals or parts of a solo taken from different recordings into a single track (also known as comping)

  • Mixing together two different songs as part of a mix

  • Smoothing over loops

  • Any time you need to combine two clips and you want to prevent unwanted clicks and pops

You could manually perform the crossfade, but most audio editors perform this operation automatically.

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Drag the two clips over each other to the point where you’re happy with the blend, and then tap the XFade button (short for crossfade — feel technical by learning the shorthand!) to automatically create the crossfade.

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After you create the crossfade, you can grab the handles to move the crossfade around for a little tweaking, and you can also choose the type of crossfade you wish to use.

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You can tweak and modify the crossfade as much as you wish until you get it just the right way. It’s a powerful tool — practice it and get it right!