If you’re performing regularly in any style, having a variety of accompaniment options available can be a lifesaver. Live accompanists are the most effective but can be very expensive. Entering your music into Finale or Sibelius is accurate but time consuming. A great third option is to find a karaoke track to use as a stand-in accompaniment track. The problem is that for some songs there is no suitable karaoke track. Luckily creating an accompaniment track is a fairly simple process using Audacity.
Below are instructions for creating a usable accompaniment track for most audio files. Be aware that most of the time, the solo part will still be audible so the converted track would not be ideal for performance.
If you already have an audio file of the song you want to convert you may skip Step 1 below. If your source is internet-based, you’ll need to convert the URL to an audio file.
Convert a URL to an audio file. Locate the URL of your song and cut and paste the entire URL into an online clip converter. I recommend convert2mp3.net but there are a number of free converters out there.
Launch Audacity (you can download it here). Open the file of the song you want to convert.
Once you open the audio file, you will usually see two stereo tracks. On the top left side of the tracks pane click the small black triangle, and on the drop down menu choose “Split Stereo Track”.
Double click on the top track to highlight it. Choose “Effects” from the menu bar and click “Invert”.
On the top left side of each track click on the small black triangle for each track, and choose “Mono” for both.
Click play to listen to the accompaniment track stripped of the solo part. Choose “File” from the menu bar and click “Export Audio” (to export to Mp3 you will need the LAME Mp3 encoder).
I recommend using a variety of tracks to keep from being a style copy-cat. Using multiple sources for accompaniment can provide a variety of opportunities for developing your vocal tools. Keep singing!
If you have another method of converting audio files to karaoke tracks or suggestions for improvement on the above, please leave a comment! I love comments!