How To Edit Any Song Into 60, 45, & 30 Seconds

In this post, you will learn how to dissect any song and re-edit it to any length of your choice… easy and fast.

One of our customers asked if we can create 60, 45, and 30-second cuts of the song he licensed. This is not something we offer automatically in our library but it’s something that is on our wish list of requests. Until then, we figured we would make him the cuts anyway and record the editing session to teach everyone how easily this can be done.

Once you learn the process of editing music, it will open the doors for you to edit any track you wish.

The Breakdown of a Song

In order to break down a song into sections, we must first determine the time signature.  Luckily most songs are written in 4/4 time which means you would be repeatedly counting 1, 2, 3, 4 over and over again while tapping your feet to the song.

It’s possible you will find some songs in 3/4 or 6/8 time like a waltz (Ex. Piano Man from Billy Joel). In other rare occasions, you may find even more obscure signatures like 7/8, 15/16, etc. Not to worry as most songs will fall in the 4/4 signature, especially with music composed for licensing.

Once we determine the time signature, we can start to break apart the song into sections. In this example, we are editing the song “Moments To Remember” by Josh Leake. In the video, we determine that this song can be edited based on 4/4 time. By counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4… over and over again, we can start to hear the different sections reveal themselves.

Here is the structure of this song

  • Intro
  • Verse
  • Chorus
  • Bridge
  • Breakdown
  • Chorus
  • Outro

Intro

The intro is used to open a song in many situations. It is usually a tease of what will come inside the verse. It’s common to last 4, 8, or 16 bars. 1 bar is when you count a full 1, 2, 3, 4 pattern.

Verse

A verse is the section of the song that usually introduces the story through lyrics. In this example, we are working with an instrumental song. We can clearly define the verse here even without words because it is when the song officially kicks in after the tease (or intro). Multiple verses are very common in songs although this one only has one verse.

Chorus

The Chorus (also known as the “hook”) is the heart of any song. It’s the sales pitch. This is also the moment of the song that usually explodes and climaxes as the biggest and most emotional moment. It’s very common to have multiple choruses in a song as well. I generally like to pay attention to emotional moments in my visual storytelling and sync them up to the start of my choruses to create an emotional connection with the viewer as well. It’s also common that the last chorus of a song is the biggest moment of the entire song.

Bridge

The bridge is a musical moment of contrast where we completely turn a different way from the sound of the verse and chorus. It usually happens once in a song after the 1st or 2nd chorus. When songs have lyrics, it sometimes can change the perspective of the lyric (Ex. Beatles bridges sometimes shifted from an optimistic to a pessimistic point of view, or reverse).

Breakdown

Breakdowns often steal a verse or chorus chord structure but remove some instrumentation like drums, etc. The energy level is dynamically brought down to a low point as it usually prepares to explode into a final chorus. Intros, outros, and breakdowns share a similar energy level.

Outro

The Outro (much like the intro), is a final climactic release of the song after the last chorus. Many times it is almost identical to the intro feel usually tapering off to a final long note or faded out.

In The End

Understanding how to edit music is something that does take practice if you’ve never done this before. Once you cut a number of songs using this method, you will find the process getting quicker and quicker until it becomes second nature. At this point, I am easily able to cut most any song into my preferred time length in under a 1 minute using this method.


Songs Licensed
Featured song “Moments To Remember” by Josh Leake
Promo music  “Superhero” by Chase K

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