I want to change the frequency of an audio file. Meaning: the whole file should sound (say) one octave higher or lower. How to do it? Using ffmpeg or other command line open source tool would be preferable.


With ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -i <input> -af 'asetrate=44100*1/2,atempo=2/1' <output>

Here, 1/2 is the pitch factor. See the other answer for more details.

If you need a GUI, use Audacity, it's a free, open source, cross platform audio editing tool.

Features: Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.

As an alternative, try sox. Something like that:

sox <infile> <outfile> pitch <shift>

where gives the pitch shift as positive or negative ‘cents’ (i.e. 100ths of a semitone). There are 12 semitones to an octave, so that would mean ±1200 as a parameter.

  • awesome... sox is just what i need!
    – tanon
    Jun 4 '11 at 10:36
  • Does method using ffmpeg change the duration of the audio?
    – mrgloom
    May 22 '19 at 10:21
  • @mrgloom No, it should not.
    – slhck
    May 22 '19 at 10:22
  • After using ffmpeg -i man.wav -af asetrate=48000*0.75,aresample=48000 man_pitch_down.wav I see by ffmpeg -i original wav Duration: 00:00:01.95, bitrate: 3080 kb/s and modified wav Duration: 00:00:02.60, bitrate: 1536 kb/s. As I understand Duration is length in seconds.
    – mrgloom
    May 22 '19 at 10:27
  • I have tried this solution (superuser.com/a/1076762/213959) and it produce audios with same length (looking at Duration from ffmpeg -i output)
    – mrgloom
    May 22 '19 at 10:34

Find input audio rate beforehand thus:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4

Assuming input audio rate 44,100 Hz, this command will do the job:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -af asetrate=44100*3/4,atempo=4/3 output.mp4

The factor of 3/4 will change most female and “skinny” (chipmunk) voices into male and “fat” voices. Use 4/3 for the opposite:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -af atempo=3/4,asetrate=44100*4/3 output.mp4

Notice reversed filter order to prevent signal degradation. Whenever possible, lossless operation should come before lossy operation. I’m not 100% sure whether I’m not making some mistake here from misunderstanding FFmpeg filters.

FFmpeg filter asetrate should have a variable named ir for input audio rate, in analogy to iw×ih in some video filters, but I couldn’t find any mention of it in the documentation.

For factors greater than 2 (such as 4/1 or 1/4), you must use multiple atempo filters (1/4 = 1/2 * 1/2 or 4/1 = 2/1 * 2/1):

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -af asetrate=44100*4,atempo=1/2,atempo=1/2 output.mp4

I don’t know how to obtain “skinny” male voice and “fat” female voice.

Instead of -af, you can write -filter:audio or -filter:a.


  • thank you so much!! worked at first attempt!!
    – JRichardsz
    May 18 at 4:57

@slhck answer with better quality resampler:

ffmpeg -i <input> -af 'asetrate=44100*1/2:resampler=soxr:precision=33,atempo=2/1' <output>
  • Doesn't work...
    – Xel Naga
    May 7 at 9:29

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