Tip #662: Sustaining a Musical Chord

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #662: Sustaining a Musical Chord

Brian Thomas

The Retiming bar showing an audio clip slowed 75%.

Topic $TipTopic

Brian Thomas writes:

At the end of a recent video I wanted the music to fade out slowly but the piece I had chosen came to a fairly abrupt end. I tried cutting out various short lengths of that final chord and repeating it a number of times with ever decreasing volume while applying various audio effects but there was always some sort of reverberating echo effect in there – not cool.

Suddenly I had a brain wave: Use the Retime facility on the last chord and stretch it out to the desired length!

Usually we think of retiming (speeding up or slowing down of footage) as applying to the image part of the video but it can be very useful to manipulate independent soundtracks since whatever you do FCP X will do its best to retain the original pitch.

In my case I cut the soundtrack a few frames after the last chord had started, clicked on the remaining part of the chord, pressed Cmd + R to invoke Retiming and then clicked on the small vertical line at the right of the green area of the clip dragging it out to the new desired length of time.

NOTE: Clicking on the downward arrow in the middle of the clip, followed by “Slow” offers some convenient values of 50% or 25% straight off.

Dragging the chord out to 20% still gave me great results.


  • Bonus 1: If you notice a slight absence of the upper frequencies then you may need to apply the audio EQ effect and boost appropriately.
  • Bonus 2: Apply this technique to make a whole piece of music exactly fit your footage – it will still sound right as the pitch doesn’t get altered. Neat, huh!

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5 replies
  1. Karl Schmidt
    Karl Schmidt says:

    I can’t begin to count how many times I could have used this over the last 30 years. Great tips… thanks!


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