Quick pitch-trick in Reaper

There’s one thing in ACID that I missed in Reaper, but thanks to this little trick I can have it here as well: using the +/- keys on the numpad to pitch the selected piece of audio either up or down a seminote. This is an insanely quick and efficient way to tweak a take without messing about in context menus or “Clip Properties”.

What we’ll do is to create a macro (or an “Action”, if you will) that binds the +/- keys to a function in Reaper that’s (unfortunately) usually a little buried. The end result will be that hitting either of those keys when you’ve marked a piece of audio will pitch it up or down but preserve the playback rate — meaning, the length will not be affected.

If you do wish to change the playback rate as well, simply use Increase item rate by ~6% (one semitone) preserving length, clear ‘preserve pitch’ instead of Item properties: Pitch item up one semitone which I’ve used in the example below.

This trick doesn’t require installation of add-on software, tweaking of system files or anything spooky at all. :) Here we go:

1) Go to Actions > Show action list


2) Click New next to Custom actions


3) Under Filter, enter “pitch semitone” and the list below will show only items which includes that text


4) Drag the item Item properties: Pitch item up one semitone into the right panel and give the action a name — I use “+1 semitone”, then click Ok


5) Under Shortcuts for selected action click Add…


6) In the field next to Shortcut, click, then press the + key on your keyboard to record the keystroke. Check that the field now reads NumPad +, and click Ok


7) Now just go back to step 2 and repeat the process for Item properties: Pitch item down one semitone and attach that to the key on your keyboard and you’re done!


4 thoughts on “Quick pitch-trick in Reaper”

  1. Thank you for this excellent tip. Having been a long time user of Acid Pro, I too was disappointed by not having the number pad + and – keys available for pitching up and down one semitone. This makes Reaper that much more valuable as the DAW to replace Acid Pro, which is only available as a 32 bit app.

    1. I used that pitch-thing in ACID all the time, so making Reaper do the same is insanely helpful. It should be mentioned that doing lots of customizations is insanely easy in Reaper, so if there’s anything you miss, just add it.

      1. Hi!

        Thank you for this tip! I’ve been using Reaper for many years now but I still have this muscle-memory tic trying to shift pitch pressing the numpad +/-.

        Now I can finally stop longing for some of ACID’s features. Long live Reaper. :)

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