How can you play a sound slower or faster? That would be useful for listening carefully one audio passage or to listen fast forward to find a concrete passage.

Is there something with the play sox command that would do this? Alternative simple solutions also welcome.

3 Answers 3


I use the ffplay command (the sister of ffmpeg). There are two ways to change the speed of play: tempo and pitch. The former inserts or skips frames (it sounds like "glitches" in the music) but keeps the tone of the sound intact; the latter makes play smoother but affects the pitch.

The following is an example of adjusting the tempo:

# 20% increase, atrim — start to play from 120-th second of the file
$ ffplay -af "atempo=1.2,atrim=120" foo.mp3 

The following is an example of adjusting the pitch (foo.mp3 has the rate 44000):

# 54000/44000 ~+24% pitch up
$ ffplay -af "asetrate=54000" foo.mp3 

ffplay is a very powerful tool; see more at the man page.


Using sox / play

play file.wav   tempo 2    ##to play 2 times faster
play file.wav   tempo 0.5  ## ""             slower

I find almost half a dozen softwares recommended here.

  • Audacity
  • MPlayer
  • Rubberband
  • Play It Slowly
  • Ardour
  • LMMS
  • MuSE
  • Rosegarden
  • I'll check these programs. Mplayer, which is command line and won't deform the pitch sounds promising. Audacity would be more for those people willing to convert a file (not my case). May 20, 2014 at 15:16
  • 1
    mplayer -af scaletempo -speed 0.6 solo.ogg is what I needed. May 20, 2014 at 15:23
  • @QuoraFeans, glad that the link resolved your problem :)
    – Ramesh
    May 20, 2014 at 15:26
  • 1
    @QuoraFeans Audacity is not for people willing to convert a file - it's for people willing to modify or create music file. That is your case - and Audacity will do the great job. I've used it several times to change both pitch and speed of songs, as well as many different use cases. Sep 3, 2015 at 11:51
  • @MatthewRock: you are right. Audacity allows all type of processing. Mplayer would be the tool of choice for some simple command line processing. Sep 3, 2015 at 13:42

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