DJ mix

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A DJ mix or DJ mixset is a sequence of musical tracks typically mixed together to appear as one continuous track. DJ mixes are usually performed using a DJ mixer and multiple sounds sources, such as turntables, CD players, digital audio players or computer sound cards, sometimes with the addition of samplers and effects units, although it is possible to create one using sound editing software.

Contents

DJ mixing is significantly different from live sound mixing. Remix services were offered beginning in the late 1970s in order to provide music which was more easily beatmixed by DJs for the dancefloor. One of the earliest DJs to refine their mixing skills was DJ Kool Herc. [1] Francis Grasso was the first DJ to use headphones and a basic form of mixing at the New York City nightclub Sanctuary. [2] Upon its release in 2000, Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto Presents: Another World became the biggest selling DJ mix album in the US. [3]

Music

Frankie Knuckles also known as the 'Godfather of House.' Frankie Knuckles @ ADE 2012.jpg
Frankie Knuckles also known as the 'Godfather of House.'

A DJ mixes music from genres that fit into the more general term electronic dance music. Other genres mixed by DJ includes hip hop, breakbeat and disco. Four on the floor disco beats can be used to create seamless mixes so as to keep dancers locked to the dancefloor. [5] Two of main characteristics of music used in DJ mixes is a dominant bassline and repetitive beats. [5] Music mixed by DJs usually has a tempo which ranges from 120 bpm up to 160 bpm. [5]

"The Wizard," techno DJ Jeff Mills in the mix. Jeff Mills 2.jpg
"The Wizard," techno DJ Jeff Mills in the mix.

Technique

Pioneer DJM 350 mixer DJM 350.jpg
Pioneer DJM 350 mixer

A DJ mixset is usually performed live in front of an audience in a nightclub, party, or rave setting. Mixsets can also be performed live on radio or recorded in a studio. Methods of mixing vary slightly depending on the music genres being played. [1] House and trance DJs tend to aim for smooth blended mixes while hip-hop DJs may use turntablism, scratching and other cutting techniques. [1] Some DJs, particularly those mixing Goa trance may prefer to mix during a break in which instead of beats, washes of synthesized sounds are combined. [5] Further refinement to the mixing quality can be provided with harmonic mixing which avoids dissonant tones during a mix.

Hip-hop master DJ Kool Herc at Hunts Point. Herc on the Wheels of Steel.JPG
Hip-hop master DJ Kool Herc at Hunts Point.

In live situations, the progression of the DJ set is a dynamic process. The DJ chooses tracks partly in response to the activity on the dance floor. If the dance floor becomes less active, the DJ will make a judgement as to what track will increase dance floor activity. This may involve shifting the tempo or changing the general mood of the set. Track choices are also due, in part, to where the DJ wishes to take his or her audience. In this way, the resulting mixset is brought about through a symbiotic relationship between audience and DJ. [7] Studio DJs have the luxury of spending more time on their mix, which often leads to productions that could never be realized in real-time.

Traditional DJ mixing with vinyl required the DJ sync tracks tempo and the modify each tracks volume and equalisation to create a smooth blend. DJs can use a mixer's crossfader to switch between tracks or use the volume control for each source with the crossfader permanently positioned in the middle. Mixing is usually done through the use of headphones and a monitor speaker or foldback as basic aids. At this basic level the DJ is required to develop a specific auditory skill where each track's tempo had to be distinguished while listening to more than one piece of music. The use of compact discs and players such as the CDJ by DJs brought technological advances for the DJ performing a mix including a readout of the bpm and a visual representation of the beat. Modern computer technology has allowed automatic beatmatching and led to debate regarding its use, which is sometimes described as cheating. DJ software provides automatic beatmatching and key detection which simplifies harmonic mixing.

Legality

To be released commercially, DJ mixes often need many copyright clearances and licenses. The vast majority of DJ mixes throughout the years have only avoided legal action because the copyright holders generally do not choose to take legal action against the DJ for the unauthorized use of their material. [8]

Distribution

DJs often distribute their recorded mixes on CD-Rs or as digital audio files via websites or podcasts for promotional purposes. Many popular DJs release their mixes commercially on a compact disc. When DJ sets are distributed directly via the Internet, they are generally presented as a single unbroken audio file; cue sheets may be provided by the DJ or fans to allow the set to be burned to a CD, or listened to, as a series of separate tracks in the way it would be produced as a commercial mix.

See also

Related Research Articles

Beatmatching

Beatmatching or pitch cue is a disc jockey technique of pitch shifting or timestretching an upcoming track to match its tempo to that of the currently playing track, and to adjust them such that the beats are synchronised — e.g. the kicks and snares in two house records hit at the same time when both records are played simultaneously. Beatmatching is a component of beatmixing which employs beatmatching combined with equalization, attention to phrasing and track selection in an attempt to make a single mix that flows together and has a good structure.

Disc jockey Name for person who plays recorded music for an audience

A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Most common types of DJs include radio DJs, club DJs, mobile DJs, and turntablists. Originally, the "disc" in "disc jockey" referred to shellac and later vinyl records, but nowadays DJ is used as an all-encompassing term to also describe persons who mix music from other recording media such as cassettes, CDs or digital audio files on a CDJ, controller, or even a laptop. DJs may adopt the title "DJ" in front of their real names, adopted pseudonyms, or stage names.

Trance is a genre of electronic music that emerged from the British new-age music scene and the early 1990s German techno and hardcore scenes.

In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is typically indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is usually measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will typically simply be stated in bpm.

Psychedelic trance, psytrance or psy is a subgenre of trance music characterized by arrangements of rhythms and layered melodies created by high tempo riffs.

Goa trance is an electronic music style that originated during the late 1980s in Goa, India. Goa trance often has funky, drone-like basslines, similar to the techno minimalism of 21st century psychedelic trance (psytrance). Psychedelic trance developed from Goa trance.

Scratching

Scratching, sometimes referred to as scrubbing, is a DJ and turntablist technique of moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable to produce percussive or rhythmic sounds. A crossfader on a DJ mixer may be used to fade between two records simultaneously.

Turntablism

Turntablism is the art of manipulating sounds and creating new music, sound effects, mixes and other creative sounds and beats, typically by using two or more turntables and a cross fader-equipped DJ mixer. The mixer is plugged into a PA system for live events and/or broadcasting equipment so that a wider audience can hear the turntablist's music. Turntablists manipulate records on a turntable by moving the record with their hand to cue the stylus to exact points on a record, and by touching or moving the platter or record to stop, slow down, speed up or, spin the record backwards, or moving the turntable platter back and forth, all while using a DJ mixer's crossfader control and the mixer's gain and equalization controls to adjust the sound and level of each turntable. Turntablists typically use two or more turntables and headphones to cue up desired start points on different records.

Hardstyle

Hardstyle is a Dutch electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno, new beat and hardcore.

Fade (audio engineering)

In audio engineering, a fade is a gradual increase or decrease in the level of an audio signal. The term can also be used for film cinematography or theatre lighting in much the same way.

Drop (music)

A drop or beat drop in music, made popular by electronic dance music (EDM) styles, is a point in a music track where a sudden change of rhythm or bass line occurs, which is preceded by a build-up section and break.

DJ mixer

A DJ mixer is a type of audio mixing console used by Disc jockeys (DJs) to control and manipulate multiple audio signals. Some DJs use the mixer to make seamless transitions from one song to another when they are playing records at a dance club. Hip hop DJs and turntablists use the DJ mixer to play record players like a musical instrument and create new sounds. DJs in the disco, house music, electronic dance music and other dance-oriented genres use the mixer to make smooth transitions between different sound recordings as they are playing. The sources are typically record turntables, compact cassettes, CDJs, or DJ software on a laptop. DJ mixers allow the DJ to use headphones to preview the next song before playing it to the audience. Most low- to mid-priced DJ mixers can only accommodate two turntables or CD players, but some mixers can accommodate up to four turntables or CD players. DJs and turntablists in hip hop music and nu metal use DJ mixers to create beats, loops and "scratching" sound effects.

Uplifting trance is a broad subgenre of trance music. The name, which emerged in the wake of progressive trance in 1996, is derived from the feeling which listeners claim to get. The genre, which originated in Germany, is massively popular in the trance scene, and is one of the dominant forms of dance music worldwide. Historically it is related to the emergence of psychedelic trance and the two styles influenced each other. Classical music strongly influenced the development of uplifting trance both in the 1990s and in the 2000s, with film music also considered influential.

Goa Mix, also known as The Goa Mix, is a two-hour DJ mix by British musician and DJ Paul Oakenfold. It was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 1 as an Essential Mix on 18 December 1994 after the producer of the show, Eddie Gordon, chose Oakenfold to produce an eclectic DJ mix for the show which featured a burgeoning variation of electronic styles, having begun the previous year. Oakenfold had, at this point, developed his own unique Goa trance sound, influenced by his time at hippy gatherings on beaches in Goa, and employed it heavily into the mix, which also made pioneering use of film score samples. Oakenfold used the mix as an experiment in which he tried to fuse electronic music, especially trance music, with film score music, and then to overlay the result with vocal parts, samples and additional production. The mix was split into two parts, later referred to as the Silver Mix and the Gold Mix respectively. Reflecting the Goa influence, the album title did not evolve beyond its simplistic working name.

Djay (software)

djay is a digital music mixing software program for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch created by the German company algoriddim. It allows playback and mixing of digital audio files with a user interface that tries to simulate the concept of "two turntables and a microphone" on a computer. Before the commercial release in November 2007, djay had initially been released as freeware in June 2006. In December 2010 the software was also released for the iPad, and subsequently for iPhone and iPod touch in March 2011.

Rapid Evolution is a software tool for DJs, providing filtering and searching features suitable for musicians. It can analyze audio files and automatically determine properties such as the musical key, beats per minute (BPM), beat intensity and ReplayGain.

Electro house is a genre of electronic dance music characterized by heavy bass and a tempo around 130 beats per minute. Its origins were influenced by tech house and electro. The term has been used to describe the music of many DJ Mag Top 100 DJs, including Benny Benassi, Daft Punk, Skrillex, and Steve Aoki.

Frenchcore is a subgenre of hardcore techno. The style differs from other forms of hardcore in terms of a faster tempo, usually above 200 BPM, and a loud & distorted offbeat bassline.

History of DJing

DJing is the act of playing existing recorded music for a live audience.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Snoman, Rick (2009). Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys and Techniques. Taylor & Francis. pp. 471–472. ISBN   978-0-240-52107-7 . Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  2. Vorobyez, Yakov; Eric Coomes (2012). "How to Use Harmonic Mixing". Beyond Beatmatching: Take Your DJ Career to the Next Level. Mixed In Key. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  3. Webber, Stephen (2009). DJ Skills: The Essential Guide to Mixing and Scratching. CRC Press. p. 40. ISBN   978-1-136-12310-8.
  4. "Frankie Knuckles". AllMusic . Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Attias, Bernardo; Anna Gavanas; Hillegonda Rietveld (2013). DJ Culture in the Mix: Power, Technology, and Social Change in Electronic Dance Music. A&C Black. pp. 2–3. ISBN   978-1-62356-437-7 . Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  6. "Jeff Mills gets Down with FORWARD and 88". 88 Music Blog. Archived from the original on 26 June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  7. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton
  8. "The Legality of Sharing and Selling DJ Mixes | Digital DJ Hub". www.digitaldjhub.com. Retrieved 3 September 2017.