Learning the secrets of harmonic mixing can be the key to unlocking even better DJ performances.
Mixed In Key is the software that comes in mind whenever we talk about harmonic mixing. The concept is based on the circle of fifths but Mixed In Key developed a proprietary software that scans any audio file for root note breakdowns and verses and displays to the user the wave form graphically. The circle of fifths uses traditional musical notation, which can be intimidating for a non-musician DJ. Mixed In Key, knowing this fact developed a much simpler system to directly replace musical notations with easier alpha-numeric system which was patented by the developers.
If you use Pioneer hardware along with their Rekordbox software you are already half way to creating a perfectly harmonic set that will impress most listeners. Rekordbox comes out of the box with key detection system built-in that can scan and write appropriate tags to your tracks.
|How To Guide to Harmonic Mixing|
Harmonic Mixing is an advanced technique used by top DJs all over the world. By mixing tracks that are in the same or related keys, harmonic mixing enables long blends and mash-ups. The goal is to eliminate key clashes.
Harmonic mixing consists of two elements:
– knowing the key of every song that you play
– knowing which keys are compatible.
To get started, find the keys of your songs. You can detect keys with a piano, a good ear, and a background in music theory. To save time, you can use professional DJ software such as Mixed In Key. Mixed In Key scans your MP3 and WAV files, and shows you the key of every song.
The First Mix
To help DJs learn harmonic mixing, Mark Davis created the Camelot wheel, a visual representation of which keys are compatible with each other:
|On the Camelot wheel, each key is assigned a keycode number from one to twelve, like hours around a clock.For the first mix, we recommend mixing two songs that have the same keycode, like 8A and 8A. It will sound like a professional mash-up made in the studio, even if you are mixing on live DJ equipment.|
The Professional DJ Approach
Many professional DJs move around the Camelot wheel with every mix. To select a compatible song, choose a keycode within one “hour” of your current keycode. If you are in 8A, you can play 7A, 8A or 9A next. If you are in 12A, you can play 11A, 12A or 1A.
This mix will be smooth every time. You can also mix between inner and outer wheels if you stay in the same “hour.” For example, try mixing from 8A to 8B, and notice the change in melody as you go from Minor to Major.
Harmonic mixing is a simple technique, but it opens up a world of creativity. You will play creative DJ sets and discover interesting song combinations.
It’s easy to get started with any music genre.
|How To ENERGY BOOST MIXING|
Detect the key of your current song, and pick the next song to be 1 or 2 semitones above it.
|If you’re in C Minor, your next key should be D-flat Minor (+1 semitone) or D Minor (+2 semitones). Take a look at the image above. The rule is always the same, just go “right” on the piano from your original key.|
The effect is really interesting: Energy on the dance floor will rise. It doesn’t work with every song, but most of the time it can create a pleasant effect.
Does this translate to Camelot numbers?
Yes. To go up one semitone, add 7 to your current Camelot number. If you’re in E-flat Minor (2A), add 7 and you’ll be in E Minor (9A).
To go up two semitones, just add 2 to your current Camelot number. If you’re in C Minor (5A), add 2 and you’ll get D Minor (7A). Play your next tune in 7A, and you’ll experience an energy boost mix.
How fast should the mix be?
It’s better to mix quickly, because the melodies will clash. You’re going for a specific effect, and not a long blend.
Who uses it?
I’ve heard DJ Sasha and Armin Van Buuren use this technique.
Whether it was intentional or not, it sounded great.
Mixing +2 semitones is my favorite DJ technique.
Every DJ should try this mix.