Harmonic Mixing and Labeling Records

Discussion in 'DJ's, MC's & Turntablism' started by DJ Wizz, May 6, 2009.

  1. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    I have just been taking a very keen interest in the methodology behind harmonic mixing... of course this is sumthing that all good dj's do (even without knowing it), but regardless i thought it was time to brush up on the theory behind my favourite passtime.

    http://www.harmonic-mixing.com/

    This is where i found out all my knowledge on the subject and i've decided to start labeling my records with the key names and the relative camelot number to make it easy to see clashes and things that blend well when browsing the tunes.

    On the site however they use colours to label their cd's and was wondering if this made the choosing of tunes that mix harmonically easier? I remember there being a picture of andy's box of records and them all having coloured lines on em etc... So is there a quickfire way to colour code tunes so they will blend?

    I remember subsonic saying that most tunes are between F and A in dnb and mainly in minor. Is that as in F, G, and Aminor are the most common keys?

    Also are the keys on chemical records accurate because I dnt reli have perfect pitch lol?

    Anyone else use harmonic mixing theory and have any tips n tricks?

    Sorry for all the questions lol safe
     
  2. RocksteadyUK

    RocksteadyUK SkimoBeats

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    This is fundamentally flawed...

    a track written at 174bpm in the key of F for instance.... and a track written at 180bpm in the key of F wont be in the same key when mixed together.

    its a good guide line... but nothing beats a good ear...

    ***EDIT***... the software would be very good... if you got all your tunes in your bag to the same tempo... ie 175bpm... then had the "mixed in key" software to analyse it... the Key it gives you at that point would be spot on... and you will be able to mix using the chart without worrying about the problem i stated above...
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  3. Blurr

    Blurr Wasted Selection

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    :word:

    trial n error is the way...
     
  4. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    i believe that the key of track is only affected when the tempo is increased by 6%. i.e. when played 6% faster the key is raised by 1 semi-tone and if 6% slower then it is lowered by the same amount. even if you increase your whole mix's bpm the tunes u will be playing will be relative to each other anyway.

    i usually play starting at +4% and rarely does a tune have to be lowered or raised by an more 2/3% to beat match it in dnb (obvious exeptions for slow jungle and obscure tracks).

    if you are following the harmonic mixing rules there will only be a clash if you have to increase the tempo of the cued track by any more than 3% as after this point its key will start to be closer to the key a semitone above the desired. and as i say i rarely have to increase or decrease the pitch that much so its just sumthing to bear in mind.
     
  5. RocksteadyUK

    RocksteadyUK SkimoBeats

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    Yeh i see what you mean actually....

    i suppose it doesnt have to be bang on... i just prefer using my ear than a mathmatical equation.. hahaha


    either way... its a very good tool for DJs.. but kinda lets hopeless no talent DJs mix.....

    In my day (hahaha).... you only became a DJ if you knew about music.... today... you just need downloaded software mixer on your comp... a few mp3s... and what looks like a paint colour mixing chart.... and your done.... next Andy C... except with absolutly no music skill what so ever.
     
  6. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    i no wot u mean, i dnt condone software mixing or anything like that letting software do shit for u is ridiculous, im a vinyl man thru n thru... i have been using the "trial and error" "using your ears" method 4 years n still do now, ive oly been researchning the theory behind what i already do with my ears outa an interest to see why certain mixes work and others dont. this is so i can gain a greater understanding of what it is that makes a good mix and a good dj.

    everyone harmonically mixes anyway just they dnt realise wot it is exactly that theyre doing (same for me)

    how many times have u tried a mix for the first time to find that even tho uve beat matched perfectly the keys are clashing and u have to quicktime fade out the previous track? to avoid this happening in a club or in any live situation through your understanding of musical theory surely cant be a bad thing?

    i wud like to get to a stage where i hear a track and instantly know what key its in but im a long way off that so im gonna start labeling my records with the keys to learn.
     
  7. boobjunkie

    boobjunkie Active Member

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    i read somewhere it's really hard if not impossible to develop perfect pitch once you've pass a certain age, although there are courses you can go on to develop a kind've assumed perfect pitch where you associate each different note with a colour and remember it that way, which is kinda cool
     
  8. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    hmmmm il research
     
  9. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    taken from wiki. i found itr very facinating if no1 else does lol

    Many people have believed that musical ability itself is an inborn talent.[40] Some scientists currently believe absolute pitch may have an underlying genetic basis and are trying to locate genetic correlates;[41] most believe that the acquisition of absolute pitch requires early training during a critical period of development, regardless of whether or not a genetic predisposition toward development exists.[42] The "unlearning theory," first proposed by Abraham,[43] has recently been revived by developmental psychologists who argue that every person possesses absolute pitch (as a mode of perceptual processing) as an infant, but that a shift in cognitive processing styles (from local, absolute processing to global, relational processing) causes most people to unlearn it; or, at least, causes children with musical training to discard absolute pitch as they learn to identify musical intervals.[44] Additionally, any nascent absolute pitch may be lost simply by the lack of reinforcement or lack of clear advantages in most activities in which the developing child is involved. An unequivocal resolution to the ongoing debate would require controlled experiments that are both impractical and unethical.

    Researchers have been trying to teach absolute pitch ability for more than a century,[45] and various commercial absolute-pitch training courses have been offered to the public since the early 1900s.[46] It has been shown possible to learn the naming of tones later in life, although some consider this skill not to be true absolute pitch.[47] Although it has been shown possible to learn to identify pitches, keys, and everyday sounds later in life, no training method for adults has yet been shown to produce abilities comparable to naturally occurring absolute pitch.[48]

    For children aged 2–4, observations have suggested a certain method of music education[49] may be successful in training absolute pitch,[50] but the same method has also been shown to fail with students 5 years and older.[51]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_pitch
     
  10. Gloxxy

    Gloxxy I SNORT COAL

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    I could only see labelling your tunes with a colour code to key be useful if you are playing out and want to throw tunes into the mix really fast.

    I've never labelled my tunes with key because; a: I don't know what key its in as the Camelot wheels wasn't around until recently. b: My musical theory knowledge is next to none.

    I've just trained my ear to know what sounds good in the mix over the last 13 years so I don't need a piece of software or pretty colour wheel to tell me what will sound good in the mix.
     
  11. boobjunkie

    boobjunkie Active Member

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    http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id90_en.html

    i've been using this interval trainer for a few years on and off i think it's pretty good, gives you a pretty good indication of how good your ear is generally for those who are curious, it's nothin to do with perfect pitch and identifying notes obv but it's still quite interesting
     
  12. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    so u dnt wanna be able to throw in tunes reli fast?

    im not saying i need or even want this software... its pretty bullshit reli using software to link all ur key matched tunes together... i use vinyl anyway.... the point is to not use the wheel when u mix just the wheel shows u how it all works.

    i think the the trial and error method works just fine and each to their own... but u cant seriously discredit people hu use music theory knowledge to improve their mixing? because they know what two tunes will work together before or without having to guess it and try it together.

    i didnt think there wud be people hu wud be against the idea of using key theory to plan mixes... n then i remmbered that this is a forum. lol
     
  13. Gloxxy

    Gloxxy I SNORT COAL

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    I can throw tunes in really fast without a colour coded sticker. I am in no way against it but just prefer to use my ears instead of stickers to get a good mix flowing. You get a greater sense of achievement that way anyway.
     
  14. RocksteadyUK

    RocksteadyUK SkimoBeats

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    @ Wizz hahaha!! i dont really think anyone is against it. well... they shouldnt be... end of the day its what peeps feel confortable with or what ever they think makes them better.

    Ive always been interested in the mathmatics of music, but my conclusion about playing music mathmatically is that it sounds faaarrr too robot like. Music is about expression and freedom to do what YOU think sounds good. doing anything in music mathmatically/methodically makes it sound too perfect?? does that makes sense?? And sometimes being mathmatically perfect doesnt mean your the best or that, thats the way it should sound. Its the little in-perfections that make music good...

    Im sure if machines were taught to mix perfectly in key and perfectly beat matched we would all get very bored. And in fact... i doubt it would be any good.....
     
  15. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    yer ur right. if summat is perfect then theres no expression. and anyways there are an infinate number of ways to mix two tunes and the human input process is what makes the mix individual n imperfect if u will...

    altho yes, if u follow a structure of how to mix things then ur no longer thinking about what will sound good ur just doing what the instruction say to do, there are definately right and wrong ways to go about things in music...

    having the ability in knowing what will clash and what will blend is the point of why im choosing to do things this way... it saves alot of time with bothering to mix together tunes that will never blend. we only have a certain amoutn of time on this earth and i wud rather spend more time mixing tunes that go rather ones that dont... wot ur forgetting is that this system is the basic laws of music theory which all music adheres to... its not cheating if ur using the rules to create your effect. im just trying to understand music better and knowing why things work and why others, dont what to use and what not to use...

    and anyways its not strict u can do wot u want at the end of the day... its always good to mix things up and try different techniques and approaches to things... there are any number ways of viewing a situation and following the same method of approach is detremental to your technique.. u become predictable and ultimately "boring"

    "it's simple, over specialize and you breed in weakness. it's slow death."
     
  16. DJ Wizz

    DJ Wizz Bless, Union, Force FM

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    i wud get a greater sense outa summat that i thort out for myself rather than trial and error. fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) for me sum1 else already wrote down the rules of music theory so i didnt or cudnt figure out for myself the laws of music so instead im just learning them so i dnt have to trial and error or look at a blooming wheel... i can just know!
     
  17. Good thread btw...

    Part of being professional is preparation. Andy has a very technical DJ and a true professional hence why he puts a lot of effort in to preparation for his performances. Colour coding your tunes in key is next level. You still have to have individual talent in the way you select, mix and blend the tunes. I'm a big fan of mixing in key. You still have to know your tunes well. Labelling just makes it easier to find the right tune. It doesn't mean you have to religeously follow it for every mix. You listen to Andys sets - the majority of the sets are mixed in blocks of the same key - and his sets always sound shit hot. Some tunes sound shit together and you get clashing harmonics - this eliminates that ever happening. Just my opinion.
     
  18. Riisu

    Riisu Not the Preacher Man

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    once you start mixng in key, you won't go back IMO.

    started around the turn of the year and i gotta say i feel it's elevated my sets a little. it can add a very nice element to it when two songs are going off against each other;

    for instance andy's been doing: jenna g - in love [e min] / high contrast - racing green [g maj]
    and they sound fucking PHAT together. i almost shit myself when i first heard it, it was THAT good.

    that's where i think the difference is, i mean he could teased any tune over it and it'll have still sounded phat. but because they sound good against each other it just elevates the mix.

    about 80% of my collecetion is in key and i'd imagine the same amount of my mixes are now. it'll add a new dimension to your mixing because before i'd have never thought of putting pleasure tracks with alix perez tunes. but because they're 'in key' they sound good.

    i was doing a bit of in key mixing before labeling all my bits up, i've come from a musical background, so i've got a pretty good ear for it. but it is nice knowing specifcally what you're dealing with, because you can begin to be creative in a whole new really geeky way.

    i love it.

    and reccomend anyone serious about mixing to do it, as you'll really benefit and reap the rewards.

    peace.
     
  19. Riisu

    Riisu Not the Preacher Man

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    :word:

    i've always said 'if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail'.

    also, 'knowledge is power'.

    both ring ture as far as this is concerned.
     
  20. Lunos

    Lunos Active Member

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    do u guys have that Camelot wheel then or just use the cheeky chemical thing?

    explain please