Keys..

Textbook

BUTTER
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After reading through a fair few threads i see alot of people mention 'keys' is there any certain way to tell what key a tune is in? or does it just come to you with time?

i have quite alot of trouble with mixing the right tunes together. i usually just freestyle with what tunes i play but in most cases its not the right choice.

any advice is appreciated!
 

Blurr

Wasted Selection
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it's pretty much just trial and error, and it comes with time as your music association gets better, you can tell when something jus doesn't sound right

couldn't tell wot key any tunes are tho...
 

Shotty

HUGE EARS > COMEDY CHIN
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Apparently there are some web sites that tell you the key of songs, but not really looked for any, I doubt there will be many drum and bass ones.
 

Dustek

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Grab a keyboard and go through the keys until the key you play doesn't seem to clash with the tune.

Or get Mixmeister Fusion which tells you the key a tune is in.

If you get clashing keys in a tune then when you overlay them you will have harmonic discord no matter how well you beatmatch the tune. In layman terms - your ears will hurt. That's because our ears appreciate musical keys - which translate into ratios of frequencies...
 

moriaty

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Grab a keyboard and go through the keys until the key you play doesn't seem to clash with the tune.

Or get Mixmeister Fusion which tells you the key a tune is in.

If you get clashing keys in a tune then when you overlay them you will have harmonic discord no matter how well you beatmatch the tune. In layman terms - your ears will hurt. That's because our ears appreciate musical keys - which translate into ratios of frequencies...

discords can sound pleasing to the human ear too. its all about content.
i wouldn't go about finding each tune's key, and mix only the ones that match. Far too limiting imo. I bet my right testi that tunes the Mixmeister identifies as clashing, will work together pretty good.
In dnb at least, where most basslines are based around a few notes, and usually form a major or minor chord.
 

dizzzeejungle

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Just chuck the needle on the incoming track about halfway through, and listen to it through your headphones.

Thats what i do when i get new songs !

Or, if a song is in a really awkward key, don't double drop it in or anything, just mix it in through a breakdown.
 

Greg P

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Most DnB tunes are in the same key anyway aren't they... Can't remember which one, C maybe?

I played lots of guitar when I was younger so can just tell when one tune isn't going to work with another due to the keys clashing, when your ear gets used to it you can tell straight away...
 

Dustek

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Keys are a good guide but you don't have to stick to them religiously. But you'll be surprised at how a good guide they are once you get used to them. I don't much look at keys when mixing but perhaps I should.
 

RocksteadyUK

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Keys are a good guide but you don't have to stick to them religiously. But you'll be surprised at how a good guide they are once you get used to them. I don't much look at keys when mixing but perhaps I should.

yeh keys arent an amzingly important thing with mixing. It just helps alot more to know.... as you have an advatage of knowing that the next mix will sound good.... even if you dont actually know how the tune itself goes.... ie... its perfect for DJs who dont plan sets..... which is what i and The Mutant DJs do... we never plan a set ahead.... so knowing the key of a track.... wel... not even knowing the actual key.... but knowing that the key of one track goes well with the key of another.... is a major advantage for us... and for anyone else.....


the best way to learn your keys is to go grab yourself a beginners Piano book.... which teaches you how to play.... and that goes through the different keys with you.....

play the full scale of each key..... record it... (if you have a usb keyboard... even better)..... then lay the recordings out on a cubase... or even just stick it on a CD.... listen to the different key scales.... sounds a bit sad... but stick it on your pod..... listen to it once or twice a day..... or you could go further and record your voice saying the name of the key... ie... this is the key of C.... then play the scale..... and so on.... so not only will the key scale get into your brain but the name of it too...... this is what i done.... i just had a look for my old recording but couldnt find it... sorry...

anyway.... once you have the general idea of what the keys sound like.,.. try playing around with it..... play different key scales after each other..... this way you will find out what different keys sound good with each other.....


you will need to do this for a while if your not naturally tuned to that sort of stuff..... i mean listen to your recordings for about a month or two...... you will then naturally be able to tell.....

it will also open your mind up to how simple some styles of dnb are.... ie.... Jump-Up..... 90% of Jump up tracks are written in C.....

anyway.... give it a go mate... let me know how you get on....
 

WeSaveLives

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Oct 22, 2007
i always find myself taking a moment before drawing for the next tune im gonna mix in. in this time i think to myself "what would sound good coming in over the top of this", if you know your records well you can do a quick proxie mix in your head and then you'll know if you what to pick out.
 
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