Ok, so where are we at? We’ve gone through beatmatching with the jogwheel and we’ve gone through the pitch riding process. Today I want to quickly summarize what we’ve learnt in this chapter and let you know my plan for the next chapter.
The structure of a trance track
We opened this chapter with a discussion on how to break a trance/dance track down into the phases that make up the full track. We have an intro that builds up until we get to the meat of the track. This leads into a breakdown where we lose ourselves in the track. Following this is the build up and then we’re back into the meat of the track, the heart pumping big time. The track slows down at the end and finishes.
Beats, bars and phrases
This led us nicely onto another way of breaking a track down, i.e. breaking it into components of time. We identified a beat as something that you can nod your head to. 4 beats make a bar and 8 bars make a phrase. Why did we discuss this? Because we want to beatmatch at the correct beat of the bar and transition at the correct bar of a phrase.
Pitch, tempo and key
That’s right, the theory isn’t over yet. This section explained to us that tempo is the speed that the track is playing at and pitch is the frequency (so a female voice has a higher pitch than a male voice, usually). There was also a brief mention of key but as I explained back then, this is a more complicated subject and we will come across it way in the future when we go through advanced techniques (which I’m yet to learn myself).
This lesson elaborated on beats and told us that beats per minute (BPM) is the measure used to determine the tempo of a track. The tempo is important because when you beatmatch, you are getting the tempos of the 2 tracks the same (or more than 2 tracks if you’re a pro).
The CDJ1000 I use has a built-in BPM counter which is cool. I mentioned that you shouldn’t rely solely on a counter as they aren’t accurate 100% of the time.
This was our first lesson on the beatmatching process. We talked about cue points and how to set one up on the first beat of the bar. This makes it easier for us to mix. If you’re very good at beatmatching then you can get away with needing to set a cue point. I’ll explain this in the video with an example.
Once we have a cue point, we hit play on the incoming track so the first beat of the bars line up for both tracks. Of course, they’ll go out of sync quickly if the tempos are different, but you must learn to release properly or be able to correct yourself quickly if you’ve released too early or too late.
This lesson taught us how to make jogwheel bursts either clockwise or anti-clockwise in order to find out whether we need to speed the track up or slow it down. The idea is that if we need to accelerate the track to keep it in line with the other track, we must increase the tempo. It is an important lesson so please review it again if required.
Our final instalment gave us another useful tool to beatmatch that didn’t rely on jogwheel adjustments. The same principles apply, i.e. we want to accelerate or decelerate a track to determine what to do with the tempo. With pitch riding, however, you do this solely using the pitch/tempo slider.
Until next time….
Our next chapter will be all about transitioning from one track to another. Beatmatching alone doesn’t make a good mix. If we don’t transition in the right place, at the right time and in the right way, the crowd will want to throw tomatoes at you.
In this chapter we will talk about the use of headphones and the controls related to that, the eq switches, filters and various techniques you can use to transition. Exciting times ahead.