VDJPedia



 INTRODUCTION TO DJING

Introduction to DJing

The work of a disc jockey can be divided into three tasks:

  1. Choosing the music (programming)
  2. Mixing the music
  3. Modifying the music (remixing)

The first task consists of choosing the appropriate music, which obviously depends on the type of evening and your style. Generally a good rule of thumb is to avoid playing all the hits” from the very start of the evening and to keep some in reserve to generate new interest when the audience starts to become tired.

VirtualDJ allows instant access to all your titles, playlists, and a list of suggestions. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what makes your audience move. The software cannot replace your talent.

The second task consists of “mixing” the tracks. DJs are accustomed to connecting their tracks in a fluid way by keeping a constant flow of music in order to give the impression that the music is seamless. This mostly applies only to a certain category of music, where the rhythm is very pronounced, such as house, hip hop, or r&b.

Traditionally, the DJ mixes a track in two phases:

Initially, a DJ will modify the speed of the track he wants to mix in, in order to equal the speed of the current track. This stage is necessary to prevent the songs from clashing and give synchronized beats. The speed of the music is measured in BPM (Beats per Minute) — This measures the number of beats over one minute in time. A song with 160 BPM is very fast, whereas a song with 60 BPM is very slow.

The traditional DJ uses the “pitch” adjustment on the turntables to accelerate or slow down the number of revolutions of a record and thus changing its BPM. In VirtualDJ, the BPM is calculated automatically as soon as you load a track to either player and the pitch can be adjusted automatically to match that of the song already playing. Once BPM on both songs are the same, it’s necessary to sync or line up the beats so the two tracks sound as one.

Traditionally, the DJ will put their headphones on only one ear and listen to the track that they want to introduce (known as cueing). With the other ear, the DJ listens to the mix that the public hears. The DJ will then speed up or slow down the incoming track with their hand and using the pitch control, in order to synchronize the beats. In VirtualDJ, the rhythm window indicates the position of the beats of each song, allowing you to easily see whether the songs are matched and synced. Then, when the two tracks are beat-matched and synced, the DJ will begin using the crossfader, volume faders and equalizer to bring the new track into the mix. This is called a transition.

The third task of a DJ is to modify the music with various effects or by mixing various tracks or samples, in order to create an impression of a “remix” and to give a more personal and artistic feel to a mix.

The effects traditionally used are scratch, loops, and samples:

A scratch consists of creating an entirely new sound by playing a small portion of music repeatedly. This is achieved by moving that same portion of music back and forth at different velocities while using the crossfader to sharply cut the sound in and out of the mix.

A loop consists of isolating a passage from a title and playing it repeatedly in a looping fashion. As the loop ends it will fluidly go back to the beginning and play again, prolonging the duration of the passage.

A sample consists of a recorded passage which can be played at key moments in the mix to build up interest or anticipate a track that is being mixed in.

There are many creative ways that scratches, samples and loops can be used and VirtualDJ provides some great, easy-to-use tools for you to utilize all these techniques in your mix. By simplifying and streamlining the technical aspects of DJing, VirtualDJ allows you to focus on the most important part of the DJ experience — your imagination!

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