One thing that many beginner Dj’s try and perfect when starting out is getting their beats syncing, although this is an important part of Djing and even though many use the sync button one of other important skills to master which current dj softwares and gear doesn't help you with is the phrase mixing miss this important skill and you could find your sets complety undesirable to the floor goer so in this article we discuss phrase mixing and offer you some tips on getting your ear to master this important skill.
One has to understand when it comes to mixing is that it is important to count bars correctly to mix 2 tracks together. What you have to keep in mind is that you can’t just mix any bar of track 1 to any bar of track 2. Just like beats are grouped into bars,
the bars themselves are grouped into phrases. When it comes to trance, a phrase consists of 8 bars. When listening to the track, just as it is important to identify the
1st beat in a bar, you should be able to identify the 1st bar in a phrase.
When something changes in a track, it happens on the 1st beat of the bar. Well, it tends to happen on the 1st beat of the 1st bar of a phrase.. Most music is structured around 4/4 beat and bars. That means there are 4 beats, to a “bar” of music. A bar is 4 beats long. Count the bass or kick drum, the beat of the song that you would usually tap your foot or nod your head to. That is 1 bar of music.
Most western music follows the 4/4 principle, this means 4 beats in a bar. Then we have 4 bars. 4 bars generally makes a section or a “phrase” of music. You will notice that every 1 or 2 phrases, the music changes, a new instrument starts playing, or an instrument or soundstops or the sound changes quite a bit, then the song carries on for another 1 or 2 phrases until something else changes in the music.
Every 64 or 128 beats (2, 4 or 8 phrases) something much bigger will change in the music, such as going to a chorus or breakdown. You can often tell when something is going to change, it is often pretty obvious but it comes naturally to us because we are so used to hearing 4/4 music and subconsciously aware of how music is normally structured.
There are some tips you need for phrase mixing
1. Understand what your sync button is doing
At its most basic, sync matches the tempo of the new track to that of the old one ("tempo sync"). Most nowadays move past that, by also locking the kick drums ("thud", "thud", "thud") together so you don't have to manually "nudge" the tracks or keep pressing the button to keep them in time. Sometimes, sync will also attempt to lock whole musical bars together. but vary rarely does it lock on the phrase , many veteran and pro Dj's tend to shy away from the sync button unless they are working the mix with other tricks and effects.
2. Always be counting!
All good DJs count. Counting is actually more important than mixing. If you can drop the next song in on the right beat, even if you just stop the old one and start the
new one with no mix at all, you can DJ in front of a dance floor and keep them happy. But if you can't count beats and bars, no amount of fancy mixing is going to make your DJ sets acceptable. If you're not counting beats and bars, you're doing it wrong: That's how essential this is to mixing.
3. Choose your moment wisely
One step up from recognising that music tends to be built in eight-bar phrases is understanding the way these phrases fit together to construct the whole. On a very basic level, elements arrive in a track, they are woven together in the middle, and towards the end, they are removed. Often with house, the start and end of a track has a few eight-bar phrases where not so much is going on, and these are natural places to mix. The idea is to avoid mixing clashing elements over each other.
4. Mix decisively
Armed with the knowledge from the first three points (what your sync is actually doing, which bar of the current musical phrase you're on, and what elements are arriving into or leaving the mix in each of the tunes you're trying to mix), your next step is to mix convincingly. To do that you have to be decisive. Think about it this way: Elements tend to arrive into and leave the mix suddenly. A vocal starts; a riff drops; the kick drum disappears at the beginning of a break; the main melody line arrives, and so on. Now this isn't always the case (sometimes, a filtered riff slowly appears, for instance), but it is the case more often than not.
5. Judge your mixes when you listen to the recording, not when you actually do them
You do record your mixes, don't you? If not, you must start - now. It's one of the fundamentals of improving your DJing. When you listen back to your mixes, that'sthe time to judge how well they went. It's just like reading back over something you've written the next day.
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