how dj'ing relates to song structure..?
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Old 19-07-2012, 01:20 AM   #1
henryspencer
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how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

I have been been trying to learn the basics of Djing with ableton live in order to improve my knowledge of electronic music structure. I did thing for a couple reasons, one being that reading the book "making beats" which interviews a bunch of hip hop producers, many said that they feel that learning to DJ can be a great asset to a musician in terms of their production.
The other main reason though is because I simply do not have a good enough handle of song structure and it really causes my own songs so suffer. For example, just now learning about the general structure with bodys and drops in songs, I was shocked that I never really noticed this before. Now going back and paying more attention to songs I am noticing all types of common characteristics such as cutting the kick for the last bar of a measure to segue into the next part of a song, or cutting high hats and adding in a melodic element simultaneously....


So, anyways I guess I was hoping that some of you DJ/producers could give me a bit of a run down as to how song structure relates to DJing in terms of beat matching songs and how this helps your own production.
Also, at what exactly are you looking for when it comes time to mix two songs together? is it spots where there are just drums so that the beats will flow into one another?

Any info or experiences you are willing to share about this or even certain issues that come up with mixing songs would be very interesting to me!

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Old 19-07-2012, 01:59 AM   #2
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Re: how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

well, essentially intros are for beatmatching/mixing a song in, and a second drop is a common place to start mixing a song out.

Generally speaking of course.

Mainly it's a matter of using your ear to see what parts blend best, and to tell where the best point to mix a sound out is - generally dance music is structured sort of with an intro, the body of the song including builds and drops IE peaks and dips in energy, and an outro.

Practice is the big thing, practice and knowing your songs well so you know 'ok the build of this song mixes into this one well after the drop, the outro from this one works well as a loop throughout this one, the bass mixes well with the treble from this one' or whatever.

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Old 19-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
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Re: how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

Your general structure wants to go like this:

Intro for at least 64 bars
Break - rise - First drop
Break - extended rise - Second drop
Outro for at least 64 bars

The dj needs this 64 bars either side of the track to get the two songs he is mixing beatmatched and EQ between them, hope this helps!
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Old 19-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #4
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Re: how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

Thanks to both of you. How important is matching pitches? I mean, do you feel that it is really a bad thing when for example the drop of one song (held chord) is mixed into the beginning beat of another and then as soon as the chord is faded out the melody from the new song starts in a totally different key, almost like how songs are mixed on radio. Is this a thing to avoid when DJing, is it perhaps better to extend the drums from the new song longer after the old one has faded out to let the peoples ear adjust?
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Old 19-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
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Re: how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

Sometimes, I sit myself down and either a) Copy a tune as good as I can, regarding beats, bass, melodies and such, or - b) Sit myself down and write just a very simple tune with sort of "template"-parts and finish it. Both aren't nescessarily grand and epic works in music, but whenever I have done this, I have always learned a lot for my next tracks.

I guess you can call it.. Training? Sort of. All I know is that it's worked for me. That, and listening to really, really, really much music from different genres. Everything from pop songs, rock, funk and to dubstep, drum and bass and the likes.. As well as everything inbetween. The more you know, the more you can do.

Oh, and fuck templates as soon as you're done with them. There is nothing in the world that can hinder you creatively than rules in music. I've never done 64 bars of anything to an intro - less, probably more, but, honestly, I don't think I've ever done 64. And it doesn't make my music suck. Usually it does quite the opposite, and it'll be more interesting to other people as well.

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Old 25-07-2012, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: how dj'ing relates to song structure..?

I started with Djing before i started making beats... for me it's a totally different art form... but knowing how to mix will definitely help you keep in mind your mix in mix out parts of your tunes....

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