Mixed In Key

In the past couple of years my interest in music has grown and I have found an affinity for electronic music specifically. I relate very similarly to Tony Hsieh’s description of raves and the sense of shared spirit. Beyond attending events, I’ve invested a lot of my time searching for mashups and following the explosion of electronic dance music.

My time and energy spent mixing has been an order of magnitude less compared to my time spent searching for mashups in the blogosphere. This skew towards music searching partly due to my desire to seek out inspirational music, but even more so it has been due to my cluelessness when it comes to transitioning in a harmonic fashion. Over time my frustration has compounded, and recently I haven’t done much mixing at all.

However, in the past month I was fortunate to spend a considerable amount of time with several DJ’s. I picked up one tip, and it cleared my frustration overnight:

One of the most widely kept secrets across the electronic music industry is the software Mixed In Key. While it may not appear impressive on the surface, you must take a minute to understand the logic behind the system. From what I can tell, nearly all of the veterans of the industry such as Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, and Kaskade all use this software to keep your ears in tune.

So, how does it work?

First, you load your tracks into the program, and it automatically assigns the track a notation 1A/B through 12A/B. Next  you mix tracks clockwise based on their notation 1-12. The DJ must always mix within one notation in order to keep the two tracks in harmony. So if you are playing a 3A track, the next track mixed in should have the notation 3A, 3B, 2A, or 4A.

Here’s the Camelot wheel for a better visual representation:

Recently the team behind Mixed In Key released a program specifically for creating mashups! I recommend checking it out.

As the saying goes: “A craftsman is only as good as his tools.” Here’s a short list of other tools to check out if you’re interested in DJ’ing and electronic music:

Thank you to Michael Bronfman for sharing his wisdom.

About The Author

John Marbach

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11 2012