tip is brought to you from one of the world's leading DJ educators,
Stephen Webber, author of Turntable Basics (Berklee Press, 2000) and Turntable Technique (Berklee Press, 2000). He is an
Emmy-winning composer, record producer, and professor of music
production and engineering at Berklee College of Music. He also
received an Emmy nomination for his score in Zoetrobics, which
was recorded at Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch, studied writing
at Harvard University, and is a member of the Board of Overseers
for the New England Conservatory. Disc Jockey 101 would like
to thank Stephen Webber, Ami Bennitt, Keith Hatschek, and Michelle
matching means getting two records perfectly in sync with each
other, then using the crossfader to switch between them. Beat
matching is a skill that every DJ must master. When you're playing
a rave, party, dance, or club, being able to segue (move smoothly)
from one tune to another without losing the beat will help you
keep the dance floor full. Beat matching must be second nature
if you are going to get into beat juggling, a main component
of many scratch-mixing routines.
can beat match any two records that are close to the same tempo
and have complimentary beats by adjusting the variable pitch
controls on each turntable. It's a good idea to write down the
tempos of the different tracks in your collection on the record
label or sleeve, or on a list you keep with your records.
are expressed in beats per minute (bpm). There are devices that
can help you find the bpm of any song. For instance, the "Dr.
Beat" metronome by Boss lets you tap along with the beat
to find the tempo. "Dr. Beat" displays the bpm numerically
after four taps. There are other devices that detect bpm automatically,
like the "Beatkeeper" by Numark. A few DJ mixers even
have them built in.
easiest way to start getting the hang of beat matching is to
get two identical copies of the same record playing in time with
each other. Since the tempos on both records are exactly the
same, you can practice cueing before you start having to also
use the variable pitch controls to precisely match beats.
Use a metronome, drum machine, or beat-sensing device to determine
the bpm of the songs or beats you want to work with, and write
the tempos down. Once you choose two songs to beat match, write
down the variable pitch settings you're using to put them in
There are dots on the side of the platter that are lit by a colored
light (often red or pink) on most DJ turntables. When the turntable
is operating at exactly 33-1/3 or 45 rpm, the dots look like
they're standing still.
As you scratch, hold, spin, drag, or adjust the pitch of your
records, watch the dots to see when the record speed changes.
If the dots look like they are staying still, the record's speed
is not changing. The faster the dots seem to move, the more you
are slowing down or speeding up the record.
When two copies of the same record are close to being in sync,
the records will sound "phased." Or, if the records
are already in sync, when they start to sound phased, it's a
sign that they are drifting apart. You can also use this sound,
also referred to as "flanging," as a musical effect.