March 6, 2013

High-Level Mixing: Harmonic Mixing

The art of mixing music can be divided into two real philosophies: a low level of understanding and high level of understanding.  This is analogous to the way that computer programmers learn to compile useful programs for regular computer users.  The low level of mixing involves an understanding of matching two different tempos together, and this is where a DJ must learn to actively listen to two tracks at the same time, while differentiating one from the other.  This skill is then combined with the ability to match phrases in sequence (chorus to chorus for example), which can be used to create seamless blends that synchronize.

A higher level of mixing involves much more than the technical aspect of knowing what tempos will blend and which parts of the song to match, it involves knowing how the harmonies of a song will interact and how different harmonies can influence the emotion of a listener.  This juggle of expectation and progression can change a mix from something mechanical into something medicinal.  Traktor’s newest update includes a harmonic mixing tool, with might be a new beast for users who have never heard of the concept.  This will drastically change your mixes or it will limit them, depending on how you use this tool.