DJs

Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim headlining at the RockNess festival

Dance music DJs use different ways to manipulate the sound of recordings, adding their own creative element to the music they play. Originally DJs used vinyl records, but today many use CD decks, laptops and software packages to mix tracks, loop sections and create new compositions live.

DJ techniques include:

  • Mixing - when records are mixed together.
  • Beatmatching - changing the speed at which a record is played so that its tempo matches that of the song currently playing.
  • Cueing - finding a suitable point on a record to mix in.
  • Blending - when a DJ uses the equaliser to create a more seamless sounding mix.
  • Pitch shifting - changing the speed of the record.
  • Scratching - moving a vinyl record back and forth, using different cross fader techniques to cut sound in and out.
  • Beat juggling - the act of manipulating two or more samples in order to create a unique composition.
  • Looping - when a digital sampler is used to repeat a sample over and over again. Listen to the second verse of Bring the Noise by Public Enemy. Notice the use of rapping and the James Brown Funky Drummer sample with added programmed double-bass drums.

Bring the Noise

You can find out more about these techniques in the Music Technology study guide.