Beatmatching  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Beatmatching is a disc jockey technique of pitch shifting or timestretching a track to match its tempo to that of the currently playing track. This allows beatmixing, smooth mixing between the tracks without stopping the beat or changing the tempo.

The technique was developed to keep the people from leaving the dancefloor at the end of the song. These days it is considered very basic among DJs in electronic dance music genres, and it is standard practice in clubs to keep the constant beat through the night, even if DJs change in the middle.

Beatmatching is no longer considered as a novelty, and new digital mixers have made the technique much easier to master.

History

Beatmatching was invented by Francis Grasso in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Initially he was counting the tempo with a metronome and looking for records with the same tempo. Later a mixer was built for him by Alex Rosner which let him listen to any channel in the headphones independently of what was playing on the speakers; this became the defining feature of DJ mixers. That and turntables with pitch control enabled him to mix tracks with different tempo by changing the pitch of the cued (redirected to headphones) track to match its tempo with the track being played by ear. Essentially, the technique he originated hasn't changed since.

These days beatmatching is considered central to DJing, and features making it possible are a requirement for DJ-oriented players. In 1978, the Technics SL-1200MK2 turntable was released, whose comfortable and precise sliding pitch control and high torque direct drive motor made beatmatching easier and turned it into the industry standard among DJs. With the advent of the compact disc, DJ-oriented Compact Disc players with pitch control and other features enabling beatmatching (and sometimes scratching), dubbed CDJs, were introduced by various companies. More recently, software with similar capabilities has been developed to allow manipulation of digital audio files stored on computers using turntables with special vinyl records (e.g. Final Scratch, Serato Scratch Live) or computer interface (e.g. Traktor DJ Studio, Mixxx, Virtual Dj). Other software including algorithmic beatmatching is Ableton Live, which allows for realtime music manipulation and deconstruction, or Mixmeister, a DJ Mixset creation tool.

The change from pure hardware to software is on the rise, and big DJs are introducing new equipment to their kits such as the laptop, and dropping the hassle of carrying hundreds of cds with them wherever they go.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Beatmatching" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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