Is freestyling even possible?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is freestyling even possible?

    Hello i am new to this dj stuff and i have a question for you pros.
    Is freestyling even possible? I am reading so much about phrasing (i cant get it to work... but beatmatching is no problem (no sync)) but everytime the author says:"set cue points... count backwards...." and so on. I want to sit at home, turn on my controller, pick a track and randomly mix another track smoothly into the first one.... and even hit the phrases (without really knowing the tracks perfectly). Is this even possible ? i really want to be flexible and if i am starting to prepaire my tracks and build up a set... i have no changes and need to play this set again and again until i create a new one (remember: in this early stage i only want to play for myself at home and dont want to disturb anyone at a club ). My main problem with this phrasing-thing is that one track has an intro at about 16 bars, the next track has an intro about 32 bars, then vocals for 4 bars and so on... i read about the general rule of thumb that one only has to start the 2nd track after a phrase of the first track.... but this doesnt work everytime (2 of 6 maybe?) i really want to improve myself and maybe someday play e.g. for my friends on birthdays (next goal )

    also i dont get why you always say: start counting someday you will know exactly where you are in a song so you know when to mix in the other song. do i really have to know my songs perfectly? its pretty hard for a new dj when you never listened that exact to your songs

    i really hate that thougt to create an entire set at home so that alle the phrases are matching with the loss of all creativity... do u understand what i mean?


    best regards (sorry englisch is not my native language)

  2. #2
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    Freestyling as in playing songs you have never listened to?

    Why would you ever do that?

    You should only be playing songs that you have listened to and know are good. That's one of if not the most important job of the DJ.
    Bedroom DJ | Pioneer DJM-800 | Pioneer CDJ2000 and CDJ900-NXS | 2 x Mackie MR8MKII | Sennheiser Amperior

  3. #3
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    well i know my songs but i dont know when the vocals appear for example

  4. #4
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    I only freestyle. If you are talking about making a perfect mix then yes that takes some preparation. Depends on what you want to do.

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard JoeGrime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJkl View Post
    I only freestyle. If you are talking about making a perfect mix then yes that takes some preparation. Depends on what you want to do.
    This sums it up well. Although I don't think having songs prepped is a bad thing or detracts from freestyling. It's also fun to just get a random selection of songs you've never heard and see what come up with especially if it's not your genre and takes you out of your comfort zone
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  6. #6

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    When I first buy tracks online, I like to just dump them in a working folder and just mix. That is my preferred way to 'get to know' tracks and the placement of drops/vocals/transitions etc. Also gives me a chance to save common cue points along the way without a lot of stress.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    well i know my songs but i dont know when the vocals appear for example
    Thats what phrasing is, knowing when stuff is going to drop in and out, on most tracks that will be on some multiple of 4 e.g. @ 16 beats / 32 beats / 64 beats. If you start track 2 on the outro cymbal crash of track 1 it'll most likely drop in correctly when it comes to the mix.

    Yes you can "freestyle" without knowing exactly what will happen when, but thats what you should be doing when prepping. Just dropping random new tracks side by side without cues or loops / effects etc. is IMHO, the best way to practice as weird drops or offbeats of certain tracks will get burned into your brain for the next time you try to drop it.

    Theres also a ton of ways to "cheat" using cue points / beat jumps / loops etc ..but it only takes a few seconds of scanning through a track to get an good idea of what will probably happen where and just wing it.

    Stop counting, start listening, start feeling
    Last edited by deevey; 09-26-2014 at 05:18 PM.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru AllDay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deevey View Post
    Thats what phrasing is, knowing when stuff is going to drop in and out, on most tracks that will be on some multiple of 4 e.g. @ 16 beats / 32 beats / 64 beats. If you start track 2 on the outro cymbal crash of track 1 it'll most likely drop in correctly when it comes to the mix.

    Yes you can "freestyle" without knowing exactly what will happen when, but thats what you should be doing when prepping. Just dropping random new tracks side by side without cues or loops / effects etc. is IMHO, the best way to practice as weird drops or offbeats of certain tracks will get burned into your brain for the next time you try to drop it.

    Theres also a ton of ways to "cheat" using cue points / beat jumps / loops etc ..but it only takes a few seconds of scanning through a track to get an good idea of what will probably happen where and just wing it.

    Stop counting, start listening, start feeling
    LOL! perfect tho

  9. #9
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    freestyle is the only way you should play assuming you are talking about track selection.

    Knowing your music is very important especially if you want to freestyle (how else would you know what to play next?).


    You say listening to your tunes to know is hard as a new dj but hey experience has it's perks... one of them is knowing a 20 year collection of music.


    rule number 1, know and love the music you play.

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor deathy's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity - how many tracks do you have in your collection?

    I made the classic mistake when I first set up Traktor of importing my entire music collection. This resulted in content overload, there's no way I can learn all those tracks. I then wiped the list from Traktor and set up a different folder for just the tracks I'm going to DJ, and I curate that list much more diligently than I do for my listening music - this allows me to be much more intimately familiar with the tracks I am playing when I DJ.

    The term freestyling is a bit gray, but my understanding of it is not that you don't know your music, or that you don't have cue points dropped in your tracks to let you know where you need to be working, it just means that you don't have a playlist that you go through from beginning to end, but rather that you select songs that fit the mood.

    A hybrid that I learned from another forum was the mini-set. This is where you have little sets of 3-5 songs that work well together (harmonically, genre, tempo, etc.) for which you have polished the transitions. This works nicely, because you get a good sound, but it also gives you the flexibility to move somewhere else if that particular style isn't working for your audience. This is frequently what I'll do, although I do also freestyle my track selection completely quite often as well.

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