Dropping on the 1, swings, forward driven beats, down beats, up beats, etc.
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor DStridium's Avatar
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    Default Dropping on the 1, swings, forward driven beats, down beats, up beats, etc.

    As a new DJ with little musical background as far as performing goes. (With the exception of 1 year of Choir, 1 year of Guitar classes, and some production experience as well as Reason lessons from my successful producer friend). All the lingo can get a bit confusing , I understand some basic concepts, but I would really like to hear some experienced DJs words on what all these things mean. Looking forward to all your DJTT'ers replies!

    1.)Dropping on the one?
    2.)How do you know if a song is 1, 2, 3, 4 or 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and?
    OR is a song always 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and?
    3.)Rhythmic Swings?
    4.)Swings?
    5.)Forward driven beats?
    6.)Down beats?
    7.)Up beats?
    8.)From what I remember a down beat is the 1, 2, 3, 4 and an upbeat is the ands, Is this correct?
    9.)Does an upbeat always have to coincide with an upstroke?
    10.)How can I tell if a song is in 4/4, 7/8, etc?
    11.)Any way to tell a songs key without key detection software?

    Anything else you feel may be helpful at all, please share.
    DJ RERX (Dee-Jay-Ree-Wrecks)
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  2. #2
    Tech Guru zestoi's Avatar
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    the "one" is just the first beat of a bar, the downbeat or kick drum. i presume upbeat means offbeat i.e: between the 1 and 2. most four to the floor tunes are just 1,2,3,4 tho i guess u could day dubstep is 1 and 2 and... as it's basically half the tempo. swing is just swing i guess u could describe it as unquantisedness? most edm is 4/4 or at least not anything odd like 7/8 anyway. as for manually finding the key of a song get a musical keyboard and find the root note.

    people put too much value on knowing the actual key of any tune - if u can't "hear" if it sounds right or if they clash then dj'ing isn't the most ideal thing to get into in the first place

    u want someone like mostapha to chime in really - who actually knows what he's talking about...
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  3. #3
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    All great questions, I love answering these. It might help to rearrange your questions for comprehension, we'll use videos as a reference. Search the videos on YouTube (because I can't attach them here for some reason).

    Video: Paul Johnson - The Price is Right

    6.) These are the kick drums you count on 1-2-3-4. These are also called quarter notes. There's actually something called a "downbeat" too. This is first beat in the bar aka "the 1".

    7.) These are the hi-hats you hear or the "ands" you mentioned. Every song in a 4/4 time signature has 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. The "ands" would be the 8th notes. Likewise, in-between the 8th notes are 16th notes and you count those 1-e-and-a-2-e-and-a-3-e-and-a-4-e-and-a where the quarter and 8th notes remain in place. Check out this video for a good tutorial in counting 8th notes.

    9.) Yes, upstrokes are like the reggae-style guitar strum played on the 8th notes. Not only are you stroking the guitar strings in an upward motion, you're also playing them on the up beats. Check out some reggae or ska for reference. There's a lot of upstroking in Dub (but you knew that ).

    1.) It's a technique where you seamlessly slam one track to the next without blending or beat matching. So you're cutting the track that's currently playing dropping the new track on the downbeat. Good tutorial

    Questions 2, 8 should make sense now

    3, 4.) Swing notes are the opposite of straight notes. They are tricky to pinpoint but they reside on the 8th and 16th notes. Price is Right has some swing to it. Most Progressive House and Electro House are played "straight" and most House is swung. I suck at explaining swing notes, I just have an ear for them! Sorry!

    5.) I'm not sure what forward-driven beats are... Maybe the bass notes played on the down beats? Sorry.

    10.) Time signatures are determined by the number of counts from one downbeat to the next (this is also called a bar). So 4/4 songs are counted 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, etc. (Don't forget, you may also count the 8th and 16th notes but it's not necessary). You counted 4 beats per bar, therefore the time signature is 4/4. 99% of EDM is in 4/4 time btw. In 7/8, 3/4, 6/8, 5/8...the number of counts per bar is indicated by that first number. So a song in 7/8 is counted 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, etc. In time signatures other than 4/4 finding the downbeat is crucial, and it can "feel" really unnatural. Counting properly takes practice.

    Video: Sting - Love is Stronger Than Justice

    Hint - you're going to count the quarter notes as if they were 8th notes. What's cool is that the chorus is in 4/4 but the verse is in 7/8. Can you "feel" that? If not don't worry, it's very subtle and could take a ton more getting used to.

    Video: Dave Brubeck - Take Five

    1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5... get it?

    11. Yes there are plenty of ways to find the key of a song using a real musical instrument. If you use a piano, fumble around on the keys until you find the one in harmony with the track. If you're new to this, it can take a while. Software is a fast and fairly accurate method by comparison.

    Clear as mud? Hope this helps! Took me a good 30 minutes to put together! <--- not me

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor DStridium's Avatar
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    Thank you for all your answers! I was honestly expecting to get flamed off rip. When you say most EDM, are you saying it will be rare for me to come across a song that isn't in 4/4? The reason why I was asking about the key, was because even though I can totally hear if two songs are horrible to mix it still can't hurt to mix harmonically when possible. I wish they had an add to users reputation button on this forum. Thanks again for being helpful.
    Last edited by DStridium; 03-24-2012 at 12:52 PM.
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru zestoi's Avatar
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    now that's a *real* answer

    edit: if you *hear* that the actual musical elements of two tracks sound right together then u *are* ofc mixing harmonically. all those key charts etc tell u is what keys will go together, but u can work that out by just listening. that's not to say they're not helpful... could be that two tunes you've never tried to mix together would actually sound great and the key chart may help u to find those pairs. i did buy the beatunes but more to help sort out tags and stuff in itunes than for the key detection - tho that's interesting too.
    Last edited by zestoi; 03-24-2012 at 12:53 PM. Reason: missed the OP's latest post
    11mba / 13mbp / tsp2 / live9 / audio10 / 2x reloop rp7000gold / 2x xdj1000 / 2x d2
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    Quote Originally Posted by derschaich
    "wohoo, i'm touched, turn on the FX"

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor DStridium's Avatar
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    To Toontown: Holy shit man! Paragraphs! I couldn't have expected a better answer out of this thread. "Hope this helps" are you kidding me this is my new study guide, thank you for taking the time out to write so much dude.
    DJ RERX (Dee-Jay-Ree-Wrecks)
    15" MacBook Pro/iPhone 4S/TouchOSC/Traktor Pro 2/Kontrol S4/Akai MPK Mini
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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor DStridium's Avatar
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    As for forward driven beats or songs, It was a reference by Ean Golden in this video.

    http://www.djtechtools.com/2011/03/1...ending-swings/
    DJ RERX (Dee-Jay-Ree-Wrecks)
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  8. #8
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    You've always shown a genuine interest in learning so I will help any way I can

    Good luck, feel free to PM anytime!

  9. #9
    Tech Guru diezdiazgiant's Avatar
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    the only thing i can add is - time signature is rarely an issue for most people. unless youre trying to mix someone like autechre most stuff tends to focus on 4/4/

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor DStridium's Avatar
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    So I did some studying on your answers and with good results, things are beginning to make a little more sense. Yeah while counting the Sting song I could totally feel the difference and count it out in my head on time (for the most part haha) But it was very obvious the change in time signature or at least seemed so to me. I believe I'm beginning to build a decent basis for my first real mix. Of course I've mixed a little before but not entirely rhythmically, harmonic or with a knowledge base. I'm going to try to get some more answers on swung songs, and begin to get my first real mix together over the next couple weeks. I'll upload it for everybody to hear when I can execute it well enough to record
    DJ RERX (Dee-Jay-Ree-Wrecks)
    15" MacBook Pro/iPhone 4S/TouchOSC/Traktor Pro 2/Kontrol S4/Akai MPK Mini
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/d-burns420
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