Harmonic mixing, or mixing in key, is a crucial skill for DJing nowadays, ushered in on the back of digital music technologies (especially pitch preservation at varying tempo, and the ability for software to pretty accurately guess the key of any piece of music). Here's some advice on doing it in Traktor.
Digital DJ Tips member Rayanaldo writes: "I’m fairly familiar with manually mixing in key. Then I discovered Mixed in Key. Awesome! Then Traktor came out with the key detection feature, even better! Only problem is while there are a few tutorials that explains how to mix using Traktor key notation, most if not all explain it using major minor sharps so and so forth."
Mixing in key is one of the big revolutions of digital DJing - alongside things like portability, ease of use, and instant access to all of your music. But of all of these huge advantages of digital over analogue, maybe key mixing is the one that gives DJs the most pleasure.
A reader asked whether it's possible to be a good DJ without also being a musician, or without being able to play a musical instrument, which I thought was an excellent question. (Thanks, Kevin!) In order to answer Kevin's question, we need to look at two distinct types of musical teaching/learning, and also delve a little into the nature of what DJing is (and isn't). We'll also discover that the answer to this question depends on how far you want your DJing to take you…
Digital DJ Tips reader David writes about his DJing: "I think I’m focusing too much on getting the key changes right, whilst wanting to get some specific tunes in… am I over complicating it? Should I just let the music do the talking?"
Back at the start of my DJ career, I read a book called How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records (I completely recommend it to any new DJ, by the way). Of all the styles of mixing it discusses, the one that I grabbed and ran with the most was harmonic mixing, which opened my eyes to many mixing possibilities.
Intrigued by key mixing, or "harmonic mixing"? Want to try it out without spending money on an established piece of software such as Mixed in Key? If so, you may be interested in Keyfinder, an open-source key detection program for Mac and (in beta) for Windows too.