Pioneer DJ (Partly) Fixes Key Recommendation In Rekordbox DJ 5.4.0

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: < 1 min
Last updated 4 March, 2021

Pioneer DJ has released a new public beta version of Rekordbox, v5.4.0, over on its forum, which – among other incremental improvements – for the first time offers a system for showing musical key-compatible tracks.

Unlike most DJ software, Rekordbox doesn’t have the option to use the Camelot key system, which lets any DJ work out for themselves instantly what keys are likely to work together. Instead, it uses traditional musical key notation, which means that DJs without knowledge of something called “the Circle of Fifths” in music theory can’t easily work out compatible tracks just by looks at the key values displayed against tracks in their libraries.

But now, once switched on, Rekordbox DJ can be made to highlight these, thus partly getting around the issue; such tracks have their key info highlighted in bright green.

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What we’d also like to see is the ability for users to choose the notation they want to display key info in, with the software offering Camelot and Open Key (the two most popular variants of “no musical training necessary” key systems) as preferences; currently Rekordbox only using traditional musical notation is not user-friendly for many DJs, and it would be easy enough to fix.

How they could implement this system even better

If Pioneer DJ is determined to stick to using traditional notation only with Rekordbox, the company could maybe build on what it’s done here by showing fully compatible keys (for the musical among us, that’d be major/relative minor pairs such as C/Am – or those on DJ key systems where the letter changes but the number stays the same, the same example from Camelot being 8B and 8A) in green, and showing closely related but not perfectly matched keys (the dominant/sub-dominant keys of, here, F and G – or in Camelot with 8B as the current key, 7B and 9B) in yellow.

The section of the Camelot Wheel referred to in this example.

Indeed, the idea could be carried further to the relative keys of the sub-dominant and dominant, which in our example would be Dm and Em (“moving diagonally” on a key wheel, so in Camelot, from 8B to 7A/9A); this type could be orange or red, to indicate a possible keymix, but not as strong as the other two types.

These additions would let DJs separate the best potential keymixes from those that may work but have a reduced chance of doing so.

(You can learn all about advanced keymixing in our course, How To Master Keymixing.)

• Want to try the rekordbox 5.4.0 beta? Head over to the Pioneer DJ forum.

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What do you think of this new addition to the software? Let us know your thoughts below.

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