Harmonic mixing consists of two elements: knowing the key of every song that you play and knowing which keys are compatible.
To get started, find the keys of your songs. You can detect keys with a piano, a good ear, and a background in music theory. To save time, you can use professional DJ software such as Mixed In Key. Mixed In Key scans your MP3 and WAV files, and shows you the key of every song.
The First Mix
To help DJs learn harmonic mixing, Mark Davis created the Camelot wheel, a visual representation of which keys are compatible with each other:
On the Camelot wheel, each key is assigned a keycode number from one to twelve, like hours around a clock.
For the first mix, we recommend mixing two songs that have the same keycode, like 8A and 8A. It will sound like a professional mash-up made in the studio, even if you are mixing on live DJ equipment.
The Professional DJ Approach
Many professional DJs move around the Camelot wheel with every mix.
To select a compatible song, choose a keycode within one "hour" of your current keycode. If you are in 8A, you can play 7A, 8A or 9A next. If you are in 12A, you can play 11A, 12A or 1A. This mix will be smooth every time.
You can also mix between inner and outer wheels if you stay in the same "hour." For example, try mixing from 8A to 8B, and notice the change in melody as you go from Minor to Major.
Harmonic mixing is a simple technique, but it opens up a world of creativity. You will play creative DJ sets and discover interesting song combinations. It's easy to get started with any music genre.
Want to use Harmonic Mixing with Traktor, Serato, CDJs, Ableton Live and more? Start using Mixed In Key 5.0 today.