DJ Terminology

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Category, DJ & Music Production, ENG

We prepared for you the first part of DJ terminology.

Bar – is one small segment of music that holds a certain number of beats. In dance music a bar is 4 “beats”. 

Beat – the beat is the basic unit of time, the pulse, of the mensural level. The beat is the rhythm listeners would tap their toes or nod when listening to a piece of music. If you count 4 taps/nods at a time you are counting 4 beats to a “bar”. 

BPM – stands for beats per minute. 

Break – 1) a bit of a song which sounds great and could maybe be used as a sample to make a new “hook” or “riff” with. 2) A change in a song where one or more instruments stops playing. 3) A change in a song where one instrument does something different e.g. a drum fill. 

Copyright – the legal proof that someone wrote the song you are using and that you should not copy, lend or borrow bits of their work without asking and/or paying them first. 

Cross-fader – a device consisting of two volume controls which control separate records, allowing the DJ to change the source of the sound between the records. 

Cue – to prepare a song to be played. Normally a DJ chooses a point from which to begin a tune that is the beginning of the first beat of the first bar, or occasionally the beginning of the audio if these are not the same.  

Deck – Player of CDs or vinyl records. Sometimes called a “turntable”. 

EQ – stands for Equalizer. It lets you affect different frequencies of sound on your songs. On DJ mixers these are normally “HI/High/Treble/Top”, “Mid” and “Bass/Low” 

Gain – is the process of increasing the amplitude of your signal, or “making it louder”. Attenuation is the reverse process (making your signal quieter).

We will continue with the part 2 of DJ terminology. Stay tuned!

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