DJing and Turntablism

Welcome to the webpage for chapter 4 of my book “Performing Electronic Music Live”, where I talk about DJing and Turntablism. You can watch the accompanying tutorial video for this chapter here. In this video, deep house legend Dan Murray gives you a complete introduction to DJing, using three different setups. You will see Pioneer CDJs, Technics, an Allen&Heath Xone mixer, MIDI controllers and more.

About the chapter:

A DJ’s job far transcends the seamless blending of tracks. Successful DJs possess two key skills. First and foremost, they must curate music tracks to create engaging sets. Many will select their material on the fly, by reading audience responses and gaging what works best in the moment. DJs have the power to tell a story through their sets, building up energy levels gradually, or changing the mood over time. Secondly, DJs need to possess creative mixing skills. This does not only involve matching the BPMs and keys of adjacent tracks, or syncing up kick drum hits. Through the creative application of effects, looping and even virtuoso scratching techniques, DJs can showcase their very own personal style. In this way, DJ decks are not mere playback devices. Many DJs also expand their setups with synthesizers, drum machines, MIDI controllers and even laptops running entire DAWs.

This chapter covers the history of DJing, from Régine Zylberberg to David Guetta. We examine different DJ roles and look at the most commonly used tools and techniques, including CDJs, mixers, Technics decks and software such as Traktor or Serato. The last section is a tutorial showcasing three contrasting DJ setups.