The key to sounding great on-air is to master the art of harmonic mixing. Harmonic mixing allows you to schedule songs while controlling the energy and atmosphere of your radio station. What is harmonic mixing? Harmonic mixing, also called melodic mixing or mixed-in-key mixing, is a unique DJ technique. It involves a process of matching a song's key with another track and then blending them. You'll know if you're harmonic mixing because it'll be nearly impossible for anyone listening to detect where one song ends and another begins! The two songs will just appear as if they're playing simultaneously. This allows you to create seamless transitions between songs that might not otherwise match up well. By manipulating music key relationships, you can achieve stunning results: by ending one song in one key and beginning another in a different key, you can achieve jaw-dropping vocal fades and overlaps. When you start harmonically mixing you get tighter mixes, more creative options, and a larger array of pleasing musical variations. Whether blending whole tracks, samples, vocals, melodies, or basslines, harmonic mixing will help you sound amazing. For example, harmonically mixing 50% with 100% yields 25%. So if you have a song that is in B-Flat Minor, simply mix it with an instrument that is in B-Flat Major (or some other track) which will result in A minor. This simple technique unlocks a treasure chest of creative possibilities, expanding on what you can do creatively with audio on multiple levels.
Radio stations have been using harmonic mixing for years. You probably already tuned into a radio station that used it. Harmonically Mixed radio takes a song in a certain key and then pairs it with songs in related keys to give a sense of musical cohesion. It creates a pleasing sound that keeps listeners engaged and makes them want to listen more. This is especially important in radio where people tend to tune in or out instantly because there are always other things competing for their attention (TV, Internet, other radio stations). The way harmony works in music is very similar to how color works when mixing paints. Using harmonically related colors will make your picture look cohesive and balanced while using dissonant ones will make it look chaotic depending on what you’re going for. Radio stations use harmonic mixing, but instead of using it for creative purposes, they use it as a tool to play all their songs in key. As a result, there are no clashes between different tracks on air which means smoother transitions and better-sounding mixes. Some radio broadcasters will tell you that all their hard work goes down the drain if anything clashes with another track so being able to mix everything in key is incredibly useful for them too.
The resulting harmonic bleedthrough between songs sounds great! To achieve harmony, simply schedule songs with similar major or minor keys back-to-back. It's that easy! A great DJ will always harmonically mix his tracks for an optimal listening experience. If you're not sure how many keys are compatible for harmonic mixing, just have an expert run your playlist through GSelector or MusicMaster scheduling software first—it'll tell you what kind of harmonic mixing would work best. Harmonic mixing can be used to match the music key of your jingle with the next song you are playing. Harmonic mixing can be used to match the music key of your songs for your dance shows. Harmonic mixing can be used to match the music key of your songs for your urban shows. Harmonic mixing can be used to match the music key of your songs for your entire station. In this case, you need an extra-large active library. So what are you waiting for? Get down with harmonics! :)