Organize Your Music By Track Type

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How many times have you searched through the hundreds or thousands of tracks in your library and found yourself trying to remember what a particular track sounds like? I’m sure some people will say they know every single song in their collection at all times, but that was a lot more believable when you only showed up to the club with a crate of vinyl or a book of CDs.

When you are squinting into your 13-inch computer screen at 1am in a sweaty club, with three girls tapping you on the shoulder telling you what track they want to hear for their friend’s birthday, I doubt you can still remember what that demo your friend sent you last week sounded like. You’re pretty sure it should mix well. It’s in the same BPM range and relative key as the one blasting on the dance floor, but will it really work? Was it a laid-back warm up song, or a great groove track? Did it have a solid bouncing bassline or a large woman belting out a passionate chorus? I have been in this position so many times, I devised a system that should help you to never question your next track again.

THE TRACK TYPE NUMBERING SYSTEM

The advent or DJ software made it simple to browse through and sort thousands of tracks by BPM. And back in the day, only the most persnickety DJs took the time to find a song’s key, as it had to be done with a keyboard and few hours spent playing along with each tune. Nowadays, anyone can take an extra few hours and get piece of software to analyze their entire music collection and label each file with the key of the track, in order to mix tracks harmonically. So with tracks labeled by key and BPM, DJs have great guidelines for crafting their sets.

However, let’s go back to that crucial moment when you have to decide what to play next and you’re trying to remember if the drums, bassline, basic groove and other important elements of your buddy’s new remix are exactly what you need. BPM and key tags still won’t help you in those situations, but picking the right track to play at those moments could be what ends up separating you from the pack of mediocre DJs.

When someone is describing a song that they are trying to get you to remember, the first thing you ask is, “What type of track is it?” That very question lead me to come up with what I call the Track Type Numbering System. While everyone has their own ways of describing a song, I feel like we can fit most songs in most genres (especially when it comes to dance music) into three categories, generally describing the feel or intensity of a particular song. They are as follows:

TRACK TYPE I
This is a track that is light in character. It is minimalistic in its instrumentation doesn’t have a strongly defined melody. It may be more reliant on its lighter percussive elements and rarely has any vocals besides maybe a short sample or something far from the forefront of what the listener hears. In dance music it usually uses a lot of slow building elements and never really reaches a peak of any kind. If you DJ house or drum and bass, this may be a warm up track for you or something that gets played in the first few sets of the night, but peak-hour DJs would rarely get away with dropping something like this unless they were trying to go for some extreme momentum effect of some kind. However, if you are playing deep house or a chilled-out liquid set, this may be what comprises the majority of your set.

TRACK TYPE II
This is a track that is medium in character. Its will have more energy to to it than a Type I, with stronger, more defined percussion and a flowing bassline. It is catchy, and may have some kind of defined vocals, but vocals that are usually not especially memorable to the listener. This type of track set a great groove for the dance floor, but probably won’t get people jumping up and down. You can use this track type to bridge from a Type I into a Type III to create a transitional build in energy, or to take the intensity down for a bit without clearing the floor. A trance DJ may use this type of track to set the stage before banging out some anthems, or a minimalistic tech-house DJ may play a lot of these tracks with a few Type Is peppered in to keep things from getting monotonous over the top.

TRACK TYPE III
This is a track that is heavy in character. It is full in its instrumentation and has everything going on at once. It has strongly defined drums, a fat bassline and a very catchy melody. It is extremely memorable with its big build-ups and peak-hour energy. Most people at the club may already know it, and if they don’t, they should. In some cases it may be the track people ask you about after your set. It could be the next big release from a popular producer in your genre, or a classic anthem that will have everyone singing along. Every genre has this type of track. These are sure-fire songs that you can rely on to get everyone jumping up and down.

However, approach with caution; there is no better way to spoil the night and to expose yourself as an inexperienced DJ than to relentlessly slam these out over and over throughout your set. While I could write another entire article just discussing why you shouldn’t do that, for the sake of time I can promise you that people will quickly lose interest and eventually go home.

HEAR IT, TAG IT, DROP IT

I understand that every genre is different — especially when you throw in sub-genres.A Type I track in one genre may sound like a Type II in another. But as a general rule, most songs in your collection will fall into one of these categories that is relative to the style of music you play. If you have a track that seems to fit into two types, it’s up to you where to put it. You could even give it a II/III label or something to that effect. After all, it’s your library, and you’re the one who has to quickly identify the labels in the middle of your set. Make this Track Type Numbering System work best for you.

I have seen other people’s methods for representing the feel of a track by color coding them, but I don’t think that works as well and the Track Type Numbering System because 1) you have to be able to see the album art and have the ability to change the album art, and 2) there are frankly too damn many colors and interpretations of what those colors mean. With the Track Type Numbering System, you can use your software of choice to open the file tags and type a I, II or III into the Comment tag and know exactly what they stand for. Then in Traktor or another DJ software, you can browse tracks by their Type from the Comment field.

In my own experience, and with the other DJs I have turned on to this labeling method, if you take the time to go through your collection, preview each of your songs and tag them by their song type, it will make sorting through your music far easier when you are mixing and much less of a guessing game. This way you can spend less time monitoring tracks to remind yourself what they sounded like before you cue them up. Then, after banging out that anthem that everyone was waiting for, you can sip on your beer while scrolling around for a Type II track that has that perfect groovy bassline to bring things down a bit.

Kyle Rayner previously wrote “Get More from Your Music Library” in June, 2009 and collaborated on the MixVibes CROSS review. Email him: djkylerayner at gmail.com.

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  • MrPHONO

    My method is similar, but as a Mac user I can tag the tracks with 7 different colour labels from grey to red, which is quite useful.

  • Hello Its Me Again

    Brilliant! so simple. so now i have 3 folders, in each are broad genres (30 in total), eg downtempo instrumental, house vocal etc. that combined with keys… track selection wicked simple.

  • Hello Its Me Again

    Brilliant! so simple. so now i have 3 folders, in each are broad genres (30 in total), eg downtempo instrumental, house vocal etc. that combined with keys… track selection wicked simple.

  • Hello Its Me Again

    Brilliant! so simple. so now i have 3 folders, in each are broad genres (30 in total), eg downtempo instrumental, house vocal etc. that combined with keys… track selection wicked simple.

  • Hello Its Me Again

    Brilliant! so simple. so now i have 3 folders, in each are broad genres (30 in total), eg downtempo instrumental, house vocal etc. that combined with keys… track selection wicked simple.

  • sebastiannz

    great article. anything that helps you get the right track, in key, the right rhythm, and the right mood (1, 2, or 3) will help make the party even better 🙂

  • Joao Marcos Soares (Brazil)

    Hello everyone.

    I tried a lot of things to get a good typing method.
    So, I’ve ended up into a quite similar Mood Color’s method.
    I tried to use the Moody software into iTunes, but didn’t like it.

    The Mood method is about how much intense/calm and how much happy/sad a track is.
    A 4×4 grid. Here it is: http://bit.ly/cf786B

    This is not good, as I said.
    So, I wrote each square based on the intensity (i1, i2, i3, i4) and on the happiness (h1, h2, h3, h4). It’s a very similar way, but written.

    Then, a track really intense and just happy, is “i4h3”;
    An intense and not-that-sad, is “i3h2”.

    I think it’s great. Maybe I can remove the “i” and the “h” and just use the numbers, in the same intense-happy sequence.

    So, what do you say about that?

    Oh, yes. I also use others words.
    Like: “i3h3; soulful; vox; perc”

    That’s it.
    See you.

  • Proze

    Great concept but a bit limited in practical application. Totally get the idea of going beyond genres, because lets face it the only people that have more of a massive wank when describing their products is the wine industry. Last count “House” had over 60 sub-genres and most of them exist just because people describe the exact same track in 5 different ways.

    But as soon as you use a 3 tiered categorising system to denote good or bad track selection you are cutting out whole swathes of momentum shifts and DJing styles. House – wise, totally get the application and it’s really helpful especially for the proggers and techies but for those of us who cross genres during almost every set (and I don’t just mean minimal to tribal) it doesn’t really work. Goind Baltimore to Dubstep to Breaks makes perfect sense via BPM and Key matching but with this system it’s like 111 to 1 to 11 which should be a no-go.

    Part of DJing has always been categorising your tracks, knowing what’s where and when to use it. You don’t need to know all of it but there’s no universal categorising system that will really work for all of DJing. Great ideas but this is something we have to work out and label for ourselves using our own categories and judgements, the comments above show that much.

    Good article, just saying it’s a bit preachy on your method rather than encouraging the development of a DJ’s own method. Hopefully the DJs reading this will get that once they’ve categorised their tracks it’s then time to start thinking outside the box they’ve just made or everyone’s set is just gonna sound like Deadmau5, clinical, technically good but soulless and lacking any real fun or entertainment.

    • Aylan Chas

      I’m late to the party, but amazing comment man. You opened my eyes. As someone who has been “around” the edm world and dj’n world for about 20 years and is looking to start making mixes and dj’n as a hobby… this helped.

  • Jay Yanko

    Wow.
    I have tried organizing my music like 20 different ways (almost serious).
    This. Is. Perfect.
    Much Love.

  • Vandelis, I use TagScanner. I started to tag all my tracks with Winamp and I turned into a copy&paste monkey. I got through 50 percent of my collection, and then I discovered I had TagScanner and finished tagging the rest of my music in a tenth the time. GYou can find it at http://xdlab.ru/en/index.htm. have fun!

  • Vangelis

    could anybody say to me a free programm to edit the comment field?

    btw i think that missunderstood.i didn told that i dont like the article.this was awesome.i just dont know the way to edit the comment filed.that’s all.

  • B33SON

    I do this in the ratings field. 1 star is low intensity 5 stars is a super heavy electro slammer. I like it because I can rate on my iPod or in iTunes. Plus I can make some smart playlists that cross genres but still work together.

  • [quote comment=”22888″]I should start doing this, but I just don’t have the time right not go through my 10,000+ collection to do this, (but one day). For Now I guess, I’ll just stick to Traktor’s Preview feature…[/quote] Same issue with me…TIME! I need more of it just to organize the library. Got so fed up that I went back to spinning vinyl.

  • signaturex

    ughhh.:( genrification.. you have no idea what the ramifications of this would do to me..

  • GS

    [quote comment=””]nice tips.But how could we edit quick our songs through traktor,vdj and not only internal(for single program database)but the file comment?[/quote]
    [quote comment=”22901″][quote comment=””]But I’ve got to say this and no offense to the writer I’m not trying to be a dick, but this article is full of ‘fluff’, I can’t even read through all of it.[/quote]

    Clearly you are. If you don’t like the article or think you have something better to contribute, then please do so. I’m sure everyone in the DJTT community would love to hear what you have to say, especially if I am so far off base as you think. It seems to me that this is coming from somewhere else, and it goes beyond you just not enjoying this article. I find it to be a rather stark reaction for someone who apparently just thought the article was a bit of fluff. I feel like this is coming from a personal dislike of myself and that you were trying to deflect those opinions of me onto this article through your very forced and clearly jabbing critique. However, your opinion is yours to share and I am sorry you didn’t enjoy the piece.[/quote]

    Kyle great writing and it’s totally commendable for you to take your time to sit down and share your knowledge and contribute to this site but I gotta say if you’re gonna be a writer you probably need to grow a bit thicker skin than that! 🙂 Sorry to wade in on something between you two…just saying.

  • Vangelis

    nice tips.But how could we edit quick our songs through traktor,vdj and not only internal(for single program database)but the file comment?

  • [quote comment=””]I am working on an Automator action to do everything from importing to processing to mixed in key, then I can take over manually and assign ratings and genres.[/quote]
    Please share this when you get it worked out; that’s a great idea! You’re right, this stuff does get rather tedious after a while.

    So can anyone else comment on the photo? I’m almost positive that’s Bop City….

  • Priscilla

    I usually organize my stuff like Ean.

    1. Import into iTunes
    2. Open it in mixed in key
    3. Then go back to iTunes
    4. Change Genre
    5. Add a rating
    6. Open Traktor, import to collection
    7. Beat grid
    8. Cue points
    9. Transfer data to laptop before going mobile.

    Sounds like a lot of jazz, but really it’s not too bad, I am working on an Automator action to do everything from importing to processing to mixed in key, then I can take over manually and assign ratings and genres.

  • Handata

    ok all my tracks are orginized by key like 1a,1b-12a,12b and then i simply put a star next to the tracks i like in the comment space so when im browsing i just type in * and all my tracks come up but rating them would help alot too so i dont haft to preview tracks but let me tell you my delima

    1. dl-track
    2. listen to track
    3. decide wether or not i like the tracks
    4. move files to folder labeled analize
    5. analyze files ( can take forever depending on how much music i d-loaded)
    6. place tracks into seperate folders (24 of them-remeber 1a,1b-12a,12b_)
    7. open torq search for new files ( they dont always have artist tags even tho they do before torq fill in missing information
    8. create cue points

    trust me when your doing 200+ tracks it gets really tireing

  • [quote comment=””]Agreed with DVSadvct! i figured out the same, last time i organized the library… just rate the songs on scale one to five from good night lulaby to f*ckin banger (slightly exagerating, but u get the point). On top of that i write in the Comments some notes about characterisics of a song (wobbly bassline, important piano intrumental etc.) and have keywords or codewords for those (“wobbl”, “instr” etc.)… no need to preCue them… ever XD (i have even come to the point to mix without monitoring at all – but thats just for lounge venues and only occasional when i need to talk to girls)[/quote]
    [quote comment=”22918″][quote comment=””]

    1/2 Star – Bad tracks – Destined for the recycle bin.[/quote]

    Why would you even have a track you thought was “bad”?[/quote]

    Basically when I’m listening to new tracks in an album or ep. If I come across a good sounding track I’ll add the whole album/ep to itunes (using the .m3u file) without listening to the other tracks. Later i’ll do a more in depth listening, this is when I’ll normally come across some that I don’t like and give them the low star rating.

  • Kupujte_Pytle

    Agreed with DVSadvct! i figured out the same, last time i organized the library… just rate the songs on scale one to five from good night lulaby to f*ckin banger (slightly exagerating, but u get the point). On top of that i write in the Comments some notes about characterisics of a song (wobbly bassline, important piano intrumental etc.) and have keywords or codewords for those (“wobbl”, “instr” etc.)… no need to preCue them… ever XD (i have even come to the point to mix without monitoring at all – but thats just for lounge venues and only occasional when i need to talk to girls)

  • DJ XISIX

    I do something similar. I order my tracks by genre and then by the sub-genre and energy of the tracks.

    So for trance its :
    Hyper / Hard
    Good Hyper / Hard
    Meh

    For house its:

    Funky / Hard
    Good
    Meh

    And yes I do actually label them this way, I keep the ones in Meh coz I paid for them 🙂

  • ToS

    I also have my own notation but why should you care.

  • Bob

    Call me old school if you like, but as a working DJ I consider it part of my job to actually know what my tracks sound like… However big my library gets. I’m digital all the way but I’m afraid some aspects of DJing will never change. As long as my tracks are tagged with the right genres so I can find them, I’m sorted.

    If you’ve got that many tracks which you don’t know, then perhaps you need to lay off the torrents for a while.

    • Aylan Chas

      I’m tardy to the post, but six years later… how’s that stubborn mentality working out for you?

      Old school/New School is irrelevant. The amount of music producers, music being produced, the genres, and the average persons expanded taste in music… it’s insane … you are rendering yourself only useful to hyper focused niche or one that is obsolete.

      There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a layer of protection and if anything this will help a DJ’s confidence in trying new music. I think you are just sensationalizing the profession.

  • payola

    [quote comment=””]

    1/2 Star – Bad tracks – Destined for the recycle bin.[/quote]

    Why would you even have a track you thought was “bad”?

  • Good tip. I apply the same basic idea, but choose to add a minus sign (-), equal sign (=), or plus sign (+) at the end of my genre tags. This doesn’t allow for sorting on the fly, but when I organize my tracks in iTunes/Traktor, I divide them into large sections based on the track types.

  • This is my personal style of organization.

    Step 1:

    Analyze the key of the tracks (Mixed in Key). The key is stored automatically in the comment field.

    Step 2:

    Organize tracks by genre, and then I’ll add the sub genre and other key factors of the song. All the information will be stored in the genre field.

    For example,

    House – Deep – Tech – Latin Drums [U]

    Or

    House – Vocal – Disco – Retro Sample [C]

    [C] And [U] stands for commercial and underground

    Step 3: I rate the music with the star system

    1/2 Star – Bad tracks – Destined for the recycle bin.

    3 Star – Decent tracks – Filler or padding.

    4 Star – Great tracks – The majority of my set will consist of these.

    5 Star – Awesome tracks – Only a select few get the 5 star rating.

    Step 4: I give the tracks a dance ability rating from D1 to D5 (1 and 2 being low energy, 3 being normal energy and 4 to 5 being the high energy). This is stored comment field after the harmonic key value.

    Step 5: I use smart playlists feature in itunes to automatically put my organized tracks into the right playlists i.e. genre, sub-genre, rating, and age etc.

    So that’s my way, even with all my anal organizing. I often find during gigs I’ll still rely on the preview button of Traktor. I guess that’s the price to pay for carrying around every track in your collection.

  • Great post man, and from the comments it’s obvious that any level of categorizing is great for any digital DJ 🙂

    As others, here’s the rundown on how I do it;

    “Grouping” field = energy level from E0 (ambient) to E5 (floor fillers)
    “Genre” field – genre and sub-genre; “House – Electro”
    “Stars” field – personal pref relative to genre (I love dirty house but I can’t 5* them all… I think minimal house is ok but some of them are a lot better than others)

    This with smart playlists in iTunes gives me a very dynamic pallet to work with 🙂

    So I tag the tracks in iTunes then sync all unrated tracks to my iPod, with which I rate my library while I go about my daily life…

    Only thing I’m missing are track “feelings” such as heavy, trippy, instr, femvoc, malevoc and so on.

  • Ed Pulido

    I’ve been using that exact method for over a year. Eerie similar. I use the number method just as you described in the comment section of the track: 1, 1/2, 2. 2/3, and 3 followed by subgenre and any particular notes for that song, ie., vocal, dark, trippy, banger.

    I personally use iTunes for playlists and i then import them into Traktor or burn the CD’s. Another very useful thing i use is the rating system.

    For more details, look at my post about organizing tracks at the following link, post # 20

    http://www.djforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205230&highlight=how+to+organize

  • [quote comment=””]quick, I need to find a 4A-2/3, and there’s only 1:27 left on the current track![/quote]

    When you need regular expressions to sift through your tracks, you have reached a new plateau of DJ nerdiness.

  • Anonymous

    quick, I need to find a 4A-2/3, and there’s only 1:27 left on the current track!

  • [quote post=”2448″]However, approach with caution; there is no better way to spoil the night and to expose yourself as an inexperienced DJ than to relentlessly slam these out over and over throughout your set. While I could write another entire article just discussing why you shouldn’t do that, for the sake of time I can promise you that people will quickly lose interest and eventually go home.[/quote]

    This resonated with me the most because all the blokes here are hammering hard electro-breaks at 11pm with to an empty dance floor until 1am when people finally are too drunk to care. The DJs must think everyone is not as H-core as they are with all their III level tracks. Sure makes the night short and girls run from this aural attack. Thanks.

  • In this context I would like to mention two other tools you can use for categorization:
    http://www.crayonroom.com/moody.php
    http://www.djnotation.org/

  • [quote comment=””]But I’ve got to say this and no offense to the writer I’m not trying to be a dick, but this article is full of ‘fluff’, I can’t even read through all of it.[/quote]

    Clearly you are. If you don’t like the article or think you have something better to contribute, then please do so. I’m sure everyone in the DJTT community would love to hear what you have to say, especially if I am so far off base as you think. It seems to me that this is coming from somewhere else, and it goes beyond you just not enjoying this article. I find it to be a rather stark reaction for someone who apparently just thought the article was a bit of fluff. I feel like this is coming from a personal dislike of myself and that you were trying to deflect those opinions of me onto this article through your very forced and clearly jabbing critique. However, your opinion is yours to share and I am sorry you didn’t enjoy the piece.

  • Totally off topic but … that photo … is that Bop City Records in Seattle?

  • Seriously? I dont mind bringing up the ‘How you organize’ topic…and some of the comments are interesting…

    But I’ve got to say this and no offense to the writer I’m not trying to be a dick, but this article is full of ‘fluff’, I can’t even read through all of it.

    djtechtools usually publishes decent articles but this one…

    Did a high-schooler write this? At least it’s spell-checked.

    [quote post=”2448″] with three girls tapping you on the shoulder telling you what track they want to hear for their friend’s birthday[/quote]
    If you’re playing at places like this do you really have to go through the trouble of organizing your music, isn’t “October Top 40″ enough?

    [quote post=”2448”]And back in the day, only the most persnickety DJs took the time to find a song’s key, as it had to be done with a keyboard and few hours spent playing along with each tune.[/quote]
    Few hours playing with each tune? No. We didn’t do this to our whole collection at once, it was consistent. You come home from your Sunday record shopping and you replay the records you picked up… few strokes on the keyboard to make sure you got the key right and you’re done. ‘Back in the Day’ you couldn’t download DJ Charts gigabytes at a time… in that case, yes it would of taken hours…

    Cheers, hope the next articles don’t take this direction…

    P.S. the djtechtools articles by mikecharles about itunes power tips are much more interesting!

  • BentoSan

    I use the stars to do this sort of thing to gimme an idea of the intensity of the track, the more stars the more full on the track is.

    Some people use stars to rate the music depending on if they like it or not, i personally take the aproach of not having it in collection if i dont like it / have no plans of ever playing it !

  • asiago/Brissbrass

    I like this idea allot because when i’m messing around at home i find a few songs and work well together then i’ll mix to something that maybe i don’t like as much and i’ve begun to compile them into little sets. The crazy names would definatly help..

    I”ve also seen even more intense codeing for tracks then this. I’ll look for the website again but it had a system of telling exactly whether their was vocals, if it was hard to mix into, or easy, if it ended suddenly..etc.. all coded with crazy *~ #$(%) different things like that infront of the song. I wish i could find the website cause it was overkill but if you learned the system would deffinately tell you exactly what was in the song.

    [quote comment=””]Once I finish going through and gridding my DJ collection I’m going to do something similar, except using the Rating system. I figure it’s there, I never use it, so I might as well. I’ll probably want to develop something similar to the camelot system where mixing from 1 start to 2 stars is ideal, whereas going from 1 star to 4 stars will feel very bizarre. :)[/quote]
    [quote comment=”22893″]I organize by BPM, genre, release date, key etc.

    Nevertheless, when the heat is on and i’m playing live, small playlists are my best friend. I’ll make play lists featuring 4-10 songs that work well together and name them crazy stuff that I will remember. Examples: spraying beer, disco robots, cheekie bastards. The names are more about the tone I’m trying to set and I already know that those few songs work well together.

    -Rob Ticho[/quote]

  • mad wax

    this will paint me as oldschool, but I’ll prep for a gig ahead of time and create 3 or 4 playlists – intro, mid, peak and closers. then I dump tracks into those playlists. kind of like the way I used to do it when it was vinyl and you were prepping your box for a gig.

  • Once I finish going through and gridding my DJ collection I’m going to do something similar, except using the Rating system. I figure it’s there, I never use it, so I might as well. I’ll probably want to develop something similar to the camelot system where mixing from 1 start to 2 stars is ideal, whereas going from 1 star to 4 stars will feel very bizarre. 🙂

  • I organize by BPM, genre, release date, key etc.

    Nevertheless, when the heat is on and i’m playing live, small playlists are my best friend. I’ll make play lists featuring 4-10 songs that work well together and name them crazy stuff that I will remember. Examples: spraying beer, disco robots, cheekie bastards. The names are more about the tone I’m trying to set and I already know that those few songs work well together.

    -Rob Ticho

  • I spy a bunch of Beach Boy’s Endless Summer to the left.

  • Vinicius Hoffmann [Brazil]

    Really Nice, but I had the need to be more specific on my Psytrance music library because of the size of it (30 gb).
    [Off: I never played for serious, I’m just a starting newbie trying to get somewhere so any tips are wellcome]

    I’m developing my own way to classify my tracks by themes and ratings, the key parameters are:

    Overall: 5 stars range – That’s the overall iTunes rating, the music can be like Type I, II or II of your method, but the range stands for good music vs bad music, generaly this parameter stands for good music research at my big library and it’s the primary method of classification.
    OBS: I’ll never play a Star 1 track at a gig, but I can use some of the good stuff (if I like any) in the track to produce something like that latter (I never produced a track, but I’m researching and studying a lot to do it soon).

    The follow parameters stands for sub-rating and the range is from zero to five (0-5):

    Introduction: if it has a good or a boring intro. Rating zero are for no-intro songs
    Dancing Mood: as it says…
    Trip Mood: as it says…
    Middle: the core of the music, generally equal to the overall rating and a merge of dancing and trip mood
    Turn: the quality of the peak and turns of the music
    Variation: how long we can keep listening before the music becomes boring
    Drum: the kicks (generally the dancing mood of psytrance)
    Low: the low bassline (generally the psychedelic part of psytrance)
    Hi: the snares
    FX: the variation and quality of the FX used

    The last parameters are keywords to find the music easyer on the library (generally in the comments):

    Style: Low BPM, Trance, HighTech, Morning, Night, Progressive, Fullon (I allways can create more)
    Ambient: Chill, Groove, Rock, Maya, Egypt, Space, Circus, India, Dark, None (for no-especial ambients)
    Voice: Normal Man, Normal Woman, Scarry Man, Robotic Man, Hauting Man, Children, etc…
    Instrument: Flaute, Saxo, Guitar, Indian, Egypt, Piano, Toy Piano
    Reference (original author or theme): Dire Straits, U2, Back Sabbat, Matrix
    Sub-reference (original track or quotation): Money for nothing, Elevation, Paranoid;Rock n Roll Racing, blue pill;rabbit hole

    Example: If a music has a overall rating of 1, 2 or 3 (low) but his FX or Low grades are 5 (max), I can check it latter to understand the technique that I liked earlier and reproduce it at the gigs

    I’m taking notes on a Microsoft Excell Worksheet ordered by music’s file name. I don’t know yet how to make it tagged to the music but I will learn a way of batch processing the columns that I would like to put on the tags as I’m a software developer and database administrator (hehe). Untill that I’ll check the worksheet very often in separate of traktor

    That is my workflow and preparation, I’ve currently rated like 10% of my library, so my method can change sometime latter.

    You may ask: This isn’t a overkill? I’ll answer: I don’t know. The only thing I know is that is better much then less, I prefer take a note of all these things rather be a passive listener checking e-mails or IMs while listening music, afterall the object is to know your library better and you have enough time trough music to write all these things down without listen it again and again.

    PS: Sorry for my poor english, I’m practicing every day.

  • I should start doing this, but I just don’t have the time right not go through my 10,000+ collection to do this, (but one day). For Now I guess, I’ll just stick to Traktor’s Preview feature…

    • djadamdaniel.co.uk

      how about commenting/rating each song after you’ve played it out? that way you’ll even be able to gauge the crowds reaction and this may help you categorise it. only takes a few seconds.

  • mpetersen3

    Cool article thanks!

  • f0tif0

    i still use colors in ITCH

  • djandrew

    I like to broadly divide tracks into warm-up, mid-set, and peaktime. Playing at the kind of bars and lounges I do, I never really get to play the peaktime stuff, but it’s nice to know it’s there!

    I also find it VERY useful to add comments like INST, FEM VOC, MALE VOC – because playing, for example, 3 or more tracks in a row with female vocals can get quite boring (and can lessen the impact of otherwise great tracks), and I find it’s also good to play more instrumental stuff earlier, slowly bringing in more vocals as the night goes on. This tag system helps.

  • Mekon_ca

    4 types, like EQ:
    low
    mid-low
    mid-high
    high

    🙂

  • i do this with the itunes rating system and my personal interpretation of the 5 stars 🙂

  • Krome

    I’ve been using the same (in comments) for quite a while now and it has served me well. I usually just put more hints down than just the number to be able to really pick a good one.

  • Thanks for this article..good timing! I have been trying to work out a method of sorting tracks over the last few months.
    I have only recently started DJing as I have always played my own stuff and never realized how hard it is to remember other peoples tracks in the way I am used to.

    Thnaks 😉

  • Sarasin

    Nice!

    I do something similar.

    I also group them into 3 or 4 categories.

    I always play the same time slot….so pretty much play the same style intesnsity in all my sets.

    Its either a beginning of the set track….a Winner (which i have about 4 of per set and I KNOW it will OWN the floor) and I have fillers and end of the set type trax.

    This is how i group them when i am working on a set.

    But this method would work well if I just chose what i played on the night. I usually do that for club gigs.

    Festivals and large outdoor parties i prepare for.