How to DJ 101: Why You Must Understand Phrasing

Even though most of our audience is made up of advanced or intermediate DJs, we get a lot of aspiring talent on the site every month who are hungry to learn. The fundamentals never get stale, so we will be rolling out a new “how to DJ” article every month for those that are just joining the ranks. Phrasing is one of the most important musical fundamentals out there, so let’s get started there.

Ever wonder how your favorite DJs are able to craft a seamless mix where the tracks seems to start/end at just the right time? It’s not luck,  but understanding the concept of good phrasing. Most Western music, especially electronic and pop music, is built using phrases of 16 and 32 counts. As you learn how to DJ, you’ll start to see that all forms of music follow a familiar structure. By recognizing this structure, you can take two totally different songs and make them sound as if they were designed to fit together.

If you’re looking for more intermediate tips on how to DJ, I’d recommend checking out the following articles first:

Recognizing Phrases

Every song introduces audible change to the music that clue in the audience to the start/end of a phrase. Most people are affected by this sub consciously but you can learn how to read those clues like a pro.  Normally these changes would be a new instrument, a drum fill, or crash and it typically occurs every 32 counts. Before the days of DJ software, the only way to find the start/end of a phrase was to listen to the track and pay attention to these clues.

With DJ software we have a visual overview of the entire track thanks to the waveform. This makes it really easy to recognize the start/end of phrases such as breakdowns and buildups as pictured above. There are a couple other things in Traktor that we can use to find the start/end of phrases and part of the phrase we’re in. The first one is enabling “Beats” in the deck header. You can do this through Traktor’s Preferences:

The second thing we’ll do is set the “Bars Per Phase” to “8 Bars”:

Now that we’ve made these changes, you will see 3 numbers being displayed in you deck header:

These numbers indicate the phrase, bar, and beat (phrase . bar . beat). There are 4 beats in a bar, so the bar will increase by 1 every 4 beats. Since we set our “Bars per Phrase” to 8 bars, the phrase will increase by 1 every 8 bars. As discussed earlier, audible changes typically occur every 32 beats. Using this counter, you’re likely to hear an audible change every time the phrase increases by 1. This makes it really easy to stay on top of the tracks structure even while you’re browsing for the next track or if you’re distracted by someone making a request. Now that we can quickly identify the phrases of the track, we can create a seamless mix by lining up our tracks so that the phrases are in sync.

Next Steps

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  • Why DJs Should Get On The Dancefloor

    […] most DJs also know that beats coalesce into higher order structures. The most common groupings are bars and phrases. Maintaining an internal beat count is useful for DJs and dancers alike. In both cases, knowing the […]

  • Elizabeth de Moya

    I just do it automatically where it sounds like a new phrase is about to begin. You can see where it on the waveform.

  • Anthony Woodruffe

    How to DJ 101: Learn to play good songs/tracks and see when to change it up or out. Beat mixing, phrase mixing, Harmonic mixing, is all for nothing if you’re playing the wrong songs and can’t program for toffee. Bottom line; mixing 2 crap songs perfectly, is still playing 2 crap songs.

  • Learning to DJ - Entertainment Studios

    […] It is the process by which you can get two tracks that you are mixing to play at the same tempo. Phrasing is mixing tow tracks together at points in the songs that make sense. You need to learn how to […]

  • Dj Mixing Phrasing | Computer DJ Traktor

    […] How to DJ 101: Why You Must … – What a load of garbage. As someone commented below, you have to question why someone is wanting to become a DJ if they have no understanding of the 4/4 … […]

  • Mat Frost Music

    What a load of garbage. As someone commented below, you have to question why someone is wanting to become a DJ if they have no understanding of the 4/4 beat and how to count it and hear it ?? !! In fact why they want to become a DJ if they have no Love for the music. If you have love for it, you should know how it is structured, you should live and breath it and understand all about it, and not let a computerised system do all the work for you, and you still not have the knowledge to know you are mixing off-beat or on the down beat. 4 Bar loops are the easiest to could. This is why it is classed as 4/4 timing. Bang Bang Bang Bang of the kick drum is a 4 bar loop, and that is generally then counted in 4 loops, so that is the 4/4, or 4×4 which is 16 bars. Even if the track starts with just a vocal or stings, start counting the kick drums in your head as soon as the song starts. You don’t have to mix on the 32 bar loop as the guy suggests at all, but you have to use your ears to hear when the track changes with the 4 bar loops. This video has annoyed me greatly, to the point I think I will go into my loft and record a video using my vinyl to explain it better, using your EARS not a computer and the audio displayed.

    Here is a link to my youtube channel. It currently only has one track of mine up there. I have a few vinyl DJ mixes I will put up so you can listen to the mixing. I will endeavour to get a video up explaining beat counting

  • ImpostorSyndromeByProxy

    You’re talking about sections, not phrases. How about not appropriating words which are already in use and applying them to things which already have names.

  • nikola3n

    when you know your music the feeling ”when” to mix next song comes natural…you must know your music that’s the key…after a while, your brain will tell you when is perfect moment to mix in next track!

  • Leonardo Aguirre

    Great little tutorial, being a very beginner I found it very useful. I had that idea from listening the songs and trying to mix them, but this tip is perfectly explained why it works that way. Thanks, keep the good work coming 😀

  • Mark

    I’m Phasing my tracks in traktor just a small question i know u said 1.1 set a cue point but some tracks the music changes on 5.1 so can u mix one outro at say 5.1 which is 16 beats into 1.1 at start of the next track

  • marko

    we need more beginner tutorials please

  • ItsWesSmithYo

    Great article for the intended audience. I have no formal music training, well maybe a little piano torture as a kid, but my DJing came from hard knocks so this would have been great for me a minute ago too. Coming from vinyl, but not a purist, If you practice this on vinyl, you will become a phrasing master and learn your songs inside & out & back again since you will hear them 4,999 times as you stop and needle drop to get this right without any real (I never could read grooves) visual cues. It carries over into producing too…Phrase on…

  • Gorillionaire

    Appreciate this article alot DJTT thank you

  • Mark G

    Hi All,

    Good Tip, I agree having a musical background is handy it gives you the general idea on how a song is structured intro/chorus/verse etc.

    I started djing in the 1978 at the age of 14, but I also played 3 instruments and my favourite was drums which intern gave me the upper hand and allowed me to work out this type of mixing in the early 80’s, but back than it was called chorus mixing.

    Sometime in the early 90’s not sure who but I came across Key Mixing, now if you use both at the same time you would create a great mix.

    It’s great to see things have come full circle and any knowledge we can pass on to our current dj’s are invaluable just remember “knowledge is Power” by Sir Francis Bacon

    it’s also a good mix.

  • Garrett Cox

    does anyone else get annoyed by the intro into Fancy (feat. Charlie XCX) by Iggy Azalea. Vocals come in after 4 measure, High hats come in after 7 measures, then chorus comes in after 4 measures. So a 15 measure intro… so unless you throw in a measure loop before the high-hat, its phase is off. Its does this by changing the pattern of the lengthened vs shortened synth notes, it goes (intro) s,l,s,l (Vocals) s,l,s,l,s,l,s (high-hat) s,l,s,l (chorus) s,l,s,l,s,l. Its a pain to fix when there are vocals and people will recognize the change because of how popular the song is.

  • Andrew

    I’d go as far as to say phrasing is the most important fundamental of keeping a dance floor. A great DJ could rock a party with an iPod because their musical programing is exceptional and they would cut on phrase.

    I’d say best bet is to keep keep count in your head as you learn. Count to the radio and try and figure out the timing of the next phrase live. More you do it the more you instinctually or sub conciously you will know where you are.

    The Traktor grids are a nice way to keep track but knowing your music will make you more versatile and able to jump on anyones rig and sound correct.

  • Stewe

    This might help too: Traktor has like 32 hot cue points, even though only 8 of them are MIDI mappable you can use other cues to set a clear indication (each 16 or 32 beat counts) where the next phrase comes in the mix. Hope this opens some ideas 🙂

  • Phrasing 101 | MMMMAVEN

    […] how to get the phrasing of your mix just right? Check out this article on DJ Tech Tools, entitled How to DJ 101: Why You Must Understand Phrasing. The article is written simply enough for beginners to understand, and offers great advice on how […]

  • eugene

    So obvious…an article with the topic “Why You Must Understand Phrasing” is like posting an article in Readers Digest saying “Why You Must Understand How to Read”…it’s just a given that nothing will truly make sense unless you know how. So the topic is kind of like a reminder for dj’s…who if haven’t figured it out…phrasing is pretty much one of the most important elements/technicalities in mixing.

    • TheQuakerOatsGuy

      You know what’s sad, though? I have heard DJ’s who have been in it for years who just mix wherever the heck they want to in a song. I don’t know if it’s really a matter of figuring it out so much as it is a matter of knowing it exists in the first place.

      • eugene

        Yes sir, I have heard too. So maybe this article isn’t such a bad thing…lol. Phrasing is at first technical in a sense…but for experienced (good/qualified) DJs this should be 2nd nature. Your beatmatching may be impeccable, but it means absolute shit if you phrase incorrectly.

  • Ean's_Spoof

    Glad to see DJTT is creating room for budding DJs as well. Beginner to advanced techniques all at one place, what better can you ask for?

  • Edmond

    Phrasing seems like an interesting topic to start off DJ 101. As a beginner, I would like to see more about the daunting How to make a couple hour long set. Everyone puts out nice how to transition or how to build up videos but I would love to see a basic “Here’s how you play music for a couple of hours”. Maybe what I ask is too daunting for a beginner article but I don’t know that because I’m a beginner. Still love this article though, please keep it up!

    • Maddox

      You can’t just tell someone how to play a set for a couple hours, there are so many more aspects that go into it that it is impossible. It’s like wanting a list of steps on how to make it to the Olympics, you can’t just teach it. And that’s why articles like this are great for you! This, along with several other things, is absolutely mandatory if you even want to come close to playing a well mixed set of any length! Keep up on the articles here on DJTT and look back at some old ones, you’ll learn a lot and be ready for some gigs in no time! That’s how I learned 😉

      • CUSP

        Well, training/practicing is key in getting to the Olympics, but so too is knowing what you do best that others have interest in. DJing has always been a balancing act of what you think people want to hear and what they actually want to hear. So, if you do that, and you practice sets that are much longer than you’d be expected to play, you’ll have the basics down. Everything else is style… how good are you on your floor routine? :p

        • Maddox

          I totally agree, practice is everything! I was just saying that there is know sure-fire list that will tell you how to mix an entire set because there are just so many aspects that go into it. But overall, as you said, it’s all about practice as well as dedication, creativity, and having you own style. And as far as my floor routine goes, it’s good I suppose, but its not perfect, and that’s why I practice everyday and read these articles whether I already know the material or not.

          • CUSP

            And just when you get a really good set going, people change what they like! The nerve! (Heh heh) oh well, it’s always a work in progress. 🙂

          • Maddox

            Haha! I get what you’re saying now, the work is never done! That’s part of the fun 🙂

    • ItsWesSmithYo

      Hey friend, there’s a lot of ways to do looooong (4 to 8 hr) sets, but I can give you some examples that work for Open Format or specific genre nights like EDM/House, which I’ve used for years to rock many a dance floor.

      Plan on having about 30 songs per hour. You might play 10 or 15/hr but you want some flexibility so double what you think you need/hr. Organize them by BPM, Genre and maybe note some energy level/ratings. Easy now days;). BPM is always your friend, and Genre will generally end up grouping anyway due to BPM, as you will likely see once organized. Energy/Rating let’s you more easily tempo up/down as people tend to get more/less pumped. There’s some cool tips on DJTT on organizing music, highly recommended.

      If you are doing the entire night (likely) then start slower, lower volume, let songs play longer, ease into mixing, give people a chance to drink/party and hang out a bit. Pick up the tempo, energy, volume, etc over about two hours. Example, 70/80 up to 115/120. You’ll pretty much figure out if the crowd is there to stand around or dance by working around this way. If the crowd are hyped, pick up the pace, if not, bring it back down in reverse and repeat. Since people tend to walk at about 110/120 bpm, they usually get comfy around there. I used to do this all night, across all genres, from 60/70 bpm to 150/160, and work packed clubs into an absolute frenzy.

      You could do the same thing with specific genres where people go out to here that vibe vs. open format. If that’s the case, same principles apply, with less genres and BPM range. Like you can start with low energy 115 house, roll up to 120 higher energy, and then work around there. You can do that for 10 hrs if the crowd is there for that. With hip hop, you can play all day between 85 and 105…and on and on… Don’t forget to have fun;)

  • DJ Loopo

    @killmedj:disqus It interesting that younger/newer/some older “djs” are criticized so much for using sync yet when someone tries to educate them they are equally criticized.
    I am not a “professional” DJ. It has been a hobby of mine for the last 2 1/2 decades and one that I love. I love the art of DJing, Listening to really talented DJs blending beautifully, creating incredible mashups etc. I have taught myself how to beat count, I used to beat count my vinyl before software or machinery could do it for me. I could tell there was a structure to the music I was mixing before I ever heard the term phrase, but I am glad that there are places and people now that I can learn more about this craft from, especially since im not out in the DJ world. I try to improve all the time and pieces of info like this help me so so much. Maybe one day I will DJ an actual gig instead of playing to just an audience of two being my wife and my 8 yr old daughter. So please!!!! keep it coming.
    Thank you!!!

  • ZxZDeViLZxZ

    16-32-64 I set 3 cue points on the first 3 64s… since no software ive seen can do an auto loop for more then 32 I normally go 32 then advance 32 cue set. normally at 64 you will find the most change getting the timing exact requires attention until your ears learn it.

  • Jose' Lara

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! The advice is really going to help me get the knack mixing cumbia digital. I’ve come to djing from 20+ years of being the guy on the dance floor all night – no musical background. It’s articles and videos like this one that are helping me “see ‘The Matrix'” and perform better every time I play out. Thank you, Ryan Dejaegher and DJTechtools, on behalf of myself and all the people who will no longer have to suffer through my phrase clashes!

  • xisix

    Could you please also have a tutorial on how to mix using song structure (intro/verse/chorus/bridge/buildup/breakdown/etc) ? Theres very little information on the net regarding this topic. I mainly mix the more energetic genres like trance and EDM and I’ve gotten to the stage where I can mix with perfect phrasing and harmonic mixing, but I’m still having trouble consistently making those “epic” mixes like how you hear the big names perform at big events like Ultra and Tomorrowland. Its a bit hard to describe, but the way they mix is not only seamless but they seem to “inject energy” into the mix so that the crowd is always going wild. So I’m pretty sure that means no long boring outro to intro mixing, but maybe rather like mixing from the end of the chorus straight into a verse or mixing through a buildup so that the energy is never lost (I hope I’m making some sense). I want to be able to mix fast and be able to more or less make every one of those mixes “epic” and I’m not going to be happy until I can get to that level.

  • CUSP

    Phrasing should include vocals. It’s very important to have the cut-up lyrics hit right. When you trigger samples like “put the needle on the record” (thank you MARRS) you need to make every anchor point hit at the right spot. Since this is one of my freestyle tricks, this is very important to me. I hear people try to imitate what I do, but they often don’t sync the lyric timing with the music itself. Put the… needs to hit on the one or the three (or at least evenly throughout the bar) but freestyle hammering a trigger (especially off-beat and irregularly) just sounds sloppy. Please! Quantize your sample triggers if you don’t have natural timing (which is what happens to me late in my sets if I’ve had too much to drink).

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey CUSP, this definitely comes in handy if you’re mixing vocals, especially acapellas. Acapellas are a little trickier since all you’re left with is the vocals. You won’t find the audible clues that are discussed in the article. But being able to recognize that verses and choruses follow a 16 or 32 count phase will help you mix in vocals/acapellas at the right time.

      • CUSP

        The flow of vocals can have an extremely dynamic tempo range, but figuring out where the markers are… some audible points which should line up with a beat, helps reinforce the song. While not every market needs to hit (some can float, ignoring a beat) it’s wise to have the song reinforce markers or it just sounds sloppy. No one wants important vocals to happen during a downbeat, and repetitious droning of markers, timed only on the downbeat (rap is guilty of this a lot) makes a song sound forced (which then gets the listener overly critical about the flow… both rhyming and tempo.

  • nabs

    Anyone that has a musical background or that has studied music for a while will probably have picked up on this whether they recognize it as phrasing or not. Once someone notices that there’s a pretty consistent pattern of musical statements over several songs, you’d think they’d make an effort to align those statements so that they complement rather than talk over each other. Still, the amount of bad mixes out there indicate there’s a need for a good little write-up like this.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey nabs, yes you’re right, there’s probably alot of people that notice these patterns but just don’t know what it’s called. It should be noted that knowing this still requires finding parts of a song that align nicely. For example I could mix in a track with the phrases in sync, but if both those phrases have vocals, it’s going to sound terrible.

      • LoopCat

        That’s it. Knowing your tracks and knowing which part is the best part to mix out/into is still very important.

        • Sinhaus

          It helps a lot to go through your songs while practicing/preparing and set cues at good loop/intro sections of a song. Once you have these set up, you don’t have to waste as much time finding a good spot while you’re in the mix, you just load a song and cycle through your preset cues until you find something that goes well with the current track. HOT CUES!!

  • dj tool tech

    did you make this tutorial because of my comment at the xdj-1000 artikel.

    • I am

      Yes, we made it just for you…

  • Robert Wulfman

    where it gets tricky is when you need to mix from a track that’s not in 4/4 to one that is

    • CUSP

      Enter Math: the ability to find the lowest common denominator (and greatest common factor) is extremely important when figuring both mixing at two different tempos and time signatures. This is a more advanced technique because things will go in and out of phase and you’ll just have to trust your skills (and the math) without panicking.

  • Patch

    This is a pretty good write-up – but you need to mention that the “Beats” Deck Header STARTS counting from the FIRST Grid Marker.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey Patch, good call, that is something I forgot to mention in the article. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Kevin Rötzer

        How would I manage to adjust that in the preferences?

        • Ryan Dejaegher

          Hey Kevin, you’ll need to make sure that your grid marker is set on the first downbeat of your song. If it’s not set on the first downbeat then the phrases will be off. In the image that I’ve posted, I’ve purposely set the grid marker to the 3rd beat of the track. The problem is now my counter is showing the wrong timing (it’s showing 1.1.1, if the grid marker was set at the downbeat it would be 1.1.3). To get it to show the correct timing the grid marker needs to be set on that first downbeat.

          • Kevin Rötzer

            Thanks a lot man! Will I have to do this manually for each of my tracks, or is there any way to let Traktor do this automatically?

          • Chaser720

            Manual. Traktor gets it wrong about 1/10 times.

          • Chaser720

            But don’t visually count on the first beat in the song being the one. Some producers will insert a little hat roll or something else before the one in the track. Just be sure to listen to where this is.

            Also you can check yourself by clicking where the drop in the larger waveform then clicking where you have the one marked at in the smaller waveform. Traktor will only select multiples of 4 in the smaller waveform so if your one is in the correct place then it will be selected. This being based on the fact that most songs will have the drop at a multiple of 4 from the one. Make sense?

          • Ryan Dejaegher

            Yes you’re totally right Chaser720 there are quite a few instances where there may not be a definitive first downbeat. The first downbeat occur after an ambient intro. There are also times where the phrasing can change throughout a track. A great (and funny) example of this is in the Axis of Awesome video “In The Club Tonight” ( If you click this link the track starts to build up and normally after 32 beats it’d drop into the chorus, but in this case there’s an extra 4 beats added at the end (“but this part always tricks you”.) So even if you have your beat grid set at the first downbeat, this extra 4 beats would throw off the phrase count. In this case you’d need to make a mental note that the phrasing has changed.

  • killmedj

    Far out has it got to the stage where we have to teach DJ’s how to count to 4, 8 or 16?
    If you aren’t already thinking in musical terms when you are drawn to being a DJ, then why are you even doing it?

    • Umasuki

      Because you find it interesting? Idk… Is it a requirement to be familiar with music theory before getting interested in DJing?

      • Maddox

        The way I see it, it’s the exact same as playing any other instrument. You can know how to play a couple tunes on guitar or piano, but if you don’t have a knowledge of music already you won’t ever fully understand the art form itself and you will never be as good as you could be. You can pick it up without any previous music knowledge, but anybody who is serious about it should get at least a basic knowledge of music.

        • Umasuki

          Well sure, but killmedj implied that you’d need to be thinking in musical terms when drawn to djing to even justify doing it, i.e. a complete beginner who has never done anything but listen to music should not learn to dj…

          • CUSP

            Every DJ started somewhere, so it makes some sense to practice at home (or someplace where your mistakes aren’t being made public) a whole bunch before playing out.

        • LongTimeLurker1stTimePoster

          Yeah but in this day and age though, “talent” is manufactured and packaged for consumption by people who don’t know any better. This article is for the Paris Hilton DJs of the world. Taylor Swift’s army of songwriters also help paper over her skills or whatever she has.

      • killmedj

        I’m not saying you should have a degree from Juilliard before playing for free at your friends 18th birthday party.
        But I do believe a certain aptitude is required for the craft. Counting being it’s most basic.
        Being interested just isn’t enough in my book.
        I mean I’m “interested” in porn, should I do porn?

        Just because I have a camera and genitals ……. anyhow you get the gist. =)

        • Sinhaus

          Your book unfortunately doesn’t matter. There is always room to learn, and you shouldn’t turn ppl away at the door before you’ve heard em.

          • killmedj

            True. But the door is way easy to walk through with djing. My first ever gig as a drummer happened
            after a few years of dedicated
            practice. Maybe I’m out of touch but djing seems to be case of “if
            you have tracks on a USB stick,
            then you can get a gig”
            Let’s use the delightful Paris Hilton
            as an example. Would she be
            doing gigs on guitar? Or keys or drums? Hmmmm nah.
            We should be tough on hacks. And make the door just a little but harder to open.

          • Simone Pontiggia

            I’ve follow you untill now.
            “And make the door just a little but harder to open.” this tought makes me angry! What about Keith Jarrett, or Jordan Rudes sayin : “Man! Piano is just too easy!! A lot of people are playing it without the right knowledge! Just make the door just a litle but harder to open, let’s make keyboard without semitone indication! Let’s built a keyboard that follow some crazy order! So the one who succeed in learning will be worthy!!”

            Things has to be learned but making it easy is the key!
            Is how people use this technology the point. And yes Hilton wasn’t using it right

          • killmedj

            If you could buy a piano, and then the same day do a contemporary jazz gig. And then have nobody in the audience notice. Then I would agree with you completely.
            I studied jazz, played it for years and years. It is hard! Even for the great guy like Rudes!
            Piano playing or any instrument for that matter has a learning period of technique, knowledge and performance. All of the greats went through it. I’d recommend reading the Miles Davis biography and the Nile Rodgers bio too for that matter. These guys are masters. And they got great by their work, skills and attitude.
            I just think modern djing has no real resistance. You decide you want to do. And if you are a cool kid or a celeb. You’ll probably walk right into a gig. ????

            But I appreciate what you are saying. I guess I’m just a grumpy ole muso/DJ who hates to see people getting an easy ride, when I’ve dedicated my life to both forms of the art. And am proud of what I do.
            At the end of the day though. It is what it is.

          • Simone Pontiggia

            You have to be proud!
            But I’m pointing out that making something harder works only like a filter, you want to filter who is playing and who is not? If yes, ok is a point. But for creativity I think that more people must get into. Because probably “anyone” brings something.

            But I see that so many people stuck with the easy stuff or the stuff made easy.

            But the difference is realy visible. A person good at music is better than the pretty guy.

          • killmedj

            Oh I agree 100%. Creativity is a different matter all together. Anybody with a good idea is better than somebody who is just technically good. The trouble with DJing is that DJing at it’s most simple form is just somebody playing a selection of tunes. If they have a modicum of skill they can blend between those tunes in a non-jarring kind of way. If they do this with enough tunes that people like, then technically they’re DJing.
            The Peris Hilton scenario.

            I totally agree with you though. when you see somebody with a lot of skill and experience. the energy in the room is completely different. The difference is Black and White.

    • Ean Golden

      for those without a musical background, understanding the 16/32 count phrasing principle is not intuitive and often needs to be explained. I have heard many experienced resident dj’s start on a mix completely out of phrase, resulting in cringe worthy song structure conflicts.

      • Juergen Tolksdorf

        yepp, know some of them as well … worst thing is they don’t even notice 🙂

      • Anthony Woodruffe

        Yet virtually everyone seems to know where the drop is… So it’s reasonable to assume some natural basic form of phrase cycles recognition in everyone.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      I think most people already recognize this pattern at an unconscious level and it’s not until it’s actually brought to your attention that you consciously notice it. Of course people are drawn to DJing for all kinds of different reasons, if it’s a love for music then the next step would be to learn more about the structure of that music. It definitely doesn’t start from a logical place but an emotional place. No one thinks, “hey I can count so I should DJ.” In most cases people just enjoy music and want to share that with others.

    • I am

      You sound like a dream deferred…

      • killmedj

        you sound like a partially read pamphlet.

    • ChaZ

      It’s more like creating room for beginners as well. A good move by DJTT to expand the target audience domain and also lend a helping hand to the newbies. No harm I see here.

    • Dennis Parrott

      if you spend the cash to take Dubspot’s “Digital DJing With Traktor” course, learning to count is one of the very first lessons. (followed shortly by lessons on phrase mixing…)

      if you are building up tutorial materials for _any_ endeavor, you have to (at the very least) provide a reference to the basics you expect your learner to understand to be able to get through the materials you are presenting. (i’ve worked in a group that builds web-based training for a major auto manufacturer for 7 years and been a ski instructor for 30 — i’ve done some instructing…)

      worse, here in the USA, music education at the primary and secondary levels gets kicked to the curb anytime there is a budget pinch. you cannot count on any aspiring young DJ coming out of high school knowing a beat from a bar.

      i am way older so i got a (very) little bit of music theory in school. i knew about 4/4 timing but never learned about “phrasing” until Dubspot. (i wish that i had understood that beatgridding is only really do-able with electronically produced music — i would not have torn out so much hair trying to beatgrid old disco and Motown… LOL)

      @Ryan – brilliant intro article. I have not watched the video yet but the concept was introduced and you showed folks where to look in Traktor to make it visible.

    • eugene

      It’s funny. My reply was actually regarding the same concern…

    • reader

      because its djtt?

    • sc00termac

      chicks, man… nasty, skanky club chicks.

      • killmedj

        ROFLing like a muthafukka! =D

  • Maddox

    As a long time percussionist, phrasing almost comes naturally to me. You get to the point where you can simply feel the song and know what is going to happen and in how long. When matching up the phrases of my songs, I do it purely by listening and actually feeling the song as opposed to watching the waveform or the phrase:bar:beat counter. Though I will look at that counter every now and then if I have to talk to someone or if I have to go do something, but even then it isn’t needed. Great tips for beginners though, a good since of phrasing is an absolute must!