Interactive cheatsheet for harmonic + modulation mixes
& key adjustments


Good DJing Is Important

Create more interesting & creative mixes using DJ Mix Improver.


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Key notation style

Select your favorite key notation style.


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Learn more about the key transitions including video demo examples.

Frequently Asked Questions

All your questions answered.

1. Your music collection should be pre-analyzed key-wise, either manual or by software.

2. You play a track, for example in 12A (D-flat minor) (or use musical or open key notation)
Open app, set it to 12A with the slider on top.

3. Now you see your options that will go well together. 
Also shows you what kind of vibe this transition will sound like.

4. Let’s say you choose for Mood Shifter.
You sort your playlist/collection on key and it shows you an overview which tracks can be used; 
For Mood Shifter - 3B (D-flat Major) in this case.

5. You mix initial 12A track to this next track in 3B.
Now you can tick on the 3B (or Mood Shifter text) and instantly see all options that will blend well together for the present key.

6. Rinse and repeat 4 & 5 (make sure Key Lock in your DJ software is enabled).

Using this key change wheel, you can instantly look up what key you’re moving a track to,
When using the key knob on VirtualDJ or Traktor or any other DJ software with an equivalent feature.  From there on, use the usual rules to work out the compatible keys for your next mix.

All you need to do is ensure keylock is on, and make sure you understand how the Camelot Wheel works and how to get Camelot Wheel notation to show on your DJ software.

As far as the latter requirement goes, in VirtualDJ it’s a simple preference change, and in Traktor you’ve got three options:
1. Show existing Mixed In Key information by selecting “Key Text” in your library (if you are a Traktor user who still uses Mixed in Key for key work, you need do no more);
2. Alter the chart to show Traktor notation instead (the principle is the same);
3. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to quadruple your options when key mixing instantly!

Or... Just use DJ Mix Improver, which will show you these key changes at one glance in the app! 
Original topic

In my hunt to find consensus in what 'rules' apply to harmonic mixing, besides the usual
+1, -1 & switch A<>B on the Camelot keywheel, I've gathered the most interesting sources together.
I've compared them and filtered it down to where they reached consensus.
The following 'rules' are based on where they reach consensus in multiple sources.
Those are the ones that DJ Mix Improver support.

For an overview, see Camelot Key Mixing Rules mentioned per source


RULE: (same number & letter)
NAME: Perfectly Harmonic
EXAMPLE: 4A <-> 4A
Staying in the same key (F minor to F minor) – These tracks will both be in the same key and are therefore perfectly compatible harmonically.
Playing two tracks in the same key will give the effect that the tracks are singing together.
CONCLUSION: Staying in the same key, e.g. 1B <-> 1B or 10A <-> 10A sounds perfectly harmonic.

RULE: (same number) change letter
NAME: Tonal Shift
EXAMPLE: 4B <-> 4A
Going from Relative Major to Relative minor (A-flat Major to F minor) – This combination will likely sound good because the notes of both scales are the same, but the root note is different. The energy of the room will change dramatically.
CONCLUSION: Moving "vertically" e.g. 8B -> 8A or 9A -> 9B sounds good together and will change the energy.

RULE: +1 (same letter)
NAME: Energy Boost
Moving up a Fifth (F minor to C minor) – This will raise the energy in the room. Harmonically these two keys are almost perfectly compatible.
Only one note is different between the two scales.
CONCLUSION: Going up by 1 in same scale, e.g. 1B -> 2B or 10A -> 11A sounds almost perfectly harmonic and raises energy a bit.

RULE: -1 (same letter)
NAME: Go Deeper
Going down a Fifth (F minor to B-flat minor) – This type of mix will take the crowd deeper. The tracks will sound great together.
It won’t raise the energy necessarily but will give your listeners goosebumps!
CONCLUSION: Going down by 1 in same scale, e.g. 1B -> 12B or 10A -> 9A sounds almost perfectly harmonic and sounds like going deeper in the mix.

RULE: In minor: -1 & change letter | In Major: +1 & change letter
NAME: Related Key
EXAMPLE: 5A <-> 4B
Playing the subdominant key of the Relative minor <-> Major (C minor to A-flat Major) – is another great way to transition between Major and minor scales, since the scales are only different by 1 note, and also sounds really good harmonically.
CONCLUSION: If in minor, down diagonally, e.g. 9A -> 8B | If in Major, up diagonally, e.g. 8B -> 9A and sounds really good together. 


RULE: +2 (same letter)
NAME: "Energy Boost ++" | Going up a Whole Step (2 semitones)
Going up 2 semitones (Modulation mixing) (F minor to G minor) – This will raise the energy of the room. 
Call it “hands in the air” mixing or might call it “Energy Boost mixing”.
CONCLUSION: Up (NOT down) by 2, e.g. 8B -> 10B or 1A -> 3A should be mixed quickly to avoid key clash and boosts the energy alot.

RULE: -2 (same letter)
NAME: "Energy Drop" | Going down a Whole Step (2 semitones)
Going down 2 semitones (Modulation mixing) (G minor to F minor) – This will drop the energy of the room. It's the same principle as 'Energy Boost++' but instead it will lower the energy.
Useful to let the audience know the set is coming to an end.
CONCLUSION: Down (NOT up) by 2, e.g. 10B -> 8B or 3A -> 1A should be mixed quickly to avoid key clash and drops the energy alot.

RULE: In minor: +3 & change letter | In Major: -3 & change letter
NAME: "Mood Shifter" minor to Major | Major to minor
EXAMPLE: 4A <-> 7B | 1B <-> 10A
Going from minor to Major (F minor to F Major) – While these keys might have 3 notes that are different, the root note is the same and can give a great musical effect on the dancefloor, either brightening the mood or darkening the mood.
CONCLUSION: minor to Major or vice-versa: switching letters and subtracting 3 when in Major, e.g. 1B -> 10A or adding 3 when in minor, e.g. 10A -> 1B should be mixed quickly to avoid key clash and tends to darken or brighten the mood.

RULE: +7 (same letter)
NAME: "Raise Tension" | Going up a Half Step (1 semitone)
EXAMPLE: 3A -> 10A (or 1B -> 8B)
Going up 1 semitone (Modulation Mixing) (B-flat minor to B minor) – While these two scales have almost no notes in common, musically they shouldn’t sound good together but if you plan it right and mix a percussive outro of one song with a percussive intro of another song, and slowly bring in the melody this can have an amazing effect musically and raise the energy of the room dramatically.
CONCLUSION: Up (NOT down) by 7 e.g. 8B -> 3B or 1A -> 8A should be mixed quickly to avoid key clash and tends to raise tension.

Rank: Application: Accuracy:
1 Mixed In Key 8.5.2325.0
2 DJUCED 5.0.6
3 Traktor Pro
4 KeyFinder 2.4
5 tuneXplorer 2.9.5
7 beaTunes 5.2.9
8 rekordbox 6.0.3
9 MixVibes CrossDJ 4.2.0
10 Engine Prime 1.5.0
11 djay Pro 1.0.27685
12 Serato DJ Pro 2.3.5
14 Mixxx 2.2.3
15 VirtualDJ 2020 b5874

For best results determine the keys of your tracks manually by ear.
Using a keyboard for example to play reference chords with.
This can be a tedious job if you have alot of tracks.
Then on which key detection software you can rely best?

Which application is the most accurate in 2020 when it comes down to key detection?
Original topic

And the winner is: Mixed In Key
Spreadsheet with results (scroll all the way down for summary)

The tracks used in this comparison are based on the following datasets that were keyed by ear:
KeyFinder v2 Dataset by Ibrahim Sha'ath
Key Detection Lab Report 2016 by DJ ENDO
Key Detection Comparison 2015 by
Key Detection Comparison 2014 by
Key Detection Showdown 2013 by DJ ENDO

What about
Original topic

Beatport determined keys scores ~68,2% accuracy.
They're not provided by the labels/producer, as some people think.


Trailer & Tutorial.