Interactive cheatsheet for harmonic / modulation mixes and key adjustments


Good DJing Is Important

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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 Virtual DJ or Traktor or any other DJ software with an equivalent feature  and from there 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 Virtual DJ 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 a bunch of sources together.
These sources I've compared 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.

harmonic mix harmonical compatible

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: +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: Lower Energy (or) 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: (same number) change letter
NAME: Relative Major <-> minor Switch
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: In minor: -1 & change letter | In Major: +1 & change letter
NAME: Sub Dominant Key
EXAMPLE: 5A <-> 4B
Playing the Sub Dominant key of the Relative minor <-> Major (C minor to A-flat Major) – This is similar to playing the Dominant key of the Relative Major or minor key, and 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. 

modulation mix intro/outro & quick mix compatible

RULE: +7 (same letter)
NAME: "Raising energy" | Going up a Half Step (1 semitone)
EXAMPLE: 3A -> 10A (or 1B -> 8B)
Going up a Half Step (Modulation Mixing) (B-flat minor – 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 the energy.

RULE: +2 (same letter)
NAME: "Energy Boost ++" | Going up a Whole Step (2 semitones)
Going up a whole step (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: 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.

Sure, for best results determine the keys of your tracks manually
(if you happen to be born with a set of perfect pitched ears...)

But if not (like most people), then on which key detection software you can rely best?

Which application is the most accurate in mid 2019 when it comes down to key analysis?
1. Mixed In Key 8.5.2325.0 ~75%
2. Traktor Pro 3.2.060 ~69%
2. tuneXplorer ~69%
3. KeyFinder 2.4 ~68%
3. ~68%
4. rekordbox 5.6.1 Beta 2 ~63%
5. Mixvibes Cross DJ 4.0.1 ~61%
6. beaTunes 5.1.14 ~57%
7. Serato DJ Pro 2.2 ~56%
8. PCDJ Dex 3.0.14 ~47%
9. VirtualDJ 2018 b5046 ~38%
10. Mixxx 2.2.1 ~36%
Spreadsheet with results (scroll all the way down for summary)

Which application is the most accurate in mid 2019 when it comes down to key analysis counting the mislabeled relative Major/minor as right?
1. Mixed In Key 8.5.2325.0 ~78% (77,5%)
2. Traktor Pro 3.2.060 ~72% (71,7%)
3. KeyFinder 2.4 ~72% (71,5%)
4. tuneXplorer ~71% (71,4%)
5. ~71% (71,0%)
Spreadsheet with results

The tracks are based on the Dataset of KeyFinder v2, which is based on the research/thesis of Ibrahim Sha'ath, also the creator of KeyFinder.
His co-workers manually determined the key of 1000 tracks. I tried to find them back in my own collection + searched the net for these tracks. Some I could find, but weren't the same version/remix etc. The end result is a solid 840 tracks I could gather to test with. 
Original topic


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