DJ Glossary

A dictionary

Anti-skating
a rotating record pulls the Cartridge towards the center of the Platter. Anti-skating counters that pull to prevent skating (duh!), reduce the wear of the record groove's inner wall and prevent sound distortion.
Bar
in 4/4 dance music, a group of four Beats, in which the first beat is normally stressed.
Bass drum
See Kick drum.
Beat
the basic rhythm unit of a track, audible or implied. In DJing, beats are often synonymous to Bass drum kicks, which occur on every beat in most genres of dance music.
Beatmatching
the process of matching a track's tempo to that of the currently playing tune. Beatmatching is normally done by ear.
Bitrate
rate of information flow, usually expressed as kilobits per second (kbit/s). In digital audio formats like MP3, higher bitrate normally means lower compression rate and higher sound quality.
BPM
beats per minute. A measure of a track's tempo. For example, the tempo of most house tracks is in the 125 to 132 BPM range.
Breakdown
the part of a track where the Beats disappear. The track's biggest breakdown normally comes just before its climax.
Cartridge
in a DJ turntable, a small device that translates the vibrations of the Stylus into electrical signal.
CBR
constant bitrate. An approach to encoding audio/video data whereby the bitrate stays constant throughout the file. See also VBR.
Crossfader (x-fader)
a horizontal fader on a DJ mixer that allows for fading one channel in while fading another one out at the same time.
Cueing
1). finding the first Beat of a song to use as a starting point or 2). listening to the next record in your headphones while the dancefloor hears a different tune.
DJ
a person who plays recorded music for other people.
Dynamic range
the difference in volume of the loudest and softest passages of a track.
EP
Extended Play.  A Release that contains several tracks, usually without Remixes. Has less music than a full album.
Galloping
see Trainwreck.
Headshell
a thingy on which the phono Cartridge is mounted and which is attached to the end of the turntable's Tonearm.
Hook
a catchy musical passage (riff, phrase) of a tune. A hook is normally short – 1 to 2 bars – and is often part of the chorus.
Jog wheel
a big dial on a professional CD deck. When a track is playing, rotating the wheel speeds up or slows down the track (pitch bending). The jog wheel also allows for searching through the track frame by frame when in "stutter" mode. In vinyl mode, it emulates a record on a turntable.
Kick drum
the big drum that goes "boom, boom, boom, boom" and hits on every Beat in most dance music genres. Also known as bass drum.
Label
a brand or a trademark associated with music Releases. Records released by a given dance music label typically belong to the same genre, and the label itself works with a certain segment of producers in that genre.
Mix (mixset, or simply set)
a sequence of tracks mixed together without gaps or changes in tempo. Can be performed by a DJ live or recorded in a studio.
Mixing
combining two or more sound tracks. In DJing, mixing means combining the two tunes when doing a blend from one tune to another. In music production, mixing means combining the track elements (e.g. the bassline, drums, vocals etc.) into a finished song.
Monitors
monitor speakers. Special speakers in the DJ booth that let the DJ clearly hear how their Mix sounds on the dancefloor, without the delay or distortions of the main sound system.
Pitch control
a slider on a DJ deck that lets you adjust the record’s tempo.
Platter
the rotating platform of a vinyl turntable where the record is placed.
Re-edit
a version of a track produced by re-arranging and/or removing parts of the original. Unlike a Remix, which may change a track beyond recognition, a re-edit simply re-arranges the track’s parts – verses, choruses, Breakdowns etc. – in a different way.
Release
a collection of tracks released by an artist as a single piece. Examples of releases include albums, EPs, Singles etc.
Remix
an alternative version of a tune created by adding/removing track elements, layering samples and/or sound effects on top of the track as well as changing the key, tempo or other characteristics of the piece.
RPM
revolutions per minute. The rotational speed at which a vinyl record is played. Standard values of RPM include 33, 45 and 78 for vintage records.
Scratching
“a DJ or turntablist technique used to produce distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer.” OK, do I seriously need to explain this one? :)
Set
see Mix.
Single
a release containing one tune plus a few Remixes to it. Electronic dance music is mostly released in the form of singles.
Slipmat
a circular felt mat that sits between the vinyl record and the Platter and serves to reduce friction between them. Makes slip-Cueing possible.
Strobe
a flashing light on a vinyl turntable that lets you check how precisely the deck is spinning. Under strobe light, the dots on the side of the platter are supposed to “freeze” on certain pitch positions.
Stylus
a diamond needle that's inserted into a Cartridge and that picks up sound vibrations from a vinyl record.
Tone arm
in a vinyl turntable, a hollow metal tube with a counterweight to which the Cartridge is attached. Can be straight or S-shaped.
Trainwreck
the DJ’s nightmare that occurs when the Beats of two mixed tracks fall out of sync. In its mild forms, sounds like “boo-boom, boo-boom, boo-boom.”
Turntablism
the art of manipulating the sound and making music using vinyl turntables and a DJ mixer.
VBR
variable bitrate. An audio/video encoding scheme where the bitrate may change from one file segment to another depending on the richness of the encoded signal. The sound quality of VBR MP3s is usually better than of CBR files of the same size.
X-fader
see Crossfader.
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