How do I beatmatch two songs?
Beatmatching is a technique used to align the beats of two songs so that they are in sync with each other. In order for the beats to be in sync, two things must be true:
- The songs are playing at the same tempo i.e. the time between beats is the same in both songs.
- The beats must be in phase i.e. the rhythmic notes (bass drum, snare drum, etc.) occur at the same times.
Transitions has two buttons corresponding to items 1 and 2 that can be used to beatmatch:
- The toolbar button labeled 'sync' will synchronize the tempos of the two songs when enabled.
- The toolbar button labeled 'beat' will lock both songs in phase enabled.
By enabling both buttons, the songs will be beatmatched. You will notice that the beat grids in the waveform view are aligned when a song is beatmatched. In some cases, Transitions may detect the wrong tempo or phase, in which case the beat grids need to be adjusted.
How do I align two songs during a fade?
First, it's important to understand how most songs are structured in order to align them properly. If you take a look at the song annotations, you will notice that most sections are 8 bars or measures in length, or with 4 beats per bar, 8*4 = 32 beats per section. There are exceptions, but most music you will encounter follows this pattern: songs are broken into 8 bar/32 beat sections. It is on those section boundaries where you will want to fade in one song or fade out another. So when mixing, align the section boundaries of the two songs and then fade in and out on the boundaries. If you pay attention to my video you will see that I follow this rule with few exceptions.
What if I encounter a section that isn't 8 bars?
In this case, you can repeat part of a section to produce an 8 bar section by using a loop. For example, you can take a four bar section and repeat it to align it with an 8 bar section. I use this technique several times in my demo.
Where do I choose to fade one song into the another i.e. what sections make the best mix points?
There is some flexibility on where you choose to do a fade, but you should generally avoid fading when both songs have vocals. Intros, Choruses, Breaks, Instrumentals, and Outros are the best sections to do a fade. Verses are almost always a bad time to do a fade.
- Intro over Chorus
- Intro over Break
- Intro over Instrumental
- Intro over Outro
- Chorus over Break
- Chorus over Outro
How do I choose songs that will mix well together?
This is a very complex topic, but as a general rule, you will want to choose songs that have approximately the same BPM or tempo. The BPM is the number displayed on the player between the song title and playback time. To find a song with a similar tempo, sort your playlist by BPM and look for songs matching the tempo of song that is playing. Selecting a song within +/- 5 BPM will usually sound the best.
Beyond that, most of it just comes down to experimentation. Try mixing two songs together. If it sounds good, go with it. If not, try something different. That was the basic recipe for producing my demo mix. I had about 30-40 songs I was playing around with, and when I found a pair of songs that produced a nice sound, I wrote it down. Once I had a number of solid pairs, I looked for ways I could bridge the pairs together, and eventually had my set planned out. From there I went ahead and recorded the mix you see and hear - I actually nailed it on the first take. In planning, I had only mixed 2 or 3 songs in a row, so it was really something to hear the whole thing come together in one set.