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Early DJ Mixing Techniques

Early DJ Mixing Techniques

Early DJ pioneers such as Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, DJ Ron Hardy, and others were instrumental in transforming disco into early house music. These famous DJs shaped the modern dance scene for all time.

In the late 1970s, pioneering club DJs experimented with new approaches to edit, mix, and remixing records. They also tried out new approaches to circumvent the constraints of the DJ equipment. Many DJs lacked basic equipment such as a DJ mixer, headphones, and turntables with different speeds. DJs also integrated the jobs of DJ, producer, composer, and remixer around this period. For example, the “Godfather of House,” Frankie Knuckles, would remix (re-edit) tracks on a reel-to-reel tape machine. He would include percussion breaks, rearrange portions, adjust the tempo, and lengthen breakdowns or explosive passages of songs. He edited disco classics, funk, soul, electro-pop, and other genres to create dance-oriented mixes. 

With the growth of technology, the “house music” sound has also evolved swiftly. DJs advanced house music by introducing synthesizers, samplers, effects processors, and drum machines, which introduced the 4/4 beat. These early pioneers also began to loop basslines, layer percussion, mix in effects, add vocals, and use other remixing techniques. This unique and inventive electronic sound immediately captured clubgoers’ attention. 

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