What is Beat-matching?
It is the art of mixing two musical compositions together seamlessly by speeding up or slowing down one of the songs to align their rhythms.
Basically, you need to be able to hear whether the beat you are adjusting is faster or slower. In order to do this you need skill which comes from an ear for tempo and lots of practice.
A good DJ knows how to beat-match.
You need to have a way to listen to one track in the headphones while another track is playing on the main sound system.
Play a track though the sound system.
Find another track in your headphones you want to beat-match with the one playing. (This is done on a DJ mixer by turning on the Cue for the track you want to listen to.)
Find the first beat of the track you are going to mix in, and hold it right there. If you’re using turntables or CDJs you can just grab on to the top of the record or CDJ to essentially pause the track where the beat begins.
Listen to the beat playing through the main speakers. Wait for it to get to the first beat of a cycle. (Music in 4/4 timing usually is all built around cycles of 4 and 8 counts. ie. 4 beats in a bar, and 4 bars segments that lead to builds and changes in the music.) When you feel the music hit on the first beat with a crash or whatever, that is right when you want to play the beat you are mixing in. (in your headphones only)
Immediately after releasing your hold on the record or CDJ, you must listen closely in your headphones with one ear to detect whether the beat you are mixing in is going slower or faster than the one already playing. If it’s going slower then adjust the pitch slider, and maybe even give it a little push to help it catch up to record A faster. If it’s going faster than record A then turn down the pitch slider on the turntable or CDJ accordingly to make it the same speed. You may even want to touch the side of the turntable plate or CDJ to slow it down faster.
Once you have the beats aligned perfectly (or close to anyway), move the cross fader on the DJ mixer to the center with the bass cut on the beat you are mixing in. (you don’t want the basses of both tracks going at the same time) Then when it seems like the right moment switch the basses either slowly or fast and the switch over to the next track on the first beat of first cycle.
This articles was written by DJ Story who has been DJing for 11 years, and you can see beat-matching examples in his electro house demo mix video.