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DJ [diːdʒeɪ] refers to a person who plays music recorded on phonograms in an individual selection before the audience, for which the term "Auflegen" (used by "Schallplatten auflegen") is generally used. In the German-speaking world female DJs are also called DJane or rare She-DJ.

Despite the same pronunciation and etymology DJ is different from the Jamaican Deejay. Etymologically related to the term DJ is also with Lightjockey (LJ), Visual Jockey (VJ) and Video Jockey (VJ), which describe the activities of visual support closely linked to a DJ performance.


In 1940, a young woman was playing music in an air raid shelter in North London.
Discjockey (DJ), also disc jockey or disc jockey (English disc "disc", jockey, jockey, handlanger), originally designation for a radio moderator, presented in the radio record. The term was coined within the framework of the Top40-Radio in the USA from 1940 (see: Airplay), extended later by shifting to other media also on TV movers and discosans.

Already in Christmas 1906 a shellac plate was used for the first radio transmission on the American east coast. Elman B. Meyers is the first full-time DJ in New York (1911), the first star DJ Martin Block (around 1935). Radio-disc jockeys like Alan Freed made a breakthrough around Rock'n'Roll. Freed's illegal activities have exposed the susceptibility of the music industry to any type of bribery. Freed was involved in the cut-in as well as involved in the Payola affair. After the invention of the LP in 1948, a creative medium (John Cage: 33 1/3, 1969) and DJs became a myth of pop culture (George Lucas: American Graffiti, 1973). With the Discotrend of the seventies, the rap / hip hop of the eighties and techno of the nineties of the 20th century, DJs emancipated themselves as sound artists (DJ culture) and producers. Scratching, sampling, remixes and computer technology made recordings for any changeable mass for metamusic. DJs became stars (Sven Väth, Paul van Dyk), experimenters (Tricky, Coldcut) or even philosophers (DJ Spooky). For the music industry, the discjockeys are still of great importance for radio stations, as the program design influences the sales figures of individual music genres or artists.

DJs in discos
If you define a discotheque as a space where people can be entertained by a sound-recording DJ with recorded music for money and for dancing purposes, there was the first discotheque in Northern Leeds, as early as 1943. Main initiator and DJ for the evening was Jimmy Savile.

The early years
In the middle of the 1960s, the first DJs began to emancipate themselves from the function of the pure record carrier. Had they hanged one by one and moderated between them, Terry Noel, who was in Arthur's New York City in 1965, began to expand the DJ's musical repertoire and create new music. Noel began to personally take control of the lighting system, built a sound system that allowed him to move a sound across the room and began to allow unknown freedoms in the mixing of pieces. He laid several pieces on top of each other to create new sounds and to create a music from records that could not be found on a record.

In Germany there were about 10, 1965 already 50 (partly traveling) DJs. The first professional organization for DJs was founded in Aachen in 1963.

The revolution of the 1970s
In the 1970s, with the advent of disco music in the US, the DJ's techniques soon changed. Instead of the announcements, rhythmic elements were determined, resulting in the first club mixes, which were extended versions of the songs. The DJs began to mix the beats of the different songs at the same speed, which is hardly perceptible, which is still common in the electronic dance scene.

The culture of hip-hop had a great influence on this change. The record players turned from the mere player to the musical instrument, the backspin and the scratching developed into new possibilities in the DJ technique, which decisively influenced the new musical directions. The backspin, for example, For example the possibility of repeating a single rhythmic passage as often as possible so that record players could be used as a cheap alternative to samplers.

fields of activity
The tasks of a DJ are varied and differ considerably depending on the genre and the work place. There is the classic pop DJ, as you know it from radio and discos. He often earns his livelihood with this activity and plays music, depending on the taste of the audience, from a wide range of genres and is ideally suited to the charts of recent years.

The main task of the pop DJ is to offer the audience pleasant music and to entertain it well. Therefore he attaches great importance to playing a balanced mix of popular music and to finding the most suitable record for each record. From a technical point of view, his work is limited to the timely availability of the next record and a smooth transition to it. But more important than the technical skills of this DJ-type is the ability to meet the taste of the audience or to influence the mood of the audience.

This special type of DJ was created from the recent increased demands of sports, business and lifestyle events. In addition to a good presentation, the audience wants to be animated and accompanied by music adapted to the dramaturgy of the event. In contrast to a pop DJ, the event DJ is not the only entertainer, but acts in close collaboration with the moderator and the various protagonists of an event. The event DJ takes the mood of the actors, the audience and the guests and, with the help of a comprehensive selection of music, can adapt thematically and in a manner adapted to the event and intensify the emotions of the audience. The special feature of the event DJ is the way it works. In addition to the necessary ability to recognize the musical taste of the audience and to record records, the event DJ also works with tailored music jingles, which are matched to the events. These are pre-produced excerpts of songs that are intended to animate the audience either for clapping, singing or dancing, and can be quickly and easily adapted to the situation by the event DJ. Particularly in the area of ​​sports events, the event DJ finds its main task area due to the flexible working method and the music selection aimed at the event. A special form of the event DJ is the wedding DJ. Since the beginning of 2005 it has been observed that these are no longer concerned only with the musical entertainment of the wedding society, but also take over a large part of the planning. The close connection of the DJs with owners of appropriate locations, sound engineers, event photographers and caterers has made wedding DJs appear as a kind of intermediary between the industries and their customers, the wedding couple. This results in particular financial and organizational advantages for these in particular. In addition, the entertainment of a wedding company is always a delicate task. Besides the moderation and entertainment, it is always a question of directing the mood, planning and directing the guests individually, as well as the wedding process. The special challenge is to be able to react flexibly and spontaneously as well as to remain as a DJ in the background.

DJ team
A DJ team usually consists of two people, who are often given a particular team name, while they retain their individual names as "solo artists". The advantage (for the organizer, the audience and the DJ) is that they are mutually driving each other. Furthermore, a wider range of music styles can be played because each has its own individual taste. The type of performance develops after a certain time. Some prefer to play in blocks. The DJs alternate between 3-5 tracks. In a perfect interplay, however, both operate simultaneously the controllers.

DJs of special musical genres
Another type of DJ is found at Techno, House, Goa or Jungle parties, as well as in some non-electronic musical genres such as salsa and jazz: he is a specialist for a certain style of music. This DJ aims to maximize the hypnotic effect of the music he plays through a flowing mix of individual tracks.

As a reference soundboard player, many vinyl DJs have been looking at the record players from Technics, which have been produced since the 1970s and are very popular with DJs because of their durability and high quality.

DJs of turntablism and hip-hop
Another completely different type of DJ is to be found especially in the area of ​​Hip-Hop (and Nu Metal), especially the so-called Turntablism - the boundaries are fluid. Here the laying out is regarded above all as a creative means of expression and much emphasis placed on technical mastery of the instrument record player. Especially Beatjuggling and Scratching are very popular. DJ activity is a key part of hip-hop culture and is one of the four elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing, B-Boying and Writing).

An important factor of the motivation of the DJs in this area is the competition (competition). DJs meet so-called DJ-Battles to prove their skills under the eyes of a jury. A lively scene deals with the exchange of self-recorded mixes, cuts and scratches over the Internet and to measure themselves among themselves.

In hip-hop DJs, it is customary to turn the record players 90 degrees to the left, that is, with the tone arm at the back, so that the tone arm does not interfere with scratching. This is usually known as Battle-Mode.

DJs on the radio
The development of the DJ culture began with the advent of music broadcasts on the radio. One of the first is the Briton Christopher Stone, who started a conversation with records at the BBC in 1927. One of the most important pioneers was the American Alan Freed, who is regarded as the most successful DJ in the rock 'n' roll era and has decisively influenced the concept itself.

Germany's first radio DJs were, B. Rudi Rauher, who was a fast-paced morning program with recordings at the then WERAG (Westdeutsche Rundfunk AG), later Reichsender Köln, the predecessor of today's WDR, which he himself played behind the microphone. After the Second World War it was Günter Discher and the Englishman Chris Howland: This one once a week on the radio and is still today with its nickname, Mr. Pumpernickel known. In the 1950s his recording melody "Melody Fair" by Robert Farnon from the FM radio station of the WDR. Millions of people sat in front of the radio and listened to this popular show, which was chattering loosely and sleevelessly transcended the certain something on the listener. Chris Howland was considered a pioneer because of his natural nature. Hundreds of radio-disc jockeys followed him over the years.

Camillo Felgen, Chris Howland, Mal Sondock, Dieter Thomas Heck, Manfred Sexauer, and Frank Laufenberg in the following years, were the "big ones" with broadcasting and partial television. The probably world-famous and most influential radio DJ was the Brit John Peel.

DJs on the radio are still available today at special broadcasts. At 1 Live, there was a few years ago the "Partyservice" with Piet Blank and Mike Litt. The dance channel sunshine live has still today broadcasts, where "correct" DJs, Such as Klubbingman and Felix Kröcher. Also the authorizations 1 Livefiehe (Ein live, early space and time) and the Schwarzmarkt (eldoradio) are moderated by DJs, whereby these are only based on their own tastes and not according to editorial requirements.

As a "real" discjockey at the radio was actually only, who put his records in the studio itself. For this purpose, For example the ARD institutes had set up special discjockey studios in which a desk with at least two record players was available to the DJ, and the sound engineer merely supported the work until the self-employed self-employed studios (in the private and smaller ones) Stations and later also with ÖR-radio). In which the radio DJ mixes the music without technicians into the running program. He also "journeys" the jingles, drop-ins, pre- and back-sellers. With some DJs on the radio, nowadays called moderators, the activity is limited to the announcement, while a technician does the loading of the music.

Resident DJs
A resident DJ (regular resident DJ) or regular DJ plays regularly in a particular discotheque, a particular club, a particular event, or a particular broadcasting station. Residents have a decisive influence on a club or a series of events.

Technology and techniques

The SL-1210 MK2 from Technics, the world's most used professional record player

The RM4200D mixer from DHD-Audio, as used in the broadcast sector
The most important tools of the DJ are his record players or even CD players and his mixer. Like all record players for the DJ area, they are pitchable (ie the speed is infinitely adjustable), at Technics in a range of -8 to +8%. By changing the speed, the pitch of the piece of music is inevitably changed. Due to the powerful motorized direct drive, the devices are capable of accelerating a decelerated plate to the set speed in a short time. These features are indispensable for a professional DJ.

"Modern" media such as CD, MiniDisk or the PC are increasingly used by DJs. There are computer programs, which can be used with adapters and other systems also with record players (see Digital Vinyl System). Traktor Scratch, Virtual DJ, Final Scratch or Rane Serato Scratch are important representatives. DJ makers are also increasingly interested in CD players who are increasingly sharing the characteristics of record players. There are scratch-resistant CD players like the Vestax CDX-05, For example, a vinyl filter with which CDs should sound like old records. But the change to MP3 is further developed for the DJs. Thus, pure MP3 players like the Cortex HDTT-5000 & the Denon DN-HD2500, which do not need any mechanical wear parts. This type of MP3 player is so extensive, additionally equipped with sampler, effect processor and other functions, that they already take many tasks of a mixing console.

DJs have special requirements to the mixers, which, however, vary considerably depending on the mix style (and thus mostly music-dependent). A possibility to listen is indispensable. In general, also easy-going faders are required, and because of the high monitoring volume, noise and interference noise. Well-known mixers are the DJM series from Pioneer, x: one from Allen & Heath and the hip-hop mixers of the Vestax PMC series, HAK from Ecler or the TTM series from RANE.

In the Techno and House, emphasis is placed on a clean sounding and powerful equalizer so that a bassdrum can be completely dimmed. The standard is the 3-band equalizer (bass-mid-treble). With the X: one 62, the manufacturer Allen & Heath has launched the first DJ mixer, which also has a 4-band equalizer (bass mid-high-mid-treble) that is normally only used in the professional segment. In this area, mixers with quite a lot of features - such as a beatcounter or built-in effects - are in demand. In addition, the Rotary Mixer is used. These are from the very beginning very simple mixing consoles, which stand apart from the sound quality clearly from the competition. They are also from the equipment on the level of the 70s and 80s, the decisive difference is that Rotary Mixers do not have as in general fader (sliding regulator), but usually large rotary knobs (therefore also Rotary = rotating). This gives you a longer path and thus also more play for a smooth transition.

In hip-hop, on the other hand, it is important that the mixer is robust and shows as little wear as possible. The hip-hop mixers are generally known as Battle-Mixers, as the scratching, juggling, etc. comes from the Turntablism, where two DJs in the battle duel are scratching against each other. Until a few years ago, the equalizer was neglected, which means that almost all older Battle mixers have only a 2-band equalizer (bass heights). The trend for the newer Battle mixers has been going for about 2-3 years, that the equalizer is no longer equipped with rotary potentiometer but with sliding potentiometer. In the upper price class, the crossfaders are more and more recent developments since it is the most used instrument on the Battle Mixer. There are mechanical and digital-electronic faders. The mechanical faders are usually worn out after a few months, after intensive use. There are very large differences between manufacturer and manufacturer. The electro-digital faders are normally only available in the class from 500 €. They are characterized by the fact that they usually have a lower resistance and have a considerably longer durability due to the almost wear-free operation. Here, the technologies vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, many manufacturers usually give an extra guarantee on their crossfader, the manufacturer Ecler gives for example on its Eternal Fader five-year warranty or 20 million cycles.

The latest technology is DJ controllers, which are similar to a mix of two players and a mixer, but have only their controls and no technology of their own. Such controllers are remote controls for computer programs and can thus only be operated together with a computer.

Backspinning - the retraction or rotation of a disk
Beatjuggling - the use of a disc as a rhythm unit
Beatmatching - synchronizing two disks
Scratching - the use of a disc as a solo instrument

en/music_knowledge/dj.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/24 16:44 (external edit)