Harmonic Mixing

As a time-constrained leisure-time DJ I rarely find time to listen to tracks thoroughly before presenting them to a crowd. Nonetheless, I like to mix tracks that seamlessly integrate to each other and come up with a strong DJ set at night…

In preparation for a DJ set I’m using a product called Mixed in Key which helps you to accomplish mixing two tracks in harmony from a melodic point of view by leveraging musical keys. The program analyzes a track for its key and tempo. Use drag and drop to add tracks to the application.

Itunes b4

The application starts analyzing immediately.

Mik analyze

After re-reading the mp3-tag in iTunes it shows a the information filled in the comments field.

Itunes afer

If you want to appear both values (key and tempo) in your music application (e.g. iTunes, Native Instruments Traktor) you need to tag it. The preferences in Mixed In Key allows the software to write mp3-tag to the comments field of the mp3 or wherever you like it.

Mik prefs

To accomplish mixing two tracks in harmony, I therefore prepare all of my tracks with it. Mixed In Key analyzes the track looking for its basic note key (eg Em). It applies that key for you onto a chart and gives it a number for the key and either an “A” or “B” depending whether the track is in major or minor. The chart Mixed in Key relies upon is called the Camelot chart.


And using our example it will return the value of 9A for Em. This value will be stored in your mp3 meta-tag as configured before. If you later import that analyzed track into Native Instruments Traktor or any other musical application and re-read its tag, this value will show up in your pre-defined tag (e.g. comments).


Harmonic mixing is now happening if you choose another track with the key 9A, a key 9B, or a value of +1/-1 9A (e.g. 10A or 8A). Going up the key scale produces more energy and you build up your set. If you want to add deepness go down on the scale. You can boost your mixes by choosing a key which is +2 of 9A (11A). In that case, you need to make sure you’re not in the mix whilst melodies or harmonic lines are playing.

Also, note that you need to have time-stretching enabled for mixing tracks that have not the same tempo in order to stay in tune! This is done in Traktor by pressing the KEY button on both decks (lower right corner).

Nit keybutton

In club situations with tracks containing lots of melodies, synth lines this kind of technique proofs to be rock-solid!

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