Friday, 27 March 2009

working toward a rigorous definition of 'continuous mixing'

So I have been thinking about this idea of continuous mixing, or generally speaking, more content aware automatic song to song transitions for some time now. To that end I'm aiming to put something together for DAfX on the topic. As this deadline for submission is fast approaching, my writing is generally focus in that direction. In the meantime however, I'll throw out a vague english definition of continuous mixing so that you the reader can get an idea of where I'm coming from on this topic, with some more rigorous definitions to follow.

continuous mixing: A song to song mixing technique where the goal is to obfuscate the transition between the two songs such that a casual listener cannot immediately pinpoint when the transition occurred. This can involve the use of beat matching/alignment, phrase matching/alignment, content aware equalization and other technical elements as well as sensible song selection with regard to harmony (i.e. key changes that make musical sense).

So that's my starting point. Anyone else have an opinion? What is continuous mixing mean to you? Bonus question! When is continuous mixing an appropriate transition technique in playlist presentation? I'm starting with modern electronic dance music, but these techniques can certainly apply to other musics (speed metal? maybe. free jazz? probably not...)


zazi said...

If you like to cover a smooth changeover like a dj can do it, then definition will fit it's requirement. Although, it is a very long definition, which may can be a little bit snatched.
But what about a simple cross-fading technique a dj can do at a good position at song. A kind of hard break, which fits in the overall mix, e.g. mixing two "burner" tracks, where it isn't possible to do a smooth changeover (but a break at the right place would rock the crowd). Is this usecase covered by audio content equalisation?

ben said...

Well, this use case you mention is covered in my work. I've described this case as 'Phrase-Aligned Start No Tempo Adjust' in a later post and I'm going to get into detail about these subtypes a bit later...

As for your first point, you're right, this definition really applies to ideas of smooth mixing. I think continuos mixing has a more general application.

The audio content equalization can really apply to any of the cases. It can be thought of (roughly) as a separation of the crossfader into frequency bands (probably three). So, you could transition the hi's then the lows then the mids seperately (but still all phrase aligned).