The Ultimate Harmonic Mixing & Composing Chart

THE SITUATION

As both a DJ and composer, the Circle of Fifth or the Camelot Key Wheel system — amongst others — have always been handy tools for me to write and mix music harmonically. There are just too many options in chord progressions than I could ever have in my memory (maybe you can, but I don’t). Plus, I personally use 3 different DJ applications and 3 different DAWs for music production alone, for different purposes.

So yeah, I could always have a look at above mentioned helpers to orientate myself through the notes and chords jungle, in case needed, which is not always the case. I have the most common chords in my head. Just not always.

As a composer I’m fine with the musical key/chord system, i.e. “A minor“, but as a DJ it isn’t very likely (for me, again) to remember all the musical chords to know what to mix into what. So, smart people came up with different systems like the Camelot Keys (Mixed in Key, which I prefer, because of its accuracy) or the Open Keys (Traktor). Which is basically a range of 12 keys for each gender, major and minor chords. “A minor” is 8A (Camelot Key) or 1m (Open Key). In a nutshell: if you mix 1A into 2A (and so forth, up until 12A and then into 1A again) you’re generally fine. Your mixing transitions will always be harmonic, no key clashes. This example is the very basic part of harmonic mixing or composing. And also a bit boring if you do that all the time. It becomes really good and interesting when you use all the options within the world of chord progressions.

What I was missing in all those years of composing and DJing was ONE chart (to rule them all) that shows me ALL key/chord systems and their equivalents, their piano keys (very useful for composing) and their harmonic keys/chords. I searched the net in order to find out if someone did this, but no one did. At least I couldn’t find it.

 

THE SOLUTION

So, I did it myself. 8 hours work and I had what I was looking for. And since I guess this could be useful for every musician/DJ, I want to share it here with you. This is how it looks like (click to open the full resolution file):

The Ultimate Harmonic Mixing & Composing Chart

You can download the high-res JPG above, print it out and use it for yourself, if you like. Here’s a PDF and the original EXCEL version of it, in case you want to edit/modify something for your needs (let me know when you find mistakes or when you improved it!):

 

WHAT DOES IT DO, HOW DO I USE THIS?

Let’s take an example for a composing or mixing situation:

The chord we’re working with at the moment is A minor (or 8A, or 1m). What shall be next? Everything in the table below — around the 8A — is possible, it will be harmonic. The closer to the 8A it is the more harmonic it’ll be.

Composing Keys

DJ Keys

Harmonic Keys

Western Music Scale
Piano Chord Keys
Camelot Key
Open Key
Scale Degree
DJ Keys up/down
D minor D | F | A 7A 12m Fourth (Sub-Dominant) -1
C major C | E | G 8B 1d Relative major

A minor

A | C | E

8A

1m

Same key (tonic)

E minor E | G | B 9A 2m Fifth (Dominant) 1
B-flat/♭ minor A# | C# | F 3A 8m Low energy boost 7
B minor B | D | F# 10A 3m High energy boost (supertonic) 2
A-flat/♭ minor G | B | D# 1A 6m Low energy drain -7
G minor G | A# | D 6A 11m High energy drain (leading tone) -2

But your decision what to do next is depending on the purpose. What kind of “feel” do you want to give your mix or composition?

 

EXAMPLES

Here are some possible chord progression scenarios, working with the Camelot Keys (which I prefer, at least for DJing), starting with 8A:

The “River”

That’s how I call it, it’s kind of a “secure standard”, nothing special, it’s just flowing along:

8A > 9A > 10A … 12A > 1A > 2A and so forth, until you’re at 7A and back into 8A again

Audio sample:

Music used: Ingo Vogelmann “Albert” (8A) > Tripswitch “Proximity Effect” (9A) > Mike Griego “What Lies Beyond” (10A) 

You can’t go wrong with this one, you just rock “around the clock”. Depending on the energy level of actual music/sequence used, transitions changes can be very energetic, though.

The “Little Ocean Wave”

The energy of this chord progression has the shape of an ocean wave or a sawtooth:

8A > 9A > 11A (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 12A > 1a and so forth

Audio sample:

Music used: Ingo Vogelmann “Albert” (8A) > Tripswitch “Proximity Effect” (9A) > Bobby Deep “Egopunk” (11A) 

You can do this once in a while to give your mix a little energy boost, which makes it more interesting than the “River”.

The “Big Ocean Wave”

8A > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 6A (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7a and so forth

Audio sample:

Music used: Ingo Vogelmann “Albert” (8A) > Tripswitch “Proximity Effect” (9A) > Michael A “Storm” (4A) > Robert Babicz “Kinect” (6A) 

Here you have a longer and progressive wave of energy rising, until it falls back to normal at 7A again, just like an ocean wave crashing and the next one building up again.

The “Wild Ocean”

It’s a bit stormy, and the waters stirred up, but everything is still harmonic and in place. This is the most “interesting” way of mixing, things shouldn’t become boring:

8A > 8B (relative major) > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (relative major) > 6B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7B > 2B (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 5B and so forth

Audio sample:

Music used: Third Son & Wally Lopez “Geometry” (8A) > Ingo Vogelmann “Empire On Fire” (8B) > Antrim “The Mystic Lovers” (9A) > Michael A “Storm” (4A) > Raw District Feat. Jinadu “Taking You Down” (Habischman Remix) (4B)

 

I could make up a hell of a lot more examples now (with even sillier names), but you most probably already get the idea. The options are really endless, and you’ll always be composing or DJing harmonic. The above scenarios are just examples. Find out what works for yourself, I’m sure you’ll have fun experimenting with chord progressions, using this nifty chart. Oh, and don’t mind the silly names … it’s just about giving things a name. 😉

 

It’s free! Download, share, modify, re-publish and generally do with it whatever you want. But please, don’t pretend you did this. Credit would be nice (and fair), but is no condition.

 

Now, if you’d head over to bandcamp and buy my music, that’ll be rather nice:

 

Update, January 2017

This is how it looks like when someone make a huge print of it, for the studio.

A Little Touring In 2015

There are some dates flying in for 2015 already, and I wanted to let you (hello promoters!) know early, so maybe you’re interested in having me, once I’m in the proximity.

Right now it looks like this, half of it is confirmed, I will announce officially — incl. venues — when 100% confirmed:

Date Country City
January Spain Malaga
April /May USA Various
June 10-12 Russia St. Petersburg
June 18-21 Denmark Horsens
July Germany Berlin
August Norway Møre og Romsdal

Let me know here, so we can work something out.

Shows

I’m hosting regular DJ mix shows since 2002.

Creating and hosting those shows takes a lot of time, energy and yes, money. Please, consider giving something back so that I can continue to produce and provide these shows and other free high quality content for you in the future.

Become a Patron!

 

If you don’t feel like supporting me on a regular (but one-time) basis, it would be nice if you’d…

 


LIGHTWORKS

LIGHTWORKS

“LIGHTWORKS” is one of the longest standing and one of the most successful DJ mix shows since underground electronic dance music has been broadcast, since 2005.

This show has become a brand of itself, always staying true to its DNA consisting of real Progressive House, Deep House, Melodic Techno. Ingo’s flagship show that delights tens of thousands of fans every month.

Show times

Station Location Website Show Page / Stream URL Broadcast every Station Time Central Europe
Saturo Sounds Elgin, Scotland, UK saturosounds.com saturosounds.com 4th Friday (monthly) 14:00 – 16:00 GMT 15:00 – 17:00 CET
NUBE MUSIC RADIO Buenos Aires, Argentina nube-music.com nube-music.com/shows/ 4th Friday (monthly) 16:00 – 18:00 ART 21:00 – 23:00 CET

Click here to find out at what time the show is being broadcast in your local time.

LIGHTWORKS is constantly being added to multiple radio stations and podcasts around the world. Interested in adding this show to your program? Drop me a message!

Listen and download


TIME OUT

TIME OUT

“TIME OUT” was one of the first regular #Ambient / #Chillout / #Electronica shows that has been successfully broadcast on the internet.

Every month I showcase all the wonderful material that’s more for the contemplative moments in life, going real deep and harmonic in a 2 hour DJ mix. Sophisticated, intelligent, sometimes experimental, always mind-stretching and inspiring music for busy heads and everyone.

Show times

Station Location Website Show Page / Stream URL Broadcast every Station Time Central Europe
Saturo Sounds Elgin, Scotland, UK saturosounds.com saturosounds.com 2nd Sunday (monthly) 14:00 – 16:00 GMT 15:00 – 17:00 CET
NUBE MUSIC RADIO Buenos Aires, Argentina nube-music.com nube-music.com/shows/ 2nd Sunday  (monthly) 16:00 – 18:00 ART 21:00 – 23:00 CET

Click here to find out at what time the show is being broadcast in your local time.

TIME OUT is constantly being added to multiple radio stations and podcasts around the world. Interested in adding this show to your program? Drop me a message!

Listen and download


Shows Calendar

All show times in Central European Time (CET). Click here to find out at what time the show is being broadcast in your local time.


 Add this calendar to your Google Calendar 

Here’s an iCal link for you, and this is the public calendar URL.


Creating and hosting those shows takes a lot of time, energy and yes, money. Please, consider giving something back so that I can continue to produce and provide these shows and other free high quality content for you in the future.

Become a Patron!

 

If you don’t feel like supporting me on a regular (but one-time) basis, it would be nice if you’d…

 

DJs and Mental Health: Electronic Music’s Last Taboo

One in four of us will struggle with mental health issues at some point in our life. It’s something however that a very small segment of the DJ community has spoken openly about. So how prevalent is it among the touring DJ scene, and why does it appear to be the last taboo to be broken?

Very interesting read.

via DJs and Mental Health: Electronic Music’s Last Taboo | DJBROADCAST.NET.

Things That Don’t Actually Make You A Better DJ

I thought all has been said about DJing. I was wrong. This is the best article on DJing I have ever read: Things That Don’t Actually Make You A Better DJ | PassionateDJ.com.*

This just FYI: I grew up playing vinyl and switched directly from there to laptop — never had a CDJ phase. Today I play with a laptop, FLOW and Controller. If someone likes to think I’m not a real DJ (anymore), I suggest you give me 2 records, 2 turntables and a mixer, and I show you.

*Via Funkagenda.

DJing back then

DJing has a long history in German speaking countries. The 2 videos below are from Austria and the former German Democratic Republic. Very insightful. This was kind of a serious business and profession back then! 😀

German language only, of course.

Austrian DJ school

Kind of a “DJ meeting” in former Eastern Germany, where DJs where called “Record Entertainer”

Gig Databases

Yea. As a touring (or even a local) DJ, something to enter your upcoming gigs into so that it gets noticed on the web is essential, in my very humble opinion.

There seem to be endless providers for that already, and I’ve been through some of them in the past few years. Some of them are free, some not. And — as always — free or not, it says nothing about the quality of the service. That’s my observation, at least.

So, after all those years, one or the other might be surprised who is my winner:

artistdata

They were actually the first one years ago I jumped on, then they got acquired by SonicBids and I thought things went south from this moment on. And this was the case for a while, until SonicBids seemed to have thought it might be a good idea to maintain the service a bit and add a few new features.

Today, artistdata is so rich and packed with features that I can’t list everything here in a post. I recommend you check it out yourself. Oh, and it’s one of the free services.

You can see my gigs as an embedded iCal feed in the sidebar on the right beside this article. But the whole service offers a lot more options. I guess you can spend an entire day configuring this, and admittedly, its user-friendliness is not the total winner. But once you get used to it it’s easy.

They also provide an “ArtistData Profile” page, which collects all the stuff about you and showcases it, but well … the design is pretty “limited”. But better than nothing. 😉