A beat is the music’s pulse, that repeating kick you recognize as the rhythm of the music. Beats are created primarily by drums, but can be produced by any musical instrument that can have a sharp sound such as the bass, voice, piano etc.

Beat matching

An audio mixing technique used to play 2 music tracks in the same rhythm, with the beats of both tracks played together. Beat-matching is a way to “Synchronize” two audio tracks, letting you link different music tracks together. This is most generally used in techno, house or trance music, but hip hop, rap or R&B can also work as long as the rhythm is sufficiently pronounced. By keeping exactly the same BPM, the same speed and time, beat-matching guarantees a complete mix, whatever the material used be it vinyls, CDs, media players or DJ controllers. History: Beat matching was the first technique used by DJs to create fluid transitions between songs. It was invented by Francis Grasso in the late 1960s to keep people dancing at the end of a song.


Beats per minute, is the measure used to express the tempo of a piece of music or a heartbeat and is quantified by the number of beats that occur within the space of one minute. Some examples for genres include: Drum and bass: 160-190 BPM / House: 124-130 BPM / Hip hop: 80-100 BPM.



An electromechanical component, generally a slider found on DJ mixers and controllers that moves from left to right used to mix several audio tracks. The crossfader allows transitions between multiple audio tracks with a single horizontal fade. When the crossfader is positioned to the left, only the sound of the left deck is heard by the audience and the inverse applies when the crossfader is positioned to the right. When the crossfader is in the middle, the audience will hear the tracks playing on both decks at the same time.


Crossfading is the act of moving the crossfader from left to right, used to mix music played on the left and right decks. A transitional slide control is used on a mixer for fading (turning volume up or down) on one channel while simultaneously fading out another.


To cue is to select the track the DJ pre-listens to in their headphones. Cue to mix is used to blend tracks heard in the headphones between pre-listening (the music the DJ hears which is not heard by the audience) and the mix (the music the audience hears). Blending the cue and the mix can help the DJ to check if the tracks play together well in synch with each other.


The CUE in is a bookmark the DJ places in an audio track at the moment the music will be heard by the audience: the music before the cue In is not heard by the audience.


The Cue out is a bookmark the DJ places in an audio track to identify that the music after the cue out must not be heard by the audience.

CUE Point

A CUE Point is the main marker point that a digital DJ adds to tracks to identify a specific event at a specific moment. Cue points are used as shortcuts to instantly jump to a section of a song from whatever other moment was being playing before.


Drop (name)

A drop in popular music, especially electronic dance music styles, is a point in a music track where a sudden change of rhythm or bass line occurs, which typically is preceded by a build section and break. Also used: climax, chorus, main part, main theme.

Drop (or Dropping on the One)

To drop a song is a mixing technique that describes the moment when the DJ drops a second song on one that is already playing. A DJ usually drops a song on THE ONE which is the first beat in a bar of music. The first drop is the moment where you first hear the beat kick. For instance, if “Song A” plays across 4 beats (i.e. where the rhythm is 1, 2, 3, 4 – 1, 2, 3, 4, the most common rhythm in EDM), and you want to mix “Song B” with “Song A”, then, while A is playing, you find beat 1, count 2, 3, 4, and then press play or cue on Song B to start playing at the exact moment as beat 1 of song A. Tip: When you play your first track and it nears the end (i.e. the outro), you should be thinking about starting the second track to coincide with the stressed beat of the first track.



EQ = Equalization, the ability to separately adjust the playback level of different audio frequencies: - High or Treble = the highest frequencies of the audio spectrum - Mid, or Medium = the medium frequencies of the audio spectrum, such as the frequencies of the human voice or the snare drum. - Low or Bass = the lowest frequencies of the audio spectrum, such as the drum.



An acronym for “effects”, something that changes the sound for example a filter, a phaser, or an echo etc. These are controls that let you change certain sound elements of your songs. An effect is a form of audio processing that is applied to a sound in order to make it sound different e.g. reverb, chorus, delay etc.



Gain is a music volume setting that you apply before the volume fader that boosts or cuts volume levels at the top of the mixer channel. By extension, gain is also the control setting applied to the volume before the fader on a DJ mixer or DJ controller.



These are the cue points placed between the cue in and the cue out bookmarks for the DJ to jump to specific moments in the music. Hot cues are additional marker points in tracks (as well as the main cue point) which you can instantly jump to at any time.


Jog wheel

Found on most DJ controllers, the jog wheels emulate the behavior of a vinyl record on a turntable. A jog wheel or a jog dial is a large flat platter the DJ turns to - browse in the track, forward or backward, when the playback has not started - Slow down or speed up the playback of the track, when the playback has started, - And scratch (emulate the scratch sound of a needle on a vinyl disk).



The musical key of a song is its harmonic and melodic information, labelled as A minor, A-flat major, F Major etc. Knowing the key of 2 songs helps to identify whether they can be mixed harmonically and if they will sound right when mixed together.


To kill a frequency range (Treble/Medium/ Bass or High /Mid/Low) is to set the level of this frequency to the minimum, generally by turning the EQ rotary knob fully left.



The “musical instrument digital interface” is a protocol of communication that digital music equipment uses to broadcast information to each other or with a computer.


In order to fine-tune and prepare upcoming tracks, without people in the room hearing what you’re doing, all DJs use a monitoring system, that absolutely requires headphones. This is why most Hercules DJ controllers feature built-in multichannel sound cards: one stereo channel for the audience, and one stereo channel for the DJ. Synonyms for monitoring include previewing or pre-cueing.


Pitch fader

Pitch fader, also known as tempo fader or pitch slider, is the control used to set the speed at whichthe music plays. This control lets you adjust the number of beats per minute (BPM) and is essential for adjusting both tracks to play at the same speed before making a transition.



A specific sound or section of music that can be reused in a different song. You can use a sample to act as an instrumental sound for instance.


The act of rotating the jog wheel on the DJ controller (or moving the vinyl on a turntable) back and forth with your hand to alter the music, normally done with another song playing in the background.

Sync = Synchronize

To sync or synchronize one track with another by: - Setting the music on “Track B” to the same BPM as the music on “Track A”, either automatically, or with the pitch/tempo fader - Aligning the beat of Track B to the beat of Track A, so that the kick occurs at the same moment across both tracks.



Most of the Music played by a DJ is in 4/4 Time, the classic notation, indicating there are four beats in one bar of music. The ONE is the first beat of the first bar, and is where digital DJs usually put a CUE point.