Beatmatching is a term commonly used for the method of matching or aligning different tempos of different songs in order to create a mix. Beatmatching is probably the most important skill for a DJ to learn.

The Method

Suppose you have two turntables (A & B) and an audio mixer. Turntable A is playing song A, turntable B is playing song B, and you want to mix the two beats together seamlessly. To beatmatch, you play one of the songs (say A) over the loudspeakers, while playing the other song (B) in your headphones. This way you can hear two distinct tempos. Now, most DJ turntables have a feature called the pitch control or pitch adjust slider. This feature speeds up or slows down the spinning platter of the turntable, therefore increasing or decreasing the tempo. By listening very carefully to the two beats, you can figure out which song is "overtaking" (too fast) or "lagging" (too fast) the other. If song B in your headphones sounds slow, speed it up to how fast A is! If song B sounds fast, slow down B to match the tempo of A. This is the essence of beatmatching. It takes much nerve, lots of time, plenty of practice, a good ear, and quality equipment to master beatmatching.

Move on to beatmatching tips, or DJ mixing.