How to Mix House Music

House music began in Chicago during the late 1970s and early 1980s as a fusion of energetic dance music and sampled melodies from classic funk, rhythm and blues, and soul music. House today encompasses a wide variety of styles and sub-genres. However, there are a few defining characteristics to house music. House music is built on "four-on-the-floor" rhythms. "Four-on-the-floor" refers to a 4/4 musical time signature where each count of the measure has a kick drum downbeat. This driving rhythm is what powers house music and dance floors. Other characteristics include: rubbery, funky bass lines; tempos between 125 and 135 beats-per-minute; "epic" pad and synthesizer sounds that are intended to lift the mood; and sampled horns and guitars from old records. Mixing your own house music is challenging, but can be mastered with some practice.

Turn on the CD decks and insert a CD into each. It helps to know the tempo of each song in advance and choose two that are relatively close together in tempo.

Select first CD deck with the cross fader on the mixer and start the first CD playing.

Set the cue fader or knob on the mixer to the second CD deck.

Some CD decks have a setting to automatically start a CD in "cue" or "pause." If not, make sure to hit "pause" on the second deck. Put on headphones and slowly adjust the jog dial of the second CD deck up until the first beat of the song is heard. Hit "cue set" or its equivalent to set this first downbeat as the cue point.

Adjust the headphones so you can hear both the CD playing on the stereo or sound system, and the CD playing in your headphones.

Hit and hold "cue" on the second CD deck. This will play the song from the cue point until you release your finger.

Listen for the difference in tempo.

Adjust the "pitch" jog dial or fader up or down until the beats synchronize.

Repeat this process again to refine the mix.

Hit and hold "cue" and verify that the beats are matched.

Wait until you hear a place in the first song where you want to mix into the second, and hit "play" on the second CD deck.

Slide the cross fader slowly towards the second channel and listen to the mix.

Slight "pitch" adjustments might be necessary in real-time to keep the mix beat-matched.

Once the first song is at a desired stop or mix-out point, slide the cross fader the remainder of the way until only the second CD channel is playing in the sound system.

Repeat the process in reverse to the first CD deck, then back and forth, to continue mixing house music.

Mixing house music takes a lot of practice, so keep trying and don't give up.

Approved by Jesse Anderson