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Deejay

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A deejay (DJ) is a reggae or dancehall musician who sings and toasts to an instrumental riddim (rhythm). Deejays are different from disc jockeys from other music genres such as hip-hop where they select and play music. Sing jays are a class of deejays who can sing at times. The term deejay originated from the act of some selectors which was the name that referred to deejays in the 60s and 70s toasting to the version side of popular records of the time.

The elasticity of the medium of audio tape, combined with the technological sophistication of the recording studios centered on multi-track tape records, has revolutionalized Western concepts of music as much as the invention of recording had done previously. At the same time, and for the same time since the invention of recording technology, disco deejays, at the time a not-yet-established category of musician, began to experiment with audio technologies in an attempt to shrink the distance that had been created between performers of music and audiences across space and time through the pervasive use of records and radio (René & Lysloff, 2003). Initially, deejays of those old days used to work in bars, clubs and discotheques, where they were in direct contact with their patrons, who came not only to listen but also to dance.

Unlike the invisible if personable radio deejay of the preceding decades and more like the swing of band leaders of the 1930s, disco deejays engaged with their dancing clientele directly and dynamically. But instead of playing saxophones or brass riffs on the bandstand, they played records and used turntables, mixers and amplifiers to create music that, although based on sounds created, arranged and recorded by others, became ultimately “theirs”. Like radio deejays, disco deejays became identifiable through their programming and treatment of recorded musical material. Unlike radio, which simulated musical performances featuring invisible performers and, frequently, physically passive listeners, the discotheque combined at least two levels of performance, deejaying and dancing. Dancing transforms a “listener” into a “dancer,” whose performance has the often realized potential of influencing the deejay’s programming, thereby creating a feedback loop between deejay booth and floor (Chen & O'Brien, 1998).

The performance of disco and club music takes place in a setting in which a deejay creates a musical program based on the use of music and sounds recorded onto vinyl discs. While this sound is fixed, the deejay has a variety of means to manipulate that sound in creative ways so as to render his or her performance unique to time and place. Among the creative choices and variables available to deejays are the musical repertoire; the technology used to play music for dancing; the techniques used to play, mix and remix records into the flow of one musical performance; and the rapport and interaction between deejay and dancers. To deejay is to make mediated music immediate, using recordings, turntables, mixers and sound reinforcement technology in creative ways (Efrem, & Jackson, 2005).

Modern day club deejays typically use upwards two turntable, an audio mixer and two separate amplification systems to address the dance floor and the deejay booth respectively. Depending on the sophistication of the P.A systems, a crossover or another equalization unit may also be used. Once the sound amplification system is set to the deejay’s liking, he will focus on his main instruments for the rest of the evening, the twin turntable and the audio mixer. Together, these form one unit that is referred to as the “console” or “Set” (Regal, 2005).

Today, deejays are enjoying the modern technology where computer systems are now been used by deejays in nightclubs and on concerts. The latest of this technology is a window 7 powered touch screen turntable which utilizes emulator software that is designed to work on tablets with windows 7 (Warren, 2011).

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