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-   -   Is a DJ a musician? (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1582387)

TVeye 01-11-2013 08:49 PM

Is a DJ a musician?
 
On appearance, it doesn't seem that hard but, admittedly, I'm not even sure what's involved. I dunno, you tell me.

StopReadingThis 01-11-2013 09:01 PM

Well I guess it depends...





no

Hydra150 01-11-2013 09:05 PM

Depends what they do.

Dayn 01-11-2013 09:13 PM

Some just play other's music and build good setlists to get a night going well. I'd probably call them a sound engineer more than anything.

Others actually make music. So yes.

enzo_zeb 01-11-2013 09:52 PM

: a composer, conductor, or performer of music. they preform so yes?

bustapr 01-11-2013 09:52 PM

if they just build playlists and carry around a sound system to parties, then no. neither if they just hang around turning knobs on a turn table, thats just being poser.

If they spend time actually making music(beats, rythms, whatever youd call them) for their own music or for other singers, instrumentalists, or studios to use, then Id say yes.

Hydra150 01-11-2013 09:53 PM

Chris Moyles isn't.

KG6_Steven 01-11-2013 10:07 PM

Is someone who drives 5-miles to work every day a race car driver? Is the kid who sits in front of a computer monitor playing a $50 flight simulator program a pilot?

No.

Is a person who spins vinyl or CDs a musician? No. It makes them a DJ. By definition, a musician is one who plays a musical instrument. Playing a CD does not make one a composer, conductor or performer of music. If that's the case, then everyone who listens to music is a musician.

I eat bread. Does that make me a baker?

Hydra150 01-11-2013 10:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KG6_Steven
Is a person who spins vinyl or CDs a musician? No. It makes them a DJ. By definition, a musician is one who plays a musical instrument. Playing a CD does not make one a composer, conductor or performer of music.

It becomes blurred when DJs are actively manipulating the sounds that an audience hears - they're making music with electronic devices and by manipulating recorded sounds/music to make something different.

bustapr 01-11-2013 10:24 PM

All DJs who are worth their shit know their way around a keyboard imo. this day and age you have to consider DAWs and some VSTs as musical instruments.

a baker makes bread using cooking tools, and people later enjoy that bread. A musician makes music using musical instruments, and people later enjoy that music.

Toasted_Waffelz 01-11-2013 10:30 PM

It depends on how much is automated- doing it with a controller into a computer running a program like Traktor you can use the automatic tempo match and just set up a playlist, or you can do it pretty much on-the-fly going by audience mood and use looping creatively, making drops and stuff, which is a lot of fun but very hard.
Even the most complex DJing isn't really performing musically since they prepare the songs before hand and just trigger them, there's not really any opportunities for adding musicality.
In summary; it's hard and fun, but it's something completely different to being a musician.

KG6_Steven 01-11-2013 11:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra150
It becomes blurred when DJs are actively manipulating the sounds that an audience hears - they're making music with electronic devices and by manipulating recorded sounds/music to make something different.



If the DJ is actively involved in making music , either with a keyboard, singing, or some other musical device, then he's a musician. I think I could even make a good argument against saying he's a musician if he sings. If he's simply manipulating something that someone else recorded, I have a hard time stretching that one to fit the definition of a musician.

FWIW, I used to DJ years ago. I did not use a keyboard, or sing, but I sure did a heck of a lot of mixing. Was I a musician? I don't think so.

Interesting topic.

mdwallin 01-12-2013 12:43 AM

I reckon DJ's who put themselves under the category of 'live real-time production' are musicians.

For example the last show I directed and composed all music for, featured a piece in which I improvised on laptop, with two dancers. I had all my sounds and clips ready in Ableton which were then laid out across a couple of MPC controllers. I'd also mapped out a lot of effects including panning, pitch shifting, lengthening samples etc. I had to play while I improvised with these dancers, responding to how they moved and what they were doing while they responde to my sounds. I also had to spin the sound around the room, working with the delay and reverberance it created, and the fact I had 7.1 surround sound set up, with audience sitting in the middle.

I think it takes a musician to communicate musically, effectively.

chatterbox272 01-12-2013 01:11 AM

It definitely depends, as DJ is a pretty big area in itself. I would usually say no though.
It's not that I don't think it's very impressive what DJs who combine beats, samples, etc. together do, I find it very impressive and I think it takes as much skill as learning a musical instrument does. But in my mind a computer is not an instrument, and so I would class them differently. I also believe that a musician needs to know a certain amount of music theory, i.e. note names, some basic chords (Maj, min, power are enough IMO), and tempo/time sigs. Most of the DJs I know (who don't play musical instruments primarily) only know the last one, so I don't think they are musicians.

So overall no I don't think DJs are musicians, I think they're a separate thing that requires equal skill and happens to have some similarities to musicians.

TheHydra 01-12-2013 01:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
It definitely depends, as DJ is a pretty big area in itself. I would usually say no though.
It's not that I don't think it's very impressive what DJs who combine beats, samples, etc. together do, I find it very impressive and I think it takes as much skill as learning a musical instrument does. But in my mind a computer is not an instrument, and so I would class them differently. I also believe that a musician needs to know a certain amount of music theory, i.e. note names, some basic chords (Maj, min, power are enough IMO), and tempo/time sigs. Most of the DJs I know (who don't play musical instruments primarily) only know the last one, so I don't think they are musicians.

So overall no I don't think DJs are musicians, I think they're a separate thing that requires equal skill and happens to have some similarities to musicians.

Why? A computer produces sounds. It can produce music. What makes it a non-instrument? Is a synthesizer not an instrument?

chatterbox272 01-12-2013 02:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHydra
Why? A computer produces sounds. It can produce music. What makes it a non-instrument? Is a synthesizer not an instrument?

because all the computer does is repeat a pattern. A DJ has to play a pattern once then the computer will take over and continue to play the pattern until it is told to stop. I would think of a DJ as more similar to a conductor in an orchestra, the DJ tells them what to play like a conductor gives sheet music to the orchestra members, then tells them when to stop like a conductor cutting off a section.

bustapr 01-12-2013 02:11 AM

but the DJ inputs a pattern to produce a melody(hopefully). I dont think it really matters if the computer repeats the pattern so long as the DJ is trying to make a melody with that pattern.

TheHydra 01-12-2013 02:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
because all the computer does is repeat a pattern. A DJ has to play a pattern once then the computer will take over and continue to play the pattern until it is told to stop. I would think of a DJ as more similar to a conductor in an orchestra, the DJ tells them what to play like a conductor gives sheet music to the orchestra members, then tells them when to stop like a conductor cutting off a section.

That's only one usage of a computer. You can set up an electric guitar with a loop pedal and do the same thing; does that not make it an instrument? And surely you're not implying that conductors aren't musicians either? A conductor requires an outstanding ear, an unwavering sense of rhythm, and a thorough knowledge of the music being performed. He or she manipulates the orchestra just as the performers manipulate their instruments. That's musicianship as much as anything else is.

GoldenGuitar 01-12-2013 02:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
because all the computer does is repeat a pattern. A DJ has to play a pattern once then the computer will take over and continue to play the pattern until it is told to stop. I would think of a DJ as more similar to a conductor in an orchestra, the DJ tells them what to play like a conductor gives sheet music to the orchestra members, then tells them when to stop like a conductor cutting off a section.

Have you even tried conducting an Orchestra? Do you know how difficult it is to do so? To me, if a DJ uses Vinyl manipulation techniques, they are musicians. Or if they do real time performances with something like Abelton, that also counts.

chatterbox272 01-12-2013 03:38 AM

I could keep arguing this all day but I wont. IN MY OPINION DJs are not musicians, they are DJs. DJing requires a few similar skills to being a musician but a whole lot of different ones too and therefor I don't think they are the same thing. That is my opinion, and nothing anyone says will be changing that any time soon. :)


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