Some DJs either have it or they don’t. Some DJs spend 5 minutes learning how to work Traktor and others will slowly learn the art form, while taking risks finding out what makes the dance floor shake, rattle and roll.

Scientists however, want to break it down into a nice research report.

Scholars Thor Kelly and George Tzanetakis have published their findings in Empirical Analysis of Track Selection and Ordering in Electronic Dance Music Using Audio Feature Extraction and it is an analysation of a two year sampling of Radio 1’s Essential Mixes.

Results show that is not in fact, the BPM, volume or technical skill that lively up the place but rather, the timbre or tonal qualities of the tracks selected.

You know what that all means.

The full report can be read here and makes for some mind boggling reading:

“Track selection and ordering is a tricky process that is not totally understood even by DJs themselves: It is hoped that this paper has shed some light on the role that timbre, key, volume and tempo play in this process. We hope that our work informs future work in automatic playlist gen- eration and music recommendation, and that the proposed methodology inspires more empirical musicological anal- ysis of how DJs select and order tracks.”

Interesting stuff. Although I hope this doesn’t take the magic or feeling out what is a fantastic format. Because what happens when you analyse a joke? No-one laughs.

Though perhaps there's no helping some people.

Though perhaps there’s no helping some people.

Further reading: The Echo and Beatport.