How to Transition from a Slow Song to a Fast Song

I remember how difficult it was for me in the beginning, to transition from a slow song with a low BPM to a fast song with a high BPM. So I decided to write this post to help all beginner DJs who are struggling to mix songs that have a large tempo difference.

Here are two great ways of transitioning from a slow song to a fast song. Don’t worry I’ll explain them both later on.

  • Drop the new song in on the one count without mixing, cutting the first song out, and starting the new one.
  • Increase the tempo of the song that is playing to match the tempo of the song that you want to mix in. This can be done by creating a loop. When you’ve reached the desired tempo, mix in the new song.

It all sounds much easier than it really is, especially when you’re a beginner DJ. That’s why I’ll explain both transitions in detail through the remainder of this post.

Transition Skills and Functions to Use

In the next paragraphs you’ll learn my favourite transitions for mixing two songs with very different BPMs. Below every transition style, the first thing that you’ll read is the specific functions and skills you need to perform the transition.

If you don’t master the skills, I would suggest you learn these skills first before you start trying to transition from slow songs to a fast songs.

The functions that you need, you probably already have on your DJ software or DJ hardware. Read the manual of your DJ software or hardware if you don’t know where you can find these functions or how they work.

Transition 1: Dropping It On the One

What you need for this transition:

Functions

  • Setting cue points

Skills

  • Counting music
  • Knowing how to set cue points
  • Drop a song in on the one count

Dropping a song in on the one is a fantastic way to boost the energy in the room when you’re DJing. Especially when you drop in a song that is way faster and has a high energy level. You can also use it to keep the energy levels high as you drop one in one banger after another.

Going from a slow song to a fast song by dropping it on the one takes some preparation.

  • First, you have to figure out at what point in the current you can drop the new song in.

There are several possibilities to drop in your fast song, depending on the music genre.

When you want to know what point would be best to drop in a new song you can read my post on when to mix in a new song.

  • Second, you have to prepare your new song by setting a cue point.

Where do you want your new song to begin?

This can be the start of the verse or maybe the start of the chorus. Some songs have a great starting point that is neither a verse nor a chorus though. It’s up to you to find the point that works.

One tip that has helped me a lot is to find a part in the song that is recognizable to the crowd. Almost every song has a part that is immediately recognizable.

For example: in the song “Dirty” by Cristina Aquilera, at some point at the beginning of the song you hear this: “You ain’t here to party!”. This is a great point to start this song. I promise you almost everyone in the crowd immediately knows which song it is after hearing that.

When you can’t find a part like that, you can just use the verse or the chorus. Nothing wrong with that.

Set your cue point on the first beat of the phrase where you want to start your fast song.

Get ready to drop in the fast song

Now that the slow song is playing and your fast song is ready to start at the cue point that you have set, get ready to make the drop.

Keep track of the count to make sure you drop it in at the right moment and to prevent being too late for the drop.

When the slow song reaches the last bar, 4-2-3-4, and 1, that’s where you quickly transition from the slow song to the last song.

There are 2 ways to do this:

  1. by using the volume faders
    • simultaneously fully decrease song 1 and fully increase song 2
  2. by using the crossfader
    • switch the crossfader from one side to the other

You can use either one, they’re both equally good. You just have to try and see what you like most and what sounds better to you.

Transition 2: Using the Loop Function

What you need for this transition:

Functions

  • The loop function
  • Tempo slider
  • Setting cue points

A loop of about 4 beats is enough. To give yourself a little bit more time I’d suggest a loop if 8 or 16 beats.

Skills

  • Using the loop function
  • Knowing how the tempo slider works
  • Counting music
  • Knowing how to set cue points
  • Drop a song in on the one count
  • Beatmatching

If you don’t master these skills I would suggest you practice them first before you start trying this transition from a slow song to a fast song.

Using the loop function took me a while to really master. Have some patients though and practice a lot.

This next type of transition needs a little bit more skill and a little bit more preparation.

First, find a good point in the song to create a loop of 4, 8, or 16 beats.

To practice this transition it would be good if it was an instrumental part of the song but that is not necessary.

You could use the last 1 or 2 bars of the chorus, for example.

Second, you have to set the cue point on the fast song.

This time you will be mixing in the song instead of dropping it on the one. So keep that in mind when setting your cue point.

My advice would be to set your cue point at the intro of a song. You can find extended versions of songs with intros and outros in DJ Pools. You can read all about DJ Pools in this article.

Third, play the slow song until it reaches the loop

When it reaches the loop it will be playing at a lower BPM (beats per minute). The slow song is playing slow like it is supposed to be.

When you’re in the loop, slowly increase the tempo with the tempo slider, until you reach the BPM of the next song.

Fourth, get ready to start the fast song

When you’ve reached the desired BPM, start the fast song, with the volume all the way down, on the one count. So, wait until the loop has played in full and starts at the one again. On that one, start your new song.

Fifth, it’s time to start mixing

What you’ll have now is mix a loop of song number 1, together with song number 2.

Now slowly increase volume on song number 2. You’ll start to hear the two songs playing together. You can decrease the volume of song number 2 if you want to.

This is something you’ll have to play with as you practice this transition.

Just like any other mix or transition, it is important to find 2 songs that mix well together. If you’re struggling with these transitions I’d suggest you practice the skills that are needed for these transitions a little more.

Have patience, DJing is all about practicing. Good luck!


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