Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Music Mixing Software Works


Rihanna performs a song that includes a chorus of Stevie Wonder singing "Superstitution."
Rihanna performs a song that includes a chorus of Stevie Wonder singing "Superstitution."
© Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

It's 2 a.m. at the dance club and the disc jockey starts spinning the latest hit song from Rihanna. Everybody packs the dance floor and grooves to the infectious beat.

When the song reaches the chorus, something unexpected happens. Rihanna's voice is replaced with Stevie Wonder singing "Superstition." It's the same beat and bass line of the Rihanna song, but with Stevie Wonder dropped seamlessly on top. As the song continues, the Rihanna backbeat is replaced with the deep thud-thud of house music.

How is the DJ making all of these funky mash-ups and remixes? With something called music mixing software. Music mixing software allows musicians to slice and dice digital music and reassemble it in new, creative ways. The software can match tempos between two songs without distorting the pitch of either one. It can chop a track into dozens of loops and shuffle them to achieve a totally new sound. It can add stunning effects that completely change the emotional tone of the music.

Music mixing software is a powerful tool for DJs and music producers. What can music mixing software programs do? What are the major types of music mixing software? And, what are the top-selling titles? Keep reading to find out.