ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCRATCHING
is a DJ or turntablist technique originated by Grand Wizard Theodore,
an early hip hop DJ from New York (AMG). The technique is designed
to accentuate the work of the DJ by creating an assortment of sounds
through the rhythmical manipulation of a vinyl record, and has spread
from hip hop culture to a number of other musical forms. Within hip
hop culture, scratching is still of great importance in determining
the skill of a DJ, and a number of competitions are held across the
globe in which DJs battle one another in displays of great virtuosity.
simple (or baby) scratch technique is produced by moving a vinyl record
back and forth with your hand while it is playing on a turntable.
This creates a distinctive sound that has come to be one of the most
recognizable features of hip hop music. Ideally, scratching does not
damage a record because the needle stays within the groove and does
not move horizontally across the record's surface. Theodore developed
scratching from DJ Grandmaster Flash, who describes scratching as,
"nothing but the back-cueing that you hear in your ear before
you push it [the recorded sound] out to the crowd." (Toop, 1991)
Kool Herc was also an important early figure.
are many different types of scratch techniques, including tear, flare,
orbit, twiddle, ripples, transforms, crab, tweak, chirp, and scribble
scratches. The names can indicate the scratch's sound, required hand
motions and equipment set up, or the name of the DJ who developed
it. Recently, DJs and turntablists have begun developing systems of
notation for use in learning different scratches and writing compositions.
The practice is not yet widespread.
that are frequently scratched include but are not limited to drum
beats, horn stabs, spoken word samples, and lines from other songs.
The two most commonly scratched sounds are "aaaah" and "frrresh",
taken from the record "Change the Beat" by Fab Five Freddy.
Any sound recorded to vinyl can be used, though a new generation of
CD players providing a turntable-like interface has recently reached
the market, allowing DJs to scratch not only material that was never
released on vinyl, but also field recordings and samples from television
and movies that have been burned to CD-R. Some DJs and anonymous collectors
release 12-inch singles called ScratchTools battle records that include
trademark, novel or hard-to-find scratch fodder. Some DJs prefer to
rotate the turntable 90 degrees counter-clockwise in an orientation
known as "Battle-style" to put the tonearm of the turntable
at the top, furthest away from the DJ. This frees up more of the platter
to manipulation without interfering with the needle.
is a complex, yet mis-understood art.
the 90's up to the present day its usage in popular music has seen
a substantial increase. Some examples of this would be within Nu-Metal
acts (especially Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park) and in some pop music
(Nelly Furtado). Dj's are also often included as 'stage-props' (especially
in the urban genre) where they stand behind turntables pretending
to emulate scratching and mixing. The majority of these Dj's are there
simply to add effect to the stage and create more of an atmosphere.
Because of this, many people perceive scratching as an easy and simple
skill to acquire where all one needs to do is move your hand back
and forth to create the associated "wikki-wikki" sound.
The reality is, scratching is a skill that requires considerable practice.
scratching is becoming more and more popular within pop music, the
art-form itself is still predominantly underground. One of the most
influential groups to the world of scratching would be the Invisibl
Skratch Piklz hailing from the San Francisco area. Forming in 1994
as Dj's Qbert, Disk & Shortkut and later Mix Master Mike the group
took scratching to a whole new level. With their focus primarily on
scratching, the group displayed exactly what the turntable is capable
turntable is the most versatile instrument. You can be a drummer,
you can be a guitarist, you can be a lead vocalist — anything."
the departure of Dj Disk, enter two new members, Yogafrog followed
by D-Styles. Dj A-Trak from Canada was also a guest member of the
group after winning the Technics' DMC World Finals in 1997. After
releasing their Shiggar Fraggar CD series and touring various countries
around the world the group disbanded in 2001.
of its members however have continued to prove they are at the forefront
of the scene by pursuing their own projects. In 1996, while both still
a part of the ISP group, Dj's Qbert & Yogafrog set up their own
company — Thud Rumble — dedicated to the art of scratching.
There main goal was to spread the art of scratching on a global scale.
They released their own video's called Turntable TV where Dj's from
around the world would hang out and scratch.
July of 2000, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
held Skratchcon2000, the first DJ Skratch forum that provided “the
education and development of skratch music literacy”. By bringing
the globe’s important DJs together in one arena, professional
and amateur DJs were given the chance to learn and utilize various
skills, techniques, and styles. In the past, Thud Rumble was involved
in the facilitation of important historical DJ events like ITF (International
Turntablist Federation) and the Vestax World DJ Championships. After
being praised by Source Magazine as the “Greatest DJ event of
all time”, Thud Rumble had successfully added Skratchcon2000
to the list.
a favourite of the Hip-Hop culture, Scratching has been incorporated
into a number of other musical genres, including Pop, Rock, Jazz,
and Classical music performances. Two of the earliest such examples
were released in 1983: scratches by DXT on Herbie Hancock's hit song
"Rockit", and, more obscurely, on a few songs the first
Golden Palominos record, where Bill Laswell or M.E. Miller scratched.
DJ Jazzy Joe, one of the pioneers dj's in India, loves
to scratch and is one of the early dj's to bring a little bit of scratching
to clubs around India and especially on his Hip-Hop Nights.