Turntablism. Music for Limited Audiences

Turntablism is the art of using a record player as a live instrument. It allows for creating basslines, rhythms and scratches. Etymologically the word “turntablism” comes from the English word turntable, which in this case means turning the platters of the record player. The term was first used in an interview in 1995 by DJ Babu, a member of the legendary band Beat Junkies. Both he and other members of the International Turntable Federation (ITF) agreed on how to define a turntablist. According to them, it was a person who uses the record player’s turntable as a component to make music as well as an instrument to literally play music. Therefore, a turntablist generates and makes sounds on the record player and does not merely passively play music as it may be with a traditional DJ. According to DJ Hype: “A turntablist is someone who is able to put some funk into turntables with the use of their hands.” These are some selected definitions of turntablism. Its origin should indeed be directly seen in the art of dee-jaying, one of the four elements of the hip hop culture. However, this trend was present as early as the 1990s. When examining the turntablist scene today, one may notice a tremendous turn towards electronic music.