In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion or sample of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise rhythm, melody, speech, or other sounds. They are usually integrated using hardware (samplers) or software such as digital audio workstations.
Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.
A sampler is an electronic or digital musical instrument which uses sound recordings of real instrument sounds, excerpts from recorded songs or found sounds. The samples are loaded or recorded by the user or by a manufacturer. These sounds are then played back by means of the sampler program itself, a MIDI keyboard, sequencer or another triggering device to perform or compose music. Because these samples are usually stored in digital memory, the information can be quickly accessed. A single sample may often be pitch-shifted to different pitches to produce musical scales and chords.
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files. DAWs come in a wide variety of configurations from a single software program on a laptop, to an integrated stand-alone unit, all the way to a highly complex configuration of numerous components controlled by a central computer. Regardless of configuration, modern DAWs have a central interface that allows the user to alter and mix multiple recordings and tracks into a final produced piece.
A process similar to sampling originated in the 1940s with musique concrète , experimental music created by splicing, manipulating and looping tape. The term sampling was coined by in the late 1970s by the creators of the Fairlight CMI, an influential early sampler that became a staple of 1980s pop music. The 1988 release of the first Akai MPC, an affordable sampler with an intuitive interface, made sampling accessible to a wider audience.
Musique concrète is a type of music composition that utilizes recorded sounds as raw material. Sounds are often modified through the application of audio effects and tape manipulation techniques, and may be assembled into a form of montage. It can feature sounds derived from recordings of musical instruments, the human voice, and the natural environment as well as those created using synthesizers and computer-based digital signal processing. Compositions in this idiom are not restricted to the normal musical rules of melody, harmony, rhythm, metre, and so on. It exploits acousmatic listening, meaning sound identities can often be intentionally obscured or appear unconnected to their source cause.
Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film. It was developed in Germany in 1928, based on magnetic wire recording. Devices that record and play back audio and video using magnetic tape are tape recorders and video tape recorders respectively. A device that stores computer data on magnetic tape is known as a tape drive.
The Fairlight CMI is a digital synthesizer, sampler and digital audio workstation introduced in 1979 by Fairlight. It was based on a commercial licence of the Qasar M8 developed by Tony Furse of Creative Strategies in Sydney, Australia. It was one of the earliest music workstations with an embedded digital sampling synthesizer. It rose to prominence in the early 1980s and competed with the Synclavier from New England Digital.
Sampling is a foundation of hip hop music, with producers sampling funk and soul records, particularly drum breaks, which could then be rapped over. Musicians have created albums assembled entirely from samples, such as DJ Shadow's 1996 album Endtroducing. The practice has influenced all genres of music and is particularly important to electronic music, hip hop and pop.
Rapping is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content", "flow", and "delivery". Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which "oral historians", or "praise-singers", would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to "praise or critique individuals." Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali's quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the "Black rhetorical continuum", and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through "creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of "delivering rhymes over extensive music", that would become known as rap, was Anthony "DJ Hollywood" Holloway from Harlem, New York.
Endtroducing..... is the debut album by American music producer DJ Shadow, released on September 16, 1996 by Mo' Wax. It is composed almost entirely of samples, mostly from vinyl records, and features moody, slow tracks and upbeat jams reminiscent of Shadow's early hip hop influences. Shadow produced Endtroducing over two years using minimal equipment, particularly an MPC60 sampler.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
Sampling without permission can infringe copyright. The process of acquiring permission for a sample is known as clearance, which can be a complex and costly process. Landmark legal cases, such as Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc in 1991, changed how samples are used. As the court ruled that unlicensed sampling constitutes copyright infringement, samples from well known sources are now often prohibitively expensive.
Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work's creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
Grand Upright Music, Ltd v. Warner Bros. Records Inc., 780 F. Supp. 182, was a copyright case heard by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case pitted singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan against rapper Biz Markie after Biz Markie sampled O'Sullivan's song, "Alone Again (Naturally)". The court ruled that sampling without permission can qualify as copyright infringement. The judgment changed the hip hop music industry, requiring that any future music sampling be preapproved by the original copyright owners to avoid a lawsuit.
In the 1940s, Pierre Schaeffer developed musique concrète , an experimental form of music created by recording sounds to tape, splicing them, and manipulating them to create sound collages. He created pieces using recordings of sounds including the human body, locomotives, and kitchen utensils.The method also involved the creation of tape loops, splicing lengths of tape end to end, by which a sound could be played indefinitely. Schaeffer developed a tape recorder, the Phonogene, which played loops at twelve different pitches triggered by a keyboard.
Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer was a French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician. His innovative work in both the sciences—particularly communications and acoustics—and the various arts of music, literature and radio presentation after the end of World War II, as well as his anti-nuclear activism and cultural criticism garnered him widespread recognition in his lifetime.
In music, montage or sound collage is a technique where newly branded sound objects or compositions, including songs, are created from collage, also known as montage. This is often done through the use of sampling, while some playable sound collages were produced by gluing together sectors of different vinyl records. In any case, it may be achieved through the use of previous sound recordings or musical scores. Like its visual cousin, the collage work may have a completely different effect than that of the component parts, even if the original parts are completely recognizable or from only one source.
In music, tape loops are loops of magnetic tape used to create repetitive, rhythmic musical patterns or dense layers of sound when played on a tape recorder. Originating in the 1940s with the work of Pierre Schaeffer, they were used among contemporary composers of 1950s and 1960s, such as Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, who used them to create phase patterns, rhythms, textures, and timbres. Popular music authors of 1960s and 1970s, particularly in psychedelic, progressive and ambient genres, used tape loops to accompany their music with innovative sound effects. In the 1980s, analog audio and tape loops with it gave way to digital audio and application of computers to generate and process sound.
Composers including John Cage, Edgar Varèse, Karheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis experimented with musique concrète,and Bebe and Louis Barron used it to create the first totally electronic film soundtrack, for the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet . It was brought to a mainstream audience by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which used these early sampling techniques to produce soundtracks for shows including Doctor Who .
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, artist, and philosopher. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage's romantic partner for most of their lives.
Edgard Victor Achille Charles Varèse was a French-born composer who spent the greater part of his career in the United States.
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. A critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music". He is known for his groundbreaking work in electronic music, for introducing controlled chance into serial composition, and for musical spatialization.
In the 1960s, Jamaican dub reggae producers such as King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry began using pre-recorded samples of reggae rhythms to produce riddim tracks, which were then deejayed over.Jamaican immigrants introduced dub sampling techniques to American hip hop music in the 1970s.
The term sampling was coined by in the late 1970s by Kim Ryrie and Peter Vogel to describe a feature of their Fairlight CMI synthesizer.Designers of early samplers used the term to describe the technical process of the instruments, rather than to describe how users would use the feature. While developing the Fairlight, Vogel sampled around a second of a piano piece from a radio broadcast, and discovered that he could imitate a real piano by playing the sample back at different pitches. He recalled in 2005:
It sounded remarkably like a piano, a real piano. This had never been done before ... By today's standards it was a pretty awful piano sound, but at the time it was a million times more like a piano than anything any synthesiser had churned out. So I rapidly realised that we didn't have to bother with all the synthesis stuff. Just take the sounds, whack them in the memory and away you go.
Compared to later samplers, the Fairlight offered limited control over samples. It allowed control over pitch and envelope, and could only record a few seconds of sound. However, its ability to sample and play back acoustic sounds became its most popular feature.Though the concept of reusing recordings in larger recordings was not new, the Fairlight's built-in sequencer and design made the process simple. According to the Guardian, the Fairlight was the "first truly world-changing sampler". Though it was it was unaffordable for most hobbyists, early users included Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran, Herbie Hancock, Todd Rundgren, Icehouse and Ebn Ozn.
The success of the Fairlight inspired competitors, improving the technology and driving down prices dramatically.Early competitors included the E-mu Emulator and the Akai S950. Drum machines such as the Oberheim DMX and Linn LM-1 began incorporating samples of drum kits rather than generating sounds from circuits.
The designers of early samplers anticipated that users would sample short sounds, such as drum hits or individual notes, to use as "building blocks" for compositions. However, musicians and producers began sampling longer passages of music.In the words of Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever, "They didn't just want the sound of John Bonham's kick drum, they wanted to loop and repeat the whole of 'When the Levee Breaks'." Roger Linn, designer of the LM-1 and MPC, said: "It was a very pleasant surprise. After sixty years of recording, there are so many prerecorded examples to sample from. Why reinvent the wheel?"
In response to demand, samplers such as E-mu's SP-1200 were developed to allow users to store longer samples.In 1988, Akai released the first MPC sampler, which allowed artists to assign samples to separate pads and trigger them independently, similarly to playing a keyboard or drum kit. It had a major influence on the development of electronic and hip hop music, allowing artists to create elaborate tracks without other instruments, a studio, or formal music knowledge. Today, most samples are made and edited using digital audio workstations such as Pro Tools and Ableton Live.
Sampling has influenced all genres of musicand is an important part of genres including pop, hip hop, and electronic music. It is a fundamental element of remix culture. Commonly sampled elements include strings, basslines, drum loops, vocal hooks, or entire bars of music, especially from soul records. Samples may be layered, equalized, sped or slowed, repitched, looped, or otherwise manipulated. As sampling technology has progressed, the possibilities for manipulation have grown.
Stevie Wonder's 1979 album Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants may be the first album to make extensive use of samples.Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) were pioneers in sampling and looping, constructing music by cutting fragments of sounds and looping them; Technodelic (1981) was an early example of an album consisting of mostly samples and loops. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981) by David Byrne and Brian Eno is an important early work of sampling, incorporating samples of recordings including Arabic singers, radio disc jockeys, and an exorcist. Eno cited Holger Czukay's experiments with dictaphones and shortwave radios as earlier examples of sampling, but felt his and Byrne's innovation had been to make sampling "the lead vocal". Big Audio Dynamite pioneered sampling in rock and pop with their 1985 album This Is Big Audio Dynamite . Producer DJ Shadow used an MPC60 to create his influential 1996 album Endtroducing , which is composed entirely of samples.
Sampling is the foundation of hip hop, which emerged in the 1980s.Before the rise of sampling, DJs had used turntables to loop breaks from records, which could then be rapped over. Compilation albums such as Ultimate Breaks and Beats comprised tracks with drums-only sequences and were aimed at DJs and hip hop producers. The advent of affordable samplers such as the Akai MPC made sampling easier. In 1986, three tracks, "South Bronx", "Erik B is President" and "It's a Demo", sampled the funk and soul tracks of James Brown, particularly a drum break from "Funky Drummer", helping popularize the technique. The sampling culture of hip hop has been likened to the origins of blues and rock, which were created by repurposing existing forms of music.
Some samples became widespread. The orchestra hit originated as a sound on the Fairlight sampled from Stravinsky's 1910 orchestral work Firebird Suiteand became a hip hop cliche. According to the BBC, the most sampled track of all time is "Change the Beat" by Fab Five Freddy, which appears on over 1,150 tracks. Another common sample comes from a seven-second drum break in the 1969 track "Amen, Brother", known as the Amen break, which became popular first with American hip hop producers and then British jungle producers in the early 1990s. The sample became widely used across genres, from rock bands such as Oasis to television theme tunes such as that of Futurama .
In 2008, Guardian journalist David McNamee wrote that in the 1980s sampling had been a political act, but had lost its edge with ubiquity: "Two record decks and your dad's old funk collection was once the working-class black answer to punk ... Sampling, which once seemed world-ending in the eyes of the music industry, is now non-threatening and a bit passé, particularly with today's availability and ease of original music-making software."
To legally use a sample, an artist must acquire legal permission from the copyright holder, a process known as clearance; this can be a lengthy and complex process.Sampling without permission breaches the copyright of the original sound recording, of the composition and lyrics, and of the performances, such as a rhythm or guitar riff. The moral rights of the original artist may also be breached if they are not credited or object to the sampling. In some cases, sampling may be protected under American fair use laws.
Richard Lewis Spencer, who owns the copyright for the widely sampled Amen break, has never received royalties for its use and condemned its sampling as plagiarism.Journalist Simon Reynolds likened the situation to "the man who goes to the sperm bank and unknowingly sires hundreds of children". In 1989, the Turtles sued De La Soul for using an uncleared sample on their album 3 Feet High and Rising. Turtles singer Mark Volman told the Los Angeles Times : "Sampling is just a longer term for theft. Anybody who can honesty say sampling is some sort of creativity has never done anything creative." The case was settled out of court and set a legal precedent that had a chilling effect on sampling in hip hop.
In 1991, songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan sued rapper Biz Markie after he sampled O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" on his album I Need a Haircut . The court ruled that sampling without permission constituted copyright infringement. Instead of asking for royalties, O'Sullivan forced Biz Markie's label Warner Bros to recall the album until the song was removed.Nelson George described it as the "most damaging example of anti-hip hop vindictiveness", which "sent a chill through the industry that is still felt". According to the Washington Post, "no court decision has changed the sound of pop music as much as this, before or since", likening it to a banning a musical instrument.
Following the ruling, samples on commercially released recordings have typically been taken either from obscure recordings (such as on Endtroducing) or cleared, an often expensive option only available to successful acts.According to the Guardian, "Sampling became risky business and a rich man's game, with record labels regularly checking if their musical property had been tea-leafed." For less successful artists, the legal implications for samples can create confusion. According to Fact, "For a bedroom producer, clearing a sample can be nearly impossible, both financially and in terms of administration." The 1989 Beastie Boys record Paul's Boutique is composed almost entirely of samples, most of which were cleared "easily and affordably"; the clearance process would be much more expensive today.
The Washington Post described the modern use of well known samples, such as on records by Kanye West, as an act of conspicuous consumption similar to flaunting cars or jewellery.West has been sued several times over his use of samples. Though some have accused the law of restricting creativity, others argue it forces producers to innovate. Sampling can help popularize the sampled work; for example, the Desiigner track "Panda" topped the Billboard Hot 100 after West sampled it on "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 2".
According to Fact, early hip hop sampling was governed by "unspoken" rules forbidding the sampling of recent records, reissues, other hip hop records, or from non-vinyl sources, among other restrictions.These rules were relaxed as younger producers took over: "For many producers today it is no longer a case of 'should I sample this?' but of 'can I get away with sampling this?'. Thus the ethics of sampling unravelled as the practice became ever more ubiquitous."
In 2011, the US producer Timbaland won a copyright infringement case after sampling parts of a composition owned by the Finnish record label Kernel Records without permission.Under US copyright law, a work must first be registered with the US copyright office to become the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit. The court held that by being published online, the composition had been simultaneously published in every country with internet service, including the US. The work, therefore, satisfied the definition of a US work, and as it had not been registered with the US copyright office it could be sampled without permission.
To circumvent legal problems, producers may recreate a recording rather than sample it. This requires only the publisher's permission, and gives the artist more freedom to alter constituent components (such as separate guitar and drum tracks).
Breakbeat is a broad style of electronic or dance-oriented music which utilizes breaks, often sampled from earlier recordings in funk, jazz and R&B, for the main rhythm. Breakbeats have been used in styles such as hip hop, jungle, drum and bass, hardcore, UK garage, and even pop and rock.
Electronic and digital music technology is the use of electronic or digital instruments, computers, electronic effects units, software or digital audio equipment by a musician, composer, sound engineer, DJ or record producer to make, perform or record music. The term usually refers to the use of electronic devices, electronic and digital instruments, computer hardware and computer software that is used in the performance, playback, recording, composition, sound recording and reproduction, mixing, analysis and editing of music.
In electroacoustic music, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. Short sections of material can be repeated to create ostinato patterns. A loop can be created using a wide range of music technologies including turntables, digital samplers, synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, tape machines, delay units, or they can be programmed using computer music software.
Riddim is the Jamaican Patois pronunciation of the English word "rhythm". In reggae, dancehall, calypso, soca, and reggaeton parlance it refers to the instrumental accompaniment to a song. These genres consist of the riddim plus the "voicing" sung by the deejay. The resulting song structure is distinctive in many ways. A given riddim, if popular, may be used in dozens—or even hundreds—of songs, not only in recordings but also in live performances.
Akai is a consumer electronics brand name. The original company was founded in 1946 in Tokyo, Japan as Akai Electric Co., Ltd., developing electronics such as LED TVs and Air Conditioning systems.
An orchestra hit, also known as an orchestral hit, orchestra stab, or orchestral stab, is a sound effect created through the layering of the sounds of a number of different synthesized orchestral instruments playing a single staccato note or chord. The orchestra hit sound was propagated by the use of early samplers, particularly the Fairlight CMI where it was known as the ORCH5 sample. The sound is used in pop, hip hop and techno genres to accentuate passages of music.
The Akai MPC is a series of integrated samplers designed by Roger Linn and produced by Akai from 1988 onwards. The MPC had a major influence on the development of electronic and hip hop music, allowing musicians and producers to create elaborate tracks without a studio and opening the way for new sampling techniques.
Technodelic is the fifth studio album by Yellow Magic Orchestra, released in 1981. The album is notable for its experimental and heavy use of digital samplers which were not commonly used until the mid-to-late 1980s, resulting in a more minimalist sound compared to their previous work.
Roger Linn is an American designer of electronic musical instruments and equipment. He is the designer of the LM-1, the first drum machine to use samples, and the MPC sampler, which had a major influence on the development of hip hop. Roger Linn is also a member of the Dead Presidents Society, a group of innovators in the field of electronic music.
Hip hop production is the creation of hip hop music in a recording studio. While the term encompasses all aspects of hip hop music creation, including recording the rapping of an MC, a turntablist or DJ providing a beat, playing samples and "scratching" using record players and the creation of a rhythmic backing track, using a drum machine or sequencer, it is most commonly used to refer to recording the instrumental, non-lyrical and non-vocal aspects of hip hop.
Joseph Anthony "Amp" Fiddler is an American singer, songwriter, keyboardist, and record producer from Detroit, Michigan. His musical styles include funk, soul, dance and electronica music. He is probably best known for his contributions to the band Enchantment, and as part of George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic groups from 1985 until 1996. His first solo album Waltz of a Ghetto Fly was released in March 2004. His most recent album, Amp Dog Knights, was released in 2017.
E-mu SP-1200 is a sampler that was released in August 1987 by E-mu Systems.
"Planet Rock" is a 1982 song by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force. The song featured Marvella Murray, Yvette Murray, Melissa Johnson and Sandra Wheeler on additional background vocals. Although it was primarily an underground hit in the United States, Canada, and UK, it helped change the foundations of hip hop and dance music and became one of the most influential pieces and a milestone and eventually an icon of the hip hop, breakdance and electronic music cultures. It is credited with pioneering the genre and developing the electro style, building on the work of Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and George Clinton, combined with distinctive Roland TR-808 beats, and helped pave the way for other genres such as techno, house and trance. In November 2004, "Planet Rock" placed at number 240 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 10 in About.com's Top 100 Rap Songs. "Planet Rock" peaked at number four on the soul chart and number forty-eight on the Hot 100, and went to number three on the dance charts.
Abraham Orellana, better known as his stage name AraabMuzik, is an American record producer and DJ. Araabmuzik made a name for himself by performing beats and instrumentals live and in real time on a Music Production Center (MPC) drum machine. He uses MPC to produce rapid, rhythmic drum patterns and creates melodies with samples and other sounds.
Dwight Spitz is an album by the American hip hop artist and multi-instrumentalist Count Bass D, his second full-length studio album. It was released on August 30, 2002, by High Times.
Sampledelia is an umbrella term referring to a variety of sample-based music which utilizes samplers or other technology to appropriate sounds. The term may apply to broad genres of electronic music and hip hop, such as trip hop, jungle, post-rock, and plunderphonics, which feature "disorienting, perception-warping" manipulations of audio samples or found sounds via techniques such as chopping, looping, stretching, and other treatments.
Bruce Forat is an electronics engineer, computer programmer, music producer, songwriter and co-founder and president of Forat Music and Electronics Corporation, founded in 1986.
Joshua Paul Davis, better known by his stage name DJ Shadow, is an American record producer and DJ. He first gained notice with the release of his highly acclaimed debut studio album, Endtroducing...... He has a personal record collection of over 60,000 records.
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