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On The Subject Of Sampling In Music
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mikee72
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 5:13 am    Post subject: On The Subject Of Sampling In Music Reply with quote

Like any "new" technology, the ability to digitally copy sound has been a double-edged sword. Most would agree that having the sound of a $20k grand piano or a 30-piece orchestra at their fingertips is a positive for songwriters. However, it seems to have become more common for people to sample an entire musical passage of another artist's work and incorporate it as one's own. I disagree with this, and feel that it is bad for music for several reasons.

First, the original work was created by someone else. Rights can be purchased, and permission can be given, but the fact remains that the sampling artist ends up getting the credit for writing it, since invariably, the sampled passage is the most distinguishing part of the final song.

Second, I believe that the more reliance that is put on sampling, the less true "songwriting" is actually going on. If we take this concept to the extreme, we would eventually get to the point where every new "song" is simply a DJ-like "mix" of previously-released material. At this point, no truly new music would be being created, and wouldn't that be a shame?

Lastly, the ability to sample entire musical passages lessens the desire for young people to take up an instrument, since the process of songwriting can new be streamlined. Yes, it's great that more people are now able to enjoy their involvement in music, but I've most certainly seen a decline in young people's desire to emulate their favorite guitar player or drummer. Instead, a desire to emulate their favorite "DJ" who can neither write his own music, nor play an instrument.

In conclusion, I see sampling as an effective music-making tool if used properly. If used abused, I see a downward spiral where no truly new music is ever created and every "new" song is a homologation of previous work.

Houses cannot be built without foundations, but in the distance, I'm seeing a city of skyscrapers being built on swampland.




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RiotNrrd
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No flame. But I think a similar argument was put forth by painters around the time of the invention of the camera.

That aside, I think that DJ'ing has its place as a simplistic "breeding ground" for budding musicians the way painting-by-numbers is for young artists getting their brushes wet for the first time. For a lot of them, "remixing" will be the best it ever gets for them - and that's fine; if they're having fun, then who am I to rain on their parade? But some will tire of the inherent limitations of recycling precanned snippets and go on to learn to play actual instruments and write new music.

Writing new music isn't for everyone (nor has it ever been - I know many people who play real instruments - some who play very well, indeed - who've never written an original note in their life; if it isn't already scored, they can't play it). But composing new music will continue to appeal to some people in the future the same way it has in the past. Just because one group of people spends their time regurgitating other peoples work instead of composing new works doesn't mean everyone will, any more than the advent of written scores dealt a death blow to new compositions hundreds of years ago.
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Stephen
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I shouldn't get going on this, but I rarely pass up an opportunity to bitch about something, and when you're my age it's an earned privilage. Smile
when I started playing in bands, there were many cool places to play, have fun, and make a few bucks. At one time, for two years, I made a very good living playing music in clubs and private gatherings. We did a good job, and people paid us well for showing them a good time, or bringing people into their establishments / events etc.
Then.... came the DJ's. I got a day gig. Confused Then.... came Karoake, I got sick Brick wall, Then, it really got to where, even though we still did a great job, the gigs slowed way down, and we became a vanishing breed around here. Wedding receptions that had been so lucritive in years passed, started having "DJ's." Shocked
We spend years developing our craft. I was never the brilliant musical techincian, but give me a crowd, and I will entertain them. A "DJ" buys some CD's ( made by real musicians), a few lights, and a sound system, and goes out stealing jobs from performing musicians, by playing music made by musicians. They don't pay fees, or dues, they buy the CD and make money from it, even though, the radio stations, and performing musicians, have to pay for the same privilage.
There was never a weekend, that a person could not go hear a good musical act around here, before the "Dj's and Karoake Hose heads, took that away from us. I really miss that! I saw Chicago Transit Authority, (Chicago), in a club downtown, before they got a recording contract. I saw so many great musical acts at local clubs, it was awesome. Those days are gone. All there is left, are "DJ's" and drunks trying to sing songs, written by real musicians. Yuk! Evil or Very Mad
I know... I'm coming off as harsh, but I miss being able to go see good musical acts right here locally, I miss it a lot.
Excuse the rant, I see a lot of changes in the music scene, and some of it upsets me. It was better back then! For me it was!
Sorry Rolling Eyes
Stephen
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Daz
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like everything using these sampled phrases is fine if used in a creative way. For example lifting a couple of sampled drums loops from a sample CD and tweaking them around in Recycle to create a inspiring groove onto which you put your own instrumentation is cool. However taking sampled phrases from a "construction kit" type of CD and just reconstructing them without adding anything is somewhat pointless. Although you may well learn some useful lessons about arrangement even just doing that.

The great thing about samples is they at least make up for whatever skills you might lack (and not in a bad way). For example I am a keyboard player, but I am no drummer ... and coming up with a good drum pattern is a struggle on occassion. So having access to sample phrases is a blessing. Although to be honest I've actually found having drum loops in MIDI format more useful, as you can tweak them around a lot more.

I read a good rant on this in SOS a while back, where a guy was complaining that awful of music used in the media and advertising was just overlayed sample loops and that was really lazy. I agree to a degree. However if the result is effective, even if not considered "art", then it's at least intelligent use of what's available to get the job done quickly. I wouldn't buy an album full of it, but I don't mind hearing it in an advert.

Daz.
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mikee72
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have been more clear in that I should have differentiated between sample CD's and using the entire chorus of Rick James' "Superfreak" as the basis for a "new" song. If someone is selling drum beats with the intent of having them used in future compositions, that's their business. What I'm most irritated about, is the proliferation of "stealing" (paid for or not) song hits of the past, because it's obvious that the "artist" (usually Rap/R n' B these days) can't come up with anything that interesting on their own. Some examples of past hits that have been pirated with much success:

"When The Levee Breaks" Led Zeppelin
"The Ocean" Led Zeppelin
"Jamie's Cryin' " Van Halen
"True" Spandau Ballet
"Superfreak" Rick James
"Funky Drummer" James Brown
"Rise" Herb Alpert
"Black Cow" Steely Dan
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georgeinar
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm inclined to ride the fence on this one. I tend to agree with the comment about the paint brush. An artist can create art from anywhere. If you've only copied some pieces of songs and stuck them together with no artistic sense, it will probably sound that way. Andy Warhol created art from what was practically garbage. But he was an original. I've been playing around with sampling things from a cheap boombox, as it seems the best way to get a tinny, distant analog sound. But even then I will use either some old song of mine, or a taped conversation of friends etc. to give me the sound I need. I wouldn't want to take a famous song and sample that into my own song, it would seem too much like a rip-off. Unless I'm doing a cover, maybe. I took the beginning of "Lonely Bull" from Tijuana Brass (the crowd cheering and the trumpets) and merged my own cover version of it seamlessly so you almost don't detect the TS taking over. Doing that is like a tribute to the original piece. Of course, I'm paranoid to use it for anything as I don't have any rights to the music.
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Carlcat



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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 6:24 am    Post subject: Yes it was better for music then... but... Reply with quote

It seems to me that Rap and various forms of expression that use a good bit of sampled parts of other songs/phrases that other people wrote, are at best, about the craft or art of arrangement and the art of poetry or word-smithing.

Chanting or word-smithing or poetry over drumming, is art. To sample or remix in something else adds a measure of creative arranging.

But all of these are different than the arts of playing keyboard or guitar or harmonica, drums, whatever, yourself, or the art of composing using such instruments.

It seems to me that a lack of musical education (not necessarily formal education) is a big problem for our culture. Too few have taken the time to learn a melodious instrument, whether it is because of a chaotic environment beyond the control of the kids, or because of little attention span, or lack of discipline or sound-byte bubblegum impatience. And by melodious instrument I'm of course including the voice, it is such a shame so many rappers can't sing or play a drum, they just sample and some just beat their breast don't even do any artistry with words, no poetry.

The great thing about electronic keyboards today is headphones, people could practice hours and no one is bothered. The great thing about guitar is portability, take it anywhere and tell a story. Electronic drums, again the headphones thingy. People with the desire and will to practice, could do it.

I'm concerned that as other forms take precedence, many talented musicians and poets and story-tellers, are left by the side of the road. And in the process, people's ability to recognize and appreciate and participate in art, dwindles further.

It's great that there are so many people arranging and playing with rhythms and words... but cheese and rice, that many people? Few are as good as William Shatner/Ben Folds at it.
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georgeinar
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said.
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Carlcat



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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: On the Shatner part... Reply with quote

Shatner's latest album, 'Has been', btw, is surprisingly good. But I didn't believe it until I actually listened to it. Ben Folds was able to work the music part well and to steer Shatner to get it to work, it in some places is reminiscent of Zappa, Laurie Anderson, or some of Jello Biafra's words and music stuff. A truly hilarious song on there, Shatner sounds like a drunken preacher or something doing "live life like you're going to die, because you're gonna", and one has Henry Rollins ranting with him on it. I never thought it would be so good.

Mind you, if Shatner tried actual Rap, I think I'd have to run screaming, but in this case the words on music stuff really worked with his style, it's probably the best thing he's done, the most 'real'
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georgeinar
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds interesting, that's kind of the style of singing I do, as I can't sing for beans, so some call it performance art?? If you're curious click on my cdbaby link below and check out my album. It's post apocalyptic prose poems etc done to gungy punky rhythms. I'm inspired much by the Zappa/Henry Rollins vibe also early David Bowie and the Bauhaus type stuff.
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Carlcat



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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 10:08 pm    Post subject: Great Stuff!! Reply with quote

Yes I can definitely hear the Zappa influence (the ooze coming from the TV set)... I'm going to have to buy your album, once I get some cash in my paypal account.

It's great. I love it.

I have a song up online, that has a lot of bush and news quotes, I didn't know what to do with it as far as words/lyrics/chanting whatever, so I sampled it up, quazi-industrial dance/gothprogrock or something...

http://originalderivatives.tripod.com/
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georgeinar
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your sound is great and nice and smooth. It's a blend of Ministry and some other stuff. I really like this. Good website too.
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Carlcat



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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. Interesting you could hear the Ministry influence, yep I used to listen to them a lot.
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youthinasia888
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My comments on this:



I consider myself a pianist/keyboardist/player first, because I can actually play, and I also consider myslef a composer of music. That being said, I totally agree with Mike on this.

I think what we are talking about specifically is the use of LOOPS in the making of music. To me, that's not really ccomposing original pieces of music. Therefore, in my songs, I would never consider using those acid loops or loop libraries. It just wouldn't feel right to use those and then to tought the song as your own.

As a musician and electronica/computer guy, we can make ourown loops. Hell, we can be really detailed about is and make our own sounds!

Those that take those commercially available loops and make songs out of them; I call them arrangers, not composers.


Now, on the topic of samples, like Mike mentioned, A sample of a violin, or a cello, just a single note that you have to play and come up with yourr own melodies or harmonies; that's compsosing. But taking a pre-fabricated 8 bar professionally recorded passage and putting that in a song, that's just not your own creation. I have a friend who buys all those acid tracks, links them together, then burns to cd and calls it his own album. I told him, that's BS, and he counter with: "but they're all royalty free!" ass
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georgeinar
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

some guy was arguing with me somewhere else about sampling other people's music and it's ok to rap over it if you give them some mention in the credits, like that's gonna make it legal, and then I said if you use my songs in your rap I would sue, and he started up with "I'm so scared, if I decide to use your song I'll use it and I don't care" My point is, why even bother trying to get away with using someone else's creation. If you didn't create or compose it, what is the big kick out of producing it and marketing it and showing off to people something that you took off someone else, either legally or illegally. Now I could see a scenario where maybe I was friends with someone who raps, and he wanted to rap over one of my songs, so we did a joint thing where I did the music and he did the rapping and we put it out jointly, like Aerosmith and Run DMC, that was all cool.
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