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Topic: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

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  1. #1

    The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    Well I\'m new here, been lurking for a week or so and I\'ve been listening and learning a lot. I\'ve been a working musician my whole adult life and I\'m just now becoming very intrigued by sampling technology and the opportunities it affords us all. Perhaps because it\'s getting so damn good and I realize I actually might be able to realize a lifelong ambition of writing for an orchestra (symphonic or filmic) and hearing what it really sounds like.

    What I thought might be interesting to discuss was the pros and cons of sampling in your opinion. I don\'t mean the practical stuff like now you can actually hear your stuff with a pretty good orchestra or do some computer driven stuff that could not have been accomplished before. That goes without saying. I love it! I\'m thinking about issues like (what I call) cheapening of resources, etc. Like for instance all the Tuvan throat singing you get to hear now or Tibetan horns or whatever, all on your latest Britney Spears release. (for example- she may not have done this yet, but somebody has) the questionable taste of crossing some styles that should not be crossed (IMO)- although we\'ve seen some of the same stuff before, most tragically with Charlie Parker set with syrupy strings designed to make him \"palatable to the general public\" Or Flamenco and strings?? Or some instruments from one part of the world mixing with instruments from another. Yes, it can work and, of course it comes down to opinion but I\'m thinking that all this diversity at our fingertips is actually eating away at diversity in a funny way. If African villagers are using synths, and Flamencos are using strings, and Enigma is using Gregorian chants and everyone\'s using VOTA (or whatever) where are we?

    We will never take away the creative spirit and given the exact same tools two different people would probably come up with drastically different pieces but on a strictly sound level they will have the same palette and on this level they will be pretty much identical. And so, on a visceral level we might argue that they will \"feel\" the same. Horrifying, no?

    I remember going into Tower a few years ago and seeing a CD in the World section that was titled \"Music of Vietnam\" and the first thing I heard was a droney synth! that went on for quite a while, unfortunately drowning out the beautiful woman who started to sing in her own unique way. Next to it on a shelf was a CD entitled \"Music of Indonesia\" Guess how it opened? Pretty much the same synth. This is progress? Now I like droney synths as much as the next guy but......? This is a particularly egregious example and it\'s not even about sampling per se but I think it points up something about sameness and also a kind of claustrophobic quality that can sneak into our work if all of the sampled instruments and synths we use are not tempered with a breath of fresh air. i.e. real instruments played by real players in real time for a specific project.

    I\'d love to hear others weigh in on these issues.

  2. #2

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    I have to say that I agree with you on the whole. It seems that everyone has got most of the popular sample sets, for example, Distorted Reality, and we hear the same loop in various pieces of music by different people. Granted, most of the creative ones will pick that loop apart and toy with it until it is something completely different, however one can still go to a movie and say \"I know that loop\" or \"Ha, that\'s the soprano from Symphony of Voices.\"

    I heard some Mandy Moore song with a strange instrument in it. It was some sort of middle eastern, or Asian guitar (forgive me, I\'m not an expert in that area of musical instruments), and I thought it was kind of cool. Then, I watched a movie with that same exact phrase in the score. Apparently it must be from some \"Sounds of Asia\" CD or whatnot.

    However on the flip side, it allows the truly creative composers to listen to instruments and sounds that they may not have ever heard before. It can help one to become aware of a particular instrument in existence, and perhaps even use a live player of said instrument on a future score.

    So yes, all the sample CDs of sounds and \"world\" instruments are making a lot of things sound the same, or gimmicky, but it is also opening up a world of sounds and ideas to composers that weren\'t previously available.

    I will also add that I want to use live players whenever possible. In addition to sounding better, it\'s just a lot more fun! I\'m sacrificing pay for a current project just to hire some live players. The developers could care less, but it\'s worth it for my own sake.

  3. #3

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    wow man.. (deep inhale) too (cough!) deep for me dudes (cough!).. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    So are you saying that is is forbidden for African villagers to use a synth just because it isn\'t a part of there culture?
    If you don\'t like the drone playing under his drums then don\'t buy it. If he reaches alot more people because of his \"trendy\" synth approach then that could mean more and more people are gonna be interested in the genuine article.

    Just take a look at our own history. Popular music of today could not excist without the diverse cultures that are imbedded in its roots.


    ------------
    Alex Cremers

  5. #5

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    Michael, I understand your point but, for example, while you cite \'flamenco and strings\' as an example of \'bad\' crossing, have you heard Paco de Lucia\'s score for the film \'The Hit\'? Even though he basically recycled a lot of his tunes, the orchestration was lovely and added a new dimension to the music (in my opinion). Surely it\'s not whether or not styles are crossed but how they\'re crossed?

    I find that most film and television music I hear sounds derivative but it doesn\'t necessarily detract from the quality or beauty of the music.

    For me, sampling technology is part of a \'democratization\' of resources. It\'s great that, for around the price of a small car, we can have an orchestra (or band of throat singers) at our beck and call. How could this be anything but good?

    Pros might be too busy and involved to step back, but as a hobbyist I\'m constantly amazed and grateful for all these toys.

  6. #6

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    It all comes down to taste.

    There have always been people who try to market the results of their poor taste and lack of musicality as their inalienable \'individual and unique approach to art\'. Once it\'s \'art\', it\'s untouchable.

    Happily, there are plenty of instances where things like cross cultural pollination has worked.

    We need the democracy for its potential. It\'s just a shame that we have to bear with the occasional tin ear in order to benefit from it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    Next thing you know they\'ll be putting valves on trumpets. Heresy.

  8. #8

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    Originally posted by esteso:

    I remember going into Tower a few years ago and seeing a CD in the World section that was titled \"Music of Vietnam\" and the first thing I heard was a droney synth! that went on for quite a while, unfortunately drowning out the beautiful woman who started to sing in her own unique way.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I just want to know how you know the woman was beautiful.....? I mean she could have been ugly right? It\'s a CD, you don\'t know?

    And possibly the more disturbing question and more relevent to this thread... if she WERE ugly, would it be appropriate to mix the music of ugly people and not-so-ugly people........?

  9. #9

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    Originally posted by J. Whaley:
    I just want to know how you know the woman was beautiful.....? I mean she could have been ugly right? It\'s a CD, you don\'t know?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Im pretty sure he was referring to her beautiful \'voice\'. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Ed

  10. #10

    Re: The sound and feeling of sampling in general

    One time I went into a music store in Sweden and saw a CD with American music, and the first thing I heard was a droney synth! I can totally relate! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    Hans

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