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Re: Basic intro (OT)

On Thu, 16 Aug 2001 13:30:10 -0600, Goddess <TheFates@earthlink.net>

>  Regarding use of sampled materieal and such, this is absolutely nothing
>new in a historical sense.  Even during the middle ages and Renesonce, it
>was common to hear entire melodies sung with different words, which were
>originally from different songs.  -Or, entire pieces of music reused with
>different words.  

Excellent point. The lyrics to the American national anthem itself were
prefaced with the note "to the tune of 'Anacreon in Heaven'". It
certainly hasn't escaped people that "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" and
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" have the same tune, or that the
christmas carol "What Child is This" is sung to the tune of
"Greensleeves" (although many people are surprised to discover that
"Greensleeves" has *lyrics*), or even that "My Country 'Tis of Thee" is
sung to "God Save the Queen"! The practice of rewriting lyrics to
popular songs is quite alive and well in science fiction fandom, also,
where it is commonly referred to as "filk" (from a typo on a posted
bulletin, which advertised "filk singing" instead of "folk singing" in a
particular room of a convention).

What is really "different" about sampling is that you're not performing
the song -- you're simply playing a recorded version. And as anyone
pretty much has to agree, playing a recorded sample takes no talent and
no creativity. Where the talent and creativity comes in with samples is
in selecting and combining them. 

Samples, IMO, should be treated like individual notes: in and of
themselves, they're not all that impressive. When you play some sample,
it's like playing a B flat. That's not hard. Anyone can do that. Several
samples are just like multiple keys on a piano; you can play a whole
bunch at once, or just play one at a time for an extended series. Anyone
can do that, too, but making it sound good is another matter. Three
notes form a chord, but only if they're the right three notes -- so you
can't always just throw this melody over that bassline and tack these
vocals on them, you need to properly tune them so they sound good

Samples provide the mixed blessing of greater range; there are, after
all, "only twelve notes a man can play" (to quote the Beastie Boys)...
but there are thousands upon thousands of potential samples. It should
be reasonably obvious that there will be many more combinations that
sound good, and many more combinations that sound bad. There's a lot
more territory to explore, and there's some good stuff out there; of
course, there's also a lot of barrens that are essentially good for
nothing. Sample based music is easy to do, but hard to do well -- and
while I'm certainly no virtuoso, I like to think I do better than the
average guy who just picked up a tracker. ;)