Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Metzer, David. "Sampling and Thievery." Chapter 5 in Quotation and Cultural Meaning in Twentieth-Century Music, 160-87. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Sampling constitutes a form of creative theft that should be seen within the history of musical borrowing. Sampling is mainly associated with digital technology beginning around 1980, and it is used in two main ways: to sample performance sounds, such as a cymbal crash, or to sample more extended sounds. One group that exemplifies creative theft is Negativland. who sampled the lead singer of U2 singing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and turned the singer into a whining voice. The artist Scanner travels the airwaves sampling personal phone calls. John Oswald sampled Michael Jackson's voice in BAD to create Oswald's own DAB. Oswald removed all markers of Jackson's voice until it no longer sounded like the artist, and, in so doing, used Jackson's own medium against him. This new form of musical borrowing, creative theft, is appropriate for our media-saturated environment.

Works: Puff Daddy and Faith Evans: I'll Be Missing You (160); Wyclef Jean: We Trying to Stay Alive (160); Janet Jackson: Got 'til it's Gone (160); Negativland: U2 (162, 166-67, 169-70); John Oswald: Plexure (171), Plunderphonic (177), DAB (178-81); Scanner: Sulphur (175); Tape-Beatles: Music with Sound (181-83).

Sources: Sting (songwriter), The Police (performers): Every Breath You Take (160); Bee Gees (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb): Stayin' Alive (160); Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi (160, 163-64); U2: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (167); Buck Ram (songwriter), Dolly Parton (performer): The Great Pretender (177); Michael Jackson: BAD (178-81).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Kerry O'Brien

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