Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Morey, Justin and Phillip McIntyre. “The Creative Studio Practice of Contemporary Dance Music Sampling Composers.” Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture 6 (2014): 41-60.

Case studies drawn from interviews with contemporary UK-based sampling composers working in several genres of electronic dance music demonstrate the collaborative processes and self-imposed constraints in their creative studio practices. Through incorporating samples, sampling composers effectively co-opt the original songwriters as co-authors, a process with both creative and economic consequences. By convention, songwriters are understood to be those responsible for the creation of the melody, chord progression, and lyrics, but sampling composers often gravitate toward rhythmic or sonic elements that are the domain of (uncredited) performers. Many of the composer interviewed also emphasize listening as a key aspect of their compositional process. Three self-imposed constraints were also regularly discussed. First, many sampling composers preferred to chop samples “by hand,” that is, without the aid of digital quantization and time correction tools. Second, composers created tracks by starting with a sample as the base, building up the other layers, then removing the initial sample, thereby enjoying the creative aspect of sample composition without the hassle of copyright clearance. Third, composers often treated their own recordings as samples. This is especially evident in the songwriting process for the 1982 Talking Heads album Remain in Light, produced by Brian Eno. Increasingly, the compositional approaches of these sampling composers do not differ significantly from songwriters in other popular genres, and advancements in digital sampling technology have not necessarily altered their compositional techniques.

Works: Plan B: Ill Manors (43); Peter Fox: Alles Neu (43)

Sources: Peter Fox: Alles Neu (43); Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 (43)

Index Classifications: 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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