Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Davies, Hugh. "A History of Sampling." Organised Sound: An International Journal of Music Technology 1, no.1 (April 1996): 3-11.

The commercially available samplers invented in the 1980s have a long history that can be seen to include the early digital (but not binary) technology of the telegraph up until the invention of modern digital technology. After World War I inventors constructed and patented musical instruments based on available sound recording technologies as well as early versions of magnetic tape recorder dictating machines. This is generally considered the first "sampler." By 1948, Pierre Schaeffer initiated musique concrète and developed a technique similar to the later tape loop, the sillon fermé. Influenced by the invention of magnetic tape, Schaeffer transferred all of his disc recording techniques to the medium of magnetic tape and patented his Phonogène in the 1950s. In 1964, the first successful instrument based on magnetic tape technology, the Mellotron, was marketed. The first digital sampling instruments appeared in the early 1970s, and by the second half of the 1980s digital sampling technology had become a standard part of every electronic piano, organ, or synthesizer. Musicians have explored extensively the possibilities of the manipulation of recorded sound. The phonograph has been used for works like John Cage's Imaginary Landscape No. 5 as well as "scratching" by DJs in the popular music tradition. Other works have used this technology to manipulate pre-existing recorded works by other artists, generating conflict with copyright law. Among these works are James Tenney's Collage No. 1 ('Blue Suede') and John Oswald's Plunderphonics. Live manipulations of prerecorded magnetic tape material, such as Laurie Anderson's Tape Bow Violin, have also been explored. Commercial digital samplers are now used in a variety of contemporary composers' works, such as Michel Waisvisz 's The Archaic Symphony or Nicolas Collins's Devil's Music.

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Sarah Florini

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