Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Fink, Robert. "The Story of ORCH5, or, The Classical Ghost in the Hip-Hop Machine." Popular Music 24 (October 2005): 339-56.

ORCH5, a digital sample of a single chord from Igor Stravinksy's Firebird created on the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument, became one of the first recognized samples used in popular music. It was used as a sample in some eclectic electronic music in the early 1980s, but gained fame as the orchestral sound that began Afrika Bambaataa's seminal 1982 song Planet Rock. This song also prominently samples music from the German electronic group Kraftwerk, including a chromatic Weltschmerz theme from their song Trans Europe Express. Taken together, these two samples--a digital orchestral sound and a melody with intentional commentary on the decay of German music--create some unintended resonances of the decline of classical music in the Western world. While the use of ORCH5 in Planet Rock signals the decay of classical music in popular culture, the sample is also given new life by being appropriated into both the Afro-futurist movement and especially the early stages of hip-hop sampling, where it is used in the same capacity as a DJ's vinyl scratch.

Works: Kate Bush: The Dreaming (343); The Art of Noise: Close (to the Edit) (343); Afrika Bambaataa &the Soulsonic Force with Arthur Baker and John Robie: Planet Rock (343-54).

Sources: Stravinsky: The Firebird (341-54); Kraftwerk: Trans Europe Express (344-54), Numbers (344-54).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Mark Chilla

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