Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Holm-Hudson, Kevin. "Quotation and Context: Sampling and John Oswald's Plunderphonics." Leonardo Music Journal: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology 7 (1997): 17-25.

Though sampling only emerged with the invention of digital technology in the 1980s, it is best understood as part of the long history of musical borrowing. Specific melodic quotation, akin to literal sampling, can be found throughout western art music in the works of composers like Bach, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, and Ives. In this repertoire, the context in which the quotation appears imposes commentary or new meaning on the original. A similar process occurs with digital sampling where meaning is often generated through recontextualization and juxtaposition of samples. In attempts to generate a "taxonomy" of sampling practices, scholars David Sanjek, Thomas Porcello, and Chris Cutler have created classification systems based, respectively, on reconcilability of the source, procedural methods, and in terms similar to Christopher Ballentine's "musical-philosophical" ideals. The central difference between digital sampling and traditional borrowing is that "the timbre is appropriated in addition to pitch and rhythm." In addition to illustrating the role of recontextualization of sampled material in creating meaning, John Oswald's works Plunderphonics and Plexure demonstrate the role of timbre in conveying musical meaning. For example, Oswald experiments with the timbre of Michael Jackson's voice in the piece "DAB" on Plunderphonics.

Works: Alex Paterson and Youth [Orb]: Little Fluffy Clouds (18-19); James Tenney: Collage #1: Blue Suede (19); John Oswald: Plunderphonics (20-23), DAB (21-22), Plexure (23-24).

Sources: Ennio Morricone: Score for Once Upon a Time in the West (18-19); Steve Reich: Electric Counterpoint (18-19); Carl Perkins: Blue Suede Shoes as performed by Elvis Presley (19); Michael Jackson: Bad (21-22).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Sarah Florini

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