Music of the Spheres
The music sequencer (or simply sequencer ) is a device or computer software to record, edit, play back the music , by handling note and performance information in several forms, typically : MIDI , CV/Gate , and possibly audio and automation data for Plug-ins and DAWs .
With the advent of MIDI and particularly Atari ST in 1980s, programmers were able to write software that could record and play back the notes played by a musician. Unlike the early sequencers used to play mechanical sounding sequence with exactly equal length, the new ones recorded and played back expressive performances by real musicians.
The earlier music sequencers had appeared in the form of various automatic musical instruments , including music boxes , mechanical organs , player pianos , etc . For example, authoring of piano roll resemble the definition of music sequencer . Several composers record ed their composition on piano rolls, then specialists edit ed rolls for the preparation of mass duplication, and finally consumers play ed back music on their player piano.
With the relation to the photographic films, the drawn sound technique that appeared in the late 1920s, may be also important as a precursor of today’s intuitive graphical user interfaces . On this technique, notes and various sound parameters were controlled by hand-drawn waves on the films, resembling piano rolls or strip charts on the modern sequencers/DAWs. It was often utilized on early experiments of electronic music, including “Variophone ” developed by Yevgeny Sholpo in 1930, and Oramics designed by Daphne Oram in 1957, etc .
Typical interface on software sequencer integrated with DAW
With the advent of MIDI and particularly Atari ST in 1980s, programmers were able to write software that could record and play back the notes played by a musician. Unlike the early sequencers used to play mechanical sounding sequence with exactly equal length, the new ones recorded and played back expressive performances by real musicians. These were typically used to control external synthesizers, especially rackmounted sound modules as it was no longer necessary for each synthesizer to have its own keyboard.
Commodore 64 SID
The earlier music sequencers had appeared in the form of various automatic musical instruments, including music boxes, mechanical organs, player pianos, etc. For example, authoring of piano roll resemble the definition of music sequencer. Several composers recorded their composition on piano rolls, then specialists edited rolls for the preparation of mass duplication, and finally consumers played back music on their player piano.
The origin of automatic musical instruments seems considerably old. As early as 9th century, Persian inventors BanÅ« MÅ«sÄ brothers invented hydropowered organ using exchangeable cylinders with pins, and also automatic flute player using steam power, as described on their Book of Ingenious Devices. In 14th century, rotating cylinder with pins were used to play carillon in Flanders, and at least in 15th century, barrel organs were seen in the Netherlands. In 19th century, as the result of the Industrial Revolution, various automatic musical instruments were invented, includes music box, barrel organ and barrel piano using barrel / cylinder / metal disc with pins, or mechanical organ, orchestrion and player piano using book music / music rolls (piano rolls) with punched holes, etc. These instruments widely spread as the popular entertainment devices, before the invention of phonograph and radio.
On the other hand, software sequencers were continuously utilized since 1950s, in the context of computer music, including computer played music (software sequencer), computer composed music (music synthesis), and computer sound generation (sound synthesis).
The first samples came from music concrete
Sample and Scratch and inching
In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrÃ¨te and electroacoustic music, who physically manipulated tape loops or vinyl records on a phonograph.
In the late 1960s, the use of tape loop sampling influenced the development of minimalist music and the production of psychedelic rock and jazz fusion. In the 1970s, DJs who experimented with manipulating vinyl on two turntables gave birth to hip hop music, the first popular music genre based originally around the art of sampling. The widespread use of sampling in popular music increased with the rise of electronic music and disco in the mid 1970s to early 1980s, the development of electronic dance music and industrial music in the 1980s, and the worldwide influence o
f hip hop since the 1980s on genres ranging from contemporary R&B to indie rock.
Since that time sampling is often done with a sampler, originally a piece of hardware, but today, more commonly a computer program. Vinyl emulation software may also be used, however, and many turntablists continue to sample using traditional methods.
Often “samples” consist of one part of a song, such as a rhythm break, which is then used to construct the beat for another song. For instance, hip hop music developed from DJs repeating the breaks from songs to enable continuous dancing. The Funky drummer break and the Amen break, both brief fragments taken from soul and funk music recordings of the 1960s, have been among the most common samples used in dance music and hip hop of recent decades, with some entire subgenres like breakbeat being based largely on complex permutations of a single one of these samples.
Often, samples are not taken from other music, but from spoken words, including those in non-musical media such as movies, TV shows and advertising. Sampling does not necessarily mean using pre-existing recordings. A number of composers and musicians have constructed pieces or songs by sampling field recordings they made themselves, and others have sampled their own original recordings.
The use of sampling is controversial legally and musically. Experimental musicians who pioneered the technique in the 1940s to the 1960s sometimes did not inform or receive permission from the subjects of their field recordings or from copyright owners before constructing a musical piece out of these samples. In the 1970s, when hip hop was confined to local dance parties, it was unnecessary to obtain copyright clearance in order to sample recorded music at these parties. As the genre became a recorded form centred around rapping in the 1980s and subsequently went mainstream, it became necessary to pay to obtain legal clearance for samples, which was difficult for all but the most successful DJs, producers and rappers. As a result, a number of recording artists ran into legal trouble for uncredited samples, while the restrictiveness of current US copyright laws and their global impact on creativity also came under increased scrutiny. The hip hop genre also shifted toward a wider aesthetic in which sampling was only one method of constructing beats, with many producers instead crafting wholly original recordings to serve as backing tracks. Aside from legal issues, sampling has been both championed and criticized. Hip hop DJs today take different approaches to sampling, with some critical of its obvious use. Some critics, particularly those with a rockist outlook, have expressed the belief all sampling is lacking in creativity, while others say sampling has been innovative and revolutionary. Those whose own work has been sampled have also voiced a wide variety of opinions about the practice, both for and against sampling.
Musicians can reproduce the same samples of break beats like the “Amen” break which was composed, produced and mastered by the Winston Brothers in 1960s. Producers in the early 1990s have used the whole 5.66 second sample; but music workstations like the Korg Electribe Series (EM-1, ES-1; EMX-1 and the ESX-1) have used the “Amen” kick, hi hat and snare in their sound wave libraries for free use. Sampler production companies have managed to use these samples for pitch, attack and decay and DSP effects to each drum sound. These features allow producers to manipulate samples to match other parts of the composition.
Samples used in musical instruments sometimes have a looped component. An instrument with indefinite sustain, such as a pipe organ, does not need to be represented by a very long sample because the sustained portion of the timbre is looped. The sampler (or other sample playback instrument) plays the attack and decay portion of the sample followed by the looped sustain portion for as long as the note is held, then plays the release portion of the sample.
There are several genres of music in which it is commonplace for an artist to sample a phrase of a well-known recording and use it as an element in a new composition. A well-known example includes the sample of Queen/David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” (1981) in Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” (1990). Some of the earliest examples in popular electronic music were from Yellow Magic Orchestra, such as “Computer Game / Firecracker” (1978) sampling a Martin Denny melody and Space Invaders game sounds, while Technodelic (1981) was one of the first albums to feature mostly samples and loops.
On MC Hammer’s album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em, the successful single “U Can’t Touch This” sampled Rick James’ 1981
Sampling has been an area of contention from a legal perspective. Early sampling artists simply used portions of other artists’ recordings, without permission; once rap and other music incorporating samples began to make significant money, the original artists began to take legal action, claiming copyright infringement. Some sampling artists fought back, claiming their samples were fair use (a legal doctrine in the USA that is not universal). International sampling is governed by agreements such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act.
Sampling existing (copyrighted) recordings using manipulation with tape recorders goes back at least as far as 1961, when James Tenney created Collage #1 (“Blue Suede”) from samples of Elvis Presley’s recording of the song “Blue Suede Shoes.” At the time, many artists such as Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs were experimenting with the new technology that was tape-recording by manipulating existing works such as radio broadcasts. Brion Gysin’s work tended to favor his permutation poems as the vehicle for cut-ups with spliced repetition of the same series of words rearranged in every conceivable pattern, frequently utilizing snippets of speeches or news broadcasts. Burroughs preferred a much more frantic and disorganized sound that would later spawn similar disjointed collage material from modern groups such as Negativland. Burroughs would record, for instance, a radio broadcast about military action, then dub parts of the broadcast likely at random often stuttering and distorting the original work far beyond comprehension.
However, before then, the 1956 novelty hit single “The Flying Saucer”, by Buchanan and Goodman, used segments of the original recordings of 18 different chart hits from 1955â€“56, intertwined with spoken “news” commentary in the style of Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast, to tell the story of a visit from a flying saucer. After the record was issued, an agreement was reached with music publishing houses for them to take a share of royalties from the records sold. Although his partnership with Buchanan soon ended, Dickie Goodman continued to make similar records through the 1960s and 1970s, one of his biggest hits being “Mr. Jaws” in 1975.
However, sampling did not truly take off in popular music until the early eighties when pioneering hip hop producers, such as Grandmaster Flash, started to produce rap records using sampled breaks rather than live studio bands, which had until then been the norm.
Conventional wisdom would hold that the first popular rap single to feature sampling was “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang on their own independent Sugar Hill Label in 1979. However, instead of ‘sampling’ the existing record “Good Times” by Chic, Sugar Hill employed a house band, called “Positive Force” to record a copy of “Good Times” which was then rapped over. Doug Wimbish and other session musicians were called upon to play live music on many classic Sugar Hill records. Those sounds are not samples but live musicians.
The 1981 album by David Byrne and Brian Eno, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, used sampling extensively for the songs’ vocals.
Usually taken from movies, television, or other non-musical media, spoken word samples are often used to create atmosphere, to set a mood, or even comic effect. The American composer Steve Reich used samples from interviews with Holocaust survivors as a source for the melodies on the 1988 album Different Trains, performed by the Kronos Quartet.
Many genres utilize sampling of spoken word to induce a mood, and Goa trance often employs samples of people speaking about the use of psychoactives, spirituality, or science fiction themes. Industrial is known for samples from horror/sci-fi movies, news broadcasts, propaganda reels, and speeches by political figures. The band Ministry frequently samples George W. Bush. Paul Hardcastle used recordings of a news reporter, as well as a soldier and ambient noise of a protest, in his single “Nineteen,” a song about Vietnam war veterans and Posttraumatic stress disorder. The band Negativland samples from practically every form of popular media, ranging from infomercials to children’s records. In the song “Civil War”, Guns N’ Roses samples from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, on the album Use Your Illusion II. Sludge band Dystopia make frequent use of samples, including news clips and recordings of junkies to create a bleak and nihilistic atmosphere. Other bands that frequently used samples in their work are noise rockers Steel Pole Bath Tub and death metal band Skinless. The american rapper and producer MF Doom frequently uses spoken word samples, taken from anything from old Spiderman and Fantastic Four cartoons to Charles Bukowski’s Dinosauria, We poem.
Amen Brother – one of the most sampled tracks of all time
The Winstons were a 1960s funk and soul music group, based in Washington, D.C.. They are known for their 1969 recording of an EP featuring a song entitled “Color Him Father” on the A-side, and a song entitled “Amen, Brother” on the B-side. Half-way into “Amen, Brother”, there is a drum solo (performed by G.C. Coleman) which would cause The Winston’s EP to become one of the most widely-sampled record in the history of electronic music. Sampled audio clips of the drum solo became known as the Amen Break, which has been used in thousands of tracks in a large number of musical genres, including: hip-hop,  drum and bass, jungle, Big beat, Industrial, Electronica, and pop music.
Scratching is a DJ or turntablist technique used to produce distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer. While scratching is most commonly associated with hip hop music, since the mid 1970s, it has been used in some styles of pop and nu metal. Within hip hop culture, scratching is one of the measures of a DJ’s skills, and there are many scratching competitions. In recorded hip-hop songs, scratched hooks often use portions of different rap songs.
Scratching was developed by early hip hop DJs from New York such as Grand Wizard Theodore and DJ Grandmaster Flash, who describes scratching as, “nothing but the back-cueing that you hear in your ear before you push it [the recorded sound] out to the crowd.” (Toop, 1991).
*Although previous artists such as William S. Burroughs had experimented with the idea of manipulating a reel to reel tape manually for the sounds produced (such as with his 1950s recording, “Sound Piece”),vinyl scratching as an element of hip hop pioneered the idea of making the sound an integral and rhythmic part of music instead of uncontrolled noise.
Grandmaster Flash was the first person to release a song, “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”, with scratching on it in 1981.Â
Most scratches are produced by moving a vinyl record back and forth with the hand while it is playing on a turntable. This creates a distinctive sound that has come to be one of the most recognizable features of hip hop music. Over time with excessive scratching the needle will cause what is referred to as record burn.
The basic equipment setup for scratching includes two turntables, and a DJ mixer, which is a mixer that has a crossfader and “cue” buttons to allow the DJ to “cue up” new music without the audience hearing.When scratching, this crossfader is utilized in conjunction with the “scratching hand” to cut in and out of the scratched record.
More rarely, DJs do scratching with magnetic tape, sometimes by recording music onto magnetic stripes and disassembling a cassette tape recorder to play the magnetic stripes. An example of tape-scratching can be viewed in this video of Mr. Tape, from Latvia
Sounds that are frequently scratched include but are not limited to drum beats, horn stabs, spoken word samples, and lines from other songs. Any sound recorded to vinyl can be used, and CD players providing a turntable-like interface allow DJs to scratch not only material that was never released on vinyl, but also field recordings and samples from television and movies that have been burned to CD-R. Some DJs and anonymous collectors release 12-inch singles called battle records that include trademark, novel or hard-to-find scratch fodder. The most recognizable samples used for scratching are the “Ahh” and “Fresh” samples, which originate from the song “Change the Beat” by Fab 5 Freddy.
One of the first major legal cases regarding sampling was with UK dance act M|A|R|R|S “Pump Up the Volume”. As the record reached the UK top ten, producers Stock Aitken Waterman obtained an injunction against the record due to the unauthorized use of a sample from their hit single “Roadblock”. The dispute was settled out of court, with the injunction being lifted in return for an undertaking that overseas releases would not contain the “Roadblock” sample, and the disc went on to top the UK singles chart. The sample in question had been so distorted as to be virtually unrecognizable, and SAW didn’t realize their record had been used until they heard co-producer Dave Dorrell mention it in a radio interview.
In 1987, The JAMs released 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?) 1987 was produced using extensive unauthorised samples which plagiarised a wide range of musical works. They were ordered by the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society to destroy all unsold copies of the album because of the numerous uncleared samples, after a complaint from ABBA. In response, The JAMs disposed of many copies of 1987 in unorthodox, publicised ways. They also released a version of the album titled “1987 (The JAMs 45 Edits)”, stripped of all unauthorised samples to leave periods of protracted silence and so little audible content that it was formally classed as a 12-inch single.
2 Live Crew, , it was their 1989 album As Clean as They Wanna Be (a re-tooling of As Nasty As They Wanna Be) that began the prolonged legal debate over sampling. The album contained a track entitled “Pretty Woman,” based on the well-known Roy Orbison song Oh, Pretty Woman. 2 Live Crew’s version sampled the guitar, bass, and drums from the original, without permission. While the opening lines are the same, the two songs split ways immediately following.
Roy Orbison’s version â€“ “Pretty woman, walking down the street/ Pretty woman, the kind I’d like to meet.”
2 Live Crew’s version â€“ “Big hairy woman, all that hair ain’t legit,/ Cause you look like Cousin Itt.”
In addition to this, while the music is identifiable as the Orbison song, there were changes implemented by the group. The new version contained interposed scraper notes, overlays of solos in different keys, and an altered drum beat.
The group was sued by the song’s copyright owners Acuff-Rose. The company claimed that 2 Live Crew’s unauthorized use of the samples devalued the original, and was thus a case of copyright infringement. The group claimed they were protected under the fair use doctrine. The case of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music came to the Supreme Court in 1994.
In reviewing the case, the Supreme Court didn’t consider previous ruling in which any commercial use (and economic gain) was considered copyright infringement. Instead they re-evaluated the original frame of copyright as set forth in the Constitution. The opinion that resulted from Emerson v. Davies played a major role in the decision.
“[In] truth, in literature, in science and in art, there are, and can be, few, if any, things, which in an abstract sense, are strictly new and original throughout. Every book in literature, science and art, borrows, and must necessarily borrow, and use much which was well known and used before.” Emerson v. Davies,8 F.Cas. 615, 619 (No. 4,436) (CCD Mass. 1845)
Perhaps what played a larger role was the result from the Folsom v. Marsh case:
“look to the nature and objects of the selections made, the quantity and value of the materials used, and the degree in which the use may prejudice the sale, or diminish the profits, or supersede the objects, of the original work.” Folsom v. Marsh, 9 F.Cas. 342, 348 (No. 4,901) (CCD Mass. 1841) The court ruled that any financial gain 2 Live Crew received from their version did not infringe upon Acuff-Rose because the two songs were targeted at very different audiences. 2 Live Crew’s use of copyrighted material was protected under the fair use doctrine, as a parody, even though it was released commercially. While the appellate court had determined that the mere nature of the parody made it inherently unfair, the Supreme Court’s ruling reversed this decision, with Justice David Souter writing that the lower court was wrong in determining parody alone to be a sufficient criterion for copyright infringement.
Danger Mouse with the release of The Grey Album in 2004, which is a remix of The Beatles’ self-titled album and rapper Jay-Z’s The Black Album has been embroiled in a similar situation with the record label EMI issuing cease and desist orders over uncleared Beatles samples.
Recently, a movement â€” started mainly by Lawrence Lessig â€” of free culture has prompted many audio works to be licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows for legal sampling of the work provided the resulting work(s) are licensed under the same terms.
Scratching is a DJ or turntablist technique used to produce distinctive sounds by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer. While scratching is most commonly associated with hip hop music [ citation needed ] , since the mid 1970s, it has been used in some styles of pop and nu metal . Within hip hop culture, scratching is one of the measures of a DJ’s skills [ citation needed ] , and there are many scratching competitions. In recorded hip-hop songs, scratched hooks often use portions of different rap songs.
Although previous artists such as William S. Burroughs had experimented with the idea of manipulating a reel to reel tape manually for the sounds produced (such as with his 1950s recording, “Sound Piece”),vinyl scratching as an element of hip hop pioneered the idea of making the sound an integral and rhythmic part of music instead of uncontrolled noise.
Grandmaster Flash was the first person to release a song, “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel “, with scratching on it in 1981. In 1982, Malcolm McLaren & the World’s Famous Supreme Team released a single “Buffalo Gals “, juxtaposing extensive scratching with calls from square dancing , and, in 1983, the EP, D’ya Like Scratchin’? , which is entirely focused on scratching. The Streetsounds Electro compilation albums & Herbie Hancocks – Rockit . Also introduced scratching to a Uk & European audience in 1983.