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Quote of the Week: The Annotation of Sampling

From Primus Luta‘s site, avanturb.com, the opening graphs of his thinking on sampling:

Within a western music theory context, the transcription of music is one of the first steps to analyzing a form relative to the history of music. Once the form has been transcribed it can be dragged through the theoretical ringer required for validation as a ‘serious music’. While the practicality of this is debatable, especially when it comes to simply listening to the music, for better or for worse it is a standard that has been upheld for centuries now. Where forms do not conform to this standard, they can easily be dismissed. Such is the case for sample based hip-hop, which has not only been dismissed, but for many is not even considered musical. This classification has contributed to sampling being delegated to the legal realm where very little musical consideration is taken into account in rulings. But what if you could notate sampling? That was one of the questions I sought to answer through the Heads project. It was my belief that if there were a means of notating samples one could distinguish the musical contribution of the sampling artist from the sampled artist and as such determine a more equitable way of dealing with samples for both parties.

That’s just the start of a lengthy treatise on sampling, based in large part on Luta’s ongoing experiments in making music on the Monome. More on his Heads Project in an earlier post (at avanturb.com).

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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