When is a sam­ple not a sam­ple?

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Old-School Sampling -

One of the best­known sam­ples on record isn’t ac­tu­ally a sam­ple. Su­garhill Gang’s old-school hip-hop clas­sic

Rap­per’sDe­light is based around a looped groove lifted from Chic’s

GoodTimes. It’s widely as­sumed to be a sam­ple, but in fact the dis­tinc­tive bassline was re­played by a live band. The sim­ple rea­son why it was done this way is that it was a much eas­ier ap­proach than sampling back in 1979. Tech­ni­cally, it’s an ‘in­ter­po­la­tion’ of the orig­i­nal, not a sam­ple.

De­spite sampling tech now be­ing in­fin­itely more ac­ces­si­ble than in the late 70s, the process of in­ter­po­la­tion still has uses. Re­play­ing a sam­ple as an in­ter­po­la­tion lets you get rid of el­e­ments you don’t need – if you wanted to, say, sam­ple a bassline from a track but not the vo­cal. As a bonus, you only legally need a li­cence for the com­po­si­tion; you don’t pay roy­al­ties for the orig­i­nal record­ing. There are even ‘sam­ple re­play’ com­pa­nies who’ll craft you sounda­like ver­sions of sam­ples, al­most iden­ti­cal to the real thing.

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