Drum samples changed the face of music, as we know. They allowed for the growth of new genres of music such as hip-hop. They brought with them a new kind of sound that had previously not been heard before in the world.
What Is a Drum Sample
A drum sample simply refers to a digital form of an existing sound. For instance, if one owns a set of highly value drums, it would be prudent to have them sampled. This way in future, one can still use the high-quality audio emanating from these drums. The technology for drum sampling has evolved a lot since its initial days. At first, the technology sued to create samples was very expensive. Later on, cheaper technology was developed; this allowed people to create samples from the comfort of their home.
When one is doing sampling, the analogue oscillations have to be converted into digital format. The way to do this is to measure the oscillations of the electric current and record it in a digital format. Usually, the accuracy of a sample varies among different devices. Some of the samples can be quite detailed. The level of detail is normally recorded regarding bitrate. The higher the bitrate, the more accurate a sample is.
When a signal is converted into digital form, it can always be played using the analogue equipment. How it sounds will highly depend on how much of it was captured during the conversion period. Originally, 8-bit technology was widely used. However, it was later replaced by the use of 16-bit technology. Over the recent past, the bitrate sampling levels have gone up at times up to 64-bit. A CD quality sample has about 44.1000 measurements a second. This is possible with a bit rate of 16-bit.
Any digital recording qualifies as a sample. For accuracy, this terms refers to things such as Percussive sounds such as metallic sound, synth noise, and drum loops. All types of loops including beats, melody, loops and drum loops. Vocals or the spoken word, everyday noises of nature are also considered samples.
How Sampling Has Evolved
Most people that use samples prefer to come up with their unique samples. They try to branch off on their own and come up with something very original. Many resources have been available in the recent past for this task. Almost all types of noise that exist anywhere can be turned into a digital sample.
The created sample is then given its key on the MIDI keyboard. This is done through what is known as mapping. The sampler will then pitch the sample on other keys as may be needed. This is done by increasing or decreasing the speed of the sample. This process can lead to a high degree of creativity. However, it also hides audio corruption, which may be terrible at times.
To sample an analogue signal with a high degree of accuracy is using different samples. However, this process is quite expensive. By using some different samples, each of the tone pitches is converted into digital form separately. This happens with a varying degree of nuance or attack. Thus, if one attempted to digitize a piano, the entire process would be quite complex.
This has led to the growth of online digital libraries. Those seeking to do their creative sampling can then buy these samples. This business was quite profitable before the turn of the millennium. The high degree of internet penetration has made it difficult for people to make a profit online. This is because some sites have emerged that make it easy to share digital data with ease freely.
As of now, virtual instruments play as important a role in music studios as any other type of musical instrument. In fact, most studios now use them in tandem. A while back, creating such huge samples was quite difficult, this was in part due to lack of enough storage capacity. Currently, one can even find an entire orchestra posted online. Most composers now hail these virtual sample libraries for offering them an extra level of creativity. This is despite the fact that they can easily access real orchestras.
Originally, there was only a limited number of software available for sampling. However, more industry players have joined the bandwagon. As of now, there are more than half a dozen high-quality software samplers. Some of the most popular are MtU from Mach Five, KONTAKT by Native Instruments, Halo by Steinberg and others.
The Legal Status of Sampling
Most people believe that when they create a sample, it qualifies to be theirs. However, this is not the case. While the law may have been lax originally, it is now very firm. The loopholes that existed originally have since been all close.
Some people believe that if they only snip a small amount of audio from a movie or music video, then there are no legal hurdles. However, this is a lie. If the original owners decided to go to court, it would lead to a ridiculously high amount of court cases. As a result, most people do not bother. However to avoid any legal pitfalls, one should always check with the original owner. This can help one avoid being entangled in a lengthy legal suit.
Some high profile celebrities such a Jay Z have been accused of sampling other artists without seeking the right legal approval. However, these cases are usually quite hard to prosecute. This is because a sample may be so small that it is impossible to check its original source. Also, it will usually have been manipulated in a way that makes it hard to distinguish its original form.
What is the Ethics of Sampling?
Besides the legal issue, there is the ethical issue. Most people feel that sampling allows music to live on forever. For instance, y sampling a track produced over a hundred years ago, it is given new life. This thus makes music as an art form immortal.
Sampling will only continue to get better with time. Also, its profitability as an industry continues to grow. However, most people have found it hard to remain profitable in the recent past. It is quite clear that thy need to adapt to the changes in the modern world.