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'sampled' - definition

GUEST,leeneia 25 Jan 10 - 08:48 AM
treewind 25 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 10 - 10:14 AM
Hamish 25 Jan 10 - 10:23 AM
treewind 25 Jan 10 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Jan 10 - 11:49 AM
Darowyn 25 Jan 10 - 01:08 PM
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Subject: 'sampled' - definition
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:48 AM

Yesterday I was doing archeology, and I delved into my collection of cassette tapes to listen to medieval music. On the credits it says, "Medieval and Renaissance instruments sampled by Minotaur Studio and Decor Sonore: krumhorn, chalmie, recorder, lute, harp,..."

What does 'sampled' mean? Are those instruments merely simulated on the tape? If so, how is it done, exactly?


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: treewind
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 09:09 AM

Most likely it means the process whereby sound fonts are prepared for synthesisers:
(1) You record every note of the instruments's range, one at a time, on a real instrument, digitising each one and storing it separately
(2) You then arrange that when you trigger a note e.g. by playing it on a keyboard, the recorded sound of the instrument playing that note is played back.

To get more realism, it's common to record each note in several different styles and loudness levels, and clever algorithm for picking or blending the right recorded versions of each note depending on how it's played, all to make it sound more realistic.

All good digital pianos use the recorded sound of a real piano, for example.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 10:14 AM

The other way that music is sampled is to take a phrase from another performer's record and to incorporate it, often as a loop, into your own music. I'm told the most sampled musician in the world is James Brown. However, from your description of the cassettes, it sounds as though Anahata's definition is the appropriate one here.


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: Hamish
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 10:23 AM

It may depend on how old the tape is. If it's very old then it might just mean that they've recorded bits and pieces.

--

Also, Anahata, good samples do what you say i.e. record each note. Less good ones record only a few and then modify those to fill in the gaps. Not usually a problem but it can lead to rather odd timbres at the extremities of each sample's modifications, and a distinct and noticable change from the highest note of one sample to the lowest note of the next one. Oh, goodness: I wish I hadn't started this. What I mean is the they may record C2, C3 and C4 and use C2 to cover G1 to F#2; C3 to cover G2 to F#3; and C4 to cover G3 to F#4. You may well notice the change in timbre from F#3 to G3, those notes being based on the oppostite extremes of two different samples.

--

Still much loved early sampling was the basis of the Mellotron. A separate tape loop for each note. And they were real tapes. Hence the odd wow and flutter which the aging tapes and the dodgy drives would introduce.

Hamish


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: treewind
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 11:01 AM

"Less good ones record only a few [notes] and then modify those to fill in the gaps"

Oh yes, I'd forgotten they do that too. I think some cheap synth keyboards use a single note in the middle of the instrument's range and then just play it back at different speeds.

I remember the Mellotron - what a mechanical nightmare that must have been!

Anahata


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 11:49 AM

Thanks. I think treewind's definition must apply, because the sampled instruments sound very real. The tape is dated 1995.

The pieces are so complex and natural-sounding that I suppose the performers went to the studio, one of them sat at the keyboard, turned on the krumhorn button (for example) and played with the others.

That makes me feel better than to think that they just did the simple parts and told a technician to add on the unusual instruments, as if applying a Post-it note.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: 'sampled' - definition
From: Darowyn
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 01:08 PM

Hardware samplers were pretty advanced by 1995. By 2005 they were very nearly extinct, replaced by software samplers on computer.
It is often more realistic , rather than sampling individual notes, to get players into the studio and let them play the sort of music that is typical of their repertoire.
The recordings are then cut up into short sections of two or three notes, including slides, trills etc. These are often very particular to the instrument, and almost impossible to fake on a keyboard, often because of the mechanical and acoustic shortcomings of the real instrument- which are what gives it it's character.
Each sample is them mapped to a key on the control keyboard and can be triggered in real time by a keyboard player.
That gives the arranger freedom to assemble the tiny phrases into original melodic lines, but still preserving the human feel and the authentic way in which one note affects the next.
I know of a very well known composer, who after creating a hit single featuring a distinctive instrumental ostinato, was sued by the player of the featured instrument.
The player lost the case on the grounds that although he played every note, every incidental sound, he had never actually played the phrase in question. He was entitled to be recognised as the player,and the performer, but not to any part of the composition royalties.
Cheers
Dave


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