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JC Biffro
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29th December 2012
Old 29th December 2012
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Sampling vs. Composing

So, I got thinking of a good discussion topic for all you hip-hop producers out there (apologies if this was done recently).

Outside of the 'feeling', i.e. you might be in the mood to make a sampled beat, which of the 2 do you find 'easiest'. I would presume that a lot of producers find sampling easier but I actually find composing my own tracks easier.

The reason for this is I have difficulty pitching samples together, and I find it harder to add spice to a sampled track, it just loops out and I get bored.

How about you?
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29th December 2012
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depends but unless you're talking about just looping up a break or something i usually find composing from scratch easier as the ingredients are more flexible and stuff fits together with less hassle. mixing is also easier that way imo.
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Composing is easier to me. It's harder to creatively use a sample (not just looping). Plus with composing u are not limited by the sample. Finding sounds to match a sample is harder than finding sounds as u compose, which is why i usually suck at adding a bassline to an existing sample
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Composing is the best. Plus you don't have to clear samples or worry about paying the person u sampled!
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I like both but I would enjoy composing more than I do if I was actually playing the instruments I composed with as opposed to using virtual instruments. I love sampling because it takes me back to how I started.
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I would go with both! Because every time I compose anything I sample it anyways.
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Yep, i sample myself. Samples have a certain edge thats satisfying....
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I find composing from scratch easier. When I do use a sample it's for the challenge of it actually, I deliberately seek out stuff for sounds I can heavily manipulate rather than just loop something, since loops are too obvious.
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I love doing both, but composing is easier by far. With sampling, I have to make sure everything "fits" in composing I'm the one in control of everything.
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Composing for me is much much easier.

I mostly sample because it ends up being more fun / challenging.
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Sampling is MUCH easier to me. Coming up with a great composition is much harder than sampling. I can compose 50 cheesy synth beats a day but composing great music is more difficult than sampling.
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They are both different talent and skillsets..

The vision could be the same, and the inspiration too. Sampling would have it's 'sound' but equally a limitation because of being able to take things up a notch creatively.

However, if one can compose, as strange as this sounds, they can sample their own compositions from a 'sampler' mindset to take it to another level.

I've been dabbling into this where I'd just jam on a bass or guitar or piano over a loop and then record it all, even mistakes and so forth. Come back in a week and put on a sampler type hat and cut up, stretch parts and so on. It can be fun.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
They are both different talent and skillsets..

The vision could be the same, and the inspiration too. Sampling would have it's 'sound' but equally a limitation because of being able to take things up a notch creatively.

However, if one can compose, as strange as this sounds, they can sample their own compositions from a 'sampler' mindset to take it to another level.

I've been dabbling into this where I'd just jam on a bass or guitar or piano over a loop and then record it all, even mistakes and so forth. Come back in a week and put on a sampler type hat and cut up, stretch parts and so on. It can be fun.
True, but I don't think that sampling yourself shouldn't be considered as " sampling" because you have the option of separating the instruments to accommodate your arrangement . Whereas sampling from vinyl you have work with whatever is open.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyondat View Post
True, but I don't think that sampling yourself shouldn't be considered as " sampling" because you have the option of separating the instruments to accommodate your arrangement . Whereas sampling from vinyl you have work with whatever is open.
You may have mis-understood what I was getting at.
Basically, the discipline that comes with a sampling mind-set where I play whatever, forget that I ever did play those, come back with a sampler hat on and then work it as a sample, with absolutely no room for going back to 'composer' hat. It's a self discipline of both worlds. Otherwise, obviously I won't be doing it as that would be to cheat myself right?

Looking into an Ampex or Otari tape machine so I can just play into that and then track those back into my system for the old tape sound to sample off. It's a whole new world of crafting and it's time consuming but a win on every angle, most importantly copyright
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I'm quite surprised with the responses so far. Even though I find it harder, I thought more people would find Sampling much easier.

Interesting...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC Biffro View Post
I'm quite surprised with the responses so far. Even though I find it harder, I thought more people would find Sampling much easier.

Interesting...
Also, it's a good sign for the industry to see that especially in HipHop where sampling traditionally has been the norm, it's evolving.

Best news is that we don't give monies to those lazy bigtime publishing companies owned by some redneck business guy and they own all catalogs of oldschool artists. It's great the new blood create new music and control their own publishing and obviously, make a lot more $ in the biz.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Also, it's a good sign for the industry to see that especially in HipHop where sampling traditionally has been the norm, it's evolving.

Best news is that we don't give monies to those lazy bigtime publishing companies owned by some redneck business guy and they own all catalogs of oldschool artists. It's great the new blood create new music and control their own publishing and obviously, make a lot more $ in the biz.
If you listen to contemporary urban radio I think you might have to rethink your use of the word "evolving".
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I'm personally pretty bored with hearing synths layered 5 million times over every track. It really gets irritating and predictable. What's considered hip-hop has now turned into techno dance club music. Everyone is catering to "what's hot" and innovation and creativity seems to be rare to come across. For this reason I seem to want to go back to old school style production sampling records, but also using live instruments to bump up the quality and put a personal touch to every track. This is my personal preference and stems mostly from my frustration with the state of the music industry seeming to feed a generation "club" garbage. Everything's about women and clubs for the most part. Let's get back to poetry and view music as a true expression of your individuality. Not a copycat version of what my neighbors seem to be doing.
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29th December 2012
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Which track would come out better?

1. Someone who has only ever made sampled beats trying to compose a beat?

2. Someone who has only made fully composed beats trying to make a sampled beat?


I'd put my money on #2 sounding significantly better than #1.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFB View Post
Which track would come out better?

1. Someone who has only ever made sampled beats trying to compose a beat?

2. Someone who has only made fully composed beats trying to make a sampled beat?


I'd put my money on #2 sounding significantly better than #1.
Well looping a beat is not hard, it's about what you do to the sample. I would put my money on #1. Manipulating a sample isn't easy. This all depends on your definition of a "sampled beat".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
If you listen to contemporary urban radio I think you might have to rethink your use of the word "evolving".
I'm sorry I don't i try to fit into 99 other world styles that are evolving too

By your use of the "contemporary" did you not just admit there is other that are still being listened to...meaning I'm not the only person of that view point.?

P's.,I'm assuming you are not saying it has "evolved" as there is no such thing as "evolved"...and at that point we may just all go back to basics of sticks and stones.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beyondat View Post
Well looping a beat is not hard, it's about what you do to the sample. I would put my money on #1. Manipulating a sample isn't easy. This all depends on your definition of a "sampled beat".

That's exactly my point. It's much easier to generate "good" results by sampling than by composing. And let's be honest here, a LOT of classic hip hop tracks are nothing more than a 4 to 8 bar loop of someone else's music with a little filtering, some drums thrown on top and maybe a bassline. The "magic" of the track is very rarely coming from something other than the original sample unless the producer mangled the sample beyond recognition.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFB View Post
That's exactly my point. It's much easier to generate "good" results by sampling than by composing. And let's be honest here, a LOT of classic hip hop tracks are nothing more than a 4 to 8 bar loop of someone else's music with a little filtering, some drums thrown on top and maybe a bassline. The "magic" of the track is very rarely coming from something other than the original sample unless the producer mangled the sample beyond recognition.
You are right about the classic hiphop. But the same argument could be made about composing music with a sequencer and a virtual instrument as opposed to playing the instruments yourself for the duration of a song. It's harder to get good result.
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I will often sit down with the guitar, record about 10-20 minutes of jamming, and then chop myself up and "sample" my own playing. I'll do the same thing with shakers, hand drums, flutes, violins, etc... Maybe adding synth lines, maybe adding samples from CDs. Just a workflow I've been really into lately. I usually end up with beats sounding much more quality than if I was just ripping samples.

Last edited by chronmaster; 30th December 2012 at 03:02 AM.. Reason: grammar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster View Post
I will often sit down with the guitar, record about 10-20 minutes of jamming, and then chop myself up and "sample" my own playing. I'll do the same thing with shakers, hand drums, flutes, violins, etc... Maybe adding synth lines, maybe adding samples from CDs. Just a workflow I've been really into lately. I usually end up with beats sounding much more quality than if I was just ripping samples.
Props to you.! It's the next wave of production IMO. Great game changer.
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For me creating from scratch is easier than dealing with the limitations of samples. Many people look at sampling as a paint by numbers kind of thing but I look at sampling as more of a hunt to find the right pieces to blend together to make something new usually things that weren't meant to play nice together. That said who cares whats easiest and hardest its really a personal thing I know guys who have trouble making keyboard beats and I know people who can't sample their way out of a paper bag.
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composing is easier for me, but my love is for digging in the crates and sampling. i'd say i'm about 1/5 composed.
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Sampling is MUCH easier for me, mainly because that's how I started. Progressed from being a DJ, to making boom bap, and now dabbing in composed music, but it usually comes out sounding like 1980s film scores. haha
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