1st Edition

Digital Sampling The Design and Use of Music Technologies

By Paul Harkins Copyright 2020
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Digital Sampling is the first book about the design and use of sampling technologies that have shaped the sounds of popular music since the 1980s.

    Written in two parts, Digital Sampling begins with an exploration of the Fairlight CMI and how artists like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel used it to sample the sounds of everyday life. It also focuses on E-mu Systems and the use of its keyboards and drum machines in hip-hop. The second part follows users across a range of musical worlds, including US/UK garage, indie folk music, and electronic music made from the sounds of sewers, war zones, and crematoriums.

    Using material from interviews and concepts from the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Digital Sampling provides a new and alternative approach to the study of sampling and is crucial reading for undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including music technology, media, communication, and cultural studies.




    Part I: Instruments

    Chapter 1 – Tomorrow’s Music Today: The Fairlight CMI Series I and II

    Chapter 2 – Page R and the Art of the Loop: The Fairlight CMI Series II, IIx, and III

    Chapter 3 – Technologies of Hip-Hop: The E-mu Emulator, SP-12, and SP-1200

    Interlude: Methodologies

    Part II: Users

    Chapter 4 – Microsampling: Akufen and Todd Edwards

    Chapter 5 – Appropriation, Additive Approaches, and Accidents: Found

    Chapter 6 – Foot Pedals and Folk Music: King Creosote

    Chapter 7 – The Sounds of Everyday Life (and Death): Matthew Herbert







    Paul Harkins is a lecturer in the Music Department at Edinburgh Napier University.

    "This is an original, engaging, and much-needed book about sampling, which focuses on the history, design, and use of key technologies like the Fairlight CMI and E-mu Emulator. By exploring the practices of users in a wide range of musical genres, it demonstrates the rich, diverse, and complex ways that sampling has shaped popular music." – Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen, Associate Professor in Popular Music Studies, University of Oslo

    "The first rigorous, comprehensive, sociological study of sampling, which vividly details the impact that sampling practices have had on popular music culture. A wonderfully readable text that will deepen and enrich our understanding of the myriad ways technology shapes what music sounds like and how it is made." – Nick Prior, Professor of Cultural Sociology, University of Edinburgh

    "This readable and meticulously researched work is the first book-length account of the social, musical, and technological history of the sampler. Beyond the trope of appropriation, Harkins helps us hear the multiple ways that digital instruments are enmeshed with ideas and practices of the analogue." – Eliot Bates, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, City University of New York Graduate Center