Appropriation, Additive Approaches and Accidents: The Sampler as Compositional Tool and Recording Dislocation <br> doi:10.5429/2079-3871(2010)v1i2.3en


  • Paul Harkins Edinburgh Napier University / The University of Edinburgh



art, digital sampling, music, studio, technology


Brian Eno describes the recording studio as a compositional tool that has enabled composers to enjoy a more direct relationship with sound. This article will explore the use of the digital sampler as one of the studio tools that forms part of this creative process and focuses on interviews with a group of Edinburgh musicians called Found who successfully combine the writing of pop songs with the sampling of found sounds. The core song-writing partnership share an art school background and I was keen to discover if they use the sampler and other tools to sculpt sound in a similar way to how they paint. Much of the academic literature on digital sampling within popular music studies has been skewed towards its disruptive consequences for copyright law and, while legal and moral questions are still relevant, I am keen to concentrate on the processes of music making and the aesthetic choices made by composers and producers in the studio. Recent ethnographic work by Joseph Schloss has centred on these questions in relation to hip-hop and it is important to examine and understand how the sampler continues to be used by musicians and producers in a variety of genres.

Author Biography

Paul Harkins, Edinburgh Napier University / The University of Edinburgh

Lecturer, Edinburgh Napier University PhD student, The University of Edinburgh






Articles – Open Section