The first record of someone cutting parts of songs and pasting them into others to create something new was in the late 1940s. Pierre Schaeffer cut pieces of recorded material and assembled them, creating new but completely unusual pieces for the time.

Sampling is precisely this. Cutting a piece of a song and using it to create a new sequence in another song, usually repeating this several times, which is called “looping.” But it’s also much more than that.

For example, drum n’ bass originated from a 5.2-second piece of a track by The Winstons, “Amen, Brother,” which spurred a new sequence.

You can listen to that excerpt here:

The use of sampling in the music world can sometimes cause copyright issues. This is because it involves using music made by others for our enjoyment, often without permission. The pieces are so short that their origin is often not recognized.

This technique was and is widely used, for example, in hip-hop. Producers of this music genre, originating from the United States in the late 70s, did not have resources to produce in large studios or to buy a lot of equipment. Thus, by “sampling” music from others, they could create new music. This was true both in live performances with records and in the studio. They weren’t very concerned about copyright, adopting a mindset of: we do it first and worry later!

A good example of this is the sampling of the song “Good Times” by CHIC from 1979 by The Sugarhill Gang in the song “Rapper’s Delight.”

Some examples of the history of Sampling:


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