Sample Genealogy

My first example is of a song containing a direct audio sample of another song. Thanks to whosampled.com, I was able to find this quite quickly. The two songs that I chose were All You Need is Love, by the Beatles, and Greensleeves, a traditional folk melody. Believe it or not, Greensleeves is sampled within All You Need is Love, which I, personally, would never have heard on my own, without the help of whosampled.com. It appears in the background of the song, about three minutes and fifteen seconds into the song (note: you will need to open Spotify to listen to All You Need is Love). As it occurs, other short ditties are played by assorted instruments, producing a pleasurable cacophony as the chorus to the song loops and eventually fades. The melody to Greensleeves is really the only actual “melody” that is occurring in the background of the song; everything else seems to be random and sporadic. About fifteen seconds later, it, too fades from the song, as other instruments quickly replace it. Here is the link to whosampled.com, where I found both of these: http://www.whosampled.com/sample/26653/The-Beatles-All-You-Need-Is-Love-Traditional-Folk-Greensleeves/

The second set of songs that I chose were Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, by Michael Jackson and Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna. I chose these two because they represent an example in which one song directly quotes another. In Don’t Stop the Music, Rihanna directly samples the well-known chant section from Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (“ma-ma-se, ma-ma-sa, ma-ma-coo-sa”). There is no hiding that it is exactly the same riff. They even share the same key and tempo. However, if you’d like to see it for yourself, here is the link to Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCijEJrVAlE, and here is the link to Don’t Stop the Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e6wE8UnJJs. The sections in question begin at 4:43 and 1:03, respectively. By 1:21 of the latter, the riff has completely faded in and can be clearly heard, and it can also be heard isolated (and without any annoying annotations) beginning at 2:53, and finally, at 3:55.

Found Sound Song Process

The most recent song that I created, Noisy Daydream, was based around the ambient sound that I recorded. I simply put my phone on a table in Freeman Dining Hall and hit record. Although we had the option to use one of our classmates’ found sounds, I chose to use my own because I felt confident that I could compose a song around it. However, although I had been confident when I recorded the sound, I found that the actual transcription part was more difficult than I had imagined. I had all sorts of ideas in my head, but with my minimal knowledge of the SoundTrap software, I kept getting frustrated when things wouldn’t come out sounding the way that I wanted. Although it took me a while to complete this project, I worked a lot with MIDI input (using the onscreen keyboard) and the effects that SoundTrap has to offer.

MIDI input was quite difficult and painstaking at times, since I was limited to using the onscreen keyboard on my computer. This sounds like a small issue, but as a musician, it was actually unbelievably confusing to me when the keys on my computer keyboard did not match up to the letter names on the MIDI keyboard on my screen. For example, if I pressed the “D” key on my keyboard, it would produce an E flat. In addition, while I am a fluent typist, that all seemed to go out the window when I was trying to play melodic lines using the keyboard shortcuts. Next time, I may try to figure out how to use a live instrument, or at least a tangible MIDI keyboard.

I was excited to test out a bunch of different effects on my composition, but they were surprisingly hard to find in SoundTrap. I actually had to go into a user’s guide and search for the function in another tab. However, I had a lot of fun experimenting how different effects altered different sounds, and once I got going, I enjoyed myself, even though I barely knew what I was doing. Overall, I feel like I was successful at integrating my found sound and several different effects into my composition, and it has also piqued my curiosity regarding recording live sounds. I would definitely like to try something like this again in the future, maybe using my trombone.

Real vs. Hyperreal vs. Surreal Recordings

Production Analysis of Viva La Vida

I am analyzing Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, which was released in 2008. This song was produced by Markus Dravs, Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, and Rik Simpson. The following is a list of all of the sound sources found within the song, in order:

  • Strings (done by Davide Rossi)
  • Guitar (done by Jonny Buckland)
  • Bass guitar (done by Guy Berryman)
  • Vocals (done by Chris Martin)
  • Drums/percussion (done by Will Champion)
  • Piano (done by Chris Martin)
  • Digital synthesizer (done by Brian Eno)
  • Backup vocals (done by Brian Eno, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion)

Here is a link to the music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE