This book is at the opposite end of the spectrum, so to speak, from the previously-mentioned source. In this book, Williamson and the other authors discuss music from an expertise on the art itself. There is no mention of digital music, sampling, file-sharing, or other similar topics to be found anywhere in the book. In their places are excerpts from sheet music and examples of lyrics. They offer their expert commentary on subjects ranging from Chopin to Snoop Dogg, from Dante to the Beatles, and each is approached with the same level of intellect and scholarship. Multiple chapters cover the creation of music from scratch – as told from the songwriter’s point of view, and it is this unique perspective that offers a new form of insight into the practice of digital sampling.
Another important factor in this work is the chapter entitled “Mimesis, Gesture, and Parody in Musical Word-Setting.” This chapter not only explores the implications that a parody has on an original work but sets the framework for parody with an historical narrative about its origins. At first, this seemed to be irrelevant to the topic of digital sampling and copyright law, but after further inspection, it became apparent that this knowledge is very important to the understanding of parody and its stance in copyright law.
Words and Music discusses at length many different styles and genres of modern music, primarily “gangsta,” or hardcore, rap. This genre is a unique example because not only is it arguably the heaviest on lyrical content out of all kinds of music, but also because it is notorious for its sampling practices and is quite possibly the realm in which the most copyright infringement cases take place. Reading a scholarly assessment on such genres is especially helpful for this topic seeing as it provides a critical, but not condemning eye on the subject. This is all-to-rare in today’s academic and scholarly publications, and to have a source such as this is very useful in the terms of this research paper.
One look at the pages of this book and it is immediately known that it is unlike any other sources to be used for this essay. The pages are printed with a hole in the center and the outline of a CD on each one – clearly a modern work by a modern author. This is the argument for all of the merits of sampling and Dj-ing music for a crowd as told from the perspective of an established DJ, Paul Miller (DJ Spooky). Despite its casual tone and appearance, however, this book is filled with intellectual commentary on the state of music and the art of remixing today.
Quoting anyone from Woodrow Wilson to George Clinton, Miller offers a wide range of examples to support his stance on the art of Dj-ing. He believes that sampling music is a form of creation, putting a musical piece of work together in a different way in order to achieve what DJs refer to as “flow.” He asserts that sampling is both the result and catalyst for new music. “You can never play a record the same way for the same crowd,” he writes, calling the digital sample a “recycling” of sorts, a “repurposing” of an old melody or riff.
Miller’s unique stance as a DJ himself, combined with the casual tone of this narrative offer the reader a conversation with a man deeply involved in the digital music industry. As mentioned above, he does indeed advocate the benefits of the art, but he also recognizes the dangers of “taking sampling too far.” Seeing the digital music industry from his eyes in this way is a welcome insight into yet another point of view on this topic. This will only add to the complex standpoint that I will be able to take in writing this essay.
Katz also examines the realm of digital sampling, but he does so with a keen detective’s eye, looking at the practice from the outside-in. He uses three case studies to show the main uses and techniques employed with digital sampling. First of which is a “song” created by Paul Lansky with recordings of human voices speaking random words entitled “Notjustmoreidlechatter.” The complicated issue of speech and music is addressed through this first instance of sampling and Katz identifies the specifications and implications of either one. Secondly, he compares two pop songs, Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise” and Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You,” which uses bits of the former in its creation of the latter. Finally, he breaks down the numerous sampled bits in Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” Public Enemy’s strong political message coupled with the nature of his samplings creates one of the most powerful sample-ridden songs of contemporary music.
Katz only does so after first clarifying with the reader what exactly sampling is. This definition has been found in the majority of the sources, but none went on to detail the legal issues as well as Katz. He also goes on to explore the question of originality and immorality in terms of remixing and sampling. Nevertheless, his case studies have proven most useful in determining the full extensions of digital sampling in music and his insight into its effect on music today. He also lightly touches on the various effects parodies have upon the original work, if any, and acknowledges the complexities within the industry when it comes to approval for such works. This book could possibly be the best source found thus far, seeing as it is not overly specific in its subject matter, yet it explores enough topics in a reasonable level of detail to be reliable.
tagged camille_yarbrough copyright copyright_act creative_commons digital_sampling fatboy_slim international_copyright_law morality music music_industry notjustmoreidlechatter paul_linsky phonorecords piracy public_enemy remixing sampling speech by minglet ...on 25-NOV-08
An academic journal from Columbia University, this source is the first on the list to fully support the other side of the argument between song samplers and those being sampled. McGiverin begins the journal by arguing for the musician’s rights to be compensated for any and all portions of his work that are reproduced in another work. He then goes on to divide his work into three main portions: the first of which describes sampling and its implications in the music industry, the second applies the 1976 Copyright Act to sampling from phonorecords, and finally the third investigates state common law and rights of publicity in terms of musicians’ control over their original work.
A source of this nature is essential for any paper analyzing the issue of sampling in the music industry, seeing as it provides the exact counter-argument of a few of the sources found. McGiverin continues to refer to an artist’s sampled work as his or her “auditory identity,” giving great importance to the underlying bass lines and riffs that make up the background of a performance. In doing so, he asserts the value of these otherwise-overlooked aspects of a work. Seeing that they are often the portion involved in the sampling, they should be given greater significance and, as McGiverin believes, the original artist should be compensated for their use.
As mentioned above, this source is arguably the most important, simply because of the point of view that it represents. Although this paper has been unbiased in theory, the majority of the sources were all either neutral or in support of one side of the argument. By providing an intelligent and fresh insight into this half of the issue, this source is one of a few to complete the perspective in order to find a well-informed answer to the question concerning the limits and merits of digital sampling in the music industry.