Sunday, September 2, 2012


Since I'm wanting to come up with notation for kendang and whatnot I've started to actually get around to sampling, and making instruments out of the samples I've already made.

I posted this on google+:

Sampling is such mind-numbing work.

First decide on how many dynamic levels, how many articulations, how many round-robin variations, how many pitches, and multiply all those together.  That's how many samples.  Then record them all, being as consistent as possible, plus a few variations to give choice when editing.  The slightest noise can ruin the sample.  Try not to swallow or breathe too loudly.  Unplug the refrigerator and wait for airplanes to pass.

Then proceed to snip up all 300-500 samples.  It should be somewhat automate-able, but it's not.  Get sore wrists.  Snip, snip, snip.  Try to pick consistent variations, but not so consistent that there's no point to having the variations.  The annoyance of every bug or UI misdesign in the editor's "inner loop" is multiplied by 1000 repetitions.  Be completely consistent about ordering and naming or samples will get mixed up or lost.

Then lay them out in the sampler, which is almost completely manual, and intentionally designed to resemble a cramped LCD screen from the '90s.  Get the dynamics smooth as possible.  Enjoy the bugs here too, evidently they figure not many people are creating their own samples so they don't need to polish that part so much.

Finally, find out if it actually works for music!  If you consistently played some articulation oddly then stringing them together sounds bizarre and stiff, like an automated subway announcement.  Maybe start over from the beginning, or redo bits, being careful to recreate the original recording situation as much as possible.

And this is percussion, probably the easiest thing to sample.  I have a lot of respect for the people who do this professionally.

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