What is sampling? 

Sampling is a way to get sounds on your DAW to create songs on the computer.

Samples are the recorded portions of previous recorded sounds of musical instruments, singers, animals, nature sounds and any sound that can be recorded can be sampled.

The sampled sound can be used later on in newer songs without the real instrument.

Sampling - real life examples
Just imagine a situation that you want to record a song in your studio which needs piano sounds.But you don't have a piano. You will have to go and buy a piano and even learn how to play it, record it and get the sound in your song.

You might also need other sounds of drums or other instruments/sounds that might be expensive or difficult to get.

Sampling is a good alternative for people who cannot get the original sound source to record. In many cases sampling is prefferred method over recording as it gives almost usable results.

Sampling is an act that involves re-using existing sounds in the music software instead of recording from the source.
A software that helps in sampling process is called sampler

Most DAW contains an inbuilt sampler. There are many dedicated software that do only sampling!

In the above example we came in a situation where we don't have enough money to buy a grand piano. We would rather download piano samples from the internet and use them on a sample software. A sample software is similar to synthesizer and has a keyboard which plays the recorded sounds.

Sampling is the heart of computer music production and have enabled indie music makers the opportunity to use any type of sounds and opened up a whole world of music making.

We will try sampling in our lessons in music making guides.

Types of sampling - what do people "sample"

  • Loops
  • Musical instruments
  • Resampled sounds from synthesizers
  • Spoken words - languages and other sounds.
  • Unconventional sounds - natural sounds etc. 

Piracy issues
Sampling is prone to piracy and legal issues. Just because you have access to any one's recorded sound does not gives you the right to use it without permission.

Make sure that the samples you download from the internet are allowed to be used on your songs.

The best way to stay away from taking loop samples from free sample sites. Use samples available on the internet very wisely especially if you are making music to sell it.

Sampling example - re-using a portion of music

In this video you'll see how the instructor sampled a sound and used it in a new song.

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