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The demonic and the divine: Unfixing replication in the phenomenology of sampling

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We might sometimes note that listeners are divided in their ascription of authenticity to sampling in music: the essence of unoriginality for one, the found-object building block of real creativity for the other. This article explores how the use of existing music and sampling in particular might be re-perceived in the discourse of repetition, authenticity, creativity and originality, and collapses the gap in how types of existing music have been used over the last millennium, so that we might reconcile the difference in the technological means of replication across the centuries with the repetition of schema in the way extant music is reused, and that we might see the sameness of sampling and quotation in new music as well as the differences.

This article hopes to encourage an understanding for the composer-producer engaged in replication and re-presentation (through sampling, remixing, covering, etc) that his or her creative acts can be unveiled as honest (if not always lawful), and that whilst shifting technologies may make the sonic landscape different, the composer driving the technology need not bear the accusation of unoriginality when the repetition of schema is unveiled.
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Keywords: authorship; creativity; originality; remixing; replication; sampling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: York St John University.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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