Building Beats X Carnegie Hall - Session 1: Sampling/Remixing/Sound Art vs Pop Music

Below are resources from the first session of the Digital Music Production Workshops at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute provided in partnership with Building Beats.



From Wikipedia: “In music, sampling is the act of taking a portion, or ‘sample,’ of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.”

Often samples consist of one part of a song, such as a rhythm break or melody, which is then used to construct a new part/section in a new musical context.  Samples can also be used as “sound bites” and are more commonly used in the format of “loops” such as short clips of speech or music extracted from a longer piece of audio. Samples are often cut up to produce a staccato rhythm or a melodic looping phrase.


From Wikipedia: “Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrète and electroacoustic music, who physically manipulated tape loops or vinyl records on a phonograph.”

In the 1970s, DJ’s experimenting with manipulating vinyl on two turntables gave birth to hip hop music, the first popular music genre based originally around the art of sampling, also referred to as “Looping” or “Sound Collage”.



A remix is a piece of media that has been altered and/or recontextualized from its original state by adding, removing, and/or changing pieces of the original media.

Creative Commons

From Wikipedia: “A Creative Commons license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.”


From Wikipedia: “In hip hop music, interpolation refers to using a melody – or portions of a melody (often with modified lyrics) – from a previously recorded song, but re-recording the melody instead of sampling it. … Example: “Ghetto Supastar” by Pras features a hook sung by Mýa that was originally written in the song “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton.”


Sound Art:

  1. Watch: “without records” – YCAM Otomo Yoshihide / ENSEMBLES
  2. Define “Sound Art”
  3. How does sound art differ from your concept of popular music?
  4. How are sound art and popular music connected?


  1. Listen/Watch:  Kendrick Lamar’s “I” and The Isley Brother’s “That Lady”
  2. Watch Kendrick Lamar perform “I” live.
  3. Clearly, Kendrick Lamar’s “I” references “That Lady.”  Noting the definition of interpolation, what do you notice about the live performance of “I?”
  4. Explore more examples of sampling using this playlist on Spotify and/or YouTube.

Copyright/Creative Commons Licensing:

  1. Think about how an artist makes a living from recordings, both historically and in the modern day.  Think of possible threats AND opportunities that sampling/interpolation/remixing creates for the artist of the original AND derivative work.
  2. How do you feel about the protections of copyright vs. the availability of works offered as open-source/creative-commons?
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