The Godfather of Sampling Would Have Turned 105 This Week

If you use samples in your music (or if you’re just a fan of music that uses samples), you may have run across the name Pierre Schaeffer, a French composer who pioneered the use of the technique more than six decades ago. Working with something he called “musique concrete,” Schaeffer took non-musical sounds (trains, water drops and so on) and made them, well, musical.

Using phonograph equipment–records, turntables–at first, he later moved into magnetic tape which greatly expanded what he could do with sound. We take this sort of thing completely for granted today, but it’s the foundation of everything from modern editing techniques to turntablism and DJing.

Here’s another great bit of video featuring Schaeffer talking with Marshal McLuhan.

Schaeffer died in 1995 at home in France, but his legacy obviously lives on.

The history of musique concrete and the technology is fascinating stuff. Learn more at Create Digital Music.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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