The Basics of Sampling

By Tyler Winick

Sampling is taking bits and pieces of music or sounds from other songs and manipulating them to use in your own artistic endeavors. This is a popular technique used in Hip-Hop songs, but can also be used in any genre or audio situation. The tecnique I’m going to teach allows you to take an audio sample, cut it up, and assign it to different keys so you can play the slices on your MIDI keyboard. Something to be aware of; If you are using noticeable pieces of music you will have to obtain the rights to use that music from whomever owns the rights. This is referred to as “clearing” a sample. You might have to share a portion of your earnings or “royalties” from the song, pay for the rights to use it, or get written consent.

So lets begin.

I’m going to be showing you this technique in Logic Pro 9, an awesome DAW or Digital Audio Workstation from Apple. This is the primary software I’ll be teaching this summer in the “Come Together Music and Video Course” as well as the “Digital Audio and Music Production Course.”

To start you’ll have to launch Logic by clicking the icon in the Dock, the Application in finder, or a Logic Project file.

Then once the software is open you should create a new empty project and save it. For this exercise I’m going to call my project 4_DMP_Sampling.

Make sure all the boxes except include movie are checked when you save it. This way you’ll always have copies of all audio files associated with this project in your project folder.

Next you’ll have to get a piece of audio you want to sample from. For this exercise I’m going to use an apple loop. This is very cool because the Apple loops included in Logic can be cut up and sampled just like anything else, giving you thousands of options! You can also use songs from old vinyl records, CD’s, tapes, or anywhere really.

The loop I’m using is called “Sweet Strummer 02″ It is an Acoustic Guitar lick that I like and want to cut it up and play the different slices on my MIDI keyboard.

Locate the sample by going to your “Media Tab” then  click the “Loops Tab” Type in Sweet Strummer 02 in the search field and hit return. It will pop up below.

Then click the sample to preview it in the loop browser. Nice Huh!

After that click and drag it to an audio track in the arrange area.


Now double click the middle of the audio region to load it into the sample editor in the editing area.

This window allows you to do a multitude of thigs to audio files, but for now I want you to do the following:

Go to the audio file menu there and choose “Detect Transients” what this is going to do is create markers based on “peaks” or dynamically louder sounds in the file.

Now you’ll see little white lines or “markers” in the file. Logic computed where transients were and put markers there. What these represent are the durations of the sample to be mapped to each key. To understand more, double click on the audio file in between two markers and push play or the spacebar on your keyboard. You’ll notice that it only plays from one marker to the next. This is what will be heard when you press a key on your keyboard.

You can move those markers around to change what will be mapped to each key by simply mousing over them and dragging from left to right. You can also remove the makers by double clicking them. So go ahead an move the markers around and delete if you need to.

If you want to create new markers highlight the audio file where you want to create them and hit the plus sign at the top of the Sample Editor:

So once you’ve moved your markers, added and deleted them, now its time to map them to the keyboard.

Now close the sample editor by clicking its name in the edit area and highlight the audio region in the arrange. Then go up to the local “audio” menu and choose “convert regions to new sampler track”

You will then see this menu:

Make sure the Transient Markers bubble is selected. This means that its going to map the sample to the keys based on the markers we created. If you leave regions selected you’ll have the sample only on one key, and it will play the whole thing, not the slices.

Also the trigger note range is the keys you are going to map these to. So if C1 is selected on the left, this is where the first slice will be mapped and the rest will continue up to G8. Then hit ok.

You’ll now notice that a software instrument track was created and a region is created also. This region represents the sample as it is now. Delete that region.

If you record enable the software instrument track with the EXS24 sampler on it that was just created, you’ll be able to play the slices mapped out on your keyboard. So go ahead and play around until you find a pattern you like and record it.

So that’s it. Now you know how to slice, map, and play samples in Logic. Super fun and easy to do. It just might change your life.

To learn more techniques like the one I’ve described here sign up for one of the courses I’ll be teaching this summer listed below:

Come Together – Music and Video Production: http://bit.ly/9zHpIT

Digital Audio and Music Production: http://bit.ly/9kbqHD

Logic Pro 101 Course: http://bit.ly/cuvgmr

Hope to see you there!