Apparent upfront usage of other music samples can be easily distinguished even in some of the most famous sample-based products. However, creating unique music sample out of existing one is an excellent way to add personality to a sample-based production piece.
Here we will tell you about 7 great ways, how to transform music sample into your personal one completely, in case if you want to disguise original piece or don’t want it to be present at all.
1. Use sound effects
Using sound effects is an essential part of creating unique music sample. Only reverb itself is able to turn a metal composition from Iron Maiden into one of Harold Budd’s ambient masterpieces. By adding various sound effects – from flanger and distortion to delay and equalization – you will breathe a new life into every sample. Take any composition you like, turn on a tape delay, highpass filter and increase room reverb. The impressive difference between initial composition and a new one is guaranteed. Using various sound effects is an excellent beginning on the way to your own, unique sample.
2. Apply the reverse effect
Reversing the sound is a tried and true way of turning a music sample into completely new one, which is widely used since 1950th. Of course, reversing a music sample makes it more complicated to bring together melodies and rhythms but it allows looking at the sample from a different angle. Pianoforte chords is and excellent place to start from. Reverse any chord progression in isolation, and as a result you get a new set of chords, which will sound more ambient.
3. Increase or decrease the speed of your music sample
Time-stretching is another great production trick to endow a sample with new features and present the sound to the audience in completely new light. Imagine how differently would sound “Hello” by Adele, speeded up or slowed down twice. You can apply any tempo or length to chosen sample in your Digital audio workstation and it will hit you in a totally new way.
4. Chop the sample up
There are no written rules that define which portion of song has to be used. Many producers take long pieces and chop them up, while others loop over short vocal samples. For comparison, let’s take a look at London producer Burial’s lyrics created out of the words taken from other songs and Jamie xx’s compositions, who cuts the sample and loops it over and over again.
It’s always up to you whether to take a long composition or short piece of music sample, slowed down or spaced out. Only you make a decision what it will convey.
5. Shift the pitch of sample
Pitching warp sound samples is a popular technique, many producers use from Jay-Z to Katy Perry. Raise or lower the original pitch of music sample on one octave and the tonal difference will be striking, despite the fact that the original song still be present. Perhaps you have heard about the term “chipmunk” which signifies vocals that raise the octave. Artists often raise the initial pitch or pitch down the sample in order to re-think it and breathe a new life in it. Shifting the pitch is a fail-safe way to personalize a music sample and add it new features.
6. Layer sounds together and get a unique sample
Create a new sequence of chords simply by doubling a music sample, pitching one of them down a fifth and then repeating it an octave down one more time. Stacking several sounds and samples upon each other allows making a great background of a new sound, and allocating other tempos and pitches. Your sample will sound in ultimately new way even if original song will be left untouched.
7. Combine various techniques and methods
All methods, listed above, help to compose a fresh music sample, yet if you really set your mind on creating something completely unique; the best way of doing it is applying couple of methods at once. Imagine your favorite piece, pitched an octave down, reversed and speeded up to 25 BPM, covered with chorus effect and duplicated. Of course, it might sound messy, but use a right proportion of every effect and you will get a recipe of totally new, striking sample.
Keep trying with enthusiasm and passion and pretty soon your samples will become unique!