Did I cheat?
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
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Did I cheat?

Newcomer, so forgive me if it's a stupid question.

In a recent track I used a couple of risers from a sample pack, but I feel like I cheated in not creating them myself from scratch. Am I right to feel that I cheated? If I did, then presumably I should also feel that I shouldn't use synth presets.
In fact maybe I shouldn't even play my analogue piano because I didn't create the 'piano' sound myself.
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Old 10-05-2017, 03:01 PM   #2
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Re: Did I cheat?

Doesn't matter, sample packs exist to be used.

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Old 10-05-2017, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Doesn't matter, sample packs exist to be used.
Nothing much else to say really. 110% this. Electronic music is literally the only artform where it seems there is this silly expectation that every single little thing be created out of thin air. Nothing wrong with filling in the nooks and crannies with some premade stuff.

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Old 10-05-2017, 03:20 PM   #4
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Re: Did I cheat?

Not a stupid question at all, it really comes down to your own personal music making philosophy. If you feel guilty using it you can always modify it a bit so it sounds different than the original.

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Old 10-05-2017, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: Did I cheat?

Eh, not really. As Auto said, samples in sample packs are meant to be used. That's why you bought em.

I don't mean to sound rude or pretentious, but there's this mindset that a lot of amateur producers/musicians, in particular, have where if you don't make your own synths/FXs/samples/whatever, you're "cheating". It's kind of odd, to me at least.

Don't worry about it, lots of people use sample packs.

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Old 10-05-2017, 03:44 PM   #6
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Re: Did I cheat?

To be honest though, I still insist on using only sounds I synthesised or sampled myself but that's because my focus is in having fun using the tools I have...

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Old 10-05-2017, 03:58 PM   #7
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Re: Did I cheat?

Thanks, everyone. I have to admit that it's not the answer I expected (although I am an amateur so that might explain that :-)).

It's an important question for me though, and your answers have been very useful.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:13 AM   #8
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Originally Posted by Automageddon View Post
To be honest though, I still insist on using only sounds I synthesised or sampled myself but that's because my focus is in having fun using the tools I have...
And that's fine, I completely understand. That's your music making preference, and it's how you find satisfaction in making the music you like.

But there's a group of people who believe sample packs are complete blasphemy and chastises anyone who uses it. And, at least in my experience, it's always those who are starting out at making electronic music who have this mindset the most.

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Old 11-05-2017, 04:37 AM   #9
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Originally Posted by DRR View Post
Newcomer, so forgive me if it's a stupid question.

In a recent track I used a couple of risers from a sample pack, but I feel like I cheated in not creating them myself from scratch. Am I right to feel that I cheated? If I did, then presumably I should also feel that I shouldn't use synth presets.
In fact maybe I shouldn't even play my analogue piano because I didn't create the 'piano' sound myself.
DRR
I think your issues go deeper than music. I don't think I cheat when I play a piano piece on the piano. Music is meant to be played, meant to influence. We take, share, copy and experience. Quit thinking about it.
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:43 AM   #10
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Old 11-05-2017, 09:04 AM   #11
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Originally Posted by DRR View Post
In fact maybe I shouldn't even play my analogue piano because I didn't create the 'piano' sound myself.
That's why I 'modified' mine with a baseball bat. Sounds much better now.

Every sound is borrowed, more or less. We're all sound-thieves, and that's what makes music awesome.
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Old 11-05-2017, 09:42 AM   #12
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Originally Posted by Vault O))) View Post
That's why I 'modified' mine with a baseball bat. Sounds much better now.

Every sound is borrowed, more or less. We're all sound-thieves, and that's what makes music awesome.
They did used to do that, didn't they. I saw some old photos of some early bluesmen, just before electric amplification was invented. they'd takn off most of the piano panels, and stuffed the piano with newspaper (as far as I could see). Apparently in the right place it made the piano louder.
Must have been frustrating, trying to play dance music without being able to get it to sufficient volume
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:29 PM   #13
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Re: Did I cheat?

Starting out, I have had the same belief about using samples and such. I have overcome that somewhat, although I always build up my own drums.

Glad to see the response from the more seasoned producers.

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Old 11-05-2017, 08:17 PM   #14
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Re: Did I cheat?

I only make music on instruments I designed and built myself from wood I harvested on my land and metals I mined with tools I blacksmithed. Then I compose in a self-coded DAW written on a computer I designed and fabricated. It's fucking awesome. My first piece of music should be ready in the next 20-30 years.
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:25 PM   #15
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Re: Did I cheat?

I trust you don't cheat by using standard octaves and scales?
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Old 11-05-2017, 08:50 PM   #16
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Re: Did I cheat?

The making stuff is mostly a joke, obviously, but I actually do a lot of atonal/microtonal things. I certainly don't consider anything cheating as long as it's heartfelt and original. (Re)using existing things to make original art is just as difficult and involved as anything.
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Old 11-05-2017, 10:50 PM   #17
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Re: Did I cheat?

Its all down to semantics!

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Old 12-05-2017, 04:10 PM   #18
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Re: Did I cheat?

I think your concern is valid for anyone that considers the question "what is real art" or "what is a real artist".

I've personally become fed up with the problem of "cheating with sample that you didn't create", because it gives the listeners false impression as well as creates uneven balance between artists that do more work and artists that do less work (where the public usually views the two as the same).

One should note however that NOT using external audio also limits yourself a lot. It's possible to use only sounds that you create, but if someone else has managed to make very good once-in-a-lifetime recordings, then wouldn't it also be a waste to not utilize those? Like e.g. what would dnb become if people wouldn't allowed to use the Amen Break?

So there's a middle road to this question. To use external audio, but use it in such way that you also add something to it, rather than just it as it is in core parts of your song. Relying on someone else's artistic ideas is, I think, a sign of a second-grade artist. Because I think artistry is about creating new things, not replicating what's been already heard.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:58 PM   #19
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Re: Did I cheat?

Thanks for some very good points. I can see that navigating the middle ground will be challenging though - I recently used a processed sample of a rainstorm from a film, and see no artistic problem with that. But I also have a sample pack that contains complete multi-bar drum loops. That certainly would not fit with the ethos of my music. But I can see that the middle ground will be hard to navigate.
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Old 13-05-2017, 04:32 AM   #20
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Re: Did I cheat?

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Originally Posted by Artificer View Post
The making stuff is mostly a joke, obviously, but I actually do a lot of atonal/microtonal things. I certainly don't consider anything cheating as long as it's heartfelt and original. (Re)using existing things to make original art is just as difficult and involved as anything.
Quote:
So there's a middle road to this question. To use external audio, but use it in such way that you also add something to it, rather than just it as it is in core parts of your song. Relying on someone else's artistic ideas is, I think, a sign of a second-grade artist. Because I think artistry is about creating new things, not replicating what's been already heard.
I think this is the key. Make something different, something true to you and unique. Some people purely use samples from other places but the way they bring it together infuses it with originality. Whether you do it purely for yourself or if you want any amount of commercial success it's important to make sure you're bringing something new to the table.

So yea, sample away! But before you leave it dry why not try affecting it a little and see where it gets you

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