This online discussion is open for comments April 8-14. An overview of these assignments and how you’ll be graded is available here.

The approximate reading time of this post is 15 minutes, not counting any audio media. It covers how musicians borrow and adopt instruments or sounds from different individuals, from parts of the world, from different genres, and from different socio-economic identities, blurring the sense of what is “authentic” along the way.

Part I: Examples of migrating sounds

As consumers and audience members, it’s easy for us to take musical sounds for grantedit seems like those sounds emerge out of nowhere, just for us, in that moment when we listen. But sounds come from somewhere—even “new” or “original” musical ideas grow out of or build upon musical ideas that have come before. Just like we alluded to in our discussion on musicking, music travels across time, geography, and genre, and the range of things we consume as listeners affects our expectations of how music “should” sound.

Let’s start with some pop music, by way of a piece of classical music. Although Igor Stravinsky composed his ballet The Firebird in 1909, you’ve actually been listening to snippets of it most of your life.

Turtles all the way down

Modern pop music borrows a sound from pop music of the 1980s, and pop music of the 1980s was borrowing from classical music of the early 20th century. But as you know by now, Stravinsky isn’t the beginning of classical music, not by a long shot. The orchestra he used included winds, string, brass, and percussion—and in our discussion on instruments and voice types you noticed that not all of those instruments were used in the earliest symphonies. They all got there somehow.

Let’s take a closer look at percussion instruments as a case study. They add color, rhythm, volume, and power to the sound of an orchestra, and they’re now considered a standard part of that ensemble. But in the Classical era (when the ensemble we call an orchestra first emerged), the ensemble emphasized string instruments, along with a handful of woodwinds, but brass was quite rare and percussion was almost never heard—it wasn’t yet part of the “normal” sounds that European listeners expected from their music.

However, musicians from other parts of the world at that time were making much more use of percussion. In the Ottoman Empire, the Janissary bands that heralded the arrival of the Emperor used percussion and nasal-sounding wind instruments that were unfamiliar, frightening, and powerful-sounding for Europeans.

People living in Europe became familiar with these sounds during the Ottoman-Habsburg Wars (1526-1791), when Turkish armies made use of psychological warfare by having their Janissary bands perform outside the walls of a city under siege, psyching up their own troops and intimidating the citizens trapped inside. For European musicians like Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, these sounds were inspiring—a fresh set of orchestral colors to use and exploit.

In this slow movement from a symphony by Haydn, the percussion makes a grand, heavy entrance at around 1:37, a total contrast to the preceding piano, delicate, sweet sound of the strings and woodwinds (Symphony No. 100 “Military”, II. Allegretto, 1793).

What does it mean to “remix”?

One semester, a student told me that pop music was more creative and better than classical music because it had remixes—and not just that it had remixes but that it invented them! However, in classical music not every work is wholly original or pretends to be—an enormous swath of musical output is of the kind we can call a pastiche, a parody, or a remix.

One of my favorite remixed ear-worms comes in MC Solaar’s 1997 “Paradisiaque”:

It samples Diana Ross’s 1976 “Love Hangover,” and listening to it feels like MC Solaar was inspired to re-imagine the first song in a new way (more specifically, MC Solaar’s work adds a new vocal layer on top of and bass line under an edited, sped-up version snipped off the introduction from Ross’ hit).

Let’s define “remixing” as when a musician is inspired to do something new with a musical idea that’s already been created. By this definition, classical musicians remix all the time! Taking a melody and dressing it up in new musical clothes (new instrumentation, new harmony, new texture, new added countermelody, etc.) is the defining feature of nearly all classical music—musical form is just repetition, contrast, and variation. As we’ve seen in class, the most common form used by musicians from the 1750s to today, sonata form, relies on “remixing” for the entirety of its development section.

Remixes are also a call-back to our discussion on musicking—listening to remixed, sampled, or reworked pieces like this can be an even richer experience (i.e., one that has more layers and nuance) if you are familiar with the original version: it’s like you’re experiencing two pieces at once!

This is what happens to my sister’s mom, a sweet 70-something-year-old lady who becomes both confused and disappointed when this song comes on the radio (Mary J. Blige and Method Man, “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need”, 1995—and version is itself a remix of Method Man’s 1994 song, “All I Need”!)…

…because she starts experiencing this one in her head (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” 1968):

Sampling, remixing, or covers often arise out of admiration: enjoying another’s work in such a way that it inspires you to do something new with it. Or the sampled work is really catchy and the musician can’t get it out of their head when they sit down to compose or create something new.

The armed man

That’s the case with what may be the most-borrowed song you’ve probably never heard of, a pop song of the Renaissance era, L’homme armé (The armed man):

Text translation:

The armed man should be feared.
Everywhere it has been proclaimed
That each man shall arm himself
With a coat of iron mail.
The armed man should be feared.

Composers used this little ditty as the basis of dozens of other works, notably masses (the prayers of the Catholic Church). The melody would be sung in one of the voice parts, with new harmonies composed to sit on top of or underneath it. There are 40 surviving works from the 15th and 16th centuries that use L’homme armé as their starting point and then remix the original melody. Here is one from Guillaume Dufay (1397-1474):

Sometimes non-musicians didn’t even know they were listening to a popular song woven into their prayers, and this became a source of contention in the Catholic Church and was abolished during the Counter-Reformation (1545-63).

The birth of polyphony

Using an existing melody (often something popular, like a children’s song or drinking song) as the basis of a new piece of music was common outside of religious music, too. This was one of the avenues via which composers in the Renaissance experimented and discovered the art of writing pleasing polyphony: starting with an established melody that already works musically and adding something to it. A motet, for example, was a genre of song that often featured a borrowed melody with new melodies added on top (polyphony), usually with the new melodies sung in a different language!

Aucun vont / Amor qui cor / Kyrie (Anonymous) is an example of a motet in 3 languages: French (highest), Latin (middle), and Greek (lowest). Each one is about different levels of love: the French line is about those who are unfaithful in relationships; the middle line says that those who love ephemeral, worldly things have less room for God in their hearts; and the lowest line sings “Kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy)—devotional love. It’s a re-imagining of a common idea (the Kyrie, which we’ve heard an example of in class), dressed up in a totally new musical context.


Another kind of “remix” is the kind found in concert showpieces: opportunities for a performer to show off brilliant technique by adding variations to an existing melody. It was quite common in the 19th century for a traveling composer-performer to adapt the melodies of whatever opera was hot at the time into of a set of fantasy-variations. Audiences loved to hear melodies they already knew from the opera (much like we often love a good sample in hip-hop today), and they enjoyed being impressed with the performer’s virtuosity.

Composing a set of variations could also be a way for a composer to elevate a boring piece of music or flex their compositional chops. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (1823) begin with an innocuous tune (composed by Anton Diabelli) and take it on a remarkable, virtuosic journey that ends up sounding very little like the original:

A composer might also write a set of variations on their own music—remixing themselves, in effect. Kanye is not the first musician to be inspired by his own work! For example, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (1741) were written, as the story goes, to be played to lull an insomniac aristocrat to sleep, and they begin with a simple melody (an aria) written by Bach:

Finally, there’s a more abstract kind of remix that crops up all the time in the classical music world in the form of rehashing a trope or general idea which another artist has already explored: effectively remixing a familiar story in a new medium. Schubert’s Lied, Der Erlkonig, is a good example of this. Other works reinterpret a familiar character by placing them in a new context: Orpheus from Greek mythology and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust were and continue to be two extremely common topics of musical inspiration and reimagining.

Most abstractly, composers create symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas, and other genres that have been done thousands of times before, reusing forms and gestures—the framework they use to present their musical ideas isn’t original, but their surface-level musical ideas (melody, harmony, texture, instrumentation) can be: they remix the form. In doing so, they’re checking off all the boxes that broadly define “remix”: 1) being inspired by or admiring previous artists’ work, 2) creating a situation in which the listener can simultaneously experience past works that share some musical DNA, and 3) the work is a response or continuation of an ongoing discussion between artists.

Part II: Modern implications

Perfectionism, “authenticity,” and listener expectations

The thing about all these processes of borrowing, remixing, or using sounds from other regions of the world, other pieces, or other styles is that it shapes the new sense of what’s “normal”—music keeps evolving and sounds keep migrating. The “remixed” version becomes the new barometer of “normal” to be played with or built upon—the Stravinsky orchestra hit becomes the “normal” sound of pop music, with no connection to its classical origins; the percussion of the European orchestra becomes the “normal” instrumentation, with no connection to the Middle East. In particular, the way people make and consume music in the 21st century raises some interesting questions in terms of what is “real”—a topic touched upon in our most recent in-class discussion. The idea of “realness” or “authenticity” comes up when we think about the process of remixing or borrowing more abstract ideas (like style or accents) from other musicians, too.

The ascendancy and primacy of recorded music in the 20th century has changed how music is heard as well as how it is made. Improvements in microphones, mixers, and the advent of digital recording processes and editing software have all made it much easier to produce music that sounds excellent: rich, clear, enticing, and beautiful. Compare these two recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131 (1826): the first was recorded by the Léner String Quartet in 1924—In addition to the omnipresent hiss of the recording technology itself, the sound is tinny, thin, and far-away, with very little audible dynamic or timbral contrast:

On the other hand, a live performance by the American String Quartet in 2013 is clear, conveys all the nuances and subtleties of the players, and has an overall rich or round sound quality:

The 1924 recording is more likely to be authentic—it took place closer to Beethoven’s lifetime, so the chances that one of the members of the string quartet knew someone who knew Beethoven aren’t impossible. That doesn’t mean it’s a better performance or that a listener would choose it over the 2013 recording.

The ubiquity of recorded music has two major effects on how we consume music and what we expect from it as listeners:

  1. Music should sound perfect; and
  2. Music should sound perfect all the time.
Inside a recording studio

These expectations feed into how music gets made. When a classical musician makes an album (except for recordings of live performances), the goal is a product that is worth listening to multiple times, one without glaring flaws. The process is defined by obsessing over details: it is a painstaking marathon of recording every sound over and over again, sometimes playing the same 15 seconds of music (called a “take”) dozens of times to make sure that all aspects of the performance match with what the musician intended (timing, vibrato, intonation, coordination, tone quality). Then, the musician(s) will select the best takes, and the sound engineer will digitally stitch all these patchwork pieces of the performance together so that every single sound is as “perfect” as it can be.

For example, when I recorded a chamber music album in 2016, we took 55 takes of one 9-minute piece of music over the course of a single afternoon—this is quite a small number for a classical recording! A few weeks later, I listened all the takes and told the engineer that I wanted the first 3 notes from take 4, followed by two measures from take 15, then two beats from take 1, etc. all the way through the piece. All the takes are my playing, but I essentially created a Frankenstein performance of it, choosing the mini-performances in which I best executed my intentions. (The album is available here).

Perfectionism is all over the pop music industry, as well. In the past when physical CDs were the primary form of music distribution, the process of releasing music took much longer than it does now. After writing music, recording it in the studio, mixing, and editing, it would take around 6 weeks for the audio to be encoded onto CDs, CD jackets and booklets to be printed, and the product to be physically shipped to record stores. During this time, there would be a press tour to amp up excitement for the release, followed by a release party and scheduled date that consumers could purchase the album in stores. Audiences had to be patient, and artists couldn’t go back an alter their work once the marketing timeline had begun. However, most artists today rely much more heavily (or even exclusively) on digital releases of their work: uploading music to SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, or YouTube. This means that the lead time between finishing a recording and making it available to the public can be reduced to a few hours rather than weeks. It also means that artists don’t necessarily have to adhere to firm deadlines and can instead continue to alter their music as long as they like–if they push back the drop date by a few hours, a couple days, or a year, there isn’t an expensive pre-scheduled marketing campaign or tour that is thrown out of whack. An article by Joe Coscarelli in The New York Times (August 5, 2016) outlines the ways in which established and new artists use the Internet to release their music (and have the flexibility to continue to tweak their tracks to meet their perfectionist creative standards). He discusses primarily Frank Ocean but also Kanye West, Beyoncé, and independent artists: Coscarelli, the Sudden Digital Drop – The New York Times

So what does this perfectionism do to the live music experience? On the classical side, there is a general expectation that the live performance will be as flawless as the studio version. It’s an impossibly high standard! Some audiophiles (people who love recorded sound) find live performances frustrating because the sound is imperfect: musicians make mistakes in live performances, people in the audience cough or shuffle their papers, or the sound in the hall might not be as pure as it is on their home speaker system.

Because most audience members come into contact with pieces of music first through recordings (perfect recordings!), their ears are primed to expect that every time they hear a given piece it will sound just as perfect as their favorite recording. In turn, performers try to give the audience what they want: a flawless performance that matches a great recording. The problem with a flawless performance is that in order to play flawlessly, you must practice flawlessly–over and over and over again, until every sound comes out exactly the same way every single time and matches audience’s expectations. Performers are far less likely today to try something new or unprecedented on stage (or in an audition) than they were in the 19th century or first half of the 20th century.

Milli Vanilli

The expectation that a live performance will match the crisp, coordinated, and sumptuous sound of a recorded album affects how many non-classical musicians perform, as well. Since the 1960s, the use of pre-recorded backing tracks for all or some of the sounds that comprise a “live” performance has become nearly ubiquitous (including vocals, backing vocals, instrumental tracks). There are many possible permutations of this, described here and here. To some degree this makes sense, since performers can’t dance and sing well simultaneously (think about what happens to your voice when you try to talk while jogging or doing jumping jacks). Sometimes “live” performances are completely fake, as with this list of examples from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyoncé, Eminem, Nirvana, Milli Vanilli, Ashlee Simpson, and Jay-Z. And “Lip Sync Battle” was so popular on Jimmy Fallon that it’s now a well-rated spin-off show hosted by LL Cool J—it’s as if we love the energy and illusion of performance but not necessarily the music making.

Smoke and mirrors

Despite all the editing that goes on behind the scenes, when we talk about authenticity in music sometimes we’re referring to the heartfelt “self-expression” a singer exhibits—but what if the sentiments being expressed are really someone else’s creation, a manipulation of our expectations as listeners? So much happens behind the scenes in pop music that comprises an artist’s public identity or image: making them sound the way they do by writing lyrics and producing tracks, making them look the way they do through fashion and styling, making them have a particular persona through interview coaching, scheduling appearances at certain events, creating beefs with other artists, or selling photographs to tabloids. An “artist” is oftentimes actually an army of several dozen people working together, perhaps with input from focus groups, to create a coherent marketing product (that happens to include music).

For example, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Pink, Nicki Minaj, David Guetta, The Weeknd, Fifth Harmony, Maroon 5, Ace of Base, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears are all pop artists who present distinctly different personas and musical identities to the public, but much of their music is all written by the same handful of song writers: Max Martin and Dr. Luke (whose work was featured in the video at the beginning of this post), often working together, or Karl Martin Sandberg. Max Martin’s writing credit discography ranges from Bon Jovi to Ariana Grande; Dr. Luke’s is similarly prolific, including Three 6 Mafia and Weezer. Other ubiquitous songwriters who have created the musical identities of headlining artists over the last 30 years include BabyfacePharrell WilliamsRedOneRick Rubin, and Sia.

The idea of authenticity is often front-and-center in hip-hop: staying true to oneself, not selling out, or remaining true to one’s home, origins, and community.

“Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?” —Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady” (2000)

“I rap and I’m real / I’m one of the few here.” —Jay-Z, “Real As It Gets” (2009)

“First things first, I’m the realest.” —Iggy Azalea, “Fancy” (2014)

But, Iggy Azalea is liar. She has never been in “da murder business,” and she adopts an accent that implies a different country, ethnic group, and socio-economic class than the reality of her life. Much of the frustration with Azalea’s posturing is that it’s an example of cultural appropriation: she wears the accent like a coat, taking it off whenever she wants, and doing so without having to bear any of the burden of the lived experiences that create that traditionally black sonic identity. When she takes it off, she gets to return to the relative privilege of being a white Australian woman.

But it’s also possible to view Azalea’s behavior as fundamentally the same as how other musicians approach music making and remixing—sound migration. Musicians use different sounds in different settings to fit audience expectations, and those expectations transcend the limitations of geography, time, and genre. Is the true measure authentic identity in hip-hop—or any of these genres—not to convey one’s lived reality, but simply to entertain?

Final thoughts

The more abstract or broad the definition of “remix” becomes, and the more we are aware of how sounds “migrate” from one place/time/genre to another, the less room there is for anything to be considered original at all. If, as James Baldwin (1965) argues, “history is literally present in all that we do” and that we are “unconsciously controlled” by history and the framework and systems we inherit, then we are not free to do absolutely anything we choose. We are not free to create out of the blue—everything is a reaction to something that has come before, whether we act in admiration or in rejection or even in ignorance, we have still reacted to what we inherit.

“Originality” as a synonym for creativity is often something that we say we value. But I would argue that we devalue creativity by lumping it together with originality—we are not creative because we are original, but rather we are creative despite the fact that we are unoriginal. It is the constraints of unoriginality that allow for creativity at all.

-Dr. J.

61 thoughts on “Sound migration

  1. This article proves that music is a universal language that is spoken throughout the world in many ways, but it used to bond us all together one way or another. In the video by Vox. The video shows how an Orchestra Hit conducted by no other than the Legendary and profoundly talented Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. First played in 1990 at the Paris Opera, Stravinsky started off the orchestra with the rigorous and intense Orchestra note that sent a shockwave throughout the attendees of the Orchestra and ultimately through the music industry. Stravinsky’s note was sampled by Peter Vogel using the then revolutionary Fairlight CMI. At that very moment when Vogel sampled that note, he had no idea it would go on to change the way music was made across the world. That goes to show that music is language that is spoken in various forms that can be understood by all. Music is the language of the world that everyone speaks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Universal language music I totally agree with u. maybe because it contain expressions, mood, and styles. Which every one experience in this life. Music migration I think took place when people migrate for example I never heard Spanish song when I was in India. today, I love Shakira even though I never understand what she is saying. But still a new style of music comes. to a out sider now I will tell to others like me.


    2. I like how you used the example of Igor Stravinsky orchestral hit and how it’s evolved into a lot of the music played today. Just knowing that this specific sound effect dating back from Stravinsky’s ballet in 1919, The Fire bird has basically traveled to songs we here now kind of shows that some factors of music is kept alive.


      1. I know I was really surprised that such a staple in 80’s music came from classical. Especially because the orchestral hit was something I always heard and liked, but i didn’t know what it was called, and I definitely didn’t know where it came from. This really goes to show that despite what we think about classical music, to some degree we love it for the tools it has given us to add to our music.


    3. I have to agree with you on the idea that music is a universal language. But if not from words/lyrics, what about music do you think is what brings nations together?


  2. There is an interesting thing on how the sound moves from place to place. For example, stuff that I assumed was down south in Georgia moved to New York with the emergence of hip-hop. Sound can be from anywhere with a door making some sort of squeak which has a historic significance today because it means that something happened which was bad. In Beethoven’s Quartet Sharp C Minor the instruments have this sound that is really old but is important today where it seems as if a person is reflecting on what they should have done, could have done, or would have done in the past. The sound migration is a lot like anything else with it’s origination starting before the beginning of time but it is similar to ideas that have been mentioned in politics, economics, and media. The sound migration is a lot like this also when putting sounds in from the past that others came up with in a song and seeing if it can be something interesting not just for music but outside the box too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly you have brought a lot of great points. The same happens to me when to another state. Sound of music travels across time. For example the geography , genre and a wide range of things as for us listeners changes the expectations of what music should sound like. Its funny most artists we listen to now remix old sounds as they put it in there music as we are like hey that sounds is familiar.


    2. I feel that same way as you Antonio about what this article on sound migration highlights and that is how music is this entity that is ever migrating throughout time and different cultures. I would have never known that pop-music of the 80s and rap songs in the 90s borrowed or sampled from classical music pieces. That is something that I find so incredible and fascinating. It makes me ponder how Igor could never fathom that his opening in his firebird orchestra piece would become so revered that it would be sampled using computer technology and then as a result be included into countless songs in hip-hop and rap which is a genre that wouldn’t even exist for several decades later. I also can’t help to think about whether he himself sampled or “remixed” that opening piece from a different composer or something he heard in his soundscapes.


    3. I truly agree with you and also I want to add that sound migration is the cause of new gemusic. Hip hop and Jazz and others are the remix or edition of past music.


  3. I agree with what Lenny said that it is some sort of unification that is a culture with music that makes us want to discuss or have some sort of joy. He had come up with something that nobody ever thought of. Most people think of this as a bad thing but it’s not because everybody could not stop talking about that sound that made the melody really great. I agree with Lenny on another thing that music is something that we all can talk about with one another in a conversation, and it is happening not just in the United States but in countries too. Music is just like talking whether there is an interruption or something changes in our voice going to a high note, is where one thing is going from one place to another. As we speak, sounds are going on right now that are new that have not yet been discovered and will be migrated to an idea which will be very soothing for the audience.


    1. I agree new sounds can be made with original sounds and no one would even notice. I find that interesting


    2. I feel the same way music unifies us and brings us together. We get to discuss what we liked and didn’t like about a piece. But the best part is that we get to enjoy it all together


  4. Sound migration is honestly what makes our favorite songs right now. A lot of the songs derive from previous released songs and it always comes up in a conversation. There is most likely a song right now that you heard before and you never knew it was previously made from another song in the past. I believe this should continue because this can make completely new sounds and music will evolve in the future. Anyone else feel this way?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have an example of what music is out now that has a sample or is a remix of an old one? It seems like the general consensus is that most music today is just a sample or remix but I don’t really believe that.


    2. I agree with you, I feel like artists using samples from each other, but adding their own creativity to it can help musicians expand genres and make different, but better types of music. I never noticed, but one song I used to listen to called “Forbidden Fruit” by Jcole sounded exactly like another song I listened by A Tribe Called Quest called “Electric Relaxation.” Both songs have a different flow to it, but the same melodies. What I noticed is that some of the songs that comes from songs in the past make the biggest hits.


    3. I feel this way, and I agree. For example Rihanna’s song “wild thoughts” has the melody from Santana’s song “maria maria”, which was released many years ago. listening to “wild thoughts”, from Rihanna brings some of us back in time santana’s “maria maria” time with an added bonus of being a pop song with a spanish music feel to it.


  5. From reading about sound migration I believe that sounds we know from an old piece of music are remixed into new music to make musicians music sound like that we have heard of this piece before. Its a great thing because it brings you back to what it was like in the past a new song that has that same past sound. This is what we hear in songs that favor in todays music. It shows that these sounds came out of nowhere just right when we want to listen to music. It almost feels like a guessing game in what is different about this new kind of music compared of an older version of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got ur point but did u noticed that article doesn’t said or indirectly talk about collaboration which
      is a biggest reason of music migration. check out this how Spanish and Indian music make new sound and they migrate too on the same time

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very interesting stuff that you shared to me. I see where your coming from on how this video makes a new sound. Than I noticed that it does migrate at the same time.


    2. You make a great point that the technique of sampling or remixing is an effective way to make a new “hit” song or musical piece because it is already taking a successful piece and just modifying it a little to make it align to the given time and/or audience. Nostalgia is a strong emotion and so manipulating this emotion through the use of incorporating familiar sounds and previously successful songs into your own song will give that song a higher probability of being liked and becoming a hit itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When we listen to a piece we get the feeling of what we hear different. As we discover old sounds that we remember from an old piece. Music is very universal as it is very separate which is how it can get all of us together. Sound migration is a way musicians take and embrace instruments and sounds from previous individuals. Even parts from the world, also separate genres from any socio-economic identities for a feeling of what can be authentic during the way.


  7. wow this article really blew my mind. After reading this, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for the definition of “remix”. I thought that it was a fairly recent concept or practice in the music industry when in reality it has been part of music since its inception. Its been said that instrumental music was invented by the neanderthals when one of them decided to blow through a hollow bone in an attempt to entertain or calm their young (you can read this interesting article about it here –> ). From what I have learned in reading this article on sound migration, I can argue that even this neanderthal that first blew through the rudimentary flute did so in an attempt to “sample” a sound that he/she heard because they thought it was a nice calming sound that the young ones would enjoy listening to.

    Essentially, since the beginning of civilization all the way to when the Fairlight CMI was invented and captured Igor Stravinski’s Firebird opening orchestra piece to be sampled in countless pop-music songs, it is clear that the term “original” or “Authentic” is just a musical perception that is used as another form of music entertainment strategy rather than to categorize music since there is no original or authentic music. All music incorporates samples of other works and are in one way or another a remix of a previous work. This also tells us that music is an ever evolving thing that uses sampling and “remixing” as a form to better connect with people throughout the times and cultural changes in society.


    1. Thank you for mentioning neanderthals. Sometimes if I have nothing to think about I think about them. Then I think about how would they evolve if they had music of certain artists of today. Let’s imagine they are going to hunt mammoths on a sunny afternoon. Now let’s imagine they are going to hunt mammoths on a sunny afternoon while listening to Metallica or AC/DC. They would probably be even freakier than they were. They would hunt more effectively then they did. Running and jumping on them while headbanging hahaha. Now imagine they want to celebrate the hunted mammoth. We play Daft Punk – Lose yourself to dance and see their little muscular funny bodies jumping and moving like nobody is watching while eating bloody mammoth meat. Anyway, music is cool. Sorry for unrelated comment.


  8. I think remixing and sampling is a great way to come up with great ideas and bring on inspiration to other people. It’s something found everywhere and as long as credit is given to me it’s a form of respect. I really liked reading this discussion until I got to the part about Iggy Azalea. Talking about her accent. Maybe she got exposure because of “Fancy” but who is to say she wasn’t “in da murder business” before she became well known? Also implying that an accent is “black” irritates me a lot, and that an accent is associated with “living burden” What if she grew up in a neighborhood in Australia that spoke like that? She also ended up moving to Miami where she could’ve picked up that accent. I feel like that point in the discussion was a little unnecessary and sounded more like bashing than just using her as an example of sound migration.


    1. True, but do you think there’s other artists that have a different persona from their ethnicity?


  9. Two of my all-time favorite artists such as Goran Bregovic and Manu Chao create multicultural music.
    Goran Bregovic would travel all around the world and learn about their instruments and music. He would go back to Serbia and add those instruments to his ensemble and make something so smooth that whole world would dance to it. He would listen to traditional music and try to implement and made it into his style.
    Manu Chao has a revolutionary purpose. He sings in multiple languages and calls for peace and love. His music helps him connect to the rest of the world because he sings in almost every language.
    I also want to address people’s disappointment with live music. I remember the first time I went to listen to a concert and it seemed like every instrument was different and most importantly, the difference between recorded voice and real voice was very different. Then, as I grew up and started listening to rock music, live music became all I wanted to hear. I prefer to hear real voices and mistakes artists would make. I loved listening to improvised music. I guess live music has two sides as everything else.

    Would guys rather listen to live music as perfect as it is digitally or would you enjoy real but imperfect live performance?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like and embrace your comment. I also remember an artist name Julio Iglesias who used to sing in Spanish during the late 20th century. And this amazing artist went and learned French and also English in order to produce music in those languages as well. He has some of the best French chansonnettes music.


    2. This question seemed easy when I read it, but when I really thought about the answer it became difficult to pick. I like the idea of hearing the imperfections of the artist because it’s so pure and raw! but then I would be afraid of leaving the performance no longer liking the artist. That’s why I would probably say (unfortunately lol) I would want the live music to be as perfect as it is digitally, if I invest my money into a ticket I expect the artist/band to meet my expectation and make my money worth spending.


  10. This discussion about remix, authenticity and originality is amazingly interesting. I always believed that there can be no presence of originality while remixing. Now, after reading this text, I’m convinced that originality is something extremely rare and that our production is the result of how we were thought, how our society or doing things, our memories and of course history.

    Remixing is a great thing because you are able to bring different feelings, sensations and view to ta particular old piece using the same melody. An other interesting thing about remixing is the capacity that it has to make you embrace and appreciate a genre that you did not like or that you were not aware of. This can be done when And artist changes the instruments and tone from a piece to add the characteristic of an another genre through the remix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had the same initial belief that a remix of another artist’s song would not feel original. I realized there actually was some originality going on there after reading the article’s definition of remixing: “…when a musician is inspired to do something new with a musical idea that’s already been created.” Key word: new. A great way to think about that is what you’ve mentioned regarding the different feelings and sensations that can be created even though the same piece of music is being used.


    2. @sebastien509- I pretty much understand what you mean. Remixes gives us an opportunity as musicians to add a new sense of melody, variation, instruments or tone to an original piece because the original piece would not sound appealing to our modern day generation and they would end up disliking it. However, it would change the whole perspective of people listening to this particular piece of music. If we put in all those musical elements and mix it with the original piece from a previous era, it would spice up the music and attract interest from not only supportive fans but even music industries with record labels themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This week’s discussion was interesting and an eye-opener. Authenticity is rare and although 90% of our music comes from different sounds, it’s pleasing to know how artists of today are able to create “new” music while still using others work, because it keeps every style of music from different time periods relevant. The only problem I have with this is that this should be something that’s should be spoken of more often. It would be nice to know from where each artist get their inspiration from and it also gives credit to the original maker.


    1. I agree with you, there have been a few times where I knew I hear a song from somewhere without finding out. I think if they were to give credit, people would be more open about different genres in music.


  12. There are some great remixed songs out there that I thought about while reading the first section of the article. In some instances, I listen to remixes more often than the original. I’m only referring to pop songs, though, and I never really thought about how classical music could also be remixed… but it can. This kind of stimulus diffusion is what inspires most artists today and there’s nothing wrong with it! It just makes for more musical diversity and experimentation that can appeal to more populations with different tastes.
    A new vocabulary word for me from this article was “audiophile.” I always had a preference for studio recorded music and hated the scratchy, low quality videos of live performances or amateur covers. The article is absolutely right, there is an expectation of music to be flawless and that further spoils listeners when most of the songs being debuted today are of such high standards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @christinelim71 – It sounds like you favor listening to to remixes more than original pieces of music. You brought up a great factor by using pop songs as a valuable example of how it links to remixes. However, how does pop songs show they are capable of remixing especially using musical ideas from the 1980’s and 1990’s? Also, what is the difference between a regular pop song being remixed and a classical music piece remixed and how are they connected to our “musical diversity tastes” today?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with you I also enjoy remixed songs more than the original because it just makes the song more interesting.


  13. I find sound migration really interesting. Sampling and remixing music is something that I was already familiar with, but after reading this article I was able to get a better understanding of the concept. I remember listening to a song one time and learned that the melody was actually a sample taken from a different song. Out of curiosity I looked up the song and after confirming that the melodies matched, I was amazed! I liked how these kind of songs taught me a whole new song that I never knew before. The song is called “Bad” by Wale and the original is by Tiara Thomas. There’s also a remix of this song featuring Rihanna.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Comparing both pieces with Wale, I actually like the version with Tiara Thomas better (sorry Navy!)


  14. The fact that music is not very original is sometimes good for the listeners because the music is usually meant to reach an audience who would not normally listen to a particular music. For example, Method Man ft Mary J Blige playing a remix to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel’s song “your’e all I need”, this music reach a generation who would not have listened to Marvin Gaye, it was a good way to revive Marvin Gaye’s music of the 1960s. It appealed to two generations, it brought back memories to an older generation and it created memories for a younger one.


    1. i agree with you , when songs get remixed it does reach more listeners , it also give an opportunity to learn of an artist you never heard of before


    2. I do not strongly agree with you, because I think some songs should have their originality when another singer perform their song I think the song just lose its essence and maybe I like but Its a little disappointed for me because it’s not the same.


  15. I think artists’ goal these days is mainly to entertain, but try to bring their authenticity to their music at the same time. And when it comes to live performances, I think the imperfectness of the performance makes it more authentic.


  16. I find it very interesting how a lot of the new music heard today has sound migration. I really like the remix of samples of music from the 70s 80s and 90s. I personally feel like it brings together great music from the past with the new music today. I also feel like an artist really liked and appreciated a piece of music that was created by someone else. Then decided to take a piece of it and make something out of that.


  17. This week’s discussion is very interesting especially the way sound is migrated from place to place . A lot of present day music is from previous eras of music, whether its the change of beats, melody or lyrics its always interesting to see an artist’s creativity shine through. I think its great that songs get remixed from other music pieces because it gives us a chance to learn about an artist we never knew before, however i think the problem with this is the lack of credibility . For example i think people who remixes songs should give credit to the originator.


    1. I feel like i can agree with ” I think its great that songs get remixed from other music pieces because it gives us a chance to learn about an artist we never knew before”, it’s great to see from a new perspective but do you think the original creator of the a song would like it if their song was remixed and got more praise for it ? I feel like their are ups and downs with remixing and the remixer should always ask before hand.


    2. I agree with you 100% that remix artists should give credit to the original creators of the song due to the fact that they are the ones who started it all. However what about the ones who fly under the radar like regular kids rapping.


  18. This discussion is really trippy to me (slaughterhouse five kinds of trippy) because if you think about sound migrating, that’s an ocean of ideas in itself. However, connecting this discussion to the previous one (Musicking), you can say that we’re in so many places when listening to one song. Considering the sampling, the remixes, the performer, the composer, the listener, etc. that one song is participating in, there are hundreds of worlds being united as the song is being listened to or played. You could be in the past and the present all at the same time. And within the realm of the past, there can be multiple periods of pasts that you’re in: the time the song was created, the influences from earlier times that allowed this other creation to arise, the memories the song evokes on the listener as well as the performers. You can be in France as you are in the United States. This discussion allowed me to see how limitless music really is.


  19. This part of the reading really had me thinking “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “REMIX”?” I feel like a remix means to reedit the song to artist liking. I feel like stating that pop music is more creative and better than classical music is a very arrogant statement both music genre has their creative moments and uninspired moments but one can’t be better than the other. Pop music is popular hence the word “pop” and classical music is classy most of the time. I don’t think remixes were invented by pop music, I believe it evolved from “sampling” sampling isn’t like a remix but it’s kinda similar in a way that you can take a part of a song and use it somewhere else. Most popular songs sample from older songs so I would say modern songs are creative in reusing older songs to make a new song.


    1. “remixes” nowadays don’t really involve altering any sounds but instead just trying to add to or replace the original vocals. So in that sense alone I agree with you calling that statement on pop music “arrogant”.


    2. I agree with your statement about it being arrogant. No Genre of music contains songs that are all 100% original. Somewhere in every genre you will find examples of remixing or sampling. Like u said many popular songs nowadays dont remix older songs instead sample pieces of them to create something “new”


  20. Its amazing how just one sound can change the entire feel of a song. Its truly remarkable listening to music that was produced with the intent of being nostalgic. Sounds and production tricks such as the orchestral hits bruno mars used draw inspiration from multiple eras. All music is influenced by each other. Im not a huge fan of classical music but I can’t escape its influence.


  21. I think the fact that music may not be completely original is in some ways cool because we hear new sounds that we haven’t heard or might’ve heard like in Bruno Mars song, Finesse. I was also a bit disappointed when I kept hearing the beat of Ice Ice baby by Vanilla because I have memories from when I was younger and listening to Queen’s original, Under Pressure.


  22. When reading this weeks discussion I started to think a lot. I thought about how many remixes are actually out there in the world. The amount of new artists that remix music putting in new techniques and a piece of themselves in it to create a “new” piece of music. However, I then began to think about how many original artists hate the remix artists. Reasons being that the remix song is doing better than the original or that the original artist feels disrespected all together. It just comes to show that everyone has their own unique interpretation of music and has their own unique opinion and style.


  23. In this week’s online discussion on “Sound Migration,” I learned that remixes add a new taste of excitement to an original piece of music back to life. When we hear an original piece and compare it to a music video that is remixed, the remixed song wants to show listeners that the remixed version is clearer to understand than the original piece due to certain instruments that were not involved in the original, the background sound was too low, etc. As listeners, what we do not realize is that we focus too much on the amazing sounds added to the remix that we do not notice where the lyrics and melody actually came from. The problem faced with remix music is modern day musicians take ideas from music in the 19th and 20th centuries, they do not give credit to the original musicians who actually dedicated their time and effort to make their music happen. For example, according to “The Conversation” article, they explained how classical musicians in the 1800’s poured their hearts out and connected themselves to performing because it helped them comprehend what message they were trying to convey through musical notation. On the other hand, our modern day musicians do not sit down and take their time to present new ideas to music that really could help make a difference in peoples’ lives.


    Instead, they just wing the music they compose (“improvise”) by taking sections of musical notes they see from past musicians they look up to and mix it with new melody and variation they came up with without providing acknowledgement for the original people that they borrowed some musical ideas from. Therefore, what I am trying to say is that our modern day musicians should really aim towards not borrowing music ideas from past musical individuals, but instead use those ideas as a guide to make songs of their own.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This week discussion is fascinating because you can not imagine how many places the sound has migrated. And all the music that I heard from today has a sound migration, it’s incredible that all this music has a history behind them. None of these sounds are “new” they are just modified in another style or in another type of music. We thought is creativity but it’s not, is like when you borrow a shirt from your sister and you just add complements to make it look different or make it a new, but it’s not going to be like that.
    However, music has a unique story but during the time we started to do remixes of some song and its another level as a listener. One of my favorites remixes is the song Perfect by Ed Sheeran a pop singer with Andrea Bocelli an opera singer, the mix of these two different languages and vocal styles is amazing.
    Ed Sheeran – Perfect Symphony (with Andrea Bocelli) – YouTube Sheeran – Perfect Symphony (with Andrea Bocelli)


Comments are closed.