Research Output

Following the Fairlight CMI and its Users: The Digital Reproduction of 'Real' Instruments and Sounds

  This paper will focus on the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument (CMI), which is generally regarded as the first commercially available digital sampler. However, its designers, Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, were primarily interested in the use of digital synthesis to replicate the sounds of acoustic instruments; sampling was a secondary concern. Users of the Fairlight CMI began to use it to sample the sounds of everyday life (Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush) and experiment with the pre-set sounds of the sample library (Afrika Bambaataa, Arthur Baker). Using a conceptual framework from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and this case study as an example of how musicians use instruments in ways unimagined by their designers, my argument is that writing a history of music technologies such as digital sampling instruments needs to also be the writing of a history of the designers and the users of these music technologies.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    01 June 2017

  • Publication Status:

    Unpublished

  • Library of Congress:

    M1 Music

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    780 Music

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Harkins, P. (2017, June). Following the Fairlight CMI and its Users: The Digital Reproduction of 'Real' Instruments and Sounds. Paper presented at Galpin Society/AMIS Conference on Musical Instruments, The University of Edinburgh

Authors

Keywords

FairlightCMI; hiphop; instruments; music; organology; popular music; sampling; synthesizers; technology

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