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Re: Looping History
At 11:56 PM 10/28/2004, samba * wrote:
> I'd always thought Pierre Shaeffer had invented looping(at least I
> thought that since I found out about such things) ,and according to this
> history<http://csunix1.lvc.edu/~snyder/em/schaef.html>, he did,only he
> did it by cutting a nonspiral groove into a phono disc In 1942 while
> working for Radio Televison France.
I would call that an early form of sampling, not really looping. Looping
more of an interactive performance technique, where the sound is being
recorded to the loop and played back at the same time, and the performer
interacting with it all. That doesn't seem to be what Schaeffer and others
like him were doing at all.
The work Schaeffer and others doing Musique Concrete did was mainly
compositional. It seems like a direct ancestor to many forms of music
that are composed by combining together many different samples, like
various forms of electronic dance music and hip hop. That is certainly an
interesting historical lineage to follow. But it isn't exactly the same
thing as what people call Looping.
Looping is clearly very related to these ideas, and there is crossover
between the concepts all the time. But for the most part Looping is a
distinctly different concept that has gone along in parallel with sampling
composition techniques for decades. If you want to do an honest historical
study, you need to understand the difference and follow the different
through time. There is a reason why Loopers and Samplers and Audio
Sequencers have totally different features in them and one does not
>So he would have had access to cutting edge technology so to speak. His
>engineer/assistant ,Pierre Henry was a student of Messian. Apparently
>Shaeffer's work lead directly to the Mellotron,arguably the first
>commercial looping device
It is clearly not a looping device, as it lacks the basic features that
make something a looper. No way to record the tape as it plays back! The
Mellotron is an early form of a sample playback synth.
>In some circles Les Paul has long been given credit for inventing
>multitracking,I don't know how accurate this is ,but he does seem to have
>introduced it into popular music.
Also, as we discussed in the past, Les Paul never really did looping
either. His "Les Paulverizer" was really a bit of a showman's gimmick. He
triggered pre-recorded samples of himself (on tape), but did it in such a
way as to fool the audience into thinking what they heard play back was
what he had just played. Similar to the overdubs he then made, it was all
pre-recorded, but performed to look like it was done in real time. So he
was pretending to be looping, but not really doing it. Perhaps he would
have done it for real if he had the technology to do it, and you could
argue that from the audience's perspective it was real.
Certainly many people were experimenting with tape recorders in the 40's
and 50's. (and earlier in Germany). Clearly many of them independently
across the idea of setting the tape in a loop and allowing the record and
play back to be engaged at the same time while they played into it, thus
"looping". It may not be possible to decide who "invented" it. As with
concepts, the times and technology developments set the right conditions,
and suddenly many people found it at once.
Kim Flint | Looper's Delight
email@example.com | http://www.loopers-delight.com