[linux-audio-user] Beginner sampler questions

Chris Metzler cmetzler at speakeasy.net
Wed Mar 24 10:24:42 EST 2004

Hi.  I've been playing guitar for 7 years or so, and using linux in one
way or another for about the same amount of time; but only this past year
have I started playing around with what I can do musically with my linux

One of the things I've recently learned about is samplers.  As I
understand it at this point (and I'm hoping someone will set me
straight if I'm wrong), a sampler accomplishes basically the same
thing as a wavetable synth -- it uses sound samples to generate
tones, doing frequency shifting and interpolation as necessary.
And as I understand it, the main difference between a sampler and
a wavetable synth is the lack of constraints on the samples used
-- with a sampler, anything at all could be a perfectly good
sample, including samples of almost arbitrary duration (and thus

One of the most obvious uses I can see for a sampler would be to
use it to provide instrumentation that the user doesn't know how
to play.  For instance, if I wanted to record myself on guitar
with a piano accompaniment, I could use a sequencer to write the
piano line and generate it through a sampler.  But that brings my
first question -- if you don't own/play the instruments in question,
where do you get the samples?  I've done a lot of web searching,
and found tons of drum loops and bass lines that are two measures
long and so forth, but don't find much in the way of e.g. individual
notes on basses.

And I wonder about how people use the extended samples I find.
It seems kinda constraining, to be stuck with a melody/harmony
line given to you by whatever someone sampled.  Of course, there
are tons and tons of samples available; but then, in order to
express the music you're hearing in your head, you're gonna be
spending hours and hours trying to find samples that work.

Am I missing some obvious things here?  How do people use samplers,
for the most part?

Thanks for dealing with my beginner-type questions.


Chris Metzler			cmetzler at speakeasy.snip-me.net
		(remove "snip-me." to email)

"As a child I understood how to give; I have forgotten this grace since I
have become civilized." - Chief Luther Standing Bear
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