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Amen Break

Art, Music|23 Nov, 2012|185 Comments |
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Rating: 3.3/5 (13 votes cast)

This fascinating, brilliant 20-minute video narrates the history of the “Amen Break,” a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969. This sample was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music — a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures. Nate Harrison’s 2004 video is a meditation on the ownership of culture, the nature of art and creativity, and the history of a remarkable music clip.

Amen Break, 3.3 out of 5 based on 13 ratings
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185 Comments

  1. Hey youtubers! If you like electronic music check out my channel! I make all the music and am looking for feed back.There’s also a link to a bandcamp site where there’sFREE DOWNLOADS of all the tracks!So check out CyberdriveMusic!Got some good idears!

  2. cky92ahoy says:

    @SANDEDFACELESS69 whats target im from the UK dumbass we only have the best and faggot why is everything Americans say trying to tone down there own sexuality while attacking someone else’s your messed.up the sooner you see that we are all equall the better!

  3. georgie6874 says:

    I think our video narrator is mixing up use of a drum pattern with sampling. I can assure you that drum’n'bass artists use a huge variety of sample sources for their individual drum samples, not just a specific 6-second recorded beat. It’s like claiming that every latin band which plays a bossa nova beat has ripped off the first guy who ever recorded it. No, it’s just a well known drum pattern used by drummers and beat programmers as they see fit.

  4. militivbzame says:

    I knew it that these samples from the sixties, funk, soul, motown , jazz , and so on, but musicians capable to do original drum samples by drummers and with other instruments, put it in a sampler and chop it, variate it infinitively and it makes real musicians by jungle artists dnbs and other styles.NO MATTER THAT MUSIC MADE IN THE 40′S 50′S 60′S.ITS STILL REMAINS THE SAME BASE!!

  5. Bonzdnb says:

    Yeah the sample from Amen brother was used, but the original wasn’t what revolutionized sampling. it’s what styled it. The person who put the samples mainly and styled it into a genre of remaking and sample editing was none other than the late great J dilla.

  6. nkhstudio says:

    Unfortunately, in US copyright law there is no “7 second” rule or any rule that assigns maximum allowed sample usage. See the lawsuit filed by Bridgeport Music against NWA, in which the judge ruled NWA’s use of a 2 second guitar sample constituted infringment. “Get a license or don’t sample, period” were the judge’s words. See also the documentary Copyright Criminals, which talks about the case as well as others.

  7. this is so cool, i’ve been playing variations of this beat ever since i started drumming!! But you cant copyright a drum beat, this isn’t the only beat used by hundreds of musicians around the world. There are really only a handful of beats that are widely used in pop music, if someone held a copyright on these beats, they would hold a monopoly on all pop music and could potentially wipe out many different styles of music

  8. cacemphaton says:

    from the earliest sampler users digging the drum break, to more sample-based music norms becoming entrenched in the popular culture /’public domain’ and then on to the 0-G attempt at marketization of making prosumer songtools, is, to my mind, what made it a fait accompli that the entire recording industry subsequently lost the requirement of their specified physical product for distributing the music to the consumer which was their bread & butter: All consumers effectively ‘sample’ music now.

  9. E2thebank says:

    Well if you did make the video, then I give you kudos for a well-made vid. Also, sorry I was so rough on you the other week with my past comments. I was going through some personal problems with my ex-girlfriend :( I was a dick.

  10. KungFuDJ says:

    I’ve used this “Amen drum loop” in Propellaheads Reason software on one of my tracks. I did not know the history of this 6 second sample and i find it fascinating to know that i found it so enticing without knowing what it actually was before watching this video. It is nice to now know that the sample is sacred and I salute mobius32 on his explanation of the roots of the sample and why it is so legendary in HipHop terms. This is probably one of the best stumbled moves I’ve ever made on you tube.

  11. nkhstudio says:

    @E2thebank Your original post was “YOU CAN’T COPYRIGHT A DRUM BEAT. THIS IS INSANE.” You then said it was “impossible.” As you know, that’s not true. Whether a drum beat is by itself or is part of a larger song/composition, if it’s a recording, it’s copyrighted. It is private property, and whether you take .002, 2, or 20 seconds of it, it’s infringement. It is not related with the musical context within which it sits, as many hip hop producers learned the hard way in the late ’80s/early ’90s.

  12. E2thebank says:

    @nkhstudio Yeah sureeeee, I BET you made the video. lol You can “copyright” a drum beat on paper, but like I said before, it’s virtually indefensible. Samples are a completely different matter, and relate to the song as a whole and NOT the drum beat (which, if you could read, was what my original post was about).

  13. nkhstudio says:

    @E2thebank Dude I made the video I think I know a little about the subject and “critical thinking skills.” You’re right that trying to claim composition rights in a drum beat would be tough, but the idea that “courts give you hell” is a bit of a stretch. Besides, my video is about the *sample*–when talking about copyrighting drums, it’s generally understood we’re talking about sampling. So your initial claim that drums can’t be copyrighted is simply not true, and dangerously bad legal advice.

  14. E2thebank says:

    @nkhstudio EXACTLY! You don’t know what I’m talking about because you obviously have nothing in the “critical thinking skills” department. The only one of those cases that even was resolved in court was Harrison/Chiffons, and that lawsuit was never established in the field of law as a viable precedent in copyright matters. So, unlike what you said, there are NO infringement cases that contradict me (not to mention you dug up cases that had nothing to do with copyrighted drum beats LOL).

  15. nkhstudio says:

    @E2thebank Yeah I read your last post, but, like the others, it didn’t make any sense. Honestly, you don’t really know what you’re talking about. There are several infringement cases that contradict you. How about Joe Satriani v. Coldplay? Or Jake Holmes v. Led Zeppelin? Or George Harrison v. The Chiffons? I don’t know what your implying with the quotes around the word copyright, but the law is the law. If a judge finds infringement, you pay damages. Many settle out of court for lots of money.

  16. E2thebank says:

    @nkhstudio Did you actually read my last post or do you just suck at comprehension? I said you can copyright it, but courts will give you hell trying to actually make money off of suing. I can guarantee you won’t make money unless they have actually sampled the track of the song. If not, then you’re busted. Therefore you can “copyright,” but not copyright.

  17. nkhstudio says:

    @E2thebank Yes you can copyright a drumbeat, a single note, etc. You’re talking about a difference between composition and mechanical recordings. Mechanical recordings, whether a single note or drum beat, are ‘expressions fixed in a tangible medium” as US copyright law states and are thus absolutely copyrightable. Just ask Biz Markie, NWA, De La Soul, etc. whether or not single sounds can be copyrighted. They’ll tell you you’re studying law at a pretty bad law school.

  18. E2thebank says:

    @nemesis4go10 Oh I know there are. How is that working out for the copyright holders, hmm? Oh that’s right, they’re not making a dime off of it. You may be able to “copyright” it, just as I can copyright my name or an A note, but like I said before, it’s impossible to earn anything off it. Courts laugh at this stuff. I’ve seen it.

  19. ellomot0 says:

    I’ve just been schooled! One of the most insightful video’s I’ve watched on Youtube period. I grew up listening to all the music referenced (not 1969!!) and wow, the Winstons got screwed, while companies nowadays can totally ‘lock off’ the same track with bureaucracy and at the same time stifle natural creative growth. Amen

  20. TheWaynelds says:

    I remember i dropped this track during one of my Breakbeat sets at a rave. Of course i had to slow the song down a bit because it’s around 145BPM. I wanted to drop it during a drumNbass set, but i’d have to speed the song up +30% and my techs could only do +8%, it also probably wouldntve sounded as good either.

  21. Wei says:

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  22. Vishal says:

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  23. Maisa says:

    Fair point somebody meinnoted this on twitter and I replied: Yeah makes sense- noreply’ still seems unimaginative tho. I really just put it in for comic relief, like to end on a funny note So I think better in that case to go with something like what Wufoo has I believe it’s something like friendlyrobot@ and if you reply to it, it sends you a friendly message explaining that nobody checks that mailbox, but there is a support desk they can contact.

  24. HolyLand says:

    ericaspy02 / Thank you DarkAngel-GBW for reading my post. Actually, I am a fan now :) I eyjoned the concert so much, so is my mom. We’re still having the Last Song Syndrome (LSS) up until now ♫♪ I’m just a little too not over you (David) ♫♪I’m actually looking forward to his future concerts. I will definitely get some VIP next time. Haha.

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  26. Hoanna says:

    pabuckie / Wow thank you Admin. and David for that video! Just watched it and it brgohut me to tears. Just keep following your heart, David, like you are doing. :) Love you so much for who you are and what you are doing through your music. This is why I’ll be a fan for life.

  27. Berk says:

    shouldn’t have shown me that!!! totally awmoese!!It’s actually the theme song for one of my favourite animes ever (also watchable by hip girls): Paradise Kiss, about a high school student who gets involved with an underground design group. I highly recommend it.

  28. Leandro says:

    hola cola como estas tienes un ncilo lindo y te gusta culair con los negro x que tengo un video tu yo esta culiando con un negro tienes un una chucha lindo pero la verdad me dule x que no soy yo en que te este aciendo el amor

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