2014, Sarah-Indriyati Hardjowirogo
The reproduction of previously recorded sound made possible by phonography has traditionally been understood as opposed to the production of music which, in turn, was thought of as being an active, creative process that required not only musical expertise but also mastering a musical instrument.
However, the productive use of pre-recorded sound as primary material for artistic works has an equally long tradition: As early as 1930, Walter Ruttmann’s sound montage Weekend sets a milestone in the history of radio play. In the 1940s, Pierre Schaeffer develops the aesthetical concept of musique concrète, conceiving the records and tapes with which he isolates his sound objects (objets sonores) as an extension of the traditional instrumentarium. The aesthetical de- and recontextualisation of short musical portions by means of hard- or software (samplers) is later referred to as sampling and has by now become an essential strategy of musical production, particularly so in popular styles. In the context of the emerging DJ culture after the mid-20th century, and especially in turntablism, the music stored on a record is manipulated by specific playing techniques such as scratching and beat juggling, so as to generate completely new musical structures.
Other significant pioneers regarding the instrumental use of reproduction media include Edgard Varèse, Marcel Duchamp, and John Cage.