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How can I choose samples from a recording?

There are many approaches to getting samples to use for making beats. We’ll explore one approach below.

Think About

  • How do people choose what to sample from a recording?
  • How do people sample from the recording?
  • How can I choose samples from a recording?

Get Started

  1. Listen to the track To the Moon by Jazzafari:
  • Listen for moments that sound interesting
  • Listen for sounds of instruments that you think could work well as samples in another 
  • Pause and move forward and backward to find parts that you might want to sample


  1. Now use the version of the Audio Drumpad app below to select samples of the Jazzafari recording.
  2. Use your computer keyboard to play sample chops.

Need some help with the app?

  • You might want to start by zooming out with the zoom slider to see the entire file
  • Move the different color blocks around the waveform onto the part you want to sample
  • Carefully put your cursor on the edge of a colored block to make it shorter or longer
  • Place the cursor at a part of the music you want to sample and slide the zoom control to see it more closely
  • Click the spacebar to play the music
  • If you can’t figure out which block is connected to which key, move all of the blocks except one to one side of the waveform and then use each of the available computer keys one at a time to figure out which key that one block is connected to. Set it where you want it and repeat the process for the other blocks
  • Experiment with slightly moving the block around a part of the music you want to sample to hear the different variations of sound you can achieve
  • Experiment with slightly making the block longer or shorter
  • Trying just starting with 4 samples for the computer keys Q, W, E, R

Go Further

Besides the title, what relationship exists between Nina Simone’s recording below and the Jazzafari recording?

What do you think Jazzafari did to achieve the sound of the phrase “everyone’s gone to the moon?”

Go Even Further

To the Moon by Jazzafari is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License. That means you can download the track and use it in whatever way you like, as long as you:

  • Give Jazzafari credit (attribution) for the original track
  • Do not make money from your use of the track (noncommercial)
  • Share whatever you do with the track with everyone with the same type of creative commons license  (ShareAlike)
  1. Download Jazzafari’s To the Moon or find another track on Free Music Archive that gives you permission to sample it by looking for creative commons licenses that do not prevent you from making derivative versions.
  2. Import the track into BandlabSoundtrap, or some other DAW that you have access and create a beat by sampling the track and adding some other parts.
  3. Read some information about Free Music Archive and some additional information on their use of Creative Commons Licenses.

Share What You Learned

Share a video of you playing some sample chops that you selected.


Share a video or a link to a beat you made using samples from another track with creative commons licensing.