note: the terms for using the samples in this page (entirely royalty free) are laid out in this document.
Here is a picture of the first percussion instrument I sampled for the Cork City Gamelan, in all its ugly glory: A heavy metal door in Grafton Street.
I struck it with an egg beater and with my fist, recorded the sounds and processed them to sound like this: Grafton Street Metal Door (280 KB, opens in a new window). The file is in the iTunes / iPod format (MPEG 4 audio) – most browsers can handle it. If it opens in the Quicktime browser plug-in, then you can download it from the pop-up menu in the bottom right hand corner of the player – this may be different for other media players.
Download the file, if you wish, and play with the sounds. There are short breaks between the individual beats to facilitate cutting them apart and using them in a sample player. Feel free to use them in any project, commercial or otherwise, but do credit the Cork City Gamelan as an instrument, a resource, or a collaborator and supply the URL: http://www.corkcitygamelan.ie
Some of the sounds are as I found them, others have had their pitch or duration changed. I find it fascinating to hear what happens when I stretch a short but complex sound to maybe five times its original length. Beyond a certain point, though, artifacts which were not present in the original recording are created – but I stop before this happens. Generally, when I make music, “anything is valid”, but for the Cork City Gamelan, I want to stick with what I actually recorded.
There is not much difference between some of the beats. For sampler instruments, I believe, it is a good idea to have access to several different versions of each sound, especially short ones which may be repeated rapidly. If each beat or note in a rapid repeat sequence is the same as all the others, this can create a “machine gun” effect, which is great for some styles of music – but more often than not, it sounds quite nasty.
enjoy and have fun!