THE ORCHESTRA HIT
The Orchestra Hit (also called Orchestra Stab) is a short sample of a ‘tutti’-chord in a classical orchestra piece. To this day, it is used as a dramatical and percussive component in pop music.
The Orchestra Hit is one of the most used samples and is included in almost every sample library in different variations.
The ‘original’ Orchestra Hit sample was part of the basic library of the first sampling/sequencing workstation, the Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument), released in 1979. The sample was named 'orch2' and has its origin in the first chord of Stravinky's Firebird - Infernal Dance of King Kastchei (1910).
The orchestra hit sample was used in different genres, mostly in those who use electronic sound elements. After the advent of the Fairlight and the Synclavier Systems, other more affordable samplers, like the Ensoniq Mirage, entered the market. Hereby, a lot more artists got access to the sample and used it in their songs, like Max Martin in many Britney Spears productions in the 1990’s. The sound even experienced a broad application in commercials.
Although today sampling is done with virtual samplers, the Orchestra Hit is still part of basic sample libraries. Like the Hand Clap, it has become an all-purpose sound and is used to this day.
Music by composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Maler and Stravinsky with their penchant for the monumental, serve as the origin of Orchestra Hit samples.
As Robert Fink demonstrates in his article The Story of ORCH5, the origins of the Fairlight sample can be found in the orchestra tutti from Stravinsky's Firebird. While Fink's analysis of the Orchestra Hit of the Fairlight is about the beginning of a piece, most of the orchestra hits occur at the end of a piece, such as the three final chords of Symphony No. 1 by Johannes Brahms or the last chord in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Above all, an orchestra hit achieves its effect as a sample if it is short and percussive, thus enriched with timpani and cymbals. The monumental or sublime that resonates in this sample may be an indication of the appeal and success of this sound. The Orchestra Hit can be considered as both appropriation and reference to classical music.
|1986||Steve Winwood||Higher Love|
|1988||Samantha Fox||Naughty Girls|
|1989||Milli Vanilli||Girl You Know It's True / Baby Don't Forget My Number|
|1989||Janet Jackson||Miss You Much|
|1990||Janet Jackson||Rhythm Nation|
|1992||Shanice||I Love Your Smile|
|1999||Britney Spears||Baby One More Time|
|2000||N' Sync||Bye Bye Bye|
|2001||Jennifer Lopez||Love Don't Cost A Thing|
|2005||50 Cent||Disco Inferno|
|2006||Lucradis feat. Pharell Williams||Money Maker|
|2008||Lil Wayne feat. T-Pain||Got Money|
|2009||Lady Gaga||Love Game|
|2014||Jason Derulo||Talk Dirty|
Original Orchestra Hit Presets
"Most significant sound"
– Boris Blank
"Fairlight, magic and different"
– Boris Blank
"If it is used in the right way, it is classic"
– Marco Basci
"This sound is huge ..."