Visitors Can Play Instruments at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inside the Interactive Exhibit Garage

What's Going On?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:00am to 9:00pm

Come Rock with us!

There's always something going on at the Rock Hall! From Live Music and Trivia Contests to one-on-one beginner music lessons, all included with your admission! Be sure to also check our Theater Schedule to find out what is showing during your visit.

All programs below are FREE with Museum admission and space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Stories of Rock

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Stop by a Stories of Rock presentation, held by our Rock Hall experts. Learn about your favorite sounds and artists in our exhibits, or even compete to win a prize during one of our pop up game shows.

drum Machine Demonstration

2:30pm, The Garage (Level 2)

Join authors Patrick Rivers and Will Fulton for a special short presentation and drum machine demonstration.

AMS and Rock Hall Lecture Series

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Music & The Machines: THE SP-1200, THE MPC, AND THE EVOLUTION OF HIP HOP BEAT MAKING

7:00pm, Foster Theater (Level 4)

What Stradivarius and Steinway are to classical music, and Fender and Gibson are to rock, the E-MU SP-1200 and the AKAI MPC sampling drum machines are to hip hop. Built on groundbreaking engineering from E-MU, the SP-1200 became the most commonly used instrument of hip hop production circa 1990, as represented by the highly influential work of Pete Rock and Large Professor. As the 1990s progressed, the intuitively designed MPC series developed a symbiotic relationship with hip hop music, supplanting the SP-1200 as the most popular sampler and becoming the iconic symbol of hip hop beat making. Since the early 2000s, J Dilla, Q Tip, and others elevated the profile and legacy of the MPC, while the SP-1200 continues to be referenced within the hip hop community as a foundational hip hop instrument.

In our presentation, we will demonstrate the digital sampler techniques of the SP-1200 and the MPC sampling drum machine and provide historical background and ethnographic accounts that detail the relationships that different beat makers had with specific machines. We will recreate sample arrangements from Public Enemy, Jay-Z, and Gang Starr recordings and connect them to the functions of the samplers, showing the compositional practice of beat making in different eras. Building on the music production scholarship of Mark Katz, Joseph Schloss, and Albin Zak, this presentation will show how these two specific technologies indelibly shaped hip hop composition, and have been critically important to the sound and style of hip hop music over the last thirty years.