Sampling is a huge part of today’s music industry. Though producers (usually) have permission from the original creator of the sample to use it, many claim that the practice is making a mockery of the once pure art of composing, and that musicians should be writing their own music rather than just ripping off some catchy riff from another track. However, these critics don’t realize that sampling dates back further than modern hip hop; it’s been a staple of the Western musical tradition since the Renaissance, and probably even further back than that. Back then, it was called “quoting,” and it wasn’t just your average joe composers doing it—Tchaikovsky did it, Mozart did it, even Bach—well not the Bach you’re thinking of, but still. On this episode of Melomania, I talk with Michael Schelle, a contemporary composer who has embraced the custom of quoting, and in the process, has created some of the most original music of the 21st century.