UPIC is a computerised musical composition tool, devised by the composer Iannis Xenakis. It was developed at the "Centre d'Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales" (CEMAMu) in Paris, and was completed in 1977. The name is an acronym of "Unité Polyagogique Informatique du CEMAMu". Xenakis used it on his subsequent piece "Mycènes Alpha" (1978), and it has been used by composers such as Jean-Claude Risset (on "Saxatile" (1992)), Takehito Shimazu ("Illusions in Desolate Fields" (1994)), and Curtis Roads.

Physically, the UPIC is a digitising tablet linked to a computer, which has a vector display. Its functionality is similar to that of the later Fairlight CMI, in that the user draws waveforms and volume envelopes on the tablet, which are rendered by the computer. Once the waveforms have been stored, the user can compose with them by drawing "compositions" on the tablet, with the X-axis representing cumulative duration, and the Y-axis representing pitch. The compositions can be stretched in duration from a few seconds to an hour. They can also be transposed, reversed, inverted, and subject to a number of algorithmic transformations. The system allows for real time performance by moving the stylus across the tablet.

The UPIC system has subsequently been expanded to allow for digitally sampled waveforms as source material, rather than purely synthesised tones. In 2005, Mode Records of New York released a 2-CD compilation of works composed with the UPIC, entitled "Xenakis, UPIC, Continuum", [http://www.moderecords.com/catalog/098_9ccmix.html] which provides an overview of the machine's sonic possibilities.

External links

* [http://membres.lycos.fr/musicand/INSTRUMENT/DIGITAL/UPIC/UPIC.htm A description of the system, with pictures.]
* [http://emfinstitute.emf.org/exhibits/upic.html Xenakis' original block diagram of the system.]
* [http://www.the-compound.org/sounds.html Nine pieces recorded with the UPIC in 2003.]
* [http://highc.org/ HighC, an unofficial, cross-platform rendition for modern PCs]

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  • UPIC — est un outil de composition musicale assisté par ordinateur, inventé par le compositeur Iannis Xenakis. Il a été développé au Centre d Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales (CEMAMu), à Paris, et a été terminé en 1977. Le nom de cet… …   Wikipédia en Français

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