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UPIC - Unité Polyagogique Informatique CEMAMu

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Description
UPIC (Unité Polyagogique Informatique CEMAMu) 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. 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)), François-Bernard Mâche (Hypérion (1981), Nocturne (1981), Tithon (1989), Moires (1994), Canopée (2003)), Takehito Shimazu (Illusions in Desolate Fields (1994)), Mari King, and Curtis Roads. Aphex Twin talked about it in an interview

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 time, 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.

There were a couple of attempts to reproduce the UPIC system using commodity hardware, for instance Iannix and HighC. IanniX, which has been sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture, is a graphical open-source sequencer which syncs via Open Sound Control events and curves to a real-time environment (like Pure Data, SuperCollider, Csound, MaxMSP, openFrameworks, vvvv…). For its part, HighC is currently used as a pedagogical tool in classes ranging from early teens to Master classes in composition, while some contemporary composers, such as George Hatzimichelakis have made it part of their toolset.
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Technical Specifications
Type: Digital
Synthesis: Additive, Frequency Modulation
Oscillators
Oscillators: *
Waveforms: Sine
Envelopes
Envelopes: *
Filters
Filters: *
Polyphony & Tuning
Polyphony: 128
Tuning: Atonal, Micro, Standard
Modes: Polyphonic
Storage: Internal
Case
Case: Desktop
Rack Size: 19", Full
Controls: Buttons
Display Type: LED, TouchView, Vacuum Fluorescent
Connections
Audio Output Connections: XLR, Mono Out
Production
Year Released: 1977
Pricing
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