A panorama of possibilities, along various themes:
A new kind of music -
Classical, with a twist -
Fun Loops -
Weird Effects -
Click on a sample name to open it.
HighC's inspirer, UPIC, was designed to explore new musical vocabularies,
based on novel music theories. The following short pieces illustrate this
- Waves: Some wave-like clusters repeated with varying heights and waveform types.
The tutorial lets you recreate it in 5 minutes with repeated cut and paste.
Works great as a phone ringtone.
- Softnscary: title says it all. Slightly shifted high continuous
drones (the result of copy/paste) instill tension and then initiate the
resolution, while narrow-pitched noise bands create an eerie and fuzzy
- Paper lanterns, and
CA Sinclair has produced
full album using only HighC. These are two of his creations. Paper
lanterns is also very nice to look at, while the name "pentagram" becomes
quite evident when one sees the score.
- Old fashion. the typical sort of fun
compositions that UPIC allowed to do. Features massive sounds and odd
harmonics. Rising amplitudes and heights throughout the piece replace a
traditional harmonic progression and cadenza to convey some sense of drama.
- Regressing line: This piece started
around the central diagonal line that traverse the piece. Visual structure
was predominant in creating this piece, which is meant to be viewed as it is
played. A simple rhythm and breaks were added to provide a structuring
"ground" to the piece.
Of course, music of all genres can still be created with HighC. Rather than
reproducing classical instruments, the following interpretations use novel
timbres and effects to renew the listening experience.
These pieces were made using two key features: first, MIDI import allows
importing a track played on a conventional instrument: this is needed to give a
more natural expression to the piece, that most electronically-generated music
tends to miss. Next, rich and specifically chosen timbres and envelopes were
designed to replace the original instrument, and turned into patterns. The notes
of the initial score were then selectively replaced with those patterns to
produce a novel interpretation.
- Mozart: Concerto for Clarinet in A, K622, Andante.
- Bach: Cello suite no 5, Sarabande.
- Schubert: Piano Sonata D960, 4.
This is a delicate exercise in taste. The point of this page is to illustrate
the capabilities of the software, not to create ground breaking interpretations.
Thus, I apologize to Bach and Schubert for any mistreatment of their music you
In regular music production, you'll probably want to use HighC for two
particular tasks where it excels: weird sound effects, and loops or short motifs
to create a novel and distinctive signature.
These are short loops that should be played repeatedly to form a base line.
They are stored as patterns in the base library and so you can reuse them or
create your own using the same principles.
- schubLoop: simple treatment of a motif
extracted from Schubert's D958 sonata for Piano. Cheerful and funky.
- ichWarte: a motif taken from
Einstuerzende Neubauten latest album,
Alles wieder offen (great
album, by the way), treated with lots of modulation and drones.
- Alphabet: This is a simple alphabet, in which each letter form a basic beat element. Assembling
letters to form words and sentences using this alphabet is a nice way to produce rich and varied rhythm patterns.
- noiseLoop: a simple rhythm loop using noise
bands and glissandi.
- pulsedLoop: another simple rhythm loop
using a single sound with various homothetic transforms.
HighC is also useful in regular music production, to create many effects that
require a complex program or unintuitive settings on soft synths. Because of its
graphical rendition, editing weird sounding effects is much easier than in
- Risset56s: a
perpetually ascending tone. The sounds are not completely equally spaced, to
allow some kind of modulation to be heard in this otherwise fairly long and
monotonous stretch. This is something to retain in HighC: it is often better
to introduce slight irregularities and approximations in a piece, to some
introduce a "live" feeling and remove some of the "perfect coldness" of
- modulated1: just one sound modulated in
frequency by another sound. Because those are not purely sinusoidal, there
are far more harmonics generated than in classical FM synthesis.
- modulated2: a single sound is modulated in
frequency by 2 other sounds assembled in cascade, which are themselves
modulated by a low-frequency amplitude modulator. Just hearing the result
does not hint that there is only one single-tone carrier in this piece!
Because of its graphical nature, HighC is a very good tool to teach the
acoustic part of music theory and sound synthesis.
Teaching intervals. This simple
piece lets beginner learn about the "beat" effects, and how various pairs of
tones sound. Because sounds can be manipulated graphically, numerous
exercises can be designed around the HighC model to teach music theory.
- Some synthetic instruments: Additive Bell,
FM Bell, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Brass and WoodDrum. This is a collection
of simple synthetic instruments, inspired from Chowning's seminal paper.
Those instruments can be refined by adding modulation or fine tuning the
relative frequencies of modulators and carriers.
Finally, you will find many other contributed samples in HighC's dedicated forum section.