Shepard-Risset Glissando

What you’ll be hearing is a fluid audio loop that sounds as thought it is getting lower and lower—like a balloon slowly deflating but never becoming flat.

How It Works

If you’re anything like HighLab, you too were totally amazed by the Shepard Tone. For this reason, we’re going to hang out a bit with Shepard’s cohort, the famed French electric music composer Jean-Claude Risset, and have ourselves more mind-boggling good times listening to this related audio high, the Shepard-Risset Glissando. Come join us, won’t you?

The Shepard-Risset Glissando is a constantly descending note-by-note configuration of the Shepard Tones woven into a continuous, fluid signal. The audio loops over and over but sounds as if it were continuously getting lower in pitch. It’s weirder than you might gather from this wordy descriptor paragraph. Though HighLab found this audio high to be not as effective as the original Shepard Tones, it still completely spaced us out . . . for, like, hours. It helps to imagine the tone as constantly descending. Just tell yourself it keeps going down, then listen, then go . . . down. See Shepard Tones and Risset Rhythm for specific explanation on how it all works.