The Cut-Up Editor - Cut-Up Software

The Cut-Up Editor - Giuseppe Di Cillo

The Cut-Up is a technique invented by Tristan Tzara but the "Cut-Up" name was invented by the painter and writer Brion Gysin in 1958 and was made famous by William S. Burroughs in the sixties. Subsequently many other artists have used this technique, if not in a systematic way as Burroughs, who used to write entire novels, at least as an instrument of inspiration. Many singers have used and continue to use the Cut-Up to write the lyrics of their songs. The original technique is very simple and can be made ​​by anyone because the only tools needed are scissors and printed text. We cut out the lyrics with scissors and mix the pieces obtained randomly in order to obtain irrational word associations. Purists of the Cut-Up mix the words and do not change the result, but most of the artists who use it prefer to select only the most successful sentences after they have adapted a little. The application that I created is a software tool to practice the cut-up anywhere with your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

The first screen displays "My Works" or if you prefer call them the folders where to put the pieces of text. To create a new Work, you must tap the "+" at the top right. In addition to the button for adding works you have keys to delete and rename files.

Selecting a work will display the screen of "sentences" that is initially empty. You can create a new sentence from scratch, but it's more fun to use the "Cut-Up" editor by clicking the icon at the bottom right. In addition to the plus button and the Cut-Up editor button there are the buttons to rearrange the sentences (ie you can delete and reorder them) and export them as text via iTunes, via email or you can copy directly into the Cut-Up Editor .

In the "Sentences" screen you can tap on the bottom left icon to enter in the editing mode.

In editing mode you can drag the sentences in order to change their order.

The Cut-Up editor is the heart of the app. Here you can import the text in txt format via iTunes or copy it from any application that allows you to copy text (like Safari that you can conveniently launch with a tap). Below you will find in the same order:

- Undo and Redo

- Cut-Up (remix the text)

- Export

- Import txt files from iTunes

- Safari

When the text is "shuffled" you must examine it to find what are the sentences that you like the most. When you find a sentence that you like you can select it and you can "Save sentence."

WARNING: The text "shuffle" is aleatory and random and therefore does not follow rules of grammar or syntax. By default, words are kept intact in the settings but you can decide to give the editor the possibility of "break".

To request support please send an email to:

The Cut-Up Editor - Giuseppe Di Cillo


I would like to second Blanchot's recommendation. As one of the parameters, I would enjoy being able to adjust the block length by number of words in addition to number of characters. I like to do a random shuffle first, clean it up, and shuffle the text again using a larger block setting to preserve most of my phrasing. That said, this is an amazing app as-is!


Thanks Giuseppe! I've been searching for an app like this and finally found it!

A few happy user requests:

I would love to have is the possibility of saving different versions of the text which I am working on. That is: the ability to duplicate a whole 'work' folder with all its sentences and its current cut-up state in much the same way as most (if not all) drawing and painting apps allow the user to duplicate a document and continue working on it (or work further in a number of different directions).

In lieu of the above I'd love to be able to move sentences quickly and easily between 'works' (I know I can cut and paste but that isn't optimal.)

Also I wonder if you might in the future incorporate different algorithms to do 'cut-ups' and/or increase the number of user parameters (at the moment I see only settings for minimum and maximum cut lengths).

Once again thanks! I really enjoying using your app and look forward to its further development!

Cheers Giuseppe!

Thanks Blanchot,
a more complex cut-up algorithm is the next feature to add. I put the duplicate feature in my todo list.
Thank you very much.

This is a very useful app! I really enjoy using it.
One thing that would be cool is if you could randomly shuffle the sentence clips, and/or manually change their positions in the list.
Thankyou for making this!

It's already possible to manually change the position of the sentence clips. I added some info on this page. I'll try to add the random option.

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