MaxAnnealing: A Tool for Algorithmic Composition Based on Simulated Annealing

Fernando Iazzetta

Center for New Music and Audio Technologies
University of California at Berkeley
1750 Arch St. - Berkeley, CA - 94709
PUC-SP - Communication and Semiotic Program

Fabio Kon

Department of Computer Science
Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
University of São Paulo
Cx. Postal 66281 - 05389-970
05389-970 - São Paulo (SP) Brazil


Musical composition can be roughly viewed as a search for the best solution among a finite although huge - universe of possibilities. Some of the algorithmic compositional techniques try to simulate the act of composing doing this search automatically. However, this approach has to major problems. The first one in the hardness of depicting aesthetic concepts through mathematical rules. The second problem is the low efficiency of the exhautive search among all possible solutions.

The 'Simulated Annealing' algorithm - first proposed in [1] - presents very good results on finding the optimal solution for many combinatorial problems efficiently (in polynomial time). In this paper we present an adaptation of this algorithm to the problem of algorithmic composition. We then discuss some possibilities regarding goal functions to this algorithm and describe MaxAnnealing, a tool designed to help composers and musicologists study the possibility of defining aesthetic concepts through mathematical rules. The system is implemented in the MAX programming environment.