Introducing MAIDENS

1.1 What it is

MAIDENS is a piece of software built by Claudius Iacob, a musician and a programmer, as a by-product of his PhD thesis on algorithmic aspects in musical composition. Its primary aim is to enable an educated art music composer to generate — based on algorithms — partial musical structures, which can be intertwined in a composition. This qualifies MAIDENS as a CAAC, or Computer Aided Algorithmic Composition program.

Generic view of MAIDENS with a score loaded

Generic view of MAIDENS with a score loaded

1.2 What it Does

The MAIDENS application attempts to combine these three distinct classes of functionality:

  1. score notation: the ability of putting together a symbolic music representation using the western classical notation system (notes on staves); among other software that provide this class of functionality Sibelius, Finale and MuseScore can be mentioned;
  2. music processing: operate on existing music in order to refine or transform it; transposing a bar of music is a common example of such activity;
  3. music generation: automatically produce complete or partial music structures based on configurable algorithms; other software that tackle this tasks are, e.g., MAX/MSP, SuperCollider or Csound. As a side-note, MAIDENS contrasts with all this software by treating algorithms like black-boxes, users never have to touch the inner workings of (and couldn’t, either). Also, there is no coding involved in using MAIDENS.

Apart from this core set, the application also provides some workflow-related features one would expect from a music editing program:

  • save and open files to/from its custom format (`*.MAID`, a binary file format);
  • export the score to MIDI, abc notation or PDF;
  • export an audio rendering of the score to WAV.

1.3 What to Use it for

The envisioned use of the software would entail creating art music by mixing (human) composition with computer music generation and/or processing in a streamlined way. It is the author’s belief that such a music making approach can lead to new realms of artistic expression, while improving the overall speed and quality of the process.