Music and operations research

musicOptimization problems arise in several areas beyond logistics and operations research. In fact, these kinds of problems are found in many other unrelated domains, even in (seemingly) unexpected ones as art and creativity. In these fields, the optimization problems are not solved with the purpose of making better decisions, but with the purpose of enhancing the creativity and expressiveness of the artist. Such additional support seems more reasonable, of course, for art forms that show relatively organized structured and that can truly benefit from a systematic methodology. This is the main reason why music is the art form that has been explored the most by the OR community.

There exist several examples of how optimization methods provide a significant support during the process of composing and playing music. For instance, optimization algorithms are used for calculating the best finger positions to be used by pianists when playing a piece. There are classification algorithms that allow to extract the main characteristics of a piece and identify the composer. There are also algorithmic techniques that are able to compose new pieces following a defined set of rules or characteristics... Such intersection between art and science certainly gives room for a new fascinating area of research.


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