Wolfram Archive
Archived 2008. This page no longer reflects the current scope and capabilities of Wolfram's technologies. Find out more about the latest version of Mathematica »
Wolfram Mathematica Comparative Analyses

Audio Synthesis Software

Audio Synthesis Software
(Max/MSP, Csound, SuperCollider, Kyma, ...)
Audio synthesis software has tended to be based on direct analogies with hardware sound synthesizers—often down to patch-panel-style interfaces. Mathematica builds on its powerful overall mathematical and algorithmic framework to take a more general computational view of sound.
With support both for arbitrary waveforms and for MIDI-style sequenced sound, Mathematica uses its unique symbolic architecture to treat playable sound just like any other form of data—allowing it to be generated, transformed, manipulated, visualized or controlled using the full range of Mathematica's capabilities. With broad coverage of both continuous and combinatorial mathematics, built-in support for frontier computational systems like cellular automata, and the world's most advanced multiparadigm programming language, Mathematica provides a uniquely rich modern environment for audio content generation.
The integration of sound into the complete Mathematica system provides many immediate benefits. Parameters for sounds can directly be connected to 1D and 2D sliders and other interactive controls, as well as to external human interface devices. Sounds and their controls can immediately be embedded in arbitrary Mathematica notebook documents. Sounds can be integrated with dynamic visual forms. And any form of data—from any source, from number theory to the stock market—can immediately be rendered in audio form, allowing sonification for the first time to become a routine part of computational work, and providing a remarkable bridge between science, technology and art.
Audio Synthesis Software Features in Mathematica:
  • Efficient support for synthesizing playable waveforms from arbitrary functions
  • High-level support for arbitrary MIDI-style sequencing
  • Import and export of standard sampled sound formats
  • Built-in waveform and score visualization
  • Built-in modern array-oriented programming language
  • Efficient built-in Fourier transforms, filters, convolutions, etc.
  • Support for multichannel sound
  • Full support for all standard computer platforms
Key Advantages of Mathematica for Audio Synthesis:
  • Full integration with the world's largest web of mathematical and computational algorithms
  • Built-in support for cellular automata, L-systems, stochastic processes, etc.
  • Full support for interpolated and piecewise functions
  • Built-in support for physical modeling using differential equations, etc.
  • Full coverage of discrete mathematics, combinatorics and number theory
  • Support for input in traditional mathematical notation
  • Full multiparadigm advanced programming language
  • General symbolic pattern matching and transformation language
  • Symbolic representation of sound objects, suitable for immediate manipulation
  • Arbitrary nesting and rescaling of time for all sound representations
  • Support for combining sampled and note-based sound
  • Immediate 2D and 3D visualization
  • Instant user interface development mechanism
  • Built-in support for gamepads and other human interface devices
  • Integration of sound into full Mathematica notebook documents
  • Built-in standard signals, test sounds, and example recordings
  • Built-in curated real-world data sources
  • Support for import of data from files, devices and the web
  • Support for hundreds of standard and specialized external data formats
  • Support for modern distributed grid computing environments
  • webMathematica for web deployment
  • Full modern integrated development environment
  • Widely used, professionally supported software system
  • Strong corporate partnerships with computer and device manufacturers
Interoperability with Audio Synthesis Software:
Interesting Tidbits:
  • The WolframTones website was entirely created with Mathematica
  • Many notable scientific sonification projects have been done with Mathematica >> [sound of big bang]
  • Complete performance pieces have been created using Mathematica algorithms
  • The Wolfram Demonstrations Project contains some unique sound examples
See Also Analyses On: