Tech

Published on January 27th, 2015 | by Alan Cross

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Computers Are Changing How Music Is Made. You Might Want to be Afraid.

The ability to create music is unique to humans, correct? Not so fast. Not only has Auto Tune turned singers in to cyborgs, but machines are gaining on us when it comes to composing music thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. From Gizmag:

You’ve probably heard music composed by a computer algorithm, though you may not realize it. Artificial intelligence researchers have made huge gains in computational – or algorithmic – creativity over the past decade or two, and in music especially these advances are now filtering through to the real world. AI programs have produced albums in multiple genres. They’ve scored films and advertisements. And they’ve also generated mood music in games and smartphone apps. But what does computer-authored music sound like? Why do it? And how is it changing music creation? Join us, in this first entry in a series of features on creative AI, as we find out.

Semi-retired University of California Santa Cruz professor David Cope has been exploring the intersection of algorithms and creativity for over half a century, first on paper and then with computer. “It seemed even in my early teenage years perfectly logical to do creative things with algorithms rather than spend all the time writing out each note or paint this or write out this short story or develop this timeline word by word by word,” he tells Gizmag.

Cope came to specialize in what he terms algorithmic composition (although, as you’ll see later in this article series, that’s far from all he’s proficient at). He writes sets of instructions that enable computers to automatically generate complete orchestral compositions of any length in a matter of minutes using a kind of formal grammar and lexicon that he’s spent decades refining.

Continue reading. This clip is an example of one of Cope’s experiments.

If you need more, here’s that story about robots that can improvise jazz.

(Thanks to Tom for the link.)




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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One Response to Computers Are Changing How Music Is Made. You Might Want to be Afraid.

  1. Kerry Applin says:

    So, instead of “spending all that time writing or painting or recording” “he’s spent decades” teaching computers to do it. To me, it seems he has missed to point of creativity.

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