• Date Posted:

    29 — 03 — 2019
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It's all in the Algo-Rhythm

Lately, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has leapt from the pages of science-fiction into reality. And whilst we’ve been warned many times about the rise of the robots, AI has been doing some pretty cool stuff across many industries. From detecting cancer to saving local news, it’s fair to say AI can be a welcome addition. Artificial Intelligence is now turning its digital hand to the world of crotchets and minims - and is learning to write music. But is it good enough to take on musical geniuses like John Williams, Hans Zimmer - or Mozart?

Firstly, what is an AI program?

AI isn't quite how the movies depicts it just yet - it still needs a helping hand from humans. Unlike standard machines and software that are designed to repeat the same task, AI software works more like our own neural networks and is capable of “learning”. Known as "machine learning", programs are fed information and, from there, begin to recognise the patterns within data. Once a pattern - or a series of patterns - is understood, the software can produce what it determines to be the next logical step. For example, feed an AI software a list of recipes and it could create an entirely new dish. Sometimes these are masterpieces - others can be recipes for disaster.

But can a robot write a symphony?

Yes, they can. And they have been for the past 50 years. There are already bots that can produce sheet music that is performed and recorded by real life people. More recently, however, a program has been developed called Aiva – Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist - which has been designed to create and produce full classical scores. Created in Luxemburg, Aiva has a massive discography of classical music composed by the most celebrated classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. The software can identify the relationship between notes, how compositions are constructed and can even understand the emotional response caused by these sounds. Ultimately, Aiva can use this library to produce classical compositions that are practically indistinguishable from pieces written by their human counterparts.

Can we listen to this music?

Yes! Aiva has released two albums already - “Genesis” in 2016 and “Among the Stars” in 2018. But the minds behind Aiva want the world to know that “she” is not there to replace musicians. They see AI-generated music as a way of enabling and empowering the next generation of composers. In fact, Aiva is already proving useful in the world of filmography. Filmmakers can implement Aiva’s genius to score scenes - all at a fraction of the time and cost it takes to commission an original soundtrack. But just how good is AI-generated music? Take a listen to this week’s RHA AI playlist and decide for yourself.