AI and composing music

September 26, 2021, 4:11 PM · Just come across this intriguing article in the online Smithsonian mag:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/how-artificial-intelligence-completed-beethovens-unfinished-10th-symphony-180978753/

There's even audio of the AI-generated 3rd movement of the 10th.

It occurs to me, what unfinished works are there in the violin repertoire that could gain from this?

Replies (24)

September 26, 2021, 4:37 PM · Right now all I can say is "wow".
September 26, 2021, 7:04 PM · I would wait with "wow" until I hear some of this music....
September 26, 2021, 7:24 PM · How about that?
All I knew about "Beethoven's Tenth" was that it was a London stage play that I noticed on a theater Marque while strolling along The Strand in 1984 and got the last seat, front row center - within spitting distance of the star (all the way over the empty orchestra pit).

Really - not a notable play!

September 26, 2021, 9:09 PM · They tried the same thing with Schubert's unfinished symphony, and the results weren't great. The clip here of Beethoven's 10th at least sounds like Beethoven, but it's a long way from that to actually composing great music. Right now this effort seems to be in its infancy so I wouldn't expect much from this project, but maybe one day the will be great AI composers.
September 26, 2021, 10:07 PM · They need to work on finishing Beethoven and Schubert symphonies because chess isn't a hard enough problem any more.

"How about a nice game ... of chess ..."

September 26, 2021, 10:30 PM · Better for the AI to be composing than playing Global Thermonuclear War.
September 27, 2021, 1:02 AM · It sounds like something Beethoven could have scribbled down as a first draft but then gave up on.

I don't think there are any unfinished works in the violin repertoire that could gain from this.

September 27, 2021, 1:04 AM · Perhaps the remnants of Ysaye's 8th Violin Concerto? But, it was completed by one of his descendants.
September 27, 2021, 11:57 AM · The next step would be some AI to listen to the stuff.
September 27, 2021, 12:16 PM · This is always the vision I get when I hear about all the wonderful things AI can allegedly accomplish: AI composes music, plays it and listens to it...

When I was young and helping out on a farm the farmer told me this joke: A machine has been invented that can plant potatoes, fertilize them, harvest them, cook them--and eat them.

September 28, 2021, 1:01 AM · AI will never produce actual music, just the sound of music which seems to be good enough for many people.
September 28, 2021, 1:18 PM · How can AI hear what it's composed and decide on its merits?
September 28, 2021, 1:31 PM · We have an AI teacher and an AI composer. Now all we need is the AI student.
September 28, 2021, 3:09 PM · It's a bit silly isn't it? Sure, AI can learn to compose in the style of Beethoven, but where does it get any inspiration and originality from? This is the difference between great composers and the majority who just produced pleasant noises. I'll believe it's possible when I hear some AI-composed notes and think "wow!".
September 28, 2021, 3:22 PM · If it finishes an up-to-now unfinished masterpiece by a well-known composer, does the AI get a royalty when it's published and played?

And, Rebecca, how about an AI music critic?

September 28, 2021, 3:46 PM · Some of us think AI music critics have been the standard for a long time!
September 28, 2021, 6:37 PM · There will come a time, and soon, when AI can not only produce convincing music but generate a compelling persona and create the illusion of humanity to the degree that none of us could catch on. Kind of like a sentient Japanese virtual idol.
Who cares whether the AI can feel the joy of creation... the audience will.
September 29, 2021, 1:31 AM · It's all very well teaching the thing the works of Beethoven - doesn't it also need to know the works of Haydn, Mozart, Bach... And of course trivial extramusical factors like the human emotions, life and death.

They did at least involve as a musical expert the guy responsible for writing Intel's "bong jingle"

September 30, 2021, 12:24 PM · Sander, "does the AI get a royalty". A very good question and I am sure answering it will keep lawyers and legislators across the globe busy for the next few years, if not decades.

One pointer to the direction in which an answer "may" lie is in a recent decision of the British High Court in a patent case, in which the invention had been made by a robot and no human had been named as inventor in the patent application. The Court's decision was that a patentable invention could only be made by a real person. Hence naming as sole inventor a robot, or other AI device, would invalidate the patent. I don't know whether this decision is going to the Appeal Court.

I have heard that an opposite court decision on a similar patent case has been taken in the US. So there you go, the to and fro across the globe has already started.

How all this will apply to music copyright and performing rights of works made by AI I really don't know. My field professionally until I retired was in patents, not copyright or performing rights, but my guess is that similar thought processes may come to bear as in patents. Nevertheless, it is very much on the cards that legislation will vary from country to country unless international agreement protocols are set up sooner rather than later.

Edited: September 30, 2021, 12:37 PM · Sander, "does the AI get a royalty". A very good question and I am sure answering it will keep lawyers and legislators across the globe busy for the next few years, if not decades.

One pointer to the direction in which an answer "may" lie is in a recent decision of the British High Court in a patent case, in which the invention had been made by a robot and no human had been named as inventor in the patent application. The Court's decision was that a patentable invention could only be made by a real person. Hence naming as sole inventor a robot, or other AI device, would invalidate the patent. I don't know whether this decision is going up to the Appeal Court.

I have heard that an opposite court decision on a similar patent case has been taken in the US. So there you go, the to and fro across the globe has already started.

How all this will apply to music copyright and performing rights of works made by AI I really don't know. My field professionally until I retired was in patents, not copyright or performing rights, but my guess is that similar thought processes may come to bear as in patents. Nevertheless, it is very much on the cards that legislation will vary from country to country unless international agreement protocols are set up sooner rather than later.

Edited: October 4, 2021, 9:52 AM · I sent Trevor's link to the Smithsonian article to my grandson a week ago and just received his email reply:

"Hi Grandpa! Wow this is incredible, and a little bit scary. It brings up a lot of moral questions for me, but at the same time, the technology is astounding and worth being in awe of. Actually, I have been using a piece of AI software in my audio mixing that listens to my music/audio, and makes volume and tonal adjustments based on its knowledge of musical genre. It's an audio mastering tool used a lot in the music industry these days. Usually I run it, see if I like the results, and then make adjustments to correct it with my own tastes.

The new job has been really great, and I hope to transition my role into teaching some audio and film classes by the summer."

My grandson has been actively studying, composing, recording and performing music since he was 5 years old. The 7 years he spent between starting college and finally graduating were largely spent performing professionally with his band (Steep Ravine) around the western US states, and adding college courses when and where he could. The band issued 3 CDs and my grandson also issued 5 more solo CDs. All the songs on the CDs were his compositions except for about 10% of the band songs. His degree is in film and music. He recently started working at a film institute located at mid-coast Maine.

I finally listened to the 3:30 minute abstract from the AI Beethoven counterfeit in the link and :-( - at least the harmonies are Beethovenish!

October 4, 2021, 10:42 AM · I now read that they DID feed the machine with all the works of Haydn, Mozart and Bach, presumably in sound rather than notation.

This project seems to me like a vastly more ambitious version of the Turing test - can it convince us not just that it's a real composer, but a real composer as great as Beethoven? So far it seems to have got to the point where some of its output "could" be by Beethoven, but "would" Beethoven have composed it? Of course not, because Beethoven would have composed something drawing not just on his musical but his personal experience. All of Beethoven the man isn't contained in the small amount of music he happened to write.

October 5, 2021, 6:18 AM · Hmm...Is the music any good?
October 5, 2021, 8:50 AM · When I was young Brahms 1. symphony was often called Beethoven`s 10.th symphony due to strong inspiration from the latter. Am I the only one who has heard it ?


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