AI Songsmith Cranks Out Surprisingly Catchy Tunes

The piano ditty below, which ascends jauntily, then finishes with a tuneful flourish, sounds a bit like a jingle composed for the latest toothpaste campaign. The tune was, in fact, dreamed up by a musical AI program developed at Google. And the program’s latest compositions show how combining a powerful machine-learning approach with simple musical rules can produce creative works that sound remarkably human. Music composition is an enigmatic form of human creativity. Songwriting programs already exist, but they typically follow a specific set of rules, and they tend to produce tunes that feel rigid and mechanical. The same is true of software that recommends music based on your listening habits (see “The Hit Charade”). Teaching computers to be more musically inventive may point to ways that machines…


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