200 years after Beethoven started a symphony that he would never finish, artificial intelligence has helped researchers finish Beethoven’s Unfinished Symphony. The researchers adapted transformer models used for natural language processing to complement the sequential nature of music, creating for neural networks. Two models used in language translation proved best for adding harmony and orchestration, another transformer served to develop themes and a BERT model helped bridge between themes, since music can be represented as mathematical symbols.
Beethoven’s Unfinished Symphony finished by AI
Rutgers professor Ahmed Elgammal recounts his work at the intersection of deep learning, visual art and music.
“The challenge was enormous. The composer had only sketched out a few brief themes for the work before he died in 1827. For more than two years, Elgammal worked with musicologists and composers, taking AI in new directions. Ultimately, machine learning would add harmony to Beethoven’s themes, develop them as the composer would have, bridge one theme to the next, and then help orchestrate the work, assigning parts to different instruments. “I hadn’t heard all this done before. Some AIs had helped create a few minutes of a string quartet but not a full symphony,” he said.
“The work was released and premiered on Oct. 9 by the Bonn Beethoven Orchestra in the composer’s hometown. (You can hear a recording below.) “After listening to this music for two years on my laptop, it was amazing to be in the event and hear it played live,” he said. Responses spanned the spectrum. Skeptics disliked the mix of art and technology, others felt inspired. “Some were very enthusiastic with tears in their eyes and goosebumps, and one friend listened to it the whole day, over and over,” he recalled.
Whatever the response, it was a historic moment in what Elgammal calls computational creativity. “We imagine in the future we could offer various tools. We worked in classical music, but this could also be relevant to today’s music,” he said. Early in its work, the team rendered one of Beethoven’s themes in a pop style, just for fun.”
Source : NVIDIA
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