Music and AI – An Introduction
With artificial intelligence (AI) technology affecting every aspect of our lives, it was only a question of time until the arts would feel the impact, too. Today, musicians and producers are actively taking advantage of AI to create new pieces of music, and even the classical music sector is starting to take note.
Computers and information technology have been an integral part of music production for decades. Composers and musicians made use of this technology even before digital synthesis was born. In fact, computer algorithms have influenced music since the 1950s. That means that music has been impacted by computers for approximately the same amount of time as scientists have been developing artificial intelligence applications.
Whilst music has changed dramatically over the past 70 years, there are a few things in the relationship between music and AI that have remained constant. One of those is the high level of variety in the composition techniques used. Another is the style of music that was generated by AI.
Table of contents
- Music and AI – An Introduction
- Some AI-collaborated Music and Songs
- Beethoven’s 10th Symphony – Completing a Masterpiece
Also Read: AI Generated Music from Audio Wave Data
Some AI-collaborated Music and Songs
This high degree of variety is still evident in today’s examples of musical collaborations between AI and human intelligence.
American sound artists Holly Herndon used Spawn, an AI she created with her partner Mat Dryhurst, for her track “Godmother”. For the piece, Herndon collaborated with her godmother Jlin. Spawn was asked to listen to Jlin’s works and reimagine them in Holly Herndon’s voice. The AI is part of an ensemble that Dryhurst and Herndon are building in Berlin.
English musician Brian Eno is a legend of the ambient music genre. He first released “Reflection” as his 26th studio album. It is a single, 54-minute piece of ambient music. The AI version of the track was released to an app where it plays forever. Not only that but depending on the time of day, the music changes. Eno believes Reflection is his most sophisticated ambient experiment so far.
Digital art project Miquela has previously garnered support as an Instagram model and influencer. This fictional character is now a musician, too. Her first single was released in 2017.
American singer-songwriter Taryn Southern is a trailblazer. She was the first pop artist to create an album entirely through AI tools. The notation of all tracks was composed by AI software. On some tracks, AI also created the instrumentation for Southern.
The “Iliac Suite” is one of the earlier examples of AI in music. Composed in 1957, this piece was developed by music professors Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Issacson who programmed the ILLIAC I (The ILLIAC I (Illinois Automatic Computer) was a pioneering computer built in 1952 by the University of Illinois.) computer to create their string quartet.
Zinnguruberu & Hatsune Miku: Candy Dance (feat. Hiyokop)
Have you heard of Hatsune Miku? She is a vocaloid software voicebank, although she is recognized more readily as a teenage girl with long turquoise pigtails. She is now a regular in video games and cosplay appearances, as well as having become the protagonist of a manga series.
Yona – Oblivious (Written and performed by AI)
Our next example is Yona’s song “Oblivious.” Yona is a so-called auxiliary human or auxuman, a virtual person driven by AI and other digital technologies. Most components of Yona’s songs are being created by AI software. However, her co-creator Ash Koosha does mix and produce the final song.
March of Progress
Electronic music producer Malo Garcia aka MALO included the AI song “March of Progress” on his 2018 album called Old Soul. The rest of the songs had been produced without AI.
On The Edge
AIVA is an artificial intelligence rock musician. She is learning composition from the likes of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. From their music, AIVA creates a mathematical model of music. This allows her to produce her own unique pieces of music, traditionally inspired by classical music. “On The Edge” is AIVA and her team’s first foray into rock music, complete with a recognizable baseline and a melody that stays with the listener.
Young Paint AI
Actress is the pseudonym of British electronic musician Darren J. Cunningham. His 2018 release “Young Paint AI” employs artificial intelligence to imitate and reimagine Cunningham’s compositions from the last ten years.
“Mezzanine” was arguably one of Massive Attack’s landmark albums. To mark its re-release on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the album’s release, the new version features eight Mad Professor remixes that were scrapped for the original. The album has also been encoded in strands of synthetic DNA in spray paint cans to highlight the need for new storage solutions as the world is producing more data.
Beethoven’s 10th Symphony – Completing a Masterpiece
The classical music industry has been accused of technophobia. Musicians like organist Cameron Carpenter believe that this fear of technology will likely stay around for many years to come. However, projects like Beethoven’s 10th Symphony are starting to push the boundaries and demonstrate the potential of AI.
When genius composer Ludwig van Beethoven passed away in 1827, he left sketches of an unfinished symphony. Those sketches have now been used to complete Beethoven’s masterpiece. The result is a collaboration between machine learning experts and musicologists. It celebrated its world premiere in 2021 in Beethoven’s hometown of Bonn, Germany. 194 years after Beethoven’s death, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn performed the piece in front of a live audience.
Also Read: AI powered song writer
AI technology is becoming a part of our daily lives. For that reason alone, it is only natural that artists are starting to explore the possibilities the technology offers as well as the effects that it has on our culture. Computer technology has influenced music for decades. AI is stretching that influence and offering new perspectives for musicians and those who simply like to listen.
Koosha, Ash. “Yona – Oblivious (Written and Performed by Artificial Intelligence).” YouTube, Video, 22 June 2018, https://youtu.be/sgdTHbgzLr8. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Miquela. “Miquela – Not Mine (Official Lyric Video).” YouTube, Video, 9 Aug. 2017, https://youtu.be/jsMc1nsx0Iw. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Paint, Young. “Ai PAINT.” YouTube, Video, 3 Sept. 2018, https://youtu.be/QsVpc6AfB7U. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Sam. “Beethoven X: The AI Project: Complete (Bonn Orchestra).” YouTube, Video, 9 Oct. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvj3Oblscqw. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Southern, Taryn. “Break Free – The First AI-Composed Pop Song.” YouTube, Video, 21 Aug. 2017, https://youtu.be/XUs6CznN8pw. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Topic, AIVA-. “On the Edge (Ai-Generated Rock Music by Aiva).” YouTube, Video, 2 Nov. 2018, https://youtu.be/TghaVSYOCos. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Topic, MALO-. “March of Progress.” YouTube, Video, 21 June 2018, https://youtu.be/1aYm-HytJI8. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Topic, Massive Attack-. “Wire (Leaping Dub).” YouTube, Video, 10 Jan. 2019, https://youtu.be/XKciMRLc-54. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Topic, Various Artists-. “Excerpt From Illiac Suite For String Quartet.” YouTube, Video, 28 Nov. 2014, https://youtu.be/v5z3t2qz4qo. Accessed 21 June 2023.
Topic, Zinnguruberu-. “Candy Dance.” YouTube, Video, 19 Mar. 2015, https://youtu.be/uIPMEcp6aH4. Accessed 21 June 2023.