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Thread: Automatic music : is it possible ?

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    I think computers will assist in instrumentation, if it's electric. Wendy Carlos uses them to change pitch in the middle of a piece, to accommodate different tone centers in "just" intonation.

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    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    Some odd comments from people who aren't actually programmers. Computers can play chess better than any person. (I remember when that was considered impossible by many people.) They just don't play quite the same way, although ultimately the rules are the same. Depending on how art and music are defined, there is quite a lot of what is passed off as both that can certainly be done by computers (even replacing musicians to play it). The limitation is chiefly in recreating the idea of genuine inspiration. Random elements can be added to the mix to create diversity, but unless one can define rules, a computer cannot really evaluate the relative merit of the results.

    A common example I give when people ask about what computers don't do well that people do is sophisticated pattern recognition. So, it is easy for a person to look at a string of characters like "Jxhn Smxth S ious Citi Ioway" and know that it is badly spelled for the name "John Smith" and "Sioux City" in the state of Iowa. It is very hard, and takes a lot of coding and processing, to make a computer to that.
    Last edited by JAS; Jul-21-2020 at 17:20.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Randomness is machine's only virtue and one thing music would require is that the function be touchable . Perhaps this touch would be wind speed variations .

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    Chess? Chess only approaches being anything like "art" when good masters play.

    Computers are faster; that's their only advantage. Everything they do is pure "grunt" work and effort, like exploring all 4,566,879,402 possibilities of a chess move. They can't "see" a gestalt pattern like a good master can. They have no intuition. All they have is sheer muscle. There is no beauty or personality in their game.

    The problem got worse with teaching computers to play "Go." They finally did it, but it took many more years (and a lot more "grunt" programming) than chess. Chess is child's play compared to Go.

    Art and music? No, these must be experience-based. Computers can't really play chess "artistically," either. It depends on what you criteria are, and your purpose.
    If winning a chess game was a way of defusing a nuclear bomb, then it would be useful. Otherwise, as an aesthetic skill, computers are useless. The whole point of playing chess should not be simply to win, but HOW you win, based on the skill set you develop.

    But since art & music (and, arguably, even chess) are HUMAN pursuits, then the fact that 'computers are better' loses its meaning. Let's get some humanitarian perspective.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-25-2020 at 14:38.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Let's get some humanitarian perspective.
    The Humanism sucks , hoo-man . Anyway , I'll be working on a design for A.I. music . It's
    fundamental is the quantum infinity set re: set theory . Imagine listening to your 5 children
    as a slide-whistle quintet - be cool - and love them .

    Multiple randomness-generators cued to various natural and quantum infinity variable events may be applied to the musical ideas of :

    pitch
    waveform
    density
    duration
    dynamics
    and repetition

    All the frequencies in an octave is a quantum infinity set . Your consciousness in your
    final moment before death also exemplifies a quantum infinity set .

    Woodduck of Oregon may find this music more interesting than elevator music whether when elevating or descending rather helplessly .
    Last edited by Tikoo Tuba; Jul-26-2020 at 06:54.

  7. #21
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    Some odd comments from people who aren't actually programmers. Computers can play chess better than any person. (I remember when that was considered impossible by many people.) They just don't play quite the same way, although ultimately the rules are the same. Depending on how art and music are defined, there is quite a lot of what is passed off as both that can certainly be done by computers (even replacing musicians to play it). The limitation is chiefly in recreating the idea of genuine inspiration. Random elements can be added to the mix to create diversity, but unless one can define rules, a computer cannot really evaluate the relative merit of the results.

    A common example I give when people ask about what computers don't do well that people do is sophisticated pattern recognition. So, it is easy for a person to look at a string of characters like "Jxhn Smxth S ious Citi Ioway" and know that it is badly spelled for the name "John Smith" and "Sioux City" in the state of Iowa. It is very hard, and takes a lot of coding and processing, to make a computer to that.
    I agree. Making music is different than playing chess. In chess there is a clear, tangible objective. In Music as Art, the objective is not that clearly tangible.

    To me this following instance shows how limited the computer is. It's resorting to every cliche in the book, and maybe that is what was intended by the programmers. But how would the computer know which and when to introduce certain tensions and how to deal with them. Something like a canon or even fugue does have a very methodical form, and I can see a computer being able to do those ones, but the results may not be what listeners would find interesting. A computer is too objective, and we are too subjective when it comes to Art.

    Quote Originally Posted by pianozach View Post
    [B][SIZE=4]
    And then there's THIS:

    AIVA - "Genesis" Symphonic Fantasy in A minor, Op. 21
    AIVA is an Artificial Intelligence who composes music for movies, commercials, games and trailers.


    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    Computers can play chess better than any person. (I remember when that was considered impossible by many people.) They just don't play quite the same way, although ultimately the rules are the same.
    What does "better" mean? Computers don't take chances, won't do "sacrifice" gambits, don't take chances. Bor-ing. Chess is a Man's game, not for machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tikoo Tuba View Post
    The Humanism sucks , hoo-man . Anyway...
    I used to think Tikoo Tuba was cute, but he turns out to be very British.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    I imagine A.I could make 24-7 environmental music for radio - minimalistic ala Cage . When I fall asleep
    with the radio on I get weird dreams when witches are talking . Please , no talking .

    The above link is a music toy .
    Last edited by Tikoo Tuba; Jul-28-2020 at 03:00.

  12. #26
    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Check out RS Pearson's music at www.regenerativemusic.net Read about the theory of the work done with a fluke mathematical technique that only one keyboard had the algorithm for. It's not "automatic" but the structure of many pieces is in part because of a mathematical formula that changes the way the keyboard is played.

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    AIVA - "Genesis" is a good example of the limitations. Often you think that if computer music would be played by humans it would sound right. But it doesn't. What is missing I can't say.
    You hear computers in pop music all the time and do not even notice. Well maybe you just find it discussing, boring, annoying.
    Makes me thinking though if I listen some Cage, Terry Riley, Nyman who use kind of programming in their compositions it sounds much more human than AIVA. Where the catch is I don't know.

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Chess? Chess only approaches being anything like "art" when good masters play.

    Computers are faster; that's their only advantage. Everything they do is pure "grunt" work and effort, like exploring all 4,566,879,402 possibilities of a chess move. They can't "see" a gestalt pattern like a good master can. They have no intuition. All they have is sheer muscle. There is no beauty or personality in their game.

    The problem got worse with teaching computers to play "Go." They finally did it, but it took many more years (and a lot more "grunt" programming) than chess. Chess is child's play compared to Go.

    Art and music? No, these must be experience-based. Computers can't really play chess "artistically," either. It depends on what you criteria are, and your purpose.
    If winning a chess game was a way of defusing a nuclear bomb, then it would be useful. Otherwise, as an aesthetic skill, computers are useless. The whole point of playing chess should not be simply to win, but HOW you win, based on the skill set you develop.

    But since art & music (and, arguably, even chess) are HUMAN pursuits, then the fact that 'computers are better' loses its meaning. Let's get some humanitarian perspective.
    Ah, but alpha zero, not a brute force algorithm, destroyed the reigning brute force champion Stockfish.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Caryatid's Avatar
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    As the posts above show, it's already possible for computers to compose listenable music, and I'm confident that within the next few decades they will be able to compose quite good pop songs. The principles of pop composition are well established.

    The more interesting question is whether a computer can ever produce good classical music, e.g. a Bach sarabande. I'm doubtful about this, even with machine learning. Machine learning requires plenty of input to learn from, and the number of Bach sarabandes is relatively small. On the other hand, if a traditional programme rather than a machine learning algorithm is used, the problem is that - so far as I can tell - no living music theorist fully understands how Bach composed, so who's going to write the programme?

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    What does "better" mean? Computers don't take chances, won't do "sacrifice" gambits, don't take chances. Bor-ing. Chess is a Man's game, not for machines.
    Last edited by Caryatid; Jul-31-2020 at 21:14.

  16. #30
    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    What does "better" mean? Computers don't take chances, won't do "sacrifice" gambits, don't take chances. Bor-ing. Chess is a Man's game, not for machines.
    In chess, it means that they can beat any person, any person. (In a set of games. It might be that there is the occasion draw.) Kasparov was only able to play competitively using tricks, and the programmers discovered the tricks and closed those holes. (And he knew about the tricks because he had spoken to a significant developer of the programs.) There is a reason that you don't hear about big competitions of that sort anymore. The decision is already in.
    Last edited by JAS; Aug-01-2020 at 01:23.

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