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Automatic music : is it possible ?

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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:03 pm

Finally got time to have a listen to a few of these.
They remind me, in a way, of some of the AI generated music you get from tools such as JukeDeck (although stylistically they're quite different).
For me they provide a more than adequate 'background' music, if I was to find these as backing to a video or game, or even being played in an elevator I wouldn't be at all suprised.
Like Sam though I struggled to find any that I would actively go an listen to again.
But then, they are generally fairly 'jazzy' - and that's not something i'd generally choose to listen to again anyway! ;)
For what it's worth, I think we'll see a lot more automatically- and AI-generated music over the next few years as it will serve the same job as a lot of library music but cost a lot less.
It'll be interesting to see what happens with the copyright angle though.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby merlyn » Tue Jul 07, 2020 1:05 pm

Is it possible ? -- Yes. The videos demonstrate that.

Is it good? -- Answering that question in an absolute sense is the field of critics.

Did I like it? -- I thought it was quite good, better than some nosebleed techno I've heard :) Some dance music sounds more robotic and random than this. There is plenty of human produced music that sounds like the stereotypical idea of the bad things that a computer (having no musical sense) would do.

As you pointed out you (the programmer) have transferred some musical sense to the computer.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:39 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Interesting discussion 'music-engine' I think you realise my comments are not criticism but my observations. One of the reasons to frequent this forum is for stimulating and thought provoking conversation. Thanks.

Of course! And thank you for your contribution!
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:42 pm

blinddrew wrote: ...or even being played in an elevator....
:D :D :D
I never imagined that this music could be heard in an elevator!
It would already be a great success, since the harmonic structure is sometimes very complex. This could mean that my music theory works!
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:44 pm

merlyn wrote:Is it possible ? -- Yes. The videos demonstrate that.

Is it good? -- Answering that question in an absolute sense is the field of critics.

Did I like it? -- I thought it was quite good, better than some nosebleed techno I've heard :) Some dance music sounds more robotic and random than this. There is plenty of human produced music that sounds like the stereotypical idea of the bad things that a computer (having no musical sense) would do.

As you pointed out you (the programmer) have transferred some musical sense to the computer.

I agree with you.
In the end, it doesn't matter how the human being produces music if it is still a creative process.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby MOF » Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:57 pm

I never imagined that this music could be heard in an elevator!
It would already be a great success, since the harmonic structure is sometimes very complex. This could mean that my music theory works!

This doesn't make sense, complexity doesn't give music any more relevance, success etc nor include or preclude its use as elevator music.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:21 pm

I think i would challenge your final point, something that is too complex is unlikely to find its way into elevator music because rather than being bland and background it could be challenging and distracting.
So if music-engine can programme his stuff such that it is musically complex whilst still being accessible, i think he probably is doing something right.
For a given definition of 'right'. ;)

And also this is the ignorant opinion of probably the least musically trained person* on the forum, so you can safely ignore if i'm wrong. ;)

* for the avoidance of doubt, i mean me.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:29 pm

After giving a couple of the pieces a listen, it seems to me that the sections with more rapid notes were more convincing than the more legato parts. That made me realize that the rapid parts sounded enough like a solo section that I wasn't looking for the same degree of self referential theme that the main body of a conventional song tends to have. I wonder if in the programming it would be possible to get it to generate in phrases that it could morph to fit the chords, while introducing an element of cohesiveness. For example, if it generated a pair of 4 bar phrases, it could then shift their keys as needed, but also perhaps use the rhythm from one with some of the intervals of the other, or splice them together, or stretch them to 8 bars, or shrink them to 2, or some combination of these and more, and then mix and match the results to form the piece. I think it could result in something more humanlike without adding any more human decision making to the process. The human brain craves patterns, so allow the program to hide some for the ear to find.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby MOF » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:55 pm

I think i would challenge your final point, something that is too complex is unlikely to find its way into elevator music because rather than being bland and background it could be challenging and distracting.

The quote was “since the harmonic structure is sometimes very complex”, a lot of classical music is orchestral and tends to be harmonically very complex, even if the melody is simple, and I’ve heard a lot of elevator and background ‘musak’ that is orchestral and fairly often orchestral arrangements of pop tunes.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:35 pm

The trouble with generative music is that it’s always the same texture, and structure, it doesn’t change, so it’s not interesting.
It needs highlights, it needs genre changes, it needs to morph, randomly between styles, until that happens it’s just a sequencer set to random, mapped to a few preset sounds.
I’ve got the Eno one on my i Pad I never, ever use it.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:06 pm

Arpangel wrote:The trouble with generative music is that it’s always the same texture, and structure, it doesn’t change, so it’s not interesting.
It needs highlights, it needs genre changes, it needs to morph, randomly between styles, until that happens it’s just a sequencer set to random, mapped to a few preset sounds.
I’ve got the Eno one on my i Pad I never, ever use it.

I only partially agree.
The whole problem is figuring out what automatic means.
If automatic means totally random then you're right, but it's never like that in recent studies involving artificial intelligence. It's not even true if I'm based on my experience. Whatever algorithms they are, they're never really random otherwise nothing makes sense.
The problem is to understand how much we can have freedom to modify the process and direct it where we want.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:15 pm

blinddrew wrote:I think i would challenge your final point, something that is too complex is unlikely to find its way into elevator music because rather than being bland and background it could be challenging and distracting.
So if music-engine can programme his stuff such that it is musically complex whilst still being accessible, i think he probably is doing something right.
For a given definition of 'right'. ;)

And also this is the ignorant opinion of probably the least musically trained person* on the forum, so you can safely ignore if i'm wrong. ;)

* for the avoidance of doubt, i mean me.

When I talk about complex harmonies this does not mean that the music is difficult to listen to.
The most difficult thing is to make sure that the intertwining of melody and harmony is not too strange.

For example this last music I put on youtube has a very complex harmony even if there are only 4 chords.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_d7waZ ... e=youtu.be

Between the chord of F minor and E minor, there is a scale that can be used for both chords. This is the C major harmonic scale, little used in western music (the harmonic minor scale is very much used).

What I try to do is to look for these combinations that make a complex harmony easy to listen to.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:24 pm

Funkyflash5 wrote:After giving a couple of the pieces a listen, it seems to me that the sections with more rapid notes were more convincing than the more legato parts. That made me realize that the rapid parts sounded enough like a solo section that I wasn't looking for the same degree of self referential theme that the main body of a conventional song tends to have. I wonder if in the programming it would be possible to get it to generate in phrases that it could morph to fit the chords, while introducing an element of cohesiveness. For example, if it generated a pair of 4 bar phrases, it could then shift their keys as needed, but also perhaps use the rhythm from one with some of the intervals of the other, or splice them together, or stretch them to 8 bars, or shrink them to 2, or some combination of these and more, and then mix and match the results to form the piece. I think it could result in something more humanlike without adding any more human decision making to the process. The human brain craves patterns, so allow the program to hide some for the ear to find.

Very interesting.
In fact the fast notes are easier to generate and the effect is very interesting, because the ear can't hear them all and the impression that comes out is good.

When it comes to producing a melody things get complicated. What I do is to force time and indicate whether notes go up or down. It's very interesting to note then how the rhythmic interweaving can also be good for very different harmonic structures.

The other aspect I use is to use markoff chains. You have to play a melody and identify all the transitions between one degree and another and include the rhythmic aspect in the calculation.

However, this has the disadvantage of imitating too much of the music you analyze. A good compromise is to mix the two techniques.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby Temp » Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:14 pm

Interesting topic. I've been following the evolution of AI and Machine Learning from a different angle (automated taxonomies, cataloguing and tagging of media assets and image recognition). In the last couple of years it's been hailed as the next big thing in terms of cutting out the manual legwork in repetitive tasks, although the hype has been unceremoniously deflated by the reality of this particular landscape, along with some monumental and rather embarrassing blunders. The incredibly nuanced way that humans recognise, think, feel, react and make associations is apparently extremely difficult to distill into accurate and repeatable algorithms. With music composition you also have the added criteria of being both original and whatever that magical ingredient is that makes us enjoy music on a personal and subjective level.

After a quick Google for AI music, it looks like an outift called AIVA is taking a more mix 'n' match hybrid approach, with a substantial dollop of mimicry - their engine has numerous preset algorithms to cater for different genres, and you can provide influences in the way of pre-existing pieces (i.e. classical works, standards) or by uploading your own MIDI file. With AI composed pieces played by real musicians, what's immediately apparent - which is what you'd expect - is how familiar they sound:

https://youtu.be/zXzAImRi6Y8?t=30

I guess it's the aforementioned manual legwork (ergo, less automatic) that makes music made by humans, well, more human.

Cheers.
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Re: Automatic music : is it possible ?

Postby music-engine » Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:46 am

Undoubtedly one of the biggest disadvantages of computer music is the lack of interpretation. Even the sounds are unrealistic and you have to do a lot of abstraction to appreciate this music. Then there is the rhythmic aspect which is too static.
The starting and ending point is always a midi file.
Even if we listen to beautiful music in this format we get the feeling that it's not good.

Here for example I tried to imitate the clarinet, but unfortunately the result is not realistic :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0bb59ss_pw

That's why I'm looking for real musicians who can interpret my music.
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