With the help of algorithms the researchers have managed to compose to the end Beethoven’s 10th symphony. Are computer programs as creative as music geniuses?
Algorithms are part of our daily lives. Whether walking in the car, in the world of work and others, without artificial intelligence many things man can no longer do. In this respect at least creativity seemed to be a franchise of the human brain. But there are growing signs that this bastion is also falling. After the computers completed the compositions of Gustav Mahler and Franz Schubert, it was Ludwig van Beethoven’s turn. When the composer passed away in 1827, he left unfinished his Symphony No. 10. Hand sketches from this work have remained, partly raw fragments. On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, his work – somewhat delayed due to Corona – with the help of artificial intelligence is presented on October 9, 2021 as part of the Beethoven Feast in Bonn. For this concern, Telekom, based in Bonn, set up a team of experts. A group of composers, scholars and computer scientists tried to analyze the style of the genius composer and finish the “unfinished”.
We learned Beethoven’s style
Artificial intelligence was supplied with sketches and notes by Beethoven as well as scores by composers of the time. “It has to be understood that Beethoven kept notes when he had new ideas. “Sometimes as words, sometimes as musical notes,” says Matthias Röder, director of the Karajan Institute in Salzburg. Based on this material, the project manager and his team made assumptions about “how he would have developed certain things himself,” says Röder. Music is based on certain units like language. It is therefore primarily a matter of artificial intelligence learning. Symphonies, piano sonatas, violin quartets were regularly offered to artificial intelligence to “train”, As in the human brain that has the neural network, the computer is able to make new connections on its own. The results that best matched each other were reintroduced into the system giving them new grades.
Man and machinery complement each other
Thus was created the new artificial composition. “What artificial intelligence allows us is the ability to provide a sequence in 20 or 100 different variants. “This is great, because if the algorithm worked well, then every attempt makes sense,” said Robert Levin, a music researcher at Harvard University.
For researchers such collaborations are quite interesting because they provide data on how machines can support humans, or mimic creative capacity. “We tried to understand the state of the art in music development and we tried to test the limits. In the end we used some modules of the so-called Natural Language Processing, which are inspired by natural language processing “, says Ahmed Elgammal, director of the Art & Art Lab at Rutgers University in New York and developer of Beethoven’s artificial intelligence. But are such projects worth it for musicians?
“It can be said that the computer operates on the basis of an algorithm. Yes, but man does it on the basis of experience and education. “They are definitely not too far apart,” says Professor Levin.
How much the transition from the original to the composition of artificial intelligence is felt, this audience can understand when they follow the symphony played by the Bonnitna Orchestra under the direction of its general music director, Dirk Kaftan./DW/
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