Emily Howell -- AI composer to release album

This is a discussion on Emily Howell -- AI composer to release album within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Interested in how many people have heard of this one before and what they think of the concept: Virtual composer ...

  1. #1
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Emily Howell -- AI composer to release album

    Interested in how many people have heard of this one before and what they think of the concept:

    Virtual composer makes beautiful music—and stirs controversy

    There's a clip of the music "she" composed (and played, I assume) here:
    YouTube - Emily Howell Music
    Last edited by MK27; 06-15-2010 at 12:55 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Interesting in how many people have heard of this one before and what they think of the concept:

    Virtual composer makes beautiful music—and stirs controversy

    There's a clip of the music "she" composed (and played, I assume) here:
    YouTube - Emily Howell Music
    Wow! Pretty impressive...
    Code:
    #include <cmath>
    #include <complex>
    bool euler_flip(bool value)
    {
        return std::pow
        (
            std::complex<float>(std::exp(1.0)), 
            std::complex<float>(0, 1) 
            * std::complex<float>(std::atan(1.0)
            *(1 << (value + 2)))
        ).real() < 0;
    }

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    This is horrible for the world.
    Staying away from General.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastiani View Post
    Wow! Pretty impressive...
    I probably wouldn't rush out and buy the album or anything, but yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by ethic View Post
    This is horrible for the world.
    Hmm, why?
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Hmm, why?
    Well, for one, it has a potential to replace real musicians
    who compose for games, film, etc.
    Staying away from General.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Hmm, why?
    May be interesting music. May even show up with some good music. But I prefer human-made music. And there is no way it will ever be able to reproduce the human genius and composition capabilities.

    What's horrible about it, IMHO, is those who look at this and give it more value than it actually has. Mostly because we are currently living in this pop-culture where music is seen as a form of entertainment and not as a form of expression. Where what matters is "the beat". It's really no surprise that musical culture has been lost through the years. There's an ever increasing gap in musical knowledge and understanding between those that make music and those that listen to it.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Just a pushpin. bernt's Avatar
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    Frightening really, this has '1984' written all over it.
    However I'd like to see that AI improv over latin jazz or make the next epic Chris Squire-esque bass line. That would be impressive.
    Consider this post signed

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernt View Post
    Frightening really, this has '1984' written all over it.
    However I'd like to see that AI improv over latin jazz or make the next epic Chris Squire-esque bass line. That would be impressive.
    Hmmm (again) -- well I don't see why it would not be capable of that, in a compositional sense, given the right food. I was mistaken about it actually playing the music: they're acoustic instruments played by people, but it's the "classical" genre where we do no improvise, so cerebral and abstract in that classical music way. Ie, it's a composer, not a player. I would not be surprised to see this thing used in film music, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    But I prefer human-made music.
    I'd prefer it to a lot of human composed music, honestly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ethic View Post
    Well, for one, it has a potential to replace real musicians
    who compose for games, film, etc.
    Sure, that's true of computers in general, they obsolete jobs. But this seems kind of labour intensive, and again, people actually did play the compositions. And seeing as how it took the main guy behind it 30 years to get an album out (the first version worked on an IBM mainframe and was fed punch cards), it probably has provided a lot of people with work, in fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    What's horrible about it, IMHO, is those who look at this and give it more value than it actually has. Mostly because we are currently living in this pop-culture where music is seen as a form of entertainment and not as a form of expression.
    Which people, Mario? As far as I know, this is more or less unique, and this is "her" first album, so there has been no time for this reaction you refer to.

    Anyway, most of the stuff I heard was like Rachmaninov-esque solo piano, so maybe not "expressionist" in a very strict sense. Proto-expressionist? They should feed it more John Cage.
    Last edited by MK27; 06-15-2010 at 08:36 PM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    What I heard was generic and imitation, but I still thought it was pretty good.

    most of the stuff I heard was like Rachmaninov-esque solo piano
    O_o

    I think I heard more Bach...

    Soma

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap View Post
    O_o

    I think I heard more Bach...
    Mebbe. I'd say it seemed "darkly Romantic" which is a little more impassioned than Bach or Chopin, all tho all them are very into speed and intricacy? I'm not like a huge classical fan. I just started learning the keyboard this year and have been working on Satie's Gymnopedies #1, so classical piano seems extra interesting to me right now though I'm mostly ignorant of it's specific history.*

    This one sounded a little more solidly "20th century":

    YouTube - Emily Howell - Track 1

    * one thing the man behind the machine pointed out was that the advent of the piano was more or less responsible for modern western music, because:

    1) it had an "autotune" to it (the tuning is exact and precise) whereas fretless string and brass instruments demand a certain amount of concentration just to stay in tune.

    2) it's polyphonic and has a very great dynamic range

    This tool allowed an individual composer to sit down and easily write pieces for an entire orchestra -- technology revolutionizing art in a profound way. He also claimed composers have always used algorithmic processes.
    Last edited by MK27; 06-16-2010 at 06:46 AM.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    The most interesting application for this for me would be performances, where each performance is unique. Now, this is composing only, no performance but the idea is interesting. If for nothing else to bring new knowledge to the AI field to which I believe this belongs.

    But for me most music or art is about a human expressing a feeling or telling a story, something a computer can't, at least non artificially.

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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subsonics View Post
    But for me most music or art is about a human expressing a feeling or telling a story, something a computer can't, at least non artificially.
    Probably this works better in the western classical realm than it would say, in pop, because classical music is very abstract -- eg, I could just as easily project the impression of "a story being told" or "a feeling being expressed" onto this as I could anything by Mozart. Ie, it seems to me Mozart might as well have been an AI, which does not make his music any less beautiful.

    Really free spirited improvisation I think might require you to be able to hear yourself. I don't get the impression the people responsible are considering that as a goal.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27 View Post
    Which people, Mario? As far as I know, this is more or less unique, and this is "her" first album, so there has been no time for this reaction you refer to.
    I'm not prepared to discuss that. My feelings about it are entirely irrational, and proudly so. I just despise certain computer forays into what I want to be an exclusive of the human being. And knowing human beings as I think I know, any success in this department could mean people would soon enough start qualifying computer AI generated music as some form of art and rate it on its musical "quality". That's the type of people I'm afraid of. And as you say, this sounds better than a lot of human-made music. So you know there are that type of people who are eager to extend pop-culture even further. To the realm of absolute relativity. And to put another nail on the coffin of human artistic expression.

    To be clear, here's the shocker: Computers will never be able to make music like humans do. And admitting some time in the future where computer AI is so highly developed to not being deterministic anymore, but instead entirely cognitive, you will still need to code in emotions into that AI, for it to be able to make music like humans do. And when you finally do that in an even more distant future, computers will still not be able to do music like humans do. Because we created it. It's ours. We have millions of years of doing music, exploring it, studying it, understanding it. Computers have no history.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  14. #14
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I'd say it seemed "darkly Romantic" which is a little more impassioned than Bach or Chopin, all tho all them are very into speed and intricacy?
    O_o

    Chopin wrote some of the most "darkly romantic" pieces I've had the pleasure of experiencing. A few of them send shivers up the spine. ^_^

    Considering the size of my library, I may not find it*, but if I do, I'll send you the information.

    That said, I don't even agree that the piece I heard was "darkly romantic". Is the piece you are talking about the one linked in the original post?

    Computers will never be able to make music like humans do. And admitting some time in the future where computer AI is so highly developed to not being deterministic anymore, but instead entirely cognitive, you will still need to code in emotions into that AI, for it to be able to make music like humans do. And when you finally do that in an even more distant future, computers will still not be able to do music like humans do. Because we created it. It's ours. We have millions of years of doing music, exploring it, studying it, understanding it.
    ^_^

    This could have been said with: "No passion? No point." This is the reason I hate so much of the modern offerings. I feel like a small chunk of dead tree would have more passion.

    [Off Topic]
    Quiet Technologies... that make some noise.
    An interesting article today...
    [/Off Topic]

    Soma

    * Some simply play a lot better than others. I have a particular artist in mind as well.

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    MK, I think you can argue that all music is abstract, at least if you strip off any lyrics. But I think it's possible to break down a classic piece of music into semantic parts, which when combined builds a drama or in a way tells a story. Computers have no stories to tell, and can't express any feelings. I think it matters what this computer have been told about what is "soft", "hard", "happy", "sad" and so on. The intention matters I believe, if it's sequences pieced together, then it's random events who's human qualities is recognized as such because it's program is human made. Then it also matters if the result is selected by a human. I don't know that much about machine learning but I think mostly it's a computer analysing an input and creating an output based on it. So, it's going to be an average, based on all music fed as an input, of which all is human made.

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