Experts at Kingston University investigate if AI could replace human music composers


Could artificial intelligence (AI) be part of the future of music creation?

We cannot believe that machines can be creative, but what if they could write new and enjoyable music?


Kingston University experts are taking a leading role in new research exploring how machines and humans can work together to compose music.


A team of researchers from Kingston University and Queen Mary University of London taught the AI system to analyze and learn from more than 23,000 Irish folk songs.


Starting from that database, the machines have been able to generate new tunes by drawing upon the patterns and structures it has learned.


Dr. Oded Ben-Tal, senior lecturer in Music Technology at Kingston University, said:

“We didn’t expect any of the machine-generated melodies to be very good – but we, and several other musicians we worked with, were really surprised at the quality of the music the system created”.


The music technology expert added,


“For beginners, a system like this would help get you started and avoid the intimidating aspect of composing your own tune as you could work interactively together, meanwhile, an experienced composer could work with the system to generate new ideas by using their own musical concepts as a starting point.”


“People are reluctant to believe machines can be creative – it's seen as a very human trait. However, the fact of the matter is, technology and creativity have been interconnected for a long time and this is just another step in that direction.”


But don’t be afraid that computers will replace human composers:


“One thing we need to remember though is that this system doesn’t think of music in the way we do. It’s able to produce interesting results but it has no understanding of the context.”


The results were so impressive that the study, funded through the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and French-based The Cluster of Excellence Labex, will end up in a concert in London later this month.


Listen to the song below.

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