Ludwig van Beethoven is undoubtedly a die greatest musicians who ever lived. The German composer and pianist has produced 722 musical works, including nine symphonies – despite total deafness during the last decade of his life. Unfortunately the maestro died while still working on his 10th symphony. Today, a team of musicians and scientists used artificial intelligence (AI) to complete the artist’s latest masterpiece.
Dr Matthias Röder first came up with the idea of completing the composition in 2019. The director of the Karajan Institute in Austria thought it was a appropriate way to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday in December 2020. He started by engaging an international team of musical experts to help him in the gargantuan task. They included music composer Walter Werzowa and Dr Ahmed Elgammal, the creator of a innovative AI technology for the art market.
Elgammal and his colleagues started the process by familiarizing the AI software initially with a wide range of classical music, then reduced it to the work of Beethoven. Meanwhile, Werzowa and his group tried to decipher the sketches and the handful of notes detailing Beethoven’s plans for the 10th Symphony.
The team then started the deliberate task of feeding the AI software with musical notes from the unfinished composition. Elgammal says that since music is very structured and mathematical, AI can to predict the next note reasonably precisely. However, he begins to deviate of the central theme after a few notes. To stay true to Beethoven’s original composition, the Elgammal team sent Hundreds of AI-generated musical notes to Werzowa. variants Every evening. Werzowa would listen to them and then select the one he thought was closest to what the artist would have written. The AI team would add the music and relaunch the software for produce the following suggestions. And piece by piece, the team was able to complete Beethoven’s 10th Symphony!
The composition – delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – debuted at the Telekom Forum in Bonn, Beethoven’s hometown, Germany, on October 9, 2021. Not surprisingly, the AI generated masterpiece is at the origin of some controversial. Critics believe that technology shouldn’t be used to replicate the human creative process. Elgammal and his team agree with their position and say their AI software isn’t here to replace humans – it’s just a tool to help artists express themselves in new ways.
Resources: Theconversation.com, NPR.com, ScientificAmerican.com