Neural networks to generate music

November 19, 2018

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Kyle McDonald describes some of the history and current research on using algorithms to generate music. On how David Cope incorporated Markov chains to aid in his work:

In 1981 David Cope began working with algorithmic composition to solve his writers block. He combined Markov chains and other techniques (musical grammars and combinatorics) into a semi-automatic system he calls Experiments in Musical Intelligence, or Emmy. David cites Iannis Xenakis and Lejaren Hiller (Illiac Suite 1955, Experimental Music 1959) as early inspirations, and he describes Emmy in papers, patents, and even source code on GitHub. Emmy is most famous for learning from and imitating other composers.

I expected samples to sound robotic and unnatural, and some are, but some are quite pleasant to listen to.