Dec 16, 2016

Computer Christmas Songs

 "The Christmas tree is filled with flowers. I swear it is Christmas Eve. I hope that is what you say." These are lyrics to a holiday song. You are thinking it is a boy band totally drunk. You assume they are trying to revive a rock band vibe until they fall on their foreheads and their manager rings for a designated driver.

However, the song did not come from a human. The Guardian's Ian Sample, science editor, explained what happened in simple terms. "Scientists fed a Christmasy photograph with a tree and presents into a computer and let it do its thing." Sample said the creators call it "neural karaoke."

The program sang the lyrics to music that it composed along the way. The project is at the University of Toronto. "By feeding the neural network a particular scale, it gives the system a series of notes it can choose from to make a melody." A lab student trained a neural network on 100 hours of online music. Once trained, "the program can take a musical scale and melodic profile and produce a simple 120-beats-per-minute melody. It then adds chords and drums."

The University of Toronto team effort is one example of interest among AI researchers choosing to explore computers and music-making. In September this year it was announced that "At SONY CSL Research Laboratory, we have created two entire pop songs composed with Artificial Intelligence, thanks to Flow Machines. The Flow Machines software learns music styles from a huge database of songs. Then, exploiting unique combinations of style transfer, optimization and interaction techniques, it can compose in any style.