[Smt-talk] Aesthetics of Computer-Generated Music

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Tue Apr 12 21:28:10 PDT 2011

All this talk about computer generated music begs the question, "Why would anyone want a computer to write music?" The answer is because composing is such a n arduous task that we want someone else to do it for us, which kind of reminds me of Mickey having the broom carry the water for him. The results are about the same.

When a computer programmer comes up with an algorithm for musical taste we may expect something of value to result from these efforts. Until then we'll get more of the same, just more sophisticated. There is already enough well-crafted boring music composed by highly trained, moderately talented people.

On Apr 12, 2011, at 10:37 AM, Eliot Handelman wrote:

> Passing the Turning Test suggests an already finished and polished
> musical AI. The problem is that computer composition is in its infancy
> and it's probably unfair to demand that 1st & 2nd generation programs
> perform at the level of established masters. The question is how to
> recognize an intermediate result that is perhaps not yet great music,
> but which suggests esthetic attitudes and theoretical stances that can
> be developed.
> For example, there's a huge problem in generating plastic and
> differentiated forms without following built-in patterns or
> established formulas and without noodling. The test of a system/theory
> meant to do this is whether it succeeds in generating a diversity of
> such forms. If it does then there is perhaps something to the
> underlying theory. That takes one step that can be built upon.
> How long should it take to develop musical AI? 2-3 months using
> machine-learning? Or rather, maybe, 50 years of concentrated research
> in which new styles of computational musicology unfold?  If there's
> only "success" and not "progress" then we haven't a chance. This is
> not a one-man or one generation job.
> -- eliot
> ---
> Eliot Handelman, PhD
> www.computingmusic.com
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Prof. Stephen Jablonsky, Ph.D.
Music Department Chair
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue S-72
New York NY 10031
(212) 650-7663

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