This article comes from the journal Science et Avenir – La Recherche en ° 897 dated November 2021.
On 9 October in Bonn (Germany), a concert was held at the Telecom Forum, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). For the occasion, and with a year’s delay due to a pandemic, conductor Dirk Kaftan produced a much-anticipated interpretation of the German composer’s 10th Symphony. Except that this work never existed. Indeed, Beethoven died leaving only scattered fragments, initial ideas. In 1988, British musicologist Barry Cooper had already succeeded in “reconstructing” the first 14-minute movement, which was played at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This time the score was written with an artificial intelligence (AI), Beethoven’s AI.
AI should be able to extrapolate
This project is from two years ago. At the initiative of Mathias Roder, director of the Karajan Institute in Salzburg (Austria), it brings together musicians, musicologists, Beethoven experts and computer scientists. a real challenge. The AI must be able to understand Beethoven’s style, extrapolate from pieces, know how to combine different parts, but must also master the various musical forms that appear in symphonies (scherzo, minuet), ending a movement. Must learn to do and organize the whole. “Each of these tasks requires a different model. Most are deep learning algorithms. (Deep Learning, NDLR) Modified natural language processing to generate musical notes“, explains Ahmed Elgammal, a researcher in computer science at Rutgers University (United States) and specializing in AI for artistic purposes.
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