Flow Machines, a research project that has been exploring using ‘deep learning’ to analyze and model ‘style’, shared this example of DeepBach – using the process to create music, harmonized in the style of Bach.
The above example is a reharmonization of Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten (He who allows dear God to rule him), a 1641 hymn by Georg Neumark. generated by DeepBach and played by Emmanuel Deruty.
DeepBach, developed by Gaëtan Hadjeres, Sony CSL et UPMC, is an example of how artificial intelligence promises to bring new tools to music theory and composition.
Here’s what Flow Machines’ Gaëtan Hadjeres & François Pachet have to say about DeepBach:
The composition of polyphonic chorale music in the style of J.S Bach has represented a major challenge in automatic music composition over the last decades. The art of Bach chorales composition involves combining four-part harmony with characteristic rhythmic patterns and typical melodic movements to produce musical phrases which begin, evolve and end (cadences) in a harmonious way. To our knowledge, no model so far was able to solve all these problems simultaneously using an agnostic machine-learning approach.
This paper introduces DeepBach, a statistical model aimed at modeling polyphonic music and specifically four parts, hymn-like pieces. We claim that, after being trained on the chorale harmonizations by Johann Sebastian Bach, our model is capable of generating highly convincing chorales in the style of Bach. We evaluate how indistinguishable our generated chorales are from existing Bach chorales with a listening test. The results corroborate our claim.
A key strength of DeepBach is that it is agnostic and flexible. Users can constrain the generation by imposing some notes, rhythms or cadences in the generated score. This allows users to reharmonize user-defined melodies. DeepBach’s generation is fast, making it usable for interactive music composition applications. Several generation examples are provided and discussed from a musical point of view.
Here are two more examples, two reharmonizations of God Save The Queen:
Does DeepBach pass the ‘Musical Turing Test’?
In tests with 1,600 listeners, of whom about a quarter were trained musicians, more than 50% thought examples of DeepBach’s work were actually written by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Turing originally proposed that an artificial intelligence would exhibit human behavior if it was indistinguishable from actual human behavior to 70% of the people evaluating it. So, while DeepBach isn’t there yet, it’s getting close.
Check out the examples and let us know in the comments what you think of the promise of artificial intelligence applied to music!