I read an article about the increasing capabilities of machines to make music, especially in the mimicry of iconic music made by people. It was interesting to see this topic made people react a number of ways. Some expressed disgust that people would consider that computer-generated music as “real” music or art, while others were more optimistic and speculated the commercial applications of computer-generated music. David Kope, a composer and computer scientist, also authored a book titled “Experiments in Musical Intelligence” in 1981- so this concept has been growing for some time.
I don’t know much about the algorithms involved in creating computer-generated melodies, but prior to reading this article, I did know about a different but related concept. In 2004, Japan produced a program called Vocaloid, which is a singing synthesizer- meaning samples are taken from voice actors’ or singers’ voices, and those samples are manipulated by program users to create songs. The users have to input the melody and lyrics. I think both of these projects probably have to confront the concepts of what is considered art, and where the source of originality and creation lay. It’s really interesting to me how they both allow for people to create new melodies in sync with machines, that couldn’t have been created by either being alone.
It could indeed be argued that machine-produced music determined by algorithms “doesn’t count” as art, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true- if humans created the algorithms necessary to create the melodies, even if they mimic existent styles, they still went through the creative process in a unique medium.
Link to the article I read-