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Photo: Flow Machines.

Modern music gets a lot of flack for sounding mass-produced, particularly genres like pop and country. But while many songs in these genres do sound similar, they are all — at least for the moment — written entirely by humans, something that research project Flow Machines hopes to change

Flow Machines is a project funded by European Research Council, and has created Artificial Intelligence tools that can compose music.

The project’s FlowComposer tool draws on a database of over 13,000 leadsheets, basic scores of the melodies and harmonies of tracks, ranging from the Beatles to Broadway hits. The tool can compose songs from this data automatically, or be used as a tool by composers, allowing musicians to create tracks that are a blend between automatic compositions and their own original work.

Check out this piece, written in the style of the Beatles by French musician Benoît Carré using FlowComposer:

While the concept of music partially composed by AIs may be frightening, particularly for music purists like myself, Flow Machines says the project doesn’t want to replace human creativity and musicality.

Instead, it hopes to give composers and musicians tools that will help them refine their style and generally make composing work easier.

Check out Carré using FlowComposer to compose a short jazz piece, and decide for yourself who is doing the composing:


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