close this bookVolume 8: No. 18.3
View the documentFunding news
View the documentHardware news
View the documentResearch software (in our CRS digest this week)
View the documentNeural networks
View the documentMusic software
View the documentPhilosophy

EMI ("Emmy"), or Experiments in Musical Intelligence, is a program for composing music in the styles of famous composers. One recent test involved a piece by Bach, one by Dr. Steven Larson, and one by EMI. The audience judged that EMI's piece was genuine Bach and that Larson's simple two-part invention was written by a computer. EMI, by David Cope of UC Santa Cruz, "has no passions, no memories, and knows nothing about life," but composes music that speaks to those who do. A CD of EMI's compositions, called "Classical Music Composed by Computer" is being released by Centaur Records. It includes artificial Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Scott Joplin. EMI's mastery isn't perfect, but "It's certainly in the ballpark." Douglas Hofstadter called EMI "the most thought-provoking project in artificial intelligence that I have ever come across. ... To what extent is music composed of `riffs', as jazz people say? If that is mostly the case, then it would mean that, to my absolute devastation, music is much less than previously thought." EMI may undermine Hofstadter's position that self-reference and human experience underlie the highest levels of creativity, although he takes comfort that EMI only copies the styles of others -- especially refined, mathematical composers such as Bach -- and is only convincing over spans of a few seconds. "It is like listening to random lines from a Keats sonnet. You wonder what was happening to Keats that day. Was he completely drunk?" Cope admits that "EMI produces beautiful music but maybe not profound music," although it is competitive with human emulators. He is still working on capturing musical personality. [George Johnson, NYT, 29Nov98. Hans Moravec ,, 04Jan98.] (Moravec believes that "the real core of high intelligence is the ability to distill good answers from astronomical quantities of noisy and contradictory information. Self-reference is a cute little frill built on top of that.")

Niall Griffith and Peter Todd are making available their bibliography of connectionist publications on music, from a book they've edited for MIT Press this summer: "Musical Networks: Parallel Distributed Perception and Performance." See , and contact with any additions. [connectionists, 28May98.]

Andrew Horner uses genetic algorithms to do timbre matching and voice leading. He has articles published in the latest CMJ, AES journal, and ICMC proceedings. Lee Spector has also used genetic programming to evolve jazz musicians. See for info on project GeneBop. [James McCartney and Sean Luke ,, 20Jan98.]

Musicae Scientiae is a journal from the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, replacing the ESCOM Newsletter after Oct96. Abstracts are available at . [ESCOM Secretariat , newjour, 16Jul97.]

"The Classical Music Cube ... The Music Beat" is a good place for newcomers to classical music on the Internet. It offers history and style lessons, musical terms, and links to other classical music sites. . [, net-hap, 18Mar98.]

Scott Downie is a 12-year Mac fan, but warns against installing Mac OS 8.1 if you've got copy-protected music software from Opcode, Mark of the Unicorn, Steinberg, or others. He's fed up with the insult and hassles of copy protection, and is at least tempted to switch to Cakewalk Pro Audio under Windows 98. [,, 28Jan98.]

The British Phonographic Industry is objecting to RealNetworks' RealAudio software combined with Audio Rack. RealAudio provides real-time music streams that are never fully resident on your hard disk, but other software can capture a stream and make it recordable. However, quality is limited to that provided by the RealAudio server. [TechWeb, 07May98. EduP.]

For more about music software, get the monthly Shareware Music Machine Newsletter from . It covers both Mac and PC shareware -- including Windows, DOS, and Linux -- listed by download popularity. [ or ,, 14Mar98.]