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Hi colleagues, 

What do you think of using new modern technologies like AI in the creative process?

I have found couple of companies providing some AI powered services. Some of those I found are Music Builder ( https://www.themusicbuilder.com/), AIVA Music Engine ( https://www.aiva.ai/engine), Orb Composer (https://www.orb-composer.com/) etc.

Do you think such softwares are ever gonna be as popular and commonly used as the libraries or the DAWs? I have been hearing about AI and Music more and more recently and seems like it is kinda getting everywhere. 

Looking forward to more insights. 

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Hi Ingo, 

Thank you for your reply. 

Right, I also thought of the DAW plugin actually that might be interesting. 

I am still thinking of different options to have at hand for next time when I have a tight deadline and writer's block. 

I have tried many ways already but the results were not so satisfying (like listening to heaps of tracks, sleeping over it, working overnight etc,,,, but I have the feeling that the traditional techniques are not ideal (at least for me). 

Ingo Lee said:

Ashley I think that AI could work well for the instance that you mention. The Aiva company that you linked to above offers a DAW plugin that might be worth looking into. I'm sure that learning to use this and integrate it into your workflow would take some time though. 

In the meantime I suppose the Aiva company would be available to assist a composer in a panic situation, but I really don't know if I'd recommend that

Ashley Berg said:

I see, thank you for your comment. 

If I want to compose music just for myself I will do it without any help. 

How about if I have a tight deadline and I am stuck with writer's block? 

Or if I compose something the director does not like and asks to change it completely overnight (this actually happened to me and did not end so well). 

So I think in such urgencies I rather get some help from an AI, machine or whatever you call it, then pass my opportunities or get depressed facing the writer's block. 

In such situations, let's say when struggling with writer's block or when having to compose something for a client that has nothing to do with your emotions but their own story and brand, or when you are facing a tight deadline how do you overcome these issues?

I do not mind how, with a help of AI or with a help of whatever but I would really like to overcome those obstacles. Because I personally experienced these and not all of them ended nicely.  

Timothy Smith said:

I am not in favor of AI as used to create music. Much similar to auto type it attempts to determine either your actions or an action that it thinks is best for the setting. AI is not direct human control.

Do you want to make the music for yourself or allow a computer to help you do it?  I prefer to make my music unaided. I use VST instruments but I tell them what to do.

From a music buyer for advertising or movies perspective, it's probably an attractive option since it saves them money. This could further compromise quality of the end result since a person who sells commercials and movies isn't necessarily the best judge of quality music. I think music should be made by musicians.

Hi Ingo, 

To be honest I thought exactly the same when I first checked their website, but actually I found out that AIVA does cooperate with musicians and they claim that their scores are brought to life by humans (I don't remember if I saw it on their website or in an article) but I remember seeing something abt cooperating with 400 musicians/hiring musicians. So my impression is that they still actually do use human musicians and it is not a pure machine thing.  

Ingo Lee said:

Hi Colin, I think the AI industry may have moved on a bit further than the functions you describe.  I'm not an expert by any means and I don't intend to advocate for acceptance and use of this technology but I think we need to watch it closely for a number of reasons.  Here is the blurb from the Aiva website that Ashley linked to above.  Aiva offers for sale complete original works authored by AI.  Supposedly.

"Aiva is an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) capable of composing emotional soundtracks for films, video games, commercials and any type of entertainment content.

She has been learning the art of music composition by reading through a large collection of music partitions, written by the greatest Composers (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, ...) to create a mathematical model representation of what music is. This model is then used by Aiva to write completely unique music.

Recently, Aiva became the first virtual artist to have her creations registered with an author's rights society (SACEM). This achievement does not mean that Aiva will replace musicians; we will continue to encourage collaborations between man and machine.
We think that AI-generated music will enable new use cases of music, and empower the next generation of composers and content creators."



Colin Dougall said:

Hi All

Here's my tuppence worth.

The role of AI in the composers toolbox is to make the tools better, i.e., orchestral libraries that sound like the real thing and fx like EQ, Limiters, a better Cubase & etc that are easy to use and understand, freeing up the composer to get on with the job of creating their masterpieces. So it has a passive role in the creative process, but it can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

AI devices can also replace (eventually?) the composer when it comes to things like  music for TV adds and similar soundbites - given a clear enough context and an appropriate set of rules it could probably generate good enough musical content that will do the job.

However that isn't the same thing as "creating" music as we understand music as "art". The pertinent question is what does a computer understand by "music"? In a similar vein, what is the status of a musical work created by a computer? These issues and others like them are no doubt exercising the minds of musicologists.

If I'm "stuck for the next bit" or competely blank I listen to Sibelius or Prokofiev or some of my favourite tuechter bands - it usually does the trick.

Cheers, Colin

Hi Tomothy, 

Thank you for getting back to me and for your points which I find very interesting. 

When I want to make music for myself only and I do not need a director to judge whether what I composed is the best fit for the project or no, then I am more like you. And I also put so much of me in my music. 

But when I need to compose for a project, putting my own feelings and my own inspirations does not always work as I need to create something around the project not around me. And sometimes I also put "myself" in the composition unconsciously and probably these were the times I was asked to change the score completely with a very short time left and I was not really satisfied with the end result but the client was. If I have a similar situation when my music is going to be a pure product I do not care about my own feelings anymore. But if I have a way to faster and better learn the brand/project that will be super helpful to come up with the right score that may satisfy the client but not necessarily me. 

Timothy Smith said:

Ashley,

I believe Colin stated the same viewpoint as myself. We are simply saying it in different ways.

Music as an art can  be a product as well which sometimes has unfortunate effects to the end result. In making music as strictly an art, there is no reason to add anything non human to it if the artist's work is to be above all else. However, if music is being made  as a product then the end result can be more time and money driven. I don't believe that time and money play a good role in quality music.

I'm not arguing against a faster way to do something you would have done regardless not using  technology. It is common knowledge that certain feelings in music can be generated by certain modal and chord formulas. This knowledge has been in the movie biz for years and is still used. I think leaning on these kinds of things too much only makes music more of a recipe. This recipe can be combined with recipes in DAW software to make an end product faster with more efficiency with emphasis on the idea of music as a product.

For example, if you have an action movie sequence, you simply pull up the software template and use a common formula to connect that mood with your music. There are two different motives at play here. The 1st is a video sequence that needs something in music to compliment it. The origin of the idea then is the video. This is the only motive aside from delivering the product on time and within budget. You didn't share the mood. You were given a job to do and so you honed in on the objective. How you got there wasn't important. You didn't need to feel anything about the music.

The other motive is artistic expression. In this case we use tech to put across the things we decided to create. We have a more personal investment in this music because it comes from the heart. The only motive was to use our creativity to make something we like and can be proud of, something that is an expression of ourselves or an idea. In the second example I would never use any kind of software that helped me compose it. I see no problem changing keys or instruments or any other variable so long as the control always comes from me.

What some fail to see is that a composer can make a composition on a piano or a guitar. I think in this age of sample libraries it has come to mean large productions or even a rivalry/competition of sorts among musicians to see who can come up with the most impressive compo using expensive sound libraries. Who can add the most unusual collages of chords and instruments or make music for the most dramatic effect possible pushing that 5.1 surround system at home to the limits. 

I think I've almost come a full 180 on this. I have made some larger productions and also smaller ones. I am beginning to enjoy the feel of a real instrument in my hands. I make music for the second motive. In my world no one even needs to like what I do so long as I like it and it speaks something I wanted it to speak.

As Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) said: The notion of making money by popular work, and then retiring to do good work on the proceeds, is the most familiar of all the devil's traps for artists.

Wherein lies the distinction between composing commercially and composing 'for art's sake' - but of course we must eat.

Tanner, in George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman says: The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.

Also enlightening (and invariably true and amusing) was the judge Lord Pearce's judgement that: Artists as a rule do not live in the purple; they live mainly in the red.

Perhaps we struggling composers should allow AI to do the dirty work (i.e. produce noise suitable for advertising, or mood music for films) and stick to striving to compose music that's so good at producing the emotional/intellectual responses that excite listeners as to be unavoidably demanded commercially.

Life's hard ain't it!

Hey Ashley , the AIVA website has a free demo mode that allows you to use their site to generate and download 3 tracks per month for non-commercial use.  If you like the service you can pay for full usage rights.  Why not try it?

"Quickly create original themes or upload your existing work to generate thematic variations for an endless supply of ideas, and the end of writer’s block"

https://aiva.ai/engine#white-background.

Hi Ingo, thank you for the link. 
Just checked it out and it sounds good to try. I just signed up for their beta. 
Ingo Lee said:

Hey Ashley , the AIVA website has a free demo mode that allows you to use their site to generate and download 3 tracks per month for non-commercial use.  If you like the service you can pay for full usage rights.  Why not try it?

"Quickly create original themes or upload your existing work to generate thematic variations for an endless supply of ideas, and the end of writer’s block"

https://aiva.ai/engine#white-background.

I am having difficulty understanding why someone would write music and divorce themselves from their feelings about it so that it could be written faster. And why music for TV or movies is considered 2nd class. If we are going to write music, I think we need to do our best every time. Otherwise we are a cheap imitation of ourselves. I understand deadlines and writers block. The former can't be helped. The latter? Well that's were you find out just how good you are. 

And why are we so much a slave to "faster". Yes, I know the competition is multi-fold and steep. Most anyone with a computer can crank out surprisingly competent music (but only that), yet at some point quality has to be worth the wait. Why is quality an afterthought, a luxury, or at the very least, not the norm.

Just some random thoughts, because we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we do what we do, and have integrity about it.

Harry

I'm hoping you will keep us posted on your trial of this software.  Even better would be a sample?

Ashley Berg said:

Hi Ingo, thank you for the link. 
Just checked it out and it sounds good to try. I just signed up for their beta. 
Ingo Lee said:

Hey Ashley , the AIVA website has a free demo mode that allows you to use their site to generate and download 3 tracks per month for non-commercial use.  If you like the service you can pay for full usage rights.  Why not try it?

"Quickly create original themes or upload your existing work to generate thematic variations for an endless supply of ideas, and the end of writer’s block"

https://aiva.ai/engine#white-background.

Hi Harold, I listened to your Trio so I know that you are a serious composer and I understand your reaction to AI composition which I think is probably a common reaction among serious composers. 

You've made careful artistic choices with your music and don't want a technology that is a little bit threatening to intrude on that so you will probably avoid the use of it entirely which is understandable.

I personally view AI composition as at worst an interesting toy that I would like to play with, and at best a new tool that maybe I can someday use to do some work with.  AI is here to stay and given the preponderance of mechanical low quality music that floods our lives AI can't make things any worse can it?

Harold Bussy said:

I am having difficulty understanding why someone would write music and divorce themselves from their feelings about it so that it could be written faster. And why music for TV or movies is considered 2nd class. If we are going to write music, I think we need to do our best every time. Otherwise we are a cheap imitation of ourselves. I understand deadlines and writers block. The former can't be helped. The latter? Well that's were you find out just how good you are. 

And why are we so much a slave to "faster". Yes, I know the competition is multi-fold and steep. Most anyone with a computer can crank out surprisingly competent music (but only that), yet at some point quality has to be worth the wait. Why is quality an afterthought, a luxury, or at the very least, not the norm.

Just some random thoughts, because we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we do what we do, and have integrity about it.

Harry

Hi definitely will. 
Actually I contacted them (they have a chatbox on their website) and the person replied within 2 seconds. I asked when we can actually try the platform and they said on January 7th 2019 the platform will be open to public. I signed up for the freemium plan which is free and everyone can try to see how it works (https://www.aiva.ai/engine just scroll down this page and you can see the freemium thing, and I can download 3 tracks). So will keep you posted how it goes. 

Ingo Lee said:

I'm hoping you will keep us posted on your trial of this software.  Even better would be a sample?

Ashley Berg said:

Hi Ingo, thank you for the link. 
Just checked it out and it sounds good to try. I just signed up for their beta. 
Ingo Lee said:

Hey Ashley , the AIVA website has a free demo mode that allows you to use their site to generate and download 3 tracks per month for non-commercial use.  If you like the service you can pay for full usage rights.  Why not try it?

"Quickly create original themes or upload your existing work to generate thematic variations for an endless supply of ideas, and the end of writer’s block"

https://aiva.ai/engine#white-background.

Hi Harold, 

Thank you for your comment. I understand you. But I am not sure the writer's block can have much to do with how good you are. Maybe very experienced and professional composers get writer's block less frequently than the beginners but they still do. I watched some interviews of very top composers and they as well get the writers block. 

And many top composers also get "help" or some part of the job done by assistants. 
I totally agree we should not be the slave of the "fast". When I compose myself I take as much time as I need. And I also agree with your point of the quality. I think if AI creates music and no human composer "polishes" it maybe it is a low quality. 

But how about if AI gives some ideas and an initial "sketch" and the the human composer takes over and works on it. Do you think he can achieve better results within the same amount of time than if he had to do everything from a blank page?

Would love to hear more insights on this last point. 

Harold Bussy said:

I am having difficulty understanding why someone would write music and divorce themselves from their feelings about it so that it could be written faster. And why music for TV or movies is considered 2nd class. If we are going to write music, I think we need to do our best every time. Otherwise we are a cheap imitation of ourselves. I understand deadlines and writers block. The former can't be helped. The latter? Well that's were you find out just how good you are. 

And why are we so much a slave to "faster". Yes, I know the competition is multi-fold and steep. Most anyone with a computer can crank out surprisingly competent music (but only that), yet at some point quality has to be worth the wait. Why is quality an afterthought, a luxury, or at the very least, not the norm.

Just some random thoughts, because we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we do what we do, and have integrity about it.

Harry

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