March 5th, 2008


Microsoft, Music, and The Suck

Microsoft Research Project Mugs Jerome Kern (from Create Digital Music

Anyone who has tried to write music always looks for shortcuts. Hell, writing music is hard, and wouldn't it be great if there was some way for computers to facilitate it? Random patch generators, random arpeggiators, aleatoric sequencers, hell DRUM MACHINES while we're at it... The ideal would be a tool that did the hard parts and left you to be inspired.

As the Microsoft video above demonstrates, the technology just isn't there yet. Maybe it never will be. Even if software like this starts sounding a lot better, it will still lack the inimitable human factor. I've never heard a piece of computer generated music that could pass the musical Turing test. Even if a musician uses a lot of technology the most valuable tool he or she has is their brains. That 'round-trip' through the musician's mind that music makes is where the excitement and emotion that music can evokel

I'd love to be proved wrong, but I don't see any computer smart enough to have a hit record for the foreseeable future.