Google has been exploring the potential for AI-created music for a while now. Today, it’s making its latest experiment public, and in a high-profile way: in one of the ‘Doodles’ promoted on the homepage of its search engine.
It’s an AI-powered Doodle that celebrates composer Johann Sebastian Bach. “An interactive experience encouraging players to compose a two measure melody of their choice,” as Google put it. “With the press of a button, the Doodle then uses machine learning to harmonise the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style (or a Bach 80’s rock style hybrid if you happen to find a very special easter egg in the Doodle…)”
Google has a separate blog post that goes in to more detail on the technology behind the Doodle, including how it was trained on 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonisations using a machine-learning model called Coconet. “Coconet is trained to restore Bach’s music from fragments: we take a piece from Bach, randomly erase some notes, and ask the model to guess the missing notes from context,” it explained.
Google has also developed a way for musicians to play with Coconet: an interface called Coucou. “It enables a new type of collaborative composition with AI, where you can iteratively improve a musical piece by erasing parts that are unsatisfying and asking the model to infill again,” explained Google. “For musicians, we hope this model can help you prototype ideas more quickly and explore more variations, or find inspiration in a motif, an unexpected turn in harmony or rhythm.”