Viola The Bird

We were big fans of 2020’s ‘Blob Opera’ project from Google, which put machine-learning technology to use with a group of plasticine-y opera-singing blobs.

Now the company has teamed up with its creator for a new project called Viola the Bird, described as “the world’s first ‘bird-tuoso’ in string instruments”.

Yes, it’s a bird playing a cello (or rather, a cello-like instrument) which you control by dragging left and right on the screen, timing your bows to falling notes Guitar Hero-style.

The experiment was created by training a neural network to understand cello and violin compositions, then applying it to a “real-time audio synthesis engine that can generate the sounds of a cello or violin based on the player’s input”.

Google is pitching it as an educational thing: “a great way for anyone to learn about string instruments and to explore their own creativity through music”.

Based on Music Ally’s play with it this morning, actual violinists and cellists can rest easy that we won’t be replacing them even with the help of an AI…

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Music Ally's Head of Insight