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. book + cd
Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style
<book + cd> The MIT Press
The definition of 'artificial creativity' involves the possibility of machines to be programmed to generate artifacts of any kind comparable with those made by a human mind, through processes and algorithms impossible for a human to reproduce manually. In classical music there exist many deep studies about the simulation of the style of a particular artist, through a painstaking analysis of his works and the individuation of certain 'patterns' which identify the seeds, rough but indicative, of the artist's style. David Cope has been involved in this studies for several years, and collected in this big tome a large mass of informations on this theme. From Mozart's experiments with dices to the mathematical algorithms of Iannis Xenakis, to the creations of choirs in the style of Bach using an expert system by Kemal Ebcioglu, to the neural nets of Dominik Hornel and Wolfram Menzel, used to create pieces similar to those composed by famous renaissance and baroque composers. The author introduces the reader to the 'game' of telling the original from the simulation, in a sort of musical 'Turing test' which, the reader is warned, has tricked almost half of the people who took it, as well as renowned musicologists with years of experience. The use of a database for creating a piece in the style of Mozart is described step by step and allows the reader to see with his own eyes the generation of plausible patterns through the use of well designed algorithms. The obvious doubts about the epistemological validity of such experiments give rise to questions on the possibility to reproduce the unconscious and the experiences, sensations and personal feelings which contribute to formally generate the pieces. It's difficult to dispel such doubts in a simple way, but the formal research towards a possible authorship of the machine involves travelling through uncharted territories which are certainly worth exploring.