Play a Piano Duet with a Computer Thanks to Neural Networking

Feb 20 2017 -- 8:00 PM

Making music is a lot of fun, but the experience is its most fulfilling when you're making music with somebody else. But what if your friends aren't that musically inclined? If you're willing to look outside of humanity for a collaborator, Google has developed a neural network that can duet with you on the piano (via LaughingSquid).

The experiment is called A.I. Duet, and as coder Yotam Mann says in the video above, it "uses machine learning to let you play a duet with the computer." He also explains that more traditional coding would not have worked well for this type of application, because he would need to program a response for every single user input. There are just too many possible combinations for this to make sense from a programming standpoint.


This is where the neural network comes in. The software was presented with a bunch of different melodies, which it then processed and learned about, analyzing the relationships between different notes and timing and musical things like that. Mann says the application goes beyond what he taught it, since it's able to pick up on things like key and rhythm, which he never explicitly programmed.

Perhaps the best part is that both Mann's code and Google's Magenta neural network are totally open source, so any programmer/musician could foster their own musical neural network. Of course, if you'd rather just mash some keys and see how the program responds, you can totally just kill an afternoon doing that here.

Featured image: Google Developers