Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Computer Generated Sounds

Purely artificially computer generated sounds do not seem as though they would count as music. There are programs that can simulate music creation through algorithms and programming, but can they actually create music that can be considered art? It seems as though we have defined music to need some sort of artistic intention, and that our authors seem to think there is much more to music that just arranging a series of tones. So what is to be said about computers than can be taught the rules of music theory, shown a bunch of examples of music that is considered well-written, and then produce creations that are so alike the original that it is hard for listeners to tell the difference?
I think that, because the computers cannot do anything more than imitate and recreate what they have learned, that the music they create would not be considered "music" in the same regards as they composers they learned from. Unlike human composers, who try to find new and interesting ways to combine sounds and rhythm and create new concepts, the computer composer will only ever understand music so far as it has progressed at its current level, and has no ability to invent for itself.
I would maintain that the sounds created by machines are not art (unless specifically inputted as such by a human composer), but I am not entirely certain if this is a correct assumption.

Do you think computers can create music?


  1. Interesting question. Here's a link to a 2007 dissertation on the topic:


  2. In Art & Philosophy today someone discussed a similar computer program, but with poetry. This program, when it "reads" poems from the same style it can create a new one in that same style. Both the poetry and music computer programs’ creations, although they may sound aesthetically pleasing, and may even be considered music and poetry, are just so artificial. That leads me to ask if music and poetry must be authentic to be considered art?