Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Greetings all!

I just wish to share with you a short film I have produced about "The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2020", which motivated Ai-music researchers to develop systems that can create plausible tunes in this particular style. Submissions generated by seven different Ai systems were evaluated by four experts in Irish traditional music, including Paudie O’Connor and Kevin Glackin. This film takes a close look at the challenge and the two winning jigs.

https://youtu.be/KSoSyoEx6hc


The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2021 is all about Scandinavian polskas (https://github.com/boblsturm/aimusicgenerationchallenge2021), but a future challenge will return to Irish traditional music, the reel!

These challenges are part of the MUSAiC project (https://musaiclab.wordpress.com/), funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 864189).

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

the 1st jig played by Paudie on box and Aoife and Roisin on fiddles was a cracker - I could easily believe it was a trad tune. The 2nd played by Jennika Andersson seemed a bit more contrived.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Thanks Jeremy.

That particular tunebook of 10,001 is generated by the (benchmark) system, which produced the jig awarded second prize (#7983, renamed by Jennikel). The tunebook of 10,001 generated by the system that "wrote" the first-place jig (#8091, renamed by Paudie) is here:
https://github.com/boblsturm/aimusic2020/blob/master/tunes_folkrnnv2wcritic.pdf

The tunes in that second tunebook of 10,001 were generated by a version of the benchmark system, but were curated by an "artificial critic", selecting the outputs "most similar" to the 365 double jigs in O’Neill’s "1001" — and also detecting and removing plagiarism. The tunes in each book were titled by another system trained to title tunes.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

A nice tune! - my thoughts are based on the infinite monkeys, infinite typewriters idea. The winning tune was still selected by humans, presumably after many failures and trial and error - so can this not be a case of over fitting to human curation?

For example, if instead of a providing infinite typewriters, we provide a infinite machines with buttons sending ‘sentences by shakespeare’ - then then monkeys will arrive at the correct shakespeare works sooner rather than later. Is there any analysis to suggest that the models are developing an ear for what makes a good tune (e.g. all the qualities Paudio O’Connor talks about in the vid).

Also with it being a rnn, is it possible to see what ‘influences’ the tune has, i.e. how the model built the tune?

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Fascinating stuff and well done. I agree the first tune sounded more legit to me, but the second one was certainly plausible.

O’Neill sometimes wrote about tunes "having no author" and emerging over time from a body of tradition, which is what the computer more or less does here.

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Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

ps did the first tune have a touch of ‘Hag at the Churn’ about it?

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

I agree with Christy Taylor: the first jig is very good.
BUT do we really need a computer to get that tune? In the future, what will we ask a computer to do that we won’t bother to do ourselves?
Personally, I’d rather have one jig composed by Paul O’Shaugnessy (for example) than 10,000 produced by a computer (I’ve read several dozen of these artificial tunes, and all of them are really mediocre, in my opinion).
While I acknowledge the merits of those who have developed the computer process to generate artificial tunes, a process that could certainly generate other softwares in other fields, I am very dubious (to put it mildly) about the relevance, the merits of "composing" artificial "stylistic imitations".
Do we belong to the last generation capable of composing melodies without computer assistance?
Without opening up too wide a debate, I ask the question of the desirable limits of computers, even if, in the case in point, there is no vital danger… Although, if we consider that music is indeed part of our civilisation, and that some teenagers are no longer able to make a clear, sharp and precise distinction between real life and a video game…
Moreover, the "artificial tunes" no. 34 and 36 have titles ("Paddy Fahey’s" and "The Humours of Ballymanus") that apply to "real" tunes belonging to "real" Irish traditional music. If this problem is not given serious attention, there is a great risk that, in a few decades, these two artificial tunes will be confused with the real ones. History has proven time and again that amalgam after amalgam has led to real tragedies. What we are dealing with here is obviously not comparable to this example. But I believe that the beauty of art lies in its authenticity.
My opinion is that the computer must be at the service of humans, must be used to do (under control) what a human being is not capable of doing (medical imaging, etc.), must be used to help us, to save us time for example so that we have more time to … compose! But a computer must not replace the human being in what he is most wonderful: creativity and spontaneity.
It is true that computers are an extraordinary help in countless fields (TheSession is an excellent proof). I don’t need to say anything more on this subject.
But shouldn’t we make sure to place limits, markers, safeguards? For my part, I am convinced of this.
I was told that in a Nordic country, an experiment has been started in a primary school where pupils are no longer taught to write by hand, but only with a computer keyboard. Isn’t it dangerous to open such "Pandora’s boxes"?
I do not mean that progress should be prevented (otherwise we would never have invented the wheel!), but that it must absolutely be controlled sufficiently and, depending on the case, in a very strict manner.
There are other considerations, for instance: is it really necessary for the European Union to provide funds for such research when most of the musicians, festivals, music schools, summer courses, instrument makers, etc. (in short, living music) are always in need of support, more than ever since the crisis provoked by the bl*** Mrs Corona?
To end on a less serious note, I would like to point out that in French, one says "aïe" [pronounced almost like a short "I"] to signify pain ("ow" or "ouch"), doubt, or even the need to be careful (before pain…).
"Ai"-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"?
Aïe, Aïe…

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Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Thanks for your comments!

@jamesa: Each participant submitted a collection 10,000 tunes, more or less. Five tunes were selected at random from each collection and sent to the judges for evaluation. Many more details on how the judges evaluated the tunes and the scores distributed across the seven participating systems are discussed here: https://highnoongmt.wordpress.com/2020/11/20/the-ai-music-generation-challenge-2020-summary-and-results/

"Is there any analysis to suggest that the models are developing an ear for what makes a good tune". That’s a loaded question! The winning system has a clear ability to repeat and vary material that is within the style, as well as create cadences at the right times. It seems able to "count" too. What it is not so good at is focusing on one idea and developing it. I have been working with the system for years now, and know it as a hyperactive student with too many ideas. When I do edit generated material, most often it is to simplify and unify.

@Moxhe Thank you for your thoughts. We absolutely do _not_ need a computer to get that tune just as we also absolutely do _not_ need a piano to play music. That’s not really an argument against pianos and computers. 🙂 The three principal aims of these challenges are: 1) to promote meaningful approaches to evaluating music Ai; 2) to see how music Ai research can benefit from considering traditional music, and how traditional music might benefit from music Ai research; and 3) to facilitate discussions about the ethics of music Ai research applied to traditional music practices. The tunes resulting from the competition are secondary really to the engagement with practitioners and learning together.

"But shouldn’t we make sure to place limits, markers, safeguards?" This is one of the key questions of the MUSAiC project. How might/will Ai affect living traditions in ways that are good or bad? Were there a MUSAiC project in 1900, it would have asked these questions about sound recording technology and the automobile. Note too that Ai is not just the cute parlour trick of a system farting out plausible double jigs. It’s also present in TunePal identification, YouTube and Spotify recommendation, automated music transcription systems, etc. We are considering Ai in several contexts.

"I believe that the beauty of art lies in its authenticity." Thinking about the O’Connor performance, I guess it is inauthentic for other reasons than the tune they play. "Irish music is entirely a matter of solo expression, and not of group activity," as Dr. Seán O’Riada says in “Our Musical Heritage” broadcast on Raidió Éireann in 1963. The O’Connors are not playing for dancers either, and the double jig is a dance! Last but not least, Paudie plays an accordion, the use of which in Irish traditional music – according O’Riada in the same radio show – "is to be greatly deplored". Of course, O’Riada is not a reliable spring of authenticity. His Ceoltóirí Chualann eventually led to the Chieftans, Dé Danann/De Dannan, Horslips (gasp!), and Tony MacMahon’s full-throated aspersions on the commodification of Irish traditional music… but then one of MacMahon’s long-time collaborators is Steve Cooney, playing a guitar – yet another inauthentic instrument in Irish traditional music. What is "authenticity"?

"Is it really necessary for the European Union to provide funds for such research when most of the musicians, festivals, … are always in need of support." The EU directly supports traditional culture throughout Europe in the "Creative Europe" programme (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/creative-europe/node_en). In the case of the 2020 challenge, all judges were paid for their contributions. So the EU is directly and indirectly funding practitioners of living traditions.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Fantastic film Bob! I’m going to put in a word for the underdog, I really like the second tune. It put me in mind of The Orphan.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Thanks Cheeky Elf! Of the two, I also prefer the last one. It is more pleasant to listen to, and has room for expression.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

In the late 1980’s I developed software for 8-bit computers, published in Commodore, Loadstar and Keyboard magazines, which composed jigs and reels. Certain stochastic parameters could be manipulated to change the output styles. I also had software (not my creation) which programmed synths to play decent chordal accompaniments to music in certain keys (such as D modes, A modes, or G modes, among others) and software that created random patches for synths. When one of these created a good concertina patch (OK, I tweaked it a bit) I turned the whole system on at the beginning of a living-room sesh and fooled my friends. Commodore 64’s and Casio CZ101’s, circa 1988. In all honesty i think your tunes look better, but hey, that’s 33 years back. All I can say is The Third Policeman’s Beard is Half-Constructed!

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Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Jim, pretty sure that first A# is just there to throw off the guitarists.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

Hmm, didn’t I read something like this on IRTRAD-L back in the days?

Yes, almost exactly 21 years ago (11 Apr 2000):

"In 1988 I published not one but two algorithms ( not to be confused with Al Gore Rhythm, which is a contradiction in terms) which produced jigs and reels.
These were in commodore BASIC, a superset of BASIC, but
demonstrated that this sort of algorithmic psuedorandom generation of a tune which has a set number of beats in set groups is a very easy thing to do.

Mozart once created a dice game which produced minuets.
Same idea.

For gigles I created a synth patch which sounded a bit too much like a concertina, and I’d set the whole thing going when I had tune-playing houseguests. Then I’d let them guess who the player was, and the style, cynical geeky folkpunk that I was in my youth. —-Paul(pgm)"

https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0004&L=IRTRAD-L&P=R17147

🙂

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

@pgm: Fantastic! It would be great if I could get a copy of those publications so I can add them to my catalogue. And if you have the software somewhere it would be great too!

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

As a tune composer, I feel personally threatened by this. I’ve already been replaced as a professional musician by Pandora and Spotify, and now I’m being replaced as a composer by this? Ah well, you can’t fight change. Make way for our new robot overlords.

Re: Ai-generated double jigs in the style of O’Neill’s "1001"

@jeff_lindqvist and @pgm3 I found one version!
https://archive.org/details/03-commodore-magazine/page/n95/mode/2up?q=irish
Now I will just have to type it all into an emulator and see what comes out.

@Jim Dorans, Fiddleologist Good to hear from you again. "The Humours Of Bringa" is a nice seed of a tune! I would play it like so:
K:Emin
|:EGB ^ABd|egf edB|AcB AGA|d2B Bcd|EGB ^ABd|efg fdB|dBG AFG|AGF E3:|
|:EGB e2f|ge^d eBe|dBA GAF|GBG FED|EGB e2^d|efg fdB|dBG AFG|AGF E3:|

@Lonnie the Harper My little parlour trick of an algorithm is not going to make you redundant. (Is there any sort of demand for double jigs these days?)