Does AI Democratize Musical Creation?

AI is possibly going to become a virtual collaborator with human composers. Music is a great candidate for AI, because “it’s math,” as many say, meaning it’s highly systematized and fully measurable in time, volume, tempo, frequency, and pitch. As such, it’s a prime database for machine learning. AI extrapolates patterns and traits from previous musical works to anticipate and predict options for the human composer. It is similar to word prompts on our smartphones as we type texts. There are serious copyright issues with the training of machines on copyright protected music.

We are as musicologists at the intersection of music, technology and law, applying our musical analysis training to the legal protection of musical creativity. How did Beethoven, who was deaf and lived in isolation, come up with his Fifth Symphony? What else might Beethoven have composed today if he had had the assistance of AI to overcome his barriers? Imagine what would have happened if the gifts of technology had allowed Beethoven to hear and actually feel the vibrations of his own music? Instead of waiting for an orchestra to learn and play his symphony, he could have used AI to play it back to him with a virtual orchestra.

And it’s not just about the musical geniuses. AI now has the ability to democratize the creation of music beyond elite professional musicians. Average people, simply motivated by musical passion and potential, can create music with AI. 

© 2024, Judith Finell MusicServices Inc.

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