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Exciting Future of Music

Imagine owning a computer equipped with the right software programs so it can understand and anticipate live music well enough to accompany you while playing the piano. Once again, technology has transformed what was yesterday's science fiction into an amazing reality.

A researcher at the University of Indiana has developed software that analyzes the waveforms emitted by musical instruments, not only to transcribe music but replay those same complex harmonies in synch with a live musician, without missing a beat. Additionally, there's a Columbia University researcher who has written a program using machine learning techniques that can teach a computer how to understand the rules of music by loading 92 recordings and their music scores.

Even recording artists you may have heard on the radio -- or don't want to hear -- use similar music technology to mask their inability to stay on pitch.

Some experts speculate computers may enhance the art of music itself by creating new forms that can play many more notes at once than humans are able to perform and help students learn how to play instruments more efficiently and faster.

The potential for this innovation is profound. Eventually, you will be able to feed a computer program your music and it will be able to find precise similar music matches, BUT it will also be able to create new music that never even existed before.

Ars Technica April 30, 2007