When Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827, he left his 10th symphony unfinished. Working off just a few musical sketches and notes by the composer, a team of computer scientists at Rutgers University-based startup Playform AI trained an artificial intelligence to mimic his style and complete the symphony. The finished product was performed by The Beethoven Orchestra Bonn on 9 October 2021.

The use of AI for creative endeavors is not new, but more recently interest in using it for music composition has exploded. Machine learning promises to increase the pace and volume of content released by artists and makes music and composition more accessible to budding new artists. On one hand it helps to feed the seemingly insatiable desire for new content on streaming platforms but on the other, it threatens originality. There is also the question of “who owns the music that the software produces” – is it the programmer, the musician or the AI itself?

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