Artificial intelligence meets Beethoven’s final, unfinished symphony

Posted on: December 20, 2019

“Beethoven’s unfinished symphony is set to be completed by artificial intelligence, in the run-up to celebrations around the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth,” writes Maddy Shaw Roberts in Monday’s (12/16) Classic FM (U.K.). “A computer is set to complete Beethoven’s unfinished tenth symphony, in the most ambitious project of its kind. Artificial intelligence has recently been used to complete Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony No. 8, as well as to attempt to match the playing of revered 20th-century pianist, Glenn Gould…. When [Beethoven] died in 1827, he left only drafts and notes of the composition…. A team of musicologists and programmers have been training the artificial intelligence, by playing snippets of Beethoven’s unfinished Symphony No. 10, as well as sections from other works like his ‘Eroica’ Symphony. The AI is then left to improvise the rest…. It remains to be seen—and heard—whether the new completed composition will sound anything like Beethoven’s own compositions…. Although the computer will write the music, a living composer will orchestrate it for playing. The results of the experiment will be premiered by a full symphony orchestra, in a public performance in Bonn—Beethoven’s birthplace in Germany—on 28 April 2020.”