February 25, 2024

Lenape Tech Times

The Monthly News Source from Lenape Technical School

Beethoven’s Final Symphony by Jordon Blystone

2 min read

Ludwig van Beethoven, a German composer and pianist, was one of the worlds most admired composers during his time. Upon his death in March of 1827, he left his 10th symphony unfinished, and only a couple handwritten notes explaining the plans for the symphony was left behind. To pick up where the great composer left off, the Rutgers University team lead by Professor Ahmed Elgammal, trained an artificial intelligence to mimic his style of composing using songs and music sheets of his best symphonies. Many of those who listened to Ludwig van Beethoven’s work always admired his style, composing, piano, and build-ups, although they felt the AI’s version of the symphony was not to par with his best work. There were many teams of composers and musicians that were assisting in their efforts to complete Beethoven’s tenth and final symphony. In order to get a more informed view of the matter, a member of CIT II, Brandon Waldenville was asked, “Do you think artificial intelligence can be the future of music?” Brandon replied with, “I would say it is possible for AI (artificial intelligence) to create music that the public would like but I feel that humans will still need to be involved to correct mistakes until it can do it well enough. I feel they could even generate sounds for radio instead of playing pre-made songs.” AI is a very powerful tool, anything that they are taught is possible to an extent, Rutgers University team is a prime example. This process was thought to be impossible until two years ago when the project was started.

This was not the first time that Beethoven’s unfinished symphony was attempted to be complete the way his notes intended, an example being in 1988 by a musicologist named Barry Cooper. He would go on to follow his left-over notes until there were no more instructions, he would then try to adopt Beethoven’s style of composition and write 531 bars of music that Beethoven had wished for in the notes he wrote on the unfinished symphony. This would be finished within a year of starting the project. Barry Cooper would then release this song online and on copies of CDs which can still be found in stores.

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