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Music By Natural Selection

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the survival-of-the-grooviest dept.

Music 164

maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."

cancel ×

164 comments

Sine waves (4, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30515980)

"Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed."

This is different from all other sounds, including regular music, how?

Re:Sine waves (5, Funny)

raymansean (1115689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516010)

Because they have cosine waves too :-)

Re:Sine waves (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516428)

Hey shit-for-brains: A cosine wave is just a sine wave shifted 90 degrees in phase.

Re:Sine waves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516480)

Whooooosh!

Re:Sine waves (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516596)

Ahhh, slashdot: one of the few places where the above could be considered a 'sick burn' (if it wasn't already a 'whoosh', that is).

Re:Sine waves (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518014)

Wow, this is one of the best instances of WHOOOSH I've ever seen on Slashdot. It's like it should be framed.

Re:Sine waves (5, Funny)

roadkill-maker (523041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516452)

Because they have cosine waves too :-)

Sounds shifty to me

Re:Sine waves (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516920)

More importantly, they are not asinine ...

Re:Sine waves (3, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516342)

This is different from all other sounds, including regular music, how?

Square waves [wikipedia.org] , triangle waves [wikipedia.org] , sawtooth waves [wikipedia.org] , and the ever popular noise (play with a SID chip someday). Sure, they're approximated by putting together sine waves, and they might even just happen to "evolve" from selected sine wave combinations, but the meaning came across just fine.

Re:Sine waves (0)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516844)

Our definitions of "music" might differ a bit, but most music doesn't make use of square waves, triangle waves, or sawtooth waves either.

Re:Sine waves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517158)

ANY electro? deadmau5?

Re:Sine waves (5, Funny)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517166)

Where the hell were you in the 80's? o.O

Re:Sine waves (5, Informative)

okmijnuhb (575581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517558)

Lots of music makes use of square waves. Distortion guitar is essentially a square wave. It starts as similar to a sine wave, the guitar amplifier or processor clips it into a square wave.

A square wave is a sine wave with added sine waves of odd harmonics to the fundamental.

Re:Sine waves (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518140)

"A square wave is a sine wave with added sine waves of odd harmonics to the fundamental."

So composed of sine waves, yes? It wold be quite fair to say that those square waves are made using sine waves as ingredients?

Re:Sine waves (2, Informative)

thestuckmud (955767) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518306)

Distortion guitar is essentially a square wave.

Not really.

A guitar's waveform is complex, so you won't get evenly timed transitions even with infinite overdrive and perfect clipping. Second, infinite overdrive sounds harsh so few guitarists use it (thus the continuing popularity vacuum tube amplifiers). Finally, the sound of electric guitars is also influenced by a speaker cabinet (or simulation thereof) with essentially no treble response.

I used to play with 555 timers for making noise as a kid. The sound has a brain numbing clickety quality. Here [wikimedia.org] is an example at approximately two octaves above middle C (the eighth fret on a guitar's high E string).

Re:Sine waves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517640)

Yes, maybe so, but those waves aren't ALIVE! THEY ARE LIES!

Sawtooth? Square? (1)

SammyIAm (1348279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517288)

It depends to what level of detail you want to look at, but there are some other waveforms that at least have their own names. I mean, to some extent these can still technically be represented by sine waves, but generally seem to have their own characteristics.

Re:Sawtooth? Square? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518122)

In general things like that don't actually exist in the real world. If you want to produce a square wave, for example, you actually end up approximating it, effectively with sinusoids. In the real world you just can't make things vibrate like that, and that includes air.

Sim City (1)

Xaduurv (1685700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518354)

For some reason I'm reminded of the Sim City soundtracks when I listen to this...

Already slashdotted ? (2, Funny)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516020)

No reply yet and the website can't even load.. now I understand why we don't RTFA!

Re:Already slashdotted ? (5, Funny)

RendonWI (958388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516174)

Maybe they are trying to evolve their server into one that can handle a slashdot load.

Re:Already slashdotted ? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517182)

That'd take billions of years.

Re:Already slashdotted ? (5, Funny)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517198)

Update: The icon has loaded.

Re:Already slashdotted ? (5, Informative)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516894)

I'm the site admin. Sorry for the inability to withstand slashdotting. This was supposed to only go in "Idle"...

You can get to the actual evolving music bit
via this ugly EC2 URL [amazonaws.com]

That link will not work in a few days from now (when I let go of the machine). Too stingy to pay for an elastic IP ;-)

cheers,
Bob.

Responding faster for me now... (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517482)

I tweaked some Apache config with help from the hosting provider, removed some unnecessary audio content from the front page, and it seems to be responding better now...

And it's sounding sweet!

Re:Responding faster for me now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30518068)

You do know that your site is serving up malware currently, right?

Re:Responding faster for me now... (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518118)

It must be a DNS hack because I'm really not seeing it! Can you give some more info?

Re:Responding faster for me now... (1)

LO0G (606364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518260)

Navigate to the link in the article: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2009/12/amanda-gefter-books-arts.php [newscientist.com]

It was serving up fake anti-virus malware.

Re:Responding faster for me now... (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518296)

Thanks for the info. I'll mention that to the journalist at New Scientist. I've got adblock so I don't see it.

Sine waves? (3, Informative)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516038)

Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed.

All signals can be represented with a set of sine waves. That's what makes Fourier transforms so useful.

What would be really impressive is if they had music that can't be represented as a set of sine waves.

Re:Sine waves? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516134)

It's called country music.

Well, technically it could be represented by sine waves, but the sine waves refused to represent THAT!

Re:Sine waves? (2, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516170)

It's called country music.

Well, technically it could be represented by sine waves, but the sine waves refused to represent THAT!

It's doable, you just need to use sine waves that are wearing cowboy hats.

Re:Sine waves? (4, Insightful)

KumquatOfSolace (1412203) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516786)

Close enough? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sine waves? (2, Funny)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517384)

Warning: if you follow the parent's link you will be Ricker Rolled.

Re:Sine waves? (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517088)

That would be...

*sunglasses*...

cowsine

YEEAAAAAAAHH!

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516184)

+ Cosine

Re:Sine waves? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516364)

Crap, I knew there would be some reason that my post should have started with the words, "I'm pretty sure that".

Re:Sine waves? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516468)

Nope, a Cosine wave is just a phase shifted Sine wave.

Re:Sine waves? (2, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516430)

How about an infinite piece of non-repeating music, consisting of say, a beep at every prime second and silence otherwise?

Re:Sine waves? (3, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516580)

How about an infinite piece of non-repeating music, consisting of say, a beep at every prime second and silence otherwise?

This isn't remotely my area of expertise, but I believe that would be representable with an infinitely large set of sine waves.

A simpler "gotcha" is a perfectly square pulse. For example, 1 HZ for 1 second, complete silence before and after that second. I believe that requires an infinite number of sine waves to model as well.

Re:Sine waves? (1)

G-forze (1169271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516688)

Any perfectly square wave requires an infinate amount of sine waves to be replicated (or: consists of the same). In reality there are no perfect square waves and one just has to draw the line for "good enough" somewhere.

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516948)

Any Bessel function requires an infinite amount of sin waves, and those are what drums produce, yet my bass sounds just fine.

Re:Sine waves? (1)

TeethWhitener (1625259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517794)

Technically, you can take the Fourier transform of any Lebesgue-integrable function, which all of these seem to be. Unfortunately, the simplest non-integrable functions tend to infinite values at some points (think integral of 1/x from 0 to 3), which would probably be pretty hard on the ears. So yeah, I'm gonna go with country music.

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517986)

"For example, 1 HZ for 1 second, complete silence before and after that second."

A square wave is a mathematical idea, with zero rise time and an infinite harmonic series. It also contains an infinite amount of energy. Fourier analysis can only be done on finite-energy waveforms. It can never be audibly reproduced.

Anyway, an ideal square wave is not really a waveform at all. A waveform must have a time component, and the ideal square waves transitions would take zero time to complete.

Re:Sine waves? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518384)

What about noise?

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516634)

How about an infinite piece of non-repeating music, consisting of say, a beep at every prime second and silence otherwise?

I think that's doable, provided you employ a continuous (not discrete) Fourier transform. I'm not certain, though. It has been awhile since my undergrad classes on the subject.

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516838)

You'd have to prove the Riemann Hypothesis first!

Re:Sine waves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30518226)

Oh, you geeks who think you know everything, but don't understand the discussion here about sine waves!

OF COURSE all waveforms can be analyzed in terms of sine waves. But if you've ever actually listened to a sine wave (or a square wave), it's quite boring. No, composers of music (from Classical to Death Metal) generally work with more complex waveforms - whether they be from acoustic instruments or synthesizers or a blend of both. These more-complex waveforms can also of course be analyzed in terms of sine waves, but the point is that the composer rarely STARTS WITH sine waves and definitely does not think in terms of sine waves.

What this project seems to involve is evolving a complex waveform via mutations that only involve the manipulation of simple sine wave impulses. But yes, I thought the comment about cosine waves was clever.

But here's the main reason I posted this comment ... Distorted electric guitars (and I should know, since I've played one for over 35 years) generally do NOT produce square waves. Overdriving a guitar's signal involves non-linear amplification, which introduces harmonic distortion. However, the non-linear amplification rarely involves hard clipping -- which would only produce an APPROXIMATE square wave anyway -- because that, too, sounds very crappy no matter how hardcore your musical tastes might run. Besides, an undistorted guitar signal is already very complex, so hard-clipping it doesn't produce regular squarewaves. All it does is obscure and obliterate the harmonic richness that was already in the undistorted signal.

With very few exceptions, the myriad flavors of distortion that guitarists use only introduce a variety of subtle (or not-so-subtle) non-linearity, producing complex waveforms that definitely do NOT have flat sides or tops. Check it out in your favorite waveform editing software. A distorted signal merely ANALYZES TO sine waves that include harmonics of the sine waves to which the original, undistorted signal analyzes. And even THAT wouldn't sound very musical if the high frequencies weren't heavily rolled off (usually by playing through guitar speakers, which don't have tweeters).

"When someone says they know how to PLAY a guitar, they usually mean they know how to WORK a guitar. Playing a guitar is something else entirely." -- Christopher Campbell

OMG?? (1)

phloe (264566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516074)

Did I just get Rick-rolled?!?

Re:OMG?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517302)

Were you looking in your pants?!?

Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (1, Funny)

not-too-smatr (1659369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516144)

In fact, isn't this playing God?

Evolutionary Algorithms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516278)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm

The main difference between this and many other evolutionary algorithms is that the 'selection' criteria is that which gets the most votes, as opposed to a more quickly calculable equation.

Re:Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (1)

Brad Mace (624801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516298)

Do you not understand the word-symbols you're putting into your computer-box or do you just like being contrarian? God 'designs' things the way he wants them the first time. This music is generated randomly, then subjected to fitness tests in the form of listener reviews. The fittest members survive and provide the input material which is then randomly mutated again for the next generation.

Re:Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517274)

At first glance, I agreed that the original poster looked like flamebait, but there is actually some sense to what is being said. In natural evolution, selection happens as a result of the environment, which determines if and when creatures die or reproduce. In this case, people rate music, deciding how successful each loop is. If people were doing this with creatures and not music, it would be fair to call it selective breeding.

Re:Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517952)

Good god, who gave the armchair philosopher a Slashdot account?

If you want to play academic philosopher then, what makes selective breeding different from natural selection?
If there are 2 very similar plants but the fruit on one tastes good to animals but the other's does not. If the tasty one has its seeds scattered over far larger areas and in larger amounts by animal 'waste', is that selection "natural" or "selective"? Really, the only argument I can see for "natural" is that "selective" is a completely arbitrary label and only applies to things that humans do since humans are so different from everything else (not).

Evolutionary/genetic algorithms are essentially designing a universe and then having 'entities' that grow within the constraints of that universe so as to better survive the environment. Really, how is having humans do the rating different from using a mathematical function? Answer: the difference is moot.

Re:Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516506)

If the gods compete, maybe it's both, eh?

Re:Isn't this the opposite of evolution? (2, Funny)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517346)

Polytheism in a nutshell!

Not particularly original (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516154)

"Paragraph 7" by Cornelius Cardew, among other works, explored similar ground decades earlier. (Citation to my friend's book on Brian Eno's Another Green World.)

slashdotted already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516156)

You should probably make sure your servers can handle the traffic before asking slashdot to come help out :)

WARNING: AntivirusXP (5, Informative)

BabaChazz (917957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516162)

The site has paid ads, one of which apparently has been taken over by the XPAntiVirus people. If you visit the site, it will install malware, unless you are using Firefox and Linux.

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (1)

MathiasRav (1210872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516194)

I'm using Chromium nightly on Debian! Oh no, I'm gonna get infected by this! Good thing I have Namoroka lying around somewhere... What would I do without those Mozilla folks?!

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (5, Funny)

cl0s (1322587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516218)

Thanks for the warning.. I was trying to install it using Wine.

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (1)

BabaChazz (917957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516332)

Yeah, abuse me... just because I use FF on Linux to be safe, I assume everyone else does too. Yeah, any browser on any Linux distro will be safe, as will any browser on Windows with scripting disabled (good luck with that if you insist on using MSIE), and any OSX-based system... though it'll still hammer your browser on any OS if you have scripting enabled.

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516454)

Is the virus evolving too? I certainly hope no~ &6, {,% v#k ;` ~

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516464)

FF on windows is vulnerable? Current versions?

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (1)

BabaChazz (917957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516586)

Don't know. Apparently yes - I'm on FF and Win ATM. It put up the usual warning box, I alt-F4'ed, it started putting up the usual "Scanning progress" window, I alt-F4'ed again before it completed page load.

I suspect that if I had hit any of the handy close boxes within the window that it would have installed; FF unfortunately accepts click on page-defined button, generally, as permission.

Re:WARNING: AntivirusXP (1)

ultramk (470198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516910)

...or a Mac and any browser.

No paid ads (2, Informative)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517694)

This is an academic site and there are no paid ads. It hasn't been compromised either, as far as I can tell.

If You're Looking for an Introduction to This (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516178)

A long time ago when I was learning lisp, I worked through an interesting book [comcast.net] by Heinrich Taube called Notes from the Metalevel [amazon.com] . A very enlightening and interesting work for people interested in both music theory and computer science.

Re:If You're Looking for an Introduction to This (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517002)

Note that the DarwinTunes experiment doesn't use any post-processing...the loops are entirely created by software, and the only human input is "I like it" (on a 5-point scale). It's the ultimate, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

Ok wait a minuet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516186)

Gradual modification of something based on choosing which random change sounds best is not "natural selection", since the changes are being rated by intelligent minds. I would call it "intelligent selection". Darwinism groupthink rears its ugly head again.

*The title of this reply is a deliberate pun, not a randomly-evolved one.

Re:Ok wait a minuet (1)

Jupiter Jones (584946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516408)

IANA biologist, but nothing in the theory of natural selection precludes "intelligent" selection, as far as I know. There simply needs to be some sort of fitness function. Intelligence, in some form or another, factors into this all the time. In this case, fitness is determined by whether a bunch of people like it or not. That's really no different than a plant appearing attractive to a bee, or a beetle tasting nasty to a lizard.

JJ

Re:Ok wait a minuet (1)

prograde (1425683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517402)

Not really. In this experiment, the music is evolving in an environment where "fitness" equates with "what people say they like". The people voting can't make changes to the music, they only get to say how much they like it (on a 5-point scale).

It's not even selective breeding, where a breeder has a trait that they are looking to improve and forces mating among individuals which exhibit that trait.

It just sounds like.... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516260)

...minimalistic electronic music.

Re:It just sounds like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30516386)

No, it sounds just like a slashdottet server, you insensitive clod!

Not a novel idea (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516504)

I remember reading papers on this during my AI classes in the mid 90's. I don't see how this is impressive nearly 15 years later.

Here's the first link I found on G.P. Music from '98 which actually had the computer rate some of the music.
http://graphics.stanford.edu/~bjohanso/papers/gp98/johanson98gpmusic.pdf [stanford.edu]
If you look at his references, people were doing this in the '80's.

No, I didn't RTFA. I didn't even read the article I linked in this post, so don't get upset if they aren't completely related.

copyright? (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516548)

What keeps people from herding it toward an existing copyrighted tune? Even composers accidentally do this all the time.

Re:copyright? (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516776)

Nothing, presumably. And it'll be quite interesting if that happens.

Re:copyright? (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517032)

How would you get enough people to agree on the tune?

Rage against the copyright? (1)

smolloy (1250188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517790)

Set up a Facebook group to fight against the continued xmas dominance of Simon Cowell's evolved algorithms.

Re:copyright? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517108)

composers accidentally do this all the time.

John Williams and his enourmous pile of money would like to have a word with you.

Re:copyright? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517370)

...and George Harrison would like to have a word with YOU.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsUkACDSIZY [youtube.com]

Re:copyright? (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518366)

... call 1.800.783.8068 and ask for John Edward. He will get the message through.

Re:copyright? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517910)

True. I don't think our copyright system accomodates for covergent evolution in user-generated content.

The RIAA on the other hand is staunchly opposed to evolution of any type, as it's what's threatening their buisiness model.

pedant edit (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517928)

I guess this isn't really user generated content.

Careful what you ask for! (2, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30516562)

>...but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time.

Your wish is our Slashdotting! That's a name-brand CPU cooling solution you're running, right? Gooood.

Re:Careful what you ask for! (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517142)

>...but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time.

Your wish is our Slashdotting! That's a name-brand CPU cooling solution you're running, right? Gooood.

I don't think that COTS is going to work. He'll have to have some kind of custom liquid cooling package. Maybe they could have a mic hooked up to the CPU and the sound they're actually trying to get is what happens acoustically when a CPU dies.

Drew Curtis (of Fark) has the same kind of sentiment. "You want traffic? Be careful what you wish for."

Music by "intelligent design" (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517092)

That "27K ratings" sort of changes things, don't you think? Certainly, a "rating" sounds more rigorous than traditional, Darwinian, "useful mutations live longer/reproduce more".

Re:Music by "intelligent design" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30517388)

Not really much difference. If the software generates some initial music, produces some offsprings by copying, recombining and mutating and discards many of them on people's ratings, then it's the same thing that happens in genetic algorithms. The hearers build a selection function by rating that music and so the music evolves that it can survive in that environment (=people hearing it and clicking the rating buttons. ) The requirements to survive obviously get harsher over time, as the music evolves, also an analogy to nature, there is competition between similar organisms and there is the preditor-pray relation. Since the hearers always kill the weakest, even if it's a lot better than in the beginning, they could also be compared to some co-evolving preditors.
I was formerly thinking about doing something like that, too, since I'm interested in music, but only know, what I like to hear, not how to get there by writing it myself.^^

Re:Music by "intelligent design" (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517576)

Not really. Instead of thinking of it as music you like versus music you don't like, think of it as music that succedes and music that doesn't. By analogy, imagine the listeners are hunters and the music the prey, better music is equivilent to prey that is better at evading preditors.

Maybe a more interesting experiment would be to have a baseline of human generated music which the computer generated music would have to hide in. Play it as a loop with computer generated music randomly interspersed with human generated and have the listener push a button as soon as they are sure the music is artificial. Of course, this would require large database of human generated electronic music, and would probably take more generations to produce a good result but it would be closer to natural selection in the survival quality is the ability to 'hide' inside human composed music, rather than an arbitrary 'goodness' rating.

Slashdotted... (1)

skeenan (909507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517130)

Well, they got the exposure they wanted... if only their site could handle it :)

Re:Slashdotted... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517564)

No problems loading here. After a couple of minutes, I'm tired of it. Time to kill it. No cowbells. No drums. No strings. No piano. Nada. Just strange synthesizer noises from decades ago - as has already been pointed out. A couple of loops almost sound good, but mostly just boring repetition.

Re:Slashdotted... (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517922)

Head to Evolectronica when the slashdot dust has settled. I'm planning to give it a make-over and some banging new evo-tunes.

grammidity (3, Interesting)

jefu (53450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517328)

I've written a few genetic algorithm/programming things for "music" over the years. However, not being a musician, I approached it only from an algorithmic perspective. The last of these, called "grammidity" can attempt to evolve sequences of midi events based on a kind of grammar that evolves (loosely based on the ideas behind L-systems). I had it online for a couple of years, but it never evolved much of anything interesting. The source code (java) is on sourceforge [sourceforge.net] and includes ways to evolve "plants" and a fuzzer that generates html and which worked quite nicely to break browsers a couple of years back.

A good idea in theory (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517430)

I was able to do some rating for a while, and I think the results are fairly cool, but it may not produce anything very interesting for a couple reasons.

The first is that there isn't strong enough evolutionary pressure. There are too many people rating with very different opinions of what sounds good. I think it would be much more interesting to create different channels. Classical, jazz, ambient, electronica, whatever. It's still a very broad definition but not so much that our ratings aren't just noise.

Secondly, the algorithms used to generate the music are really important. I couldn't find any information on it, but the way the notes are put together seems fairly random. I think it's important to stick to what we do know sounds good... to an extent. For example, the gene could contain information on which way to move the current note, rather than the specific note. That way you could limit it to 2 or 3 steps and lay it over a scale or mode. The willy nillyness of it will guarantee that we pick 'safe' consonant sounding harmonies. 5ths and 4ths with beep boop melodies.

Very interesting though, I can't wait to see what happens with this.

Re:A good idea in theory (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517598)

"Secondly, the algorithms used to generate the music are really important."
They are fundamentaly flawed...

I Like ketchup, beer and chocolate, but put these all in a blender and it tastes like shit.

To top it: evolution is no longer pressent. What is evolution? Those who are fit for their environment survive and all others die. Currently we are no longer adapting to our invironment, but adapting our environment to ourselves.

Nice idea, but an utter failure, sorry...

Re:A good idea in theory (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30517718)

Currently we are no longer adapting to our invironment, but adapting our environment to ourselves.

You are incorrect. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that human evolution is not only still happening, but accelerating.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/12/13/evolution.speedup/index.html [cnn.com]

The rest of your post was equally nonsensical.

Re:A good idea in theory (1)

maccallr (240314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518056)

I was able to do some rating for a while, and I think the results are fairly cool, but it may not produce anything very interesting for a couple reasons.

The first is that there isn't strong enough evolutionary pressure. There are too many people rating with very different opinions of what sounds good. I think it would be much more interesting to create different channels. Classical, jazz, ambient, electronica, whatever. It's still a very broad definition but not so much that our ratings aren't just noise.

You're right, and this is why we wanted to do the experiment. Nearly a month ago we had 120 Imperial College students do 250 ratings each for us over a week. We replicated the experiment 3 times (40 students per population) and assumed that these students would have a mix of musical and cultural backgrounds. We got 75 generations out of it, and the results were much more musical than the random material we started with [darwintunes.org] , but now we realise that 200+ generations is where it's at!

Secondly, the algorithms used to generate the music are really important. I couldn't find any information on it, but the way the notes are put together seems fairly random. I think it's important to stick to what we do know sounds good... to an extent. For example, the gene could contain information on which way to move the current note, rather than the specific note. That way you could limit it to 2 or 3 steps and lay it over a scale or mode. The willy nillyness of it will guarantee that we pick 'safe' consonant sounding harmonies. 5ths and 4ths with beep boop melodies.

Very interesting though, I can't wait to see what happens with this.

Absolutely, the choice of 4/4 time signature, 12 note scale, tempo etc all have a big effect. As do the types of synths, effects (there's reverb but no delay), quantisation (there's no way to get triplets, for example), no glissando, the list goes on.
We tried to boil it down to the simplest and least arbitrary implementation possible, but that was an infinite task!

And yes, a lot of it does seem to be picking the "non-rubbish" loops, although recently (post-slashdot) I've been hearing some quite adventurous stuff.

Your thoughts are welcome on the Facebook Group :-)

wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30518062)

They can 'evolve' music, but they can't use the decades of historical weather data we have and the massive computing power we have developed to 'evolve' a weather forecasting program.

Creative Commons license (1)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 4 years ago | (#30518108)

I see their individual loops are covered by the creative commons license for non-commercial use with attribution, but I'm search of new On Hold music, so I'm hoping we can come up with some sort of solution. It's a problem when you have zero budget though. heh

I'm looking forward to future generations when they start to do good transitions between different loops, that will be interesting.
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