Google has invented a virtual accompanist

Google has invented a virtual accompanist


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2017

Feed it the music in advance and this device is supposed to anticipate your every breath.

(Do let us know if it works for you.)

Here’s a summary:

Google’s latest artificial intelligence experiment is a music-playing piano bot that digests whatever keyboard melodies you give it and tries to respond in kind. The neat tool is called AI Duet, and it’s part of an ongoing push from Google’s Creative Lab division to help the public familiarize themselves with AI and all the ways it can mimic human behavior — and even create art. A collection of music-focused AI tools were first shown off last fall, but now AI Duet in particular has been made available to the public.

AI Duet works by taking the notes you play using your computer’s keyboard and running it through a neural network that has been trained using machine learning with scores of examples. The neural net then looks for melodic and rhythmic patterns it can identify. Because it understands concepts like timing and staying in key from a hard data perspective — and not because it was ever explicitly told what to do — it’s able to then generate its very own organic melodies that, hopefully, sound like a direct response to your own. It was created by musician and computer scientist Yotam Man in collaboration with the Creative Lab and Magenta, Google’s open-source computational music and art project.


  • Halldor says:

    Very impressive bit of tech, but I think we can all guess its likely artistic limitations. Has anyone yet invented a musical equivalent of the Turing Test?

  • John Borstlap says:

    This is a great invention….. which will give a boost to contemporary music. Think of those thousands of composers out there with defective neural networks, now they can finally put some fantasy and invention into their work. Maybe we can finally do away with the existing repertoire which people know already, after so many repetitive performances… and replace it with music that is more compatible with the average neural network of the modern listener.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Interesting but it’s not accompaniment.

  • David Osborne says:

    I don’t get it.