AI co-writes composition, performed by choir and published as sheet music.

AI co-writes composition, performed by choir and published as sheet music.

AI Generates Classical Music Piece: A Creative Experiment

AI Generated Music

Ed Newton-Rex, a renowned musician, and entrepreneur, has accomplished a groundbreaking feat, becoming the first author to publish a classical music piece composed using generative AI. Titled “I stand in the library,” this 15-minute composition for choir and piano was inspired by a poem generated by OpenAI’s GPT3 generative AI model.

The composition premiered at the Live from London online classical music festival, dazzling the audience with its innovative approach. Performed by the esteemed choral group VOCES8, the piece showcased the seamless integration of human talent and AI creativity. While the full performance is now available on the festival’s website (behind a paywall), here’s an exclusive preview to tantalize your senses.

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Finding Inspiration in AI

In an interview with TNW, Newton-Rex shared his creative process behind composing the piece. As one of the early testers of GPT3, he was captivated by its poetic abilities. To initiate the collaboration with AI, he simply gave the model the prompt, “Below is a poem about music and solitude.” Delighted by the first line it generated, “I stand in the library where a voice soars,” Newton-Rex decided to continue exploring its potential.

Curating the poem involved a fascinating interplay between human guidance and AI serendipity. Newton-Rex admitted to deleting lines and requesting regenerations when the AI got stuck in loops. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that his role primarily involved setting the endpoint and providing light curation. The resulting poem, he humbly expressed, may not win any awards but remains intriguingly beautiful.

Unveiling the AI’s Influence

A pivotal question arises when AI contributes to the creation of art: What role does it really play? In the case of “I stand in the library,” the AI-generated lyrics had a profound impact on the human composer’s creative journey. The AI’s random choice to mention a piano inspired Newton-Rex to craft a choir and piano piece—a combination he had not previously explored.

What emerged from this collaboration thrilled Newton-Rex. He discovered a new style that resonated deeply with him, leading him to compose more choir and piano pieces. Reflecting on this experience, he mused about the intricacies of AI’s influence, wondering how different his writing style would be had the AI not randomly suggested incorporating a piano. Thus, AI not only inspires but also helps creators venture into uncharted territories.

Newton-Rex, an established choral music composer, primarily publishes his works through UK-based sheet music publisher Boosey & Hawkes. However, when it came to “I stand in the library,” the publisher encountered legal complexities. Registering the copyright for both the music and the AI-generated text proved challenging without guidance from the UK’s Performing Rights Society (PRS).

Consequently, the composition is published as an instrumental piece, devoid of copyright protection for the AI-generated lyrics. This dilemma highlights an ongoing issue in the art world—how to navigate the legal landscape when AI contributes substantially to a creative work. Notably, AI-generated music has received intellectual property rights in some cases. Composer AIVA, an Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist, is registered under the France and Luxembourg authors’ right society (SACEM).

Newton-Rex acknowledged the potential limitations faced by music publishers without the ability to protect AI-generated text. Although he actively employs AI in his day job at Stability AI, he emphasizes that his creative process remains intact. This particular endeavor signifies an artistic experiment rather than a revolution aimed at replacing human poets. Rest assured, he asserts, he will continue to delve into conventional poetry beyond AI interventions.

The Enigmatic Poem by AI

For those curious about the AI-generated text that inspired this remarkable choral piece, here it is in its entirety:

I

I stand in the library
where a voice soars,
and I am taken back
to my childhood,
to the days when I first
heard the sound of the piano.
I was too young
to understand the meaning
of the words I was singing.
Yet the sound of the music
was in me, and I was moved
by the purity of that sound.

II

As I was borne along by the music, a solitary tear ran down my cheek. I did not understand why I was crying. I did not know that the voice I heard was my own.

III

Crouching by the window
in the library,
I hear a voice that is not mine
rise up from my chest.

IV

It is the sound of this voice
that I hear
through the window.
It is the sound
echoing through the trees
in the courtyard
that makes me
crouch down
and hide my face
in my hands.

V

In the darkness
of my mind,
there is a place
that I cannot reach.
It is there,
in that secret place,
that the most beautiful music
resides.

VI

I stand in the library.
I am surrounded by books.
They are my friends.
They are my teachers.
They are my protectors.
I can find comfort in their pages.
I can find knowledge in their words.
I can find safety in their presence.
I am never alone when I am with them.
They are always there for me,
Standing tall and proud,
Guarding their secrets,
Waiting to be discovered.

VII

Knowledge is like a river
It flows through our minds
And fills us with its wisdom
Its waters are clear and pure
And they quench our thirst for understanding
We drink in its richness
And it sustains us on our journey
Without knowledge, we would be lost
In the desert of ignorance
But with knowledge, we can find our way
To the oasis of enlightenment.

VIII

I am at war with the world,
And all its inhabitants.
They take and they take,
And they never give back.
But I find solace in books,
In the library’s quiet corners.
I can lose myself for hours,
And forget all my troubles.
I stand in the library,
And I am at peace.

Undoubtedly, AI has a vital role to play in creative endeavors. It injects random or pseudo-random inputs that ignite human creativity, leading to unexplored paths and unimagined outcomes. As Newton-Rex put it, “It’s like being in a writing room with someone.”

In conclusion, “I stand in the library” serves as a testament to the unlimited possibilities that emerge when AI collaborates with human imagination. It captures the essence of AI’s potential as an artistic experimenting tool, expanding the frontiers of traditional creation while honoring the intrinsic power of human creativity.