How to solve the musical equation in 5 minutes

Published: 2024-05-29
Author: Irina Afanaseva

To understand the context of this problem, imagine the long-awaited evening after a typical workday in an ordinary family, when dinner, feeding the pets, and household chores are behind, and the long-awaited relaxation time begins. Silence.

The eagerly awaited silence was interrupted by the disheveled teenager Jacob, saying, ‘That’s it! It’s over! Nothing will save me. I forgot that I have a responsible song presentation tomorrow, which I haven’t even started writing!’

According to the problem, young Jacob is passionate about music and is even the frontman of his own band and the author of compositions. He enjoys his passion, but he has become so immersed in creativity and his unrestrained fantasies that he has forgotten about his other responsibilities. Just a week ago, he was asked to write a hymn for the school sports team, and tomorrow his presentation is supposed to take place within the school walls.

In any other situation, adults would definitely blame the younger generation for irresponsibility and a careless attitude towards their duties: ‘What were you thinking, playing basketball, not mowing the lawn, being idle.’ But time is short, and Jacob needs help.

To solve the musical equation in five minutes, the boy’s family joined forces and began to suggest various solutions – an everyday-life solution and a technical one.

‘Okay, I’m on it!’ shouted Jacob’s mom, throwing on her coat and rushing off in an unknown direction.

Or rather, in a known direction: Jacob’s mom dashed to her neighbors – friends who, like her, held great respect for any form of creativity. Her chosen solution was to gather advice from her girlfriends and search for a plan of salvation together, because desperate women are ready for anything! Desperate housewives can master any musical instrument in 20 minutes, become composers in 10 minutes, and easily write several volumes of texts in the remaining 35 minutes. This time, they outdid themselves, forgetting about Jacob and his task, but instead arranged a creative evening at the nearest karaoke bar.

‘What’s there to think about! Jacob is already a grown boy; let him do his tasks himself, and then he can mow the lawn!’ shouted Grandma after the fleeing mom.

To solve the musical equation in five minutes, she pulled out sports newspapers from an old chest of drawers, which she occasionally revisited, admiring the muscular figures of baseball players. She handed Jacob scissors and began to hum. Jacob and Grandma cut out random words from magazine articles and combined them, assembling them in a new order. Grandma assured that it would turn into a brilliant masterpiece, as they had to sacrifice their favorite magazines for the school anthem.

Jacob’s elder brother, who also enjoyed looking through Grandma’s sports magazines and therefore wanted to preserve them at all costs, joined in solving the musical equation. He led Jacob to the computer and typed the coveted word on the keyboard – Napster. ‘We’ll send someone on the platform a file with Jacob’s music, and in return, we’ll get hundreds, no, thousands of anthems!’ It seemed like the problem was already solved, but a message appeared on the computer screen: ‘Napster is blocked by court order for repeated copyright infringement.’

Seeing that no one could solve the musical equation, Jacob’s sister suggested simply accepting the situation, immersing oneself and waiting for inspiration, making sounds like ‘O-m-m-m’.

‘While you were brainstorming solutions for a simple equation, the 21st century arrived,’ calmly stated the father, adjusting his glasses. He was confident in his ability to solve any problem. ‘Scientists and my programmer colleagues strive to make your life easier, and you don’t even notice it. For instance, neural networks can do almost everything now: compose, sing, play, soon they’ll even start dancing. And what about you? You’re still interested in muscular baseball players.’

The father opened his laptop and began typing unfamiliar names on the keyboard, accompanied by amusing comments.

‘For some,’ at that moment, the father looked expressively at Jacob’s sister, ‘musical notation is like the mysterious symbols of the ancient Mayan tribes, yet every morning we all marvel at the expressive vocals of those “some” coming from the bathroom. So, for such composers of bathroom arias, Sony Computer Science Laboratories created a neural network that can easily extract melodies from our soloist’s mind and even write them down on paper.’

‘For those who simply think about music,’ the father pointed to the door through which the mother had just rushed out, ‘there’s the Brain2Music AI model. It reads melodies without even hearing a single sound: it simply reconstructs the music imagined by a person. How does it do that? It receives signals of brain activity and extracts all the fantasies from there, onto paper. Well, you get the idea.’

‘By the way, speaking of fantasies,’ the father glanced towards Grandma, ‘the newspaper exercises will also be appreciated by the neural network. The MusicLM system skillfully creates music based on textual descriptions. Artificial intelligence can easily generate a mosaic of words and produce something like techno, rock’n’roll, mixed with funk, or even something more interesting. As they say, both the basketball magazines are alive, and the anthem is written.’

‘For those who like to browse the internet, I recommend Ecrett Music,’ the father winked at Jacob’s blushing brother, ‘what could be easier? Upload a video on the topic of interest (in our case, it’s a video of a sports team), and Ecrett Music will readily generate music for it. Additionally, you can give the neural network recommendations: specify the mood of the video, the genre, and the tempo of the music. And that’s it, the track is ready. No licenses, no authorship. Or you can upload any image into Image to Music and enjoy a well-written piece of music for it in a few seconds.’

‘Why are we sitting around?’ the father asked in the voice of a football coach.

The family scattered. Jacob began to go through the neural networks one by one to solve the musical equation. Jacob’s sister tuned into a unified neural network flow and rubbed her temples with her hands. It’s not hard to guess what images Jacob’s brother suggested to the neural networks for which he demanded a musical version. Grandma approached the neural network many times, but what exactly she was writing music for remained a mystery.

So, thanks to the family’s father, the neural network helped solve the musical equation in 5 minutes and relieved the entire family from disappointments and sleepless nights. The task is solved, the assignment is completed, the anthem for the sports team is ready, voiced, and translated into all languages ​​of the world, it’s time to go to sleep.

Only the mother, after the technical solution, couldn’t sleep for a long time. She pondered that creativity must be genuine. In art, authors are important, their artistic taste, style, emotional content, mood, all of this needs to be felt. Will artificial intelligence ever be capable of that?

Perhaps enough of technology for today.

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