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How AI helped in completion of Beethoven’s unfinished 10th symphony

Music lovers can rejoice as Beethoven’s unfinished 10th symphony has finally seen the light of the day thanks to a brilliant semblance of Artificial Intelligence and human work. For the uninitiated, the legendary German composer Ludwig van Beethoven composed nine symphonies and shortly before his death in 1827, he had begun work on his tenth symphony which remained incomplete until recently. Musicologists from all over the world have always wondered how the tenth symphony would have been. Picking up the pieces in the form of his musical sketches which were left behind, the work on recreating the tenth symphony began. With assistance from AI, German telecom giant Telekom along with a whole team of international musicologists and experts brought together this historic moment. A world premiere of Beethoven’s completed 10th symphony was held on October 9 in Germany and it will also be released on BMG releases as Beethoven X – The AI Project.

The who and how: A team effort

In June 2019, a team which included Dr Matthias Roder, Director, Karajan Institute, Salzburg, Austria, who promote music technology, Austrian composer Walter Werzowa, the person behind Intel’s signature bong jingle; Mark Gotham, computational music expert, and Robert Levin, musicologist, Harvard University, put together Beethoven’s notes in a bid to decode the tenth symphony.

Because of the sparse nature of Beethoven’s sketches, only customized AI could help put it together. New algorithms were trained to ‘respectfully and authentically continue Beethoven’s work’, according to Walter Werzowa. While creative AI has been used in the past to transcribe Beethoven’s works and make string quartets, sonatas, symphonies and more, to be able to interpret the original music or art piece was a marvelous milestone.

The challenge was to turn the fragments of information into a complete music piece using AI, but at the same time remaining true to Beethoven’s creative process. The AI startup Playform AI taught a machine, both Beethoven’s entire body of work and his creative process. In the end, it was a team effort of the AI experts, AI itself, and the abovementioned people who came together to achieve this feat. The creative process started with learning from, and analysing all the available data from the composer’s legacy and seeing what AI came up with. Then the musicologists and AI experts arranged them.

The idea was to complete the symphony to time it with Beethoven’s 250th birthday, but the pandemic altered that plan. Over 18 months of trials, tribulations, and a lot of hard work, the symphony was finally brought to life.

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wasim basir

marketing, board member

It’s most obvious in the digital media space, from click buys to personalized web experiences. For marketing, the AI journey has just kick-started, while in the tech sector it has been applied for a while now. We are still at an early stage where inroads are being made into AI content via chatbots and even some explanatory content creation but what will make anyone jump up and embrace it is when we will start seeing a lot of mainstream content being created by AI.

rich arnold

board member

Prior to joining Infinite Analytics, Richard served as the CFO of CrowdFlower, COO and CFO of Phoenix Technologies, as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Audit Committee at Intellisync, and previously as CFO and executive vice president strategy and corporate development at Charles Schwab.

pravin gandhi

board member

Pravin Gandhi has over 50 years of entrepreneurial operational and investing experience in the IT industry in India. He was a founding partner of the first early stage fund India - INFINITY. Subsequently a founding partner in Seedfund I & II. With over 18 years of investing experience, he is extensively well networked in investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active early stage angel investor in tech & impact space. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several private corporations in India. He is on the board of SINE, IIT Mumbai Incubator.

Purushotham Botla

co-founder & cto

Puru has his Masters in Engineering and Management from MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked with Fidelity Investments building electronic trading products and high volume market data processing applications. He has completed his BE from VJTI, Mumbai.

deb-roy

Deb Roy

Executive Director, MIT Media Lab

Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems. Deb is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social technology company that develops and operates the Local Voices Network to surface underheard voices and bridge divides.

Roy served as Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab from 2019-2021. He was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.

Erik Brynjolfsson

Board Member

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Akash Bhatia

Co-Founder and CEO

Akash co-founded IA while studying for his MBA from MIT. Prior to MIT Sloan, he co-founded Zoonga. Before this, Akash was an engineer with Oracle in Silicon Valley. He has completed his M.S from University of Cincinnati and B.E from the College of Engineering, Pune.