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Google celebrates Bach with AI-powered, music-making doodle

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A new Google Doodle is celebrating German composer Johann Sebastian Bach by letting users harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create their own music.

The Doodle, according to a post from the search giant, “is an interactive experience encouraging players to compose a two measure melody of their choice.” Once a user has crafted their tune, machine learning is used “to harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style.”

The Bach Doodle program was developed by feeding a machine-learning model 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonizations, thus allowing it to learn to write music of its own.

“His chorales always have four voices, each carrying their own melodic line, while creating a rich harmonic progression when played together. This concise structure made them good training data for a machine learning model,” Google notes.

Three Google teams were involved in the creation of the Doodle. Google’s Magenta built the machine-learning model while Google PAIR worked to allow the “machine learning to happen entirely within the web browser.” The Doodle team finalized the project by coming up with all the art and imagery.

The Doodle will be available in 77 countries for two days to celebrate the famous composer’s 334th birthday.

The company also hinted that users could create a 80’s rock style Bach hybrid “if you happen to find a very special easter egg in the Doodle.”

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Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a freelance journalist based in Seattle, covering all things technology, including social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.