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Generating Music With Neural Networks: A Guide for Beginners

Arina

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No one is surprised by texts and images created by AI anymore, but it's still new to music. Yet, neural networks have already learned to write soundtracks for games and movies, background music for apps, YouTube videos, and podcasts, and help create remixes and covers. Billie Eilish is re-singing Taylor Swift songs, and Michael Jackson is rocking out with Get Lucky, and this isn't someone's dream; these are real neural network experiments.

How It Works 


The principle is the same as when creating texts and images: the neural network learns from a large number of examples and generates something similar. 

There are two ways to generate musical compositions: 

  • Creating sheet music. The neural network builds music from notes. As a result, you can get a score (recording a melody with notes) and play it, for example, on a guitar or piano. Or export it to MIDI format, which is an API for musical instruments and sound libraries.
  • Creating audio signals. AI can also directly create a melody and a human voice; you can create a song, opera, symphony, or whatever you want. You can directly run it through your speakers or walk around with the finished track in your headphones.

Which Algorithms Create Music

Algorithms for writing music are typically based on autoencoders and generative-adversarial neural networks (GANs): 

  • An autoencoder neural network represents the data in a simplified form; that is, it compresses the original data by discarding information that is irrelevant for perception. Then it generates new compositions based on the compressed information.
  • Generative and adversarial neural networks create a musical composition based on the tracks uploaded to the database and then try to distinguish the original from the generated instance. Two models are involved here: a generator and a discriminator. The first one creates the music, and the second one tries to determine where the generated piece is and where the original is. So they compete with each other so that the generative model can create the most believable compositions possible.

The Main Benefits of Creating Music With AI

Simple 

You don't need special skills or knowledge of music to create an original composition. Usually, a short text query or an image is enough for a neural network. Generation takes a few minutes.

Safe

For the most part, neural networks allow you to create music without copyright infringement. The tracks created can be used anywhere without the hassle of contracts and legal agreements. Or, as in the case of Soundraw, there's a simple license.

Customization

AI programs like Landr have an app that allows you to edit music videos, add vocals, and even mix tracks together. In the past, these tasks required extensive knowledge of different music editing programs, but thanks to the power of AI, it can all be done in one place.

Accessible

Most music generation platforms are free, online, and real-time.

The Best AI Tools for Creating Music

Mubert

Mubert takes samples from a library of sounds and creates an endless stream of music at your request. All you have to do is choose the mood, genre, and duration of the future track, and the neural network will do the rest for you. The request can be not only text but also an image. The neural network analyzes the uploaded picture and, based on its mood, generates a track suitable for the meaning; it recreates sounds from the picture, bringing to life masterpieces of art, landscapes, historical events, film frames, and even your own photos.

Melobytes

Melobytes creates compositions based on text descriptions, images, and videos. You can download ready-made tracks and save notes on them. There is also an opportunity to turn selfies into the singer of the song and experiment with the sound of the voice.

Riffusion

Riffusion will sing literally anything you say. To create a song, write its future text in the request box (25 words max). As a bonus, the neural network will offer several arrangements of the song to choose from and draw a cover for your track.

Soundraw

Soundraw allows you to create beats, customize tracks, and monetize songs. Over 20 genres are available to choose from, from hip-hop to techno. Music can be created for a specific mood, season, or theme, for a video blog, traveling, or cooking. This tool doesn't immediately create the desired audio but offers a list of music options. Users can monetize and distribute their songs without any restrictions. Soundraw offers a simple license that eliminates the risk of copyright infringement.

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