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Re: [OT] Vivi, the Virtual Violinist, plays LilyPond music

From: Susan Dittmar
Subject: Re: [OT] Vivi, the Virtual Violinist, plays LilyPond music
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:36:39 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Quoting Marc Mouries (address@hidden):
> This is intellectually interesting but the question is not "who deserves to 
> create good music?" but rather "who wants to listen to music made by 
> someone that does not practice?" and who wants to listen to music played by 
> a computer? Sure many times, nowadays, the rendition of a computer playing 
> is quite good but who cares? Art conveys emotions which are the one thing 
> that make us human and thus should be played by human. What's the end goal 
> of such system? Can you describe in what is that helpful? Are we one day 
> going to only listen to robots playing music?
> > Where *will* the limits be, or where *should* the limits be?
> Yes very good question. One thing that comes to mind is that I don't want 
> to arrive at a point where musician will be teaching computers to play 
> instead of learning to play themselves.

I slightly disagree. I see art in computer programs aswell as in playing an
instrument. It's just another medium. Both are creative processes. Mind,
I'm not talking about having the computer play the music, but about
teaching the computer how to do it.

And, where's the difference between staring computer-playback of a score
and putting a CD into the CD player? Both are non-creative steps (except
for choosing the music). And the latter we do all day (or it's done for us
in the radio, shops, TV, ...)

I can understand the loathing a computer trying to reproduce something
perceive as so typically human. I can also understand feeling betrayed if
computers do something you spent hours and hours on. I can even more
understand musicians hating to be replaced by computers.

But isn't that what is happening already? Isn't that a very old
development, which always had its good and its bad sides?

>From the first day music has been written down, this has been a two-edged
blade. It made thinking about music easier, allowing for more complex
composition. But it made the art of composition less important -- now you
could become a famous musician without ever creating a single piece of
music yourself. All you had to do is gain a skill at reproduction.

Then music recording became possible, so there was no need any more for a
musician to play at your dancing lesson or your party. The possibility to
record and re-play has greatly improved the quality of music reproduction,
allowing for self-correction and for more comparision with other musicians.
But it took away work from all the not-so-great artists. Ever asked people
to sing where others can hear them? Only very few will dare do so any more.

Now (and ever since computers became availlable) computers come into the
story, gaining (very very slowly) their place in music creation and
reproduction. It's just another step on a path that has begun some
centuries ago. It will have its good sides as well as its bad sides, I am
quite sure of that.

And about the point of emotions -- I think you are wrong if you think you
convey emotions with your music. You may have emotions and try to express
them while playing music. At least that's what I do when playing music.
But those emotions have nothing to do with the emotions of those listening
to your music! The emotions of your listeners are not created by your
music, they stem from the listener! Your music may be the catalyst, but the
emotion is purely the listener's.

Just an example. I remember me singing a very sad German song, filled with
grief and full of symbols of death, as the start of a story I was telling.
I started telling it, then was interrupted. A week later I met with the
same people, and was about to resume this story. And I heard one of the
listeners tell another: "Oh, do not fear for the heroes of the story. I
still remember her song. It was so filled with tranquility and unswerving
faith, nothing untoward could happen after that."

Yes, music is full of emotion. At least for me. But although the composer
and performer will have a view what they want to express, the listener's
emotions still are purely his. And thus I am sure I can develop emotions
when listening to a computer composition too.

On the other hand I know the value of psychology. I will enjoy live music,
even if I do not much like its style, much more than even the most perfect
and beloved music playback. But for that reaction, live recordings have the
same effect as studio recordings, and as computer generated music. I do not
feel much life in them.

So as to the question, who wants to listen to computer played music, I
could as well ask who would want to listen to CD playback. For me the
background noise in shops -- often called music -- does not have much life,
so I do not expect any difference were it replaced by computer played
music. Same for the background sounds in most movies. I would pity the
musicians who loose their jobs, congratulate the programmers who gain jobs,
and most probably not mind the difference, as long as both the musicians
and the programmers deserve the word 'artist'.

Just my thoughts,


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