Beethoven's Tenth Symphony to be Completed Thanks to AI
Tue, April 20, 2021

Beethoven's Tenth Symphony to be Completed Thanks to AI

Many scholars argued that there just isn’t enough of Beethoven’s final symphony to complete it in a responsible way, but AI can do the job / Credits: nitpicker via Shutterstock

 

In 1824, Ludwig van Beethoven, a world-renowned composer, finished his legendary ninth symphony in D minor, which includes “Ode to Joy.” After finishing the masterpiece, Beethoven began working on his 10th symphony which wasn’t completed before his death in 1827. According to Popular Mechanics, a magazine of popular science and technology, many scholars have attempted to complete it for decades but failed to do so. The symphony is so incomplete that scholars are not sure when partial drafts or sketches of musical ideas are even related to it. 

Many scholars even argued that there just isn’t enough of Beethoven’s final symphony to complete it in a responsible way. This is where artificial intelligence comes in. A team of musicologists and programmers is trying to complete the symphony. If finished, the final result will be performed by a full orchestra on April 28, 2020, as we celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary of his birth. 

Christine Siegert, head of archives at Beethoven House in the composer's hometown of Bonn, stated that she is convinced that Beethoven would have approved since he too was an innovator at the time. According to TechXplore, an online site that covers the latest engineering, electronics, and technology advances, a machine-learning software has been fed all of Beethoven's work. Currently, the tool is composing possible continuations of the symphony in the composer's style.

"The progress has been impressive, even if the computer still has a lot to learn," Siegert said.

However, Barry Cooper, a British composer and musicologist, doubts that the AI compositions are promising. This is after the team stated that the latest AI compositions have been more promising. Cooper even warned that "in any performance of Beethoven's music, there is a risk of distorting his intentions.” 

"I listened to a short excerpt that has been created. It did not sound remotely like a convincing reconstruction of what Beethoven intended," he said.