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AIVA: The Artificial Intelligence Composing Classical Music

Startup AIVA—Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist—announces the launch of its algorithm for composing classical music. Started by two brothers, Pierre and Vincent Barreau, computer and A.I. enthusiasts, AIVA has just been selected for the public acceleration program for emerging and innovative startups, Fit for Start. Over the next few months, AIVA will have the opportunity to refine its business plan, define its strategic lines for development and begin to conquer a market not always inclined to digital innovation.

(Featured Image: Pierre and Vincent Barreau / Image Credit: Anna Katina)
From master’s thesis to startup

Pierre is studying at UCL (University College London), and Vincent is an engineering graduate of Telecom Saint-Etienne. AIVA, the brothers’ Artificial Intelligence algorithm, created from scratch by Pierre, derives its name from a female name of Nordic origin. So, what exactly is their idea? Their plan is to train AIVA to compose unique classical pieces based on scores of all the great composers—Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, etc.—that are now in the public domain. Their deep learning algorithm continuously analyzes the collected works and can complete unfinished partitions or create entirely new songs.

The idea earned them a spot in the public acceleration program for emerging and innovative startups, Fit for Start, and the opportunity to realize their ambitions. The young entrepreneurs expect the coaches to help them optimize their business plan, to advise them on the technical development of their algorithm, to support them in their initial customer search, and help make them credible in the eyes of potential investors. Their compositions have already impressed SACEM—Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music—in Luxembourg and France. AIVA became the first virtual composer to be recorded in a society of authors.

Grey matter vs. Artificial Intelligence

Their project, still in the alpha stage, requires more research and development, including the expansion and integration of new features, as well as closer collaboration between man and machine. On the latter point, they are working with professional musicians to validate the learning parameters of their innovative algorithm and to check that the music is well composed and meets the standard of top works before it is recorded. Their wish is not to replace the musicians, and they want to be understood by the artists to whom they reach out and involve them in all stages of validation of AIVA’s compositions.

From the first opus to the “Genesis” album

The first compositions of AIVA are already available on the site www.aiva.ai. There are 23 works (we’re listening while writing this article!) comprising a harmonious blend of piano pieces and fantasias for symphony orchestra. A first CD-album, titled Genesis, will soon be released. In 2017, Pierre and Vincent’s ambition is to move to the beta phase of the project and create music for films and video games. Eventually, the brothers want to organize their own concerts so that the works are performed in public, and they aspire to finish the third movement of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 one day! Expect the day when AIVA will be recognized as just as great a composer as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart…the perfect revival for the music market, which is currently struggling.


This article was first published in SILICON

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