Songsmith (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/songsmith/), a supposed creative tool for music novices and professional musicians alike, is the latest arrival onto the computer music scene. However, unlike samples, loops, and other instrument tools, Songsmith auto-generates a musical track to your singing. Sounds pretty cool, huh?
Now, anyone who can hold together a tune, or has a musical idea in their head, can quickly find the chords to their musical thought — all without a lick of musical theory knowledge or performance experience.
My first inclination was to gag. But maybe it’s just the videos that Microsoft put on their site to show off the product. After all, this is the holy grail of song-writing — it’s as close to writing what you hear as you can get without having to spend 10,000 hours of cultivating musical expertise. I can see a product like this leading to musical innovation in a time when creativity has seemed to stagnate.
I can also see our creativity stagnating further as a result of complete stupification… Just rely on the computer to do the creative work for you. Soon we’ll have thousands of “new” songs where the emotion and creativity has been thrown out the window and replaced with computer generated algorithms. So much for personality and originality.
So how do you feel about it? An incredible music composition tool in the beginning stages? Or the complete and utter demise of the craft and creativity involved in creating new music?