Today the London Symphony Orchestra is marking the 100th birthday of Alan Turing with a special concert. And what better way to celebrate the man who helped create the computer than with a musical piece composed entirely by a computer.
Meet Iamus, a computer program built at the University of Malaga in Spain. It’s named after a character in Greek mythology that could understand the language of the birds, and the moniker is fitting. Iamus composes music by mutating sounds and melodies through a process that’s akin to musical evolution. Francisco Vico, one of the researchers behind Iamus, states that “as evolution proceeds, mutations alter the content and size of this primordial genetic [musical] material, and we get longer and more elaborate pieces.” The only human involvement is at the outset, specifying the rough length and instruments to be used in the piece.
Iamus’s composition “Transits–Into An Abyss” will be performed today by the London Symphony Orchestra, and many speculate that this is the first artificially-generated piece to be “deemed good enough for top-class performers to play.” Iamus’s debut album will come out this September, but in the meantime you can stream today’s concert starting at 2:30 PM EDT. [Daily Swarm/Guardian]
CORRECTION: The London Symphony Orchestra recorded “Transits–Into An Abyss,” which will show up on the aforementioned album this September, but yesterday’s concert was performed at the University of Malaga by Gustavo Diaz-Jerez, Cecilia Bercovich, and Cristo Barrios. They performed the Iamus pieces “Colossus,” “Ugadi,” “Alphard,” and “Kinoth.”