Google Doodle celebrating Bach with A.I. infuriates music theorists.

Thursday’s Google Doodle celebrated the 334th birthday of famed composer Johann Sebastian Bach, with a twist: It was the first Doodle to incorporate machine learning.

Google says in its “Behind the Doodle” video that it chose Bach’s music as the subject of the first A.I. Doodle because he had a characteristic style and composed with a set of musical rules in mind.

The results of the Google Doodle were also particularly grating to Bach specialists.

“I found the Doodle to be a bit of an odd tribute to Bach because the results bore so little resemblance to Bach’s style,” says Christopher Brody, a Bach scholar and music theorist at the University of Louisville.

“It would be hard to think of a single generally true fact about Bach’s idiom that the A.I. seems to have accurately observed and manages not to break almost constantly.” Christopher White, a music theorist who studies algorithmic and computational approaches to music at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, points out that a machine-learning algorithm like the one in the Doodle is generally composing off of hybrid rules it extrapolates in its own way, rather than the formalized concepts that humans study as the underpinnings of learning composition.

Skeptical academic music theorists had fun experimenting with trying to stump the Doodle’s algorithms by feeding in bizarre melodies from experimental 20th-century music.

The melody I fed to the Doodle was meant to be in the key of C major, but the Doodle produced a composition in A minor.

This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.

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