Pop stars around the world, rejoice: the production of new hit singles may soon require only the push of a button, forever banishing those moody and overpaid songwriters. Researchers in London have transposed the law of natural selection onto the world of music, devising a program to evolve simple tunes out of scattered sounds:The Telegraph reports:
The researchers, from Imperial College London, tested their theory by combining a series of random noises into 100 eight-second loops, before asking 7,000 internet users to listen to them and rate how much they enjoyed them.A computer programme picked out the most popular clips, then paired them up in various combinations to produce a set of new “offspring” loops which incorporated some aspects from each of their “parent” tracks.
The result isn’t exactly Tchaikovsky, but listening to the samples move from cacophony to harmony is truly striking.Thanks to these kinds of simulations, we may yet reach the day when we’ll know how long any given number of many monkeys typing would take to hammer out the complete works of Shakespeare. Or perhaps—a strange, ghastly, yet not completely unappealing thought—machines will start composing new Shakespearean plays guided by cleverly organized evolutionary rules.Roll over, Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news.