His computer composes like Beethoven

Florian Colombo uses artificial intelligence to complete the “10e symphony”. Result to listen to with the Nexus orchestra in Lausanne and Geneva.



Between music and IT, Florian Colombo had to make a choice, which combines the two!  He has just opened his start-up to promote his tool.


© DR
Between music and IT, Florian Colombo had to make a choice, which combines the two! He has just opened his start-up to promote his tool.

With a year late, theNexus orchestras celebrates his tenth birthday and Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Despite everything, this delay will have been profitable to Florian Colombo, requested by Nexus and its conductor Guillaume Berney to generate by computer an original composition, but written in the style of Beethoven and based on fragments of melodies sketched by the composer. Because last week, the specialist in “deep learning” was still working on his software! The result is to be discovered at the opening of the concerts, in Lausanne on September 2 and in Geneva on September 3, completed by works by Rachmaninoff and Brahms.

From “Frère Jacques” to Beethoven

The one who co-founded the Lausanne Student Chamber Orchestra was delighted to immerse himself in the intricacies of artificial neural networks, those data processing architectures that today make search engines, translation software and music recommendations given to our tastes on streaming programs. But the “deep learning” applied to musical writing conceals even greater difficulties, because it is necessary to combine melodic, harmonic and rhythmic model.

“I hope that my tool will allow many amateurs to approach composition with little musical knowledge.”

“I am a good performer, but a bad composer,” admits Florian Colombo. And I’m very happy to be able to switch to the composition side thanks to artificial intelligence. I hope my tool will allow many amateurs to approach composition with little musical knowledge. ” The Lausanne resident continues to play his instrument very regularly, but at one point he chose the scientific stream. In March, he defended a doctorate at EPFL in computational neuroscience which enabled him to combine his two passions, music and computing: “When I started my research,” says the scientist, “I was trying to teach the machine of successions of notes so that it results in the melody of “Frère Jacques”. Seven years later, I can get the computer to work on all of Beethoven’s sixteen quartets. And the program is able, on the basis of a succession of proposed chords, to develop an original sequence developed for several instruments and which sounds good together. ”

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