The Coolest Thing at Moogfest This Weekend Will Be ... Google?

Flickr / John Grabowski

Google’s Magenta team will be debuting a new A.I. software for synthesizing musical instruments this weekend at Moogfest, the annual electronic music, arts, and technology festival in Durham, North Carolina.

Moogfest never ceases to push the boundaries of how creativity shapes the way we think about the application of digital tools for art. The whole thing is billed as a glimpse of the future of music, filled with aural eccentrics and twisted sounds which certainly push the definition of melody to its most liberal levels. Magenta’s software demonstration is just a single part of that celebration, but given the name recognition of Google, its unveiling is bound to be a unique attraction for both artists and tech nerds alike.

Magenta, an offshoot of Google Brain specifically focused on using A.I. for the arts, is hosting three workshops this year, and its new program called NSynth, a neural audio synthesizer, is expected to be a prominent part of their showcase.

The team’s first workshop will feature a demo of music created by NSynth, and the next two will discuss the development of neural networks and the technique of using A.I. to generate music. Anyone who comes will receive some training on how to use Magenta’s open source code to develop their own A.I.-generated songs.

Moogfest has grown into a celebration of the point where art and technology collide

Flickr / karlhinterkopf

Nsynth is the next step in Magenta’s goal to create A.I. that can generate meaningful, creative music and art. The A.I. draws from an extensive set of data to create better, richer, and more realistic sounds than a typical synthesizer, and also can give artists better control over the sound of the music they create.

Nsynth can also generate new, artificial musical instruments by weaving together its data of various existing instruments. Unlike what can be done with a typical synthesizer, Magenta’s software won’t simply play two instruments at once and hope they blend together, but will actually weave a more sophisticated hybrid of the two that can be manually adjusted to create new sounds.

Magenta advertises that people who come to their jam session at Moogfest this Friday will finally learn what a half-flute-half-electric bass sounds like and they’ll be able to play around with NSynth to create their own music.

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