New Google Arts and Culture tool lets you compose classical music in style of Mozart and Beethoven

29 June 2021, 10:09 | Updated: 29 June 2021, 11:32

New tool lets you compose in style of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven
New tool lets you compose in style of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Picture: Google Arts & Culture

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A clever new Google experiment lets you create melodies with the help of maestro composers.

“Oh, I wish I could write like Bach,” surely every musician since the year 1750 has sighed.

Well, now you (sort of) can. Google Arts & Culture has published a new experiment called ‘Assisted Melody’ which invites you to compose your own tune, and harmonise it in the signature style of Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

The tool, created for World Music Day on 21 June, even lets you compose directly on each maestro’s favourite instrument.

So, your Bach-style melody will be heard on an organ, with the Mozart-esque tune formed on a harpsichord, and Beethoven on a piano.

After you’ve created your four-bar melody, the tool does its algorithmic magic and voilà, your stylised melody is played back to you. You can even click ‘harmonise again’ if you’re dissatisfied with the first version.

Play with Assisted Melody here

Harmonise in the style of Bach with new Google experiment
Harmonise in the style of Bach with new Google experiment. Picture: Google Arts & Culture

A little extra mucking around within the tool reveals that you can also hear your stylised output on a wide range of modern instruments, from the flute to a xylophone or synthesiser.

The way it works is, a programming team trained a machine learning model on certain pieces of music, from J.S. Bach’s Chorale Cantatas to Beethoven’s piano sonatas, allowing the user to harmonise short melodies with a Bach twist.

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‘Assisted Melody’ was originally launched by Google Arts & Culture over a year ago. The tool helped you compose your own tune on a virtual sheet of music, and with the click of a button make it sound like Bach.

Perhaps as the algorithm improves, they will continue to add even more composers. We’re holding out for Stockhausen…

A second tool, ‘Paint with Music’, turns your paint brush into a musical instrument and lets you ‘hear’ your painting. You can choose different settings to paint in, with instruments corresponding to different colours – have a play here.