My obsession with programming an automatic melody generator (that actually gives good results, unlike just about every other melody generator out there) continues. Again, the program works by analyzing existing melodies and “learning” from them. In my 2008 version, the program analyzed the given melodies while it composed new ones from them. Now the program stores its “knowledge” so it doesn’t have to analyze a melody more than once. Of course, there’s still the problem of getting the program to find the right sort of knowledge and to use it appropriately. But what I have is coming up with some interesting results. I’ll post more later, but here’s one melody the program wrote early this morning: MelodyExperiment2.mid (melody stated and repeated ad nauseam in pizzicato… the output of the program just gives chords and melody numbers; the tempo, the instrument choice, and alberti bass were added by me)

EDIT: By the way, obviously some of the melodies it outputs sound much worse than that. That’s one of the better ones…

Unfortunately there are still a lot of limits in the program that need to be dealt with:

1. It can still only compose an 8-bar melody in 4/4 time. I need to give it a wider range of time signatures (3/4, 2/4, and 6/8 at the very least), and I need to let it be able to compose 16 and 32 bar melodies, and “extended” melodies, such as a 10-bar melody which is really just an 8-bar melody that takes two extra bars to resolve. Ideally the user could choose the bar length and time signature.

2. It can only compose in C major. That might seem trivial; can’t the program just transpose the melody up and down afterward generating it? Unfortunately that can lead to notes that are way too high or way too low. To keep the melody within a certain range, we’ll have to deal with this.

3. It can only compose diatonic melodies. It can not yet shift into other keys or limit itself to a certain scale. Fortunately I don’t think this would be very hard functionality to add; it’s just a matter of giving the program more options, and making sure it uses them appropriately.

4. It can only compose within a certain range of notes. Which is fine, but ideally the user could decide what range is allowed, and what interval leaps are allowed.

5. There are limits on chord progressions. It must always start and end with the I chord. This makes it sound nice and complete, but it should have the ability to start on a different chord or something. It also sometimes comes up with some pretty odd chord progressions that are technically fine, but just odd. It would be interesting to program an “inventive” variable, telling the program how much it should do whatever it wants with the chord progression (within reason), and how much it should adhere to what it “knows.” Also, it currently only recognizes the main triads; it ignores major 7ths, major 9ths, sustains, etc. I’m not sure that matters much; a listener could always change that himself if he wants to use the melody for something, so if I do add that feature, it will probably be the last thing I concern myself with.

And then matters of practicality:

6. It outputs numbers in a text file which then have to be laboriously converted manually into a MIDI file, which takes too long. It should be able to output a MIDI file (or files) by itself, or at least a much easier to read text file.

7. It’s programmed in Java. To get it to work on the Internet (if that’s what I decide I want), it will probably have to be converted to PHP, and we better make sure it’s not too computationally heavy for that. (I don’t think it would be.)

That’s all! Enjoy that beautiful melody! Look out for more!

1 Comment

Nate · March 16, 2011 at 10:30 PM

If you’re program can do it, then I swear to Christ that I will do.

That’s called determi-friken-nation.

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