Discover my recipe for composing your own soundtracks, even without being a musician or an expert in artificial intelligence.
Growing up, we all wanted to learn to play a musical instrument at some point, whether it was the piano, violin, guitar, drums or saxophone.
But I was never good at any of these instruments.
Playing a musical instrument and creating my own songs remained a dream for me until artificial intelligence became available to the general public. The generation of images, texts and music has now become commonplace.
While surfing, I discovered AIVA, a company that uses machine learning technology to create songs. During the holidays, I created 12 musical compositions from scratch. The result of the AI is amazing!
Check out ‘Initiation’:
The 12 tracks :
1. The ordinary world: 00:00:00
2. The call: 00:02:02
3. The refusal: 00:04:42
4. Meeting: 00:07:24
5. Crossing: 00:09:54
6. New world: 00:12:51
7. The approach: 00:15:40
8. The battle: 00:18:39
9. The victory: 00:21:48
10. The last mission: 00:24:25
11. The resurrection: 00:27:38
12. The transformation: 00:30:55
The 12 musical compositions
They are based on the 12 stages of the « Hero’s Journey », a concept established by Joseph Campbell. This is a mainly interesting basis for building the hero’s initiatory journey. This pattern is found in many stories from all over the world, in particular, in literary works and the film industry.
Schematically, the hero experiences the following sequences:
- The hero is in an ordinary world
- The hero is called to adventure, which is presented as a problem or a challenge.
- The hero is initially reluctant, afraid of the unknown.
- The hero is encouraged by a mentor. Sometimes the mentor also gives a magic weapon, but does not accompany the hero, who has to face the challenges alone.
- The hero crosses the ‘threshold’ of the adventure, he enters an extraordinary world, he cannot turn back.
- The hero undergoes trials, meets allies and enemies.
- The hero reaches the most dangerous place, often deep inside, where the object of his quest is hidden.
- The hero undergoes the ultimate test, facing death.
- The hero takes the object of his quest.
- The hero takes the road back, where sometimes it is still a question of escaping the vengeance of those from whom the object has been stolen.
- The hero returns from the extraordinary world where he had ventured, transformed by the experience.
- The hero returns to the ordinary world and uses the object of the quest to improve the world, thus giving meaning to the adventure
I decided to associate each of these stages with a main emotion, using Robert Plutchik’s emotion wheel.
I then linked the emotions to a music key, thanks to some nuggets discovered by chance on the internet (https://ledgernote.com/blog/interesting/musical-key-characteristics-emotions/):
|MUSICAL KEY||EMOTIVE EXPRESSION|
|A MAJOR||Joyful, Pastoral, Declaration of Love|
|A MINOR||Tender, Plaintive, Pious|
|AB MAJOR||Death, Eternity, Judgement|
|AB MINOR||Grumbling, Moaning, Wailing|
|B MAJOR||Harsh, Strong, Wild, Rage|
|B MINOR||Solitary, Melancholic, Patience|
|BB MAJOR||Joyful, Quaint, Cheerful|
|BB MINOR||Terrible, the Night, Mocking|
|C MAJOR||Innocently Happy|
|C MINOR||Innocently Sad, Love-Sick|
|C# MINOR||Despair, Wailing, Weeping|
|DB MAJOR||Grief, Depressive|
|D MAJOR||Triumphant, Victorious War-Cries|
|D MINOR||Serious, Pious, Ruminating|
|D# MINOR||Deep Distress, Existential Angst|
|E MAJOR||Quarrelsome, Boisterous, Incomplete Pleasure|
|E MINOR||Effeminate, Amorous, Restless|
|EB MAJOR||Cruel, Hard, Yet Full of Devotion|
|F MAJOR||Furious, Quick-Tempered, Passing Regret|
|F MINOR||Obscure, Plaintive, Funereal|
|F# MAJOR||Conquering Difficulties, Sighs of Relief|
|F# MINOR||Gloomy, Passionate Resentment|
|G MAJOR||Serious, Magnificent, Fantasy|
|G MINOR||Discontent, Uneasiness|
AIVA offers more than thirty different instrumentations, such as Electronic, Pop, Ambient, Rock, Fantasy, Jazz, Sea Song, Tango…
From the key and the instrumentation, let’s go for the generation of compositions directly with AIVA. Generating, listening, discarding, retaining, … this is the longest part of the work.
Which can be accompanied by some improvements: adjusting the BPM (beats per minute), deleting an introduction that is a bit long or lengthening a piece that is a bit short by generating new sequences, we are clearly in the finishing touches!
The last piece didn’t suit me. I wanted a ‘jazz’ atmosphere but Aiva’s suggestions were too cartoonish. I decided to import a track I love (GoGo Penguin), to force the composition from that specific influence. Artificial intelligence works wonders!
You get an original composition, even from a well-known track. And for the finishing touches, I replaced some of the instruments that were proposed by Aiva. For the melody, I tested the tuba, the bassoon and finally chose the cello.
|60 – 80||relaxing, introspective, even depressive, but also loving and less dramatic.|
|80 – 100||moderately alert and engaging, feelings of accomplishment, rewarding, and sometimes also relaxing.|
|100 – 120||lively, exciting or agitated situations, feelings of power.|
|120+||high energy situations, feelings of excitement, anger or drama.|
Note: I also used Audacity to record the 12 tracks on a single track and Auphonic to equalise/enhance the whole.
Did I tell you that the cover was made with Craiyon, an artificial intelligence for the graphics?
To get this image (after multiple attempts and text modifications), here is the text I typed: high definition rainbow webtoon image of a person about to live a voyage of initiation.
Music and creativity
Countless studies have looked at how music affects our creativity; a positive state of mind, relaxation, inspiration and a little bit of concentration.
It’s up to you!