IBC2022: This Technical Paper looks at AI created music and asks the question, can we become Beethoven? It explores the musical and copyright issues around artificial intelligence and Beethoven’s 10th symphony.


Music created using artificial intelligence technology (AI) raises urgent questions over how to classify AI-created music. This paper will look at AI from a musicological perspective regarding what is music, and how that relates to copyright, moral rights and the right to monetise such works, with particular focus on the use of AI to create Beethoven’s tenth symphony.


AI is essentially a pattern-recognition system. Technology companies input large amounts of data into a computer system. They use automated computer techniques to analyse the data to identify patterns. In the case of music, AI is used to find musical patterns within that information to use to make computer-generated musical works. AI can also be used by musicologists or composers to create a form of hybrid music, part computer-generated using AI data and partly composed by a living individual. The creation of Beethoven’s 10th symphony using AI in 2021 is an example of an early AI hybrid work. Previous uses of AI in compositional processes include Schubert’s final symphony (created using AI from the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone). Also known as the ‘Unfinished Symphony’, it had remained incomplete for nearly 200 years. Huawei’s completed version of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 was created using both human expertise (involving composer Lucas Cantor) and AI. Huawei used AI software on its smartphone to compose the remainder of the third movement, and a completely new fourth movement of Schubert’s Symphony No 8. They analysed the timbre, pitch and metre of the existing first and second movements of Schubert’s final symphony, and then generated the melody for the missing music. The composer Lucas Cantor was involved in creating the finished work so it is another example of a hybrid AI work.

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