Robots and Music: How robotics is changing the musical landscape

The science of robotics has brought us incredible changes through all kinds of areas, from industry to business, going through the medical sector and beyond. Robots are now part of our daily lives whether big or small. They are capable of performing quick, accurate and steady tasks, making them the perfect tool for humans to work within a wide range of situations.

But, what about the creative field? The arts have always been considered inherently human, they are the way our civilization has expressed emotions, hopes, and concerns. So, when it comes to the music -the fine art described in Billy Joel words as an explosive expression of humanity- what can we expect from robots.  

You may think that artificial intelligence or robots are just dabbling into the art field but it was the father of computing, Alan Turing, the first person to ever record a computer-generated tune.

As we find ourselves immersed in a digital world we encounter numerous initiatives trying to close the gap between humans and machines. In the music industry, there has been a lot of progress trying to reach a synergic interaction between robots and us.

  • Meet The Trons, a self-playing robot band created in 2008 by Greg Locke. Originally from New Zealand, this fruit-picking machine designer turned mechanical leftover and old instruments into the band. Some of the tracks played by the group include the songs Sister Robot and The Trons Theme.

  • Another great example of a robot band is Compressorhead a rock band created in 2013 by  Frank Barnes a British artist based in Berlin. The group is composed of six robots that play the instruments and only can play rock songs. Their first album Party Machine was released in 2017.

  • The same year the project Flow Machines, a Paris-based experimentation lab, gave us the song “Daddy’s Car” (FlowComposer) a melody created by an Artificial Intelligence after analyzing a database of over 13,000 tunes.

Even though there’s still a long way to go between humans and robots these initiatives shows us the incredible lengths we can go to create amazing pieces of music with a helping -robotic- hand. 

By Natalia Cardona Mercado for RobotUnion

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