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New Pop Song Combines AI-Composed Elements of Beethoven's Unfinished Symphony

 

Pop singer Robbie Williams has teamed up with the German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom to release a new remix of his 1997 track "Angels." The song borrows moments from Beethoven's unfinished tenth symphony, which was produced by an Artificial Intelligence team at Bonn's Beethoven-Haus research center.

Since Deutsche Telekom is also based in Bonn, the city of Beethoven's birth and the home of the Beethoven-Haus, the two organizations came together to complete a project involving the fragments of the tenth symphony. In early 2021, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, the center released a version of the work that had been completed by artificial intelligence, albeit with significant input from a group of musicologists, composers, and computer scientists.

That recording has now been taken up by Williams and incorporated into this new track. Williams says he is excited to see how well the AI-produced classical music will work with his pre-existing pop music.

The track was scheduled to premiere at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 28th, but the event has now been postponed because of the state of world politics.

"I'm looking forward to the preview of this interesting version at Mobile World Congress," said Williams of the track. "For me, it's fascinating how much technology is now enabling art."

“We’re particularly excited to explore the possibilities of AI and creativity together with Robbie Williams on one of the best songs in pop history,” added Claudia Nemat, a representative for Deutsche Telekom.

"What artificial intelligence allows us to do is to offer the further course of a movement in 20 or even in 100 different versions," said pianist and musicologist Robert Levin, who worked on the original AI project. "And that's endlessly fascinating, because if it's done algorithmically well, then every attempt is plausible."

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