It was all over the news, the attempt to complete Beethoven 10th symphony by artificial intelligence. And yesterday evening, we could hear the result. I’ve been a Beethoven admirer for as long as I can remember. When I started playing music at the age of four, the first thing I wanted to learn was the appassionato. My father keeps reminding me of that.
When I Studied music counterpoint and compositions, Beethoven was always at hand as an example, as a guide. So when a few decades ago, in the eighties Barry Cooper use the about 40 sketches to finish the work (you can hear it here or watch the video below), I was surprised. It was a great piece of music, yet it was not Beethoven.
Beethoven 10th symphony Cooper vs AI
So I had high hopes for the AI version. So, yesterday evening, I was ready. I waited for the speeches to end and the music to begin. Well, we all get disappointed once in a while. It sounded most of all artificial, never intelligent.
The typical Beethoven harmonies and development of themes was there. Yes. However, Beethoven’s genius is not in this part of the work. That’s just simple craftmanship. He’s true genius is the art or surprise, the ability to make an unexpected turn. It’s the unpredictability of what he composes that creates the real Beethoven wonders.
This versions of Beethoven 10th symphony failed explicitly. It delivers a nice piece of music, but without any real Beethoven feel to it. So, I’m not convinced. So, beside the sketches the master made, for now, let’s listen to Coopers work. It’s at least a beautiful piece of music that sounds intelligent and not artificial. Barry Coopers work can be found below.
Here is the link to the AI version. Compare and judge for yourself. (I can’t embed the video, wich, in this case, I don’t realy regret. Beethoven 10th symphony deservers better.