Resurrecting Performers Via Computer Performance

The NYT has an article entitled ‘Play It Again, Vladimir (via Computer)’ that discusses efforts to transform old recordings into new, computer played performances, by determining how the previous performer made the sounds and redoing it. Further efforts attempt to distill the ‘style’ of a performer and play other scores with the same style. As can be expected, musicologists argue over whether or not the new musical artifact is really ‘a performance’.

Next up, using the genes of dead artists to make current performers, like NSYNC and all those American Idol persons better.

One thought on “Resurrecting Performers Via Computer Performance”

  1. I feel this may be a wonderful opportunity for musicians – ie another way of learning from the recordings of other musicians.

    However in a NewScientist article on the same it was presented, not as a tool for musicians but as an opportunity to revive recordings that are scratched or otherwise compromised by age or old recording technology. This seems to me to be the saddest thing I have ever heard – obviously a musician or music lover did not write this article ( the New Scientist one I mean ). Take Charlie Parker – Sure yes I would love to hear cleaned up recordings if it were still Charlie playing but to listen to some synthesised resurection ? No thanks!

    Seems to me that IT community needs to understand that music is an ART form – technology may play a part but for heavens sake ?
    using a synth to reproduce someone like Charlie P – do me a favour ? Only artless techies could even entertain this idea.

    Whats next ? A robot arm taught to reproduce a Monet or a Van Gough by computer analysis of brush strokes?

    Happily I suspect that the music community will push this one firmly where it belongs – as a useful tool for learning, for transcribing and similar. I fear the techies will have totally mis-judged the market if they think we will rush
    out to buy re-constituted recordings tho.

    PS I am not a technophobe – I work in IT myself.
    I just have a great deal of respect for the actual act of artistic creation and believe that technology can always be a tool but can never reproduce the creative process in a way that is meaningful to human beings.

    JON

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