Music at the Frontiers of Artificial Creativity and Criticism

Artificial intelligence (Ai) is an especially disruptive technology, impacting a growing number of domains in ways both beneficial and detrimental. It is even showing surprising impacts in the Arts, provoking questions fundamental to philosophy, law, and engineering, not to mention practices in the Arts themselves. MUSAiC is an interdisciplinary research venture confronting questions and challenges at the frontier of the AI disruption of music.



Paper, music piece, and workshop all accepted to 2022 AI Music Creativity Conference. Sturm “The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2021: Summary and Results”. Sturm, “The shadow still lay where he had been standing (a growing opera for YouTube)”. The 3rd Machine Folk Music Workshop.

Holzapfel and Sturm, “Interwoven Listening with the Music Listening Machine”, accepted to the 2022 joint meeting of the American Musicological Society (AMS), Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), and Society for Music Theory (SMT).

Song by MUSAiC team Maskinspelmanslaget made it to the final round of the 2022 AI Song Contest. It placed 14 out of 15.

Paper accepted to the 2022 Digital Audio Effects conference: Jonason & Sturm, “Neural Music Instrument Cloning from Few Samples”. See the accompanying webpage of demos.

Results of The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2021 are announced! Former visiting researcher Luca Casini has won with the transformer system he developed at KTH. (See next news item.)

Paper accepted to the special track AI, the Arts and Creativity at IJCAI 2022: Casini & Sturm “Tradformer: A Transformer Model of Traditional Music”.

MUSAiC PhD Laura Cros Vila will give a talk on “Musical Instrument Recognition using the Scattering Transform” at the Kymatio’22: Deep learning meets wavelet theory workshop, held on May 19-20 at LS2N, École Centrale de Nantes, France.

Sturm invited to present at the Dagstuhl workshop: Deep Learning and Knowledge Integration for Music Audio Analysis, Feb 20-25. Full proceedings here.

Over a year in the making, the “AI and Musical Creativity” special issue of the Transactions of ISMIR is out! Nine fantastic articles contribute technical and philosophical discussions to a fast-developing field. Sturm (MUSAiC PI) is lead guest editor.

The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2022 announced. There are three sub-challenges: generation of plausible Irish reels; artificial judge; and tune titling.

Launch of AHRC-funded research network Datasounds, datasets and datasense: Unboxing the hidden layers between musical data, knowledge and creativity. Sturm (MUSAiC PI) is a part of this network, and will host a meeting of project partners in November 2022. More information.


Journal publication: Sturm, B. & Maruri-Aguilar, H. (2021) “The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2020: Double Jigs in the Style of O’Neill’s 1001””, Journal of Creative Music Systems. 5(1). doi:

Sturm’s research featured in E&T article, Can AI be music to our ears? Nov. 11 2021.

Sturm’s composition, “Three Tunes from the AI Frontiers”, performed at ISMIR 2021 and the 2021 NeurIPS workshop Machine Learning for Creativity and Design.

Sturm invited to present his music Ai research at the 2021 Summit on Machine Intelligence co-organized by Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China (October 22-24).

Huang, Sturm and Holzapfel, “De-centering the West: East Asian Philosophies and the Ethics of Applying Artificial Intelligence to Music” published at ISMIR 2021, and awarded Best Special Call Paper.

MUSAiC PhD students (Joris, Laura and Nicolas) begin! Two researchers (Luca and Marco) from University of Bologna visit for the Fall.

Sturm delivers invited talks to Traditions in TransitionTranscultural Technologies for Creative Expression“, and STS Italia 2021 “Effect of dataveillance on artistic and cultural production: Exploiting user data to shape user preferences and create new content”. Video for STS Italia.

Sturm invited to deliver keynote to Audio Mostly 2021. The talk highlights the MUSAiC project, its outcomes so far, and what the future holds for traditional music.

The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2021 has begun! Watch this video to get an idea of the kind of music this challenge entails.

Two papers presented at the AI Music Creativity 2021 conference: Huang and Sturm, “Reframing ‘Aura’: Authenticity in the Application of Ai to Irish Traditional Music”; and Sturm, “An Artificial Critic of Irish Double Jigs”. See also: “58,105 Irish-style Double Jigs“.

Smootzieg (2020-2020)

A MUSAiC team entered a song – “Evigt Förlorad (Forever Lost)” – into the 2021 AI Song Contest. Out of 38 entries, our song placed third with the jury, and fifth overall. It was also mentioned in a NY Time article, Robots Can Make Music, but Can They Sing?


The Ai Music Generation Challenge 2020 was a success! Tunes generated by seven Ai systems were evaluated by four Irish traditional music experts, and two winners were picked and performed.

Poetic research blog launched: Tunes from the Ai Frontiers. This is a personal exploration of machine-generated folk music, and how it fits with my practice of Irish traditional music.

The 2020 Joint Conference on AI Music Creativity – the kickoff event of MUSAiC – brought together two overlapping research forums for a week-long virtual conference involving over 200 participants around the world. Here are technical and logistical details about how I ran the conference online.

“Music from EDSAC” (circa 1960) by D. G. Champernowne, rediscovered and performed. This is a string quartet composed from material generated by a computer in the UK.

MUSAiC is a project that has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 864189).

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