By: Nick Gambino
If he was immortal, yesterday would have been the 334th birthday of famed German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In honor of the maestro, Google released an AI-powered Google Doodle that allows you to make Bach-style music.
While we’re used to seeing Google Doodles celebrate important historical figures, this one is a bit different and historical in its own right. This is the first Doodle that is AI-powered. The advanced Bach Doodle includes machine learning that allows you to create music that might’ve impressed the famed composer.
“[The model] was trained on 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonizations,” a Google blog said. “His chorales have four voices, each carrying their own melodic line, while creating a rich harmonic progression when played together.”
When you first open it up you’ll see a cute animated version of Bach that acts as your teacher. You’ll start with a short tutorial that’ll tell you what to do. Bach himself (or at least his avatar) will add his own notes that will, in essence, create the basis for a four-part harmony. This is widely acknowledged as his contribution to the world of music, so it’s only fitting.
You’ll then be allowed to add some of your own. Now don’t worry if you’re not musically-inclined, this is where AI comes into play. Once you add your notes and tap the “Harmonize” button the Google Doodle will get to work creating a proper harmonized melody using your contribution.
Understanding how it all works is well above my pay grade, but it’s pretty impressive and makes me bask in the delusion that maybe I have some musical talent that’s worth sharing with the world. I do not.
There’s also an easter egg in the Doodle that will allow you to discover a “Bach 80’s rock style hybrid.” Hint: tap the little amp in the bottom right of the Doodle to discover this hidden feature. The Bach characters on screen will adopt 80s personas and the music itself will gain a synthesizer quality.
After you make your brilliant composition, you can choose to download it or share it on social media platforms. Or you can do what I did and trash it immediately because I know it’ll never be good enough.