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Consumer Peripherals

Jazz-Playing Robot and Computers to Jam

27 October 2015

A new project, called Musical Improvising Collaborative Agent, or MUSICA will develop a musical device that can improvise a jazz solo along with human partners, as jamming occurs today between human musicians.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the project to explore new ways that people can interact with computers and robots.

Ben Grosser, an assistant professor of new media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleague Kelland Thomas, an associate professor of music at the University of Arizona, are developing MUSICA to learn how people can communicate with one another without language, deepening human/machine interactions.

Researchers will create a database of jazz solos and have computers analyze the recordings to figure out the processes that come into play when a musician improvises. They will then develop a performance system to analyze the components of jazz performances such as beat, pitch, harmony and rhythm. The system will also consider what it has learned about jazz solos to respond musically in real time.

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