Yamaha unveils AI piano system9:39, 20th November 2019
Yamaha has unveiled its first comprehensive AI piano system at the Ars Electronica Festival 2019 in Linz, Austria
Comprising a Yamaha Disklavier player piano driven by special software designed to think for itself, the AI system used ‘deep learning’ to mimic the performance style of eccentric Canadian pianist Glenn Gould. The project, dubbed ‘Dear Glenn’, has been developed with support from the Glenn Gould Foundation.
Over 100 hours of Gould’s recordings were analysed by the system to achieve its feat. In addition, Yamaha examined the performances of several other pianists known to be exponents of Gould’s style.
The new system also integrates Yamaha’s 2016 AI Music Ensemble Technology, enabling the AI pianist to interact with other musicians. Footage of the resulting performances in Linz can be viewed online via YouTube, together with Yamaha mini-documentary Glenn Gould as AI.
According to Yamaha’s website, Gould’s ‘devotion to recording with digital media and an interest in rethinking the relationship between performer and audience’ made him an ideal subject for testing the new AI technology. Envisaged as a tribute to Gould, Yamaha says ‘the artist’s attitude’ served as ‘the inspiration for the idea behind the project.’