Jukedeck was featured in the January 2014 issue of WIRED (UK).
Ready for the robo-Rachmaninoff? “I’ve been trying to codify the process you go through as a composer,” says Ed Rex, founder of Jukedeck, software that writes music by itself, note by note. After each note, it makes a decision: based on what’s come before, what should come next? “That’s where probability comes in – it’s a way for the software to choose different avenues,” the 26-year-old says. “You code it in: so, it’s likely that the phrase will be this long and go to this nearby note, and more likely to move to this chord than that. If it were a case of just choosing between different numbers, the music would be random and wouldn’t sound like music.”
Where Jukedeck differs from other generative software is in its emphasis on catchy tunes. Rex, whose company is based at Google Campus in London, says the system breaks music down to its parts – chord sequences, drum beats, and so on. Using the “building blocks”, it’s easy to swap genres: “You use the same foundation, but put in different probabilities and instruments.”
Jukedeck is available now, and Rex, who studied music at Cambridge University, is also planning a mobile app. “With iPhones and Google Glass, you have hardware that is aware of its environment. So you can have music that is written for you directly, that can react – it can take inputs in real time,” Rex says. “It would be like everyone having a composer following them around, writing them a soundtrack.”