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AI Resurrects Century-Old Music from Lost Opera “Andromeda”

Photo by Gwen King / Unsplash

The melodies of "Andromeda," a historic opera from the 1600s composed by Marco Scacchi with lyrics by Virgilio Puccitelli, have been brought back to life thanks to artificial intelligence. The opera's original music had vanished over time, leaving only the words to tell its story. That was, until composer Mantautas Krukauskas set out to reconstruct the lost score.

Assisting in this endeavour was an AI software called Composer's Assistant, developed by Texas math professor and part-time musician Martin Malandro from Sam Houston State University. Malandro's software, aided by AI, enables composers to generate musical ideas by drawing from a large collection of 65 million public domain music pieces across various genres.

Krukauskas stumbled upon Composer's Assistant and, with the help of developers, modified it to study Scacchi's existing compositions. This allowed them to create a new approximation of the opera's music. The revitalised opera had its debut performance during the 700th-anniversary celebrations of the city of Vilnius in Lithuania as possibly the first opera recreated with the support of AI.

In an interview with Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty, Malandro described how the software operates and emphasised that Composer's Assistant is designed to help rather than replace human composers, ensuring the importance of human touch in the creative process remains intact.

Earlier this year, AI was also used to recreate the voice of John Lennon for The Beatles' last song "Now and Then," and the voice of late Edith Piaf was resurrected with artificial intelligence for a biopic movie.  

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