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Computer Models of Musical Creativity
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Computer Models of Musical Creativity [Hardcover]

David Cope (Author)
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews) Like (2)

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Book Description

December 16, 2005

In this original and provocative study of computational creativity in music, David Cope asks whether computer programs can effectively model creativity -- and whether computer programs themselves can create. Defining musical creativity, and distinguishing it from creativity in other arts, Cope presents a series of experimental models that illustrate salient features of musical creativity. He makes the case that musical creativity results from a process that he calls inductive association, and he contends that such a computational process can in fact produce music creatively. Drawing on the work of many other scholars and musicians -- including Douglas Hofstadter, Margaret Boden, Selmer Bringsjord, and Kathleen Lennon -- Cope departs from the views expressed by most with his contentions that computer programs can create and that those who do not believe this have probably defined creativity so narrowly that even humans could not be said to create.After examining the foundations of creativity and musical creativity, Cope describes a number of possible models for computationally imitating human creativity in music. He discusses such issues as recombinance and pattern matching, allusions, learning, inference, analogy, musical hierarchy, and influence, and finds that these experimental models solve only selected aspects of creativity. He then describes a model that integrates these different aspects -- an inductive-association computational process that can create music. Cope's writing style is lively and nontechnical; the reader needs neither knowledge of computer programming nor specialized computer hardware or software to follow the text.The computer programs discussed in the text, along with MP3 versions of all the musical examples, are available at the author's website,, by clicking on the link to the left.

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Computer Models of Musical Creativity + Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style + Machine Musicianship
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Editorial Reviews


"David Cope's new book is a must for anyone interested in musical creativity or the formal analysis of music. Not least, it's a must for anyone who already knows Cope's work: you're in for some surprises!" Margaret A. Boden, Research Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Sussex

About the Author

David Cope is a composer and Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of Virtual Music: Computer Synthesis of Musical Style (MIT Press, 2004).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (December 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262033380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262033381
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
In this book the author makes a case for musical creativity by machines resulting from a process named "inductive association" which is a more narrowly defined version of free association, or the shedding of deductive reasoning for a more intuitive process. Each chapter begins with a simple principle, one that the author attempts to prove as the chapter proceeds. These principles are followed by illustrative vignettes appropriate to that chapter's focus. Many chapters also contain descriptions of computer programs designed to demonstrate that chapter's focus on the complexities of musical creativity.
Part one provides the history and meaning of creativity. That section ends with a detailed analysis of randomness and how it differs from creativity. There is a summary of computer program types that in some way may model musical creativity.
Part two describes a number of possible models for computationally imitating human creativity. Chapter 4 outlines the basic principles of recombinance and pattern matching, which are the two foundations of the author's work with computers and music. Chapter 5 describes how allusions contribute to musical creativity, and concludes with the description of a program that analyzes music for its references to other music and possible ways in which these references might be interpreted. Chapter 6 explains the role that learning plays in the creative process. Chapter 7 presents some of the ways in which composers build musical expectations and then either fulfill them or surprise listeners. It then discusses musical hierarchy and how computer programs can incorporate the analytical tools necessary to meld hierarchy into their creative processes.
Part 3 presents an inductive-association computational process that can solve problems and produce music creatively. Chapter 9 defines association networks and explains how such networks can respond effectively to input. Chapter 10 applies the principles of association networks to music. Chapter 11 discusses a number of possible combinations of the processes discussed so far, ultimately favoring an integrative model. Chapter 12 presents a number of aesthetical difficulties involved when computationally modeling creativity.
Readers of this book should have experience with music notation, but no knowledge of computer programming is required. However, I think it would have been more difficult to get through this book if I didn't already know AI terminology. All of the example programs are written in Common LISP. This book has a very academic tone which should be familiar to anybody who is familiar with Cope's other works. I recommend it for anyone who has the appropriate background who is interested in whether or not computers "think", and if they do, if they can also "create". Amazon does not show the table of contents so I do that here:
I Background and Principles 1
1 Definitions
2 Background 35
3 Current Models of Musical Creativity 51
II Experimental Models of Musical Creativity 85
4 Recombinance 87
5 Allusion 125
6 Learning, Inference, and Analogy 177
7 Form and Structure 221
8 Influence 251
III An Integrated Model of Musical Creativity 269
9 Association 271
10 Musical Association 299
11 Integration 325
12 Aesthetics 345
Appendix A: Experiments In Musical Intelligence Final Work List 385
Appendix B: Database Format 391
Appendix C: Ark Endings 393
Appendix D: Listing of Book Programs 397
Appendix E: Virtual Beethoven Symphony No. 10, Second Movement 399
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4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and Computational February 26, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
Excellent philosophical and computational insights into creativity. Useful discussion of various methods of generating music and the benefits and drawbacks of each, alongside discussion of the voice leading, tension, allusions, and structural hierarchy analysis a human would do when researching existing or composing new works.

Also interesting are the human responses to computer generated classical music: "I haven't heard it, but it sucks" (music critic) to "this isn't computer music because it is classical" (computer music publishers) to "this isn't classical music because it was recently composed" (classical publishers).
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