Sponsored By

An comedic anecdote of a composer who is suffering from writer's block and uses AI music tools to help stimulate their creativity. Brought to you from a PhD student working on procedural music tools that can work in symbiosis with composers for their PhD.

Kyle Worrall, Blogger

February 25, 2021

5 Min Read

War Against The Machines: How AI Is Changing The Way We Make Music |  Telekom Electronic Beats

Meet John, a 30 something composer with no background in programming who only has 60 days to pump out 90 minutes of music for a big project. Like most composers, this would be a problem for John. Well, if it would bea problem if it weren’t for the music AI tool John will discover. A symbiotic tool that works for the composer instead of replacing them in their creative endeavours. 

John averages 1-2 minutes of music on a good day. 30 days in and John has 45 minutes of music composed, mixed and mastered. A good effort but there’s still 45 minutes to write in just 30 days. A deadline is looming and the stress is building to a writer’s block. What a nightmare?! Surely a crunchy month is ahead.

                   Time to Complete Your License Renewal CEUs is Nearly Up! DEADLINE:  Wednesday, September 30 - IECRM | Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky  Mountain

But wait! John has heard about software that generates music in a composer's style. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be catered to games, or if it is then it requires coding knowledge to use. Even if John could code, often licensing costs money. John’s brain is hurting and he’s going to lose another day at this rate. 

But wait! John has just seen an ad for the AI-MATSU** Game Music tool! A multi-functional tool that is accessible to people with no programming knowledge and focuses on symbiosis with composers. You just drag the tool into a game engine to enhance your music's expressive qualities, generate sections between existing pieces and much more. Unfortunately, that would require a long talk with the devs. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to mention right before launch. However, John remembers that the tool can be opened alongside a DAW as well.

                          The best DAWs 2021: the best digital audio workstations for PC and Mac |  MusicRadar

John pops open the application and drops in some midi files from the project. The tool takes all of the stylistic information and uses it to generate music that is similar to John’s compositions (keys, tempos, motifs, themes). Now John is getting somewhere. The tool generates 30 minutes of music. 15 minutes of those sound good enough for John to just add some flair and Frankenstein together with existing ideas before mixing and mastering of course.                     

John now has 30 days to write 30 minutes of music. 

Writer’s block is still causing problems, but wait! While the remaining generated music isn’t good enough to build upon, it stimulates John’s creativity. John writes the last 30 minutes in 20 days because anytime they end up in a rut, they use the AI-MATSU** Game Music tool to inspire further creativity. The writer’s block is overcome.

                 The Good Grief Of Beethoven On Schroeder's Toy Piano In 'Peanuts' |  Nashville Classical Radio

John’s work life balance is restored, the soundtrack is complete, the style is cohesive and the tool was easy to use. No more stress and no agonising over learning a programming language or complex UI. Most importantly John has had the opportunity to work with technologies that were not accessible to themselves months earlier. 

John also saved themselves 10 long workdays. Maybe John can take a week off or do their dreaded tax return. John doesn’t have to worry about being replaced after all. This tool requires John’s composing expertise. It requires John’s musical stimuli. It requires John’s mixing and mastering. The relationship is symbiotic for John and the tool.

So why can’t it be for you?

You can try some pre-existing music AI here: AIVA and Google’s Magenta Studio.


My name is Kyle Worrall and I’m a PhD student with the Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence. Thankyou for taking the time to read my first post. I’ve seen a lot of composers worry about being replaced by procedural music tools, so I’m designing a tool that is focused on working for composers utilising autoregressive ML i.e. linear regression. Keep checking in to see how my research develops or get in touch to talk all things music and audio for games. 

Twitter: @Impetus_Music 

Email: [email protected]


*  All images were taken from Google image searches, I don't own them.    

** As you probably guessed AI-MATSU is a pun combining Nobuo Uematsu’s name with AI. Although the tool's name is subject to change and will likely change, this was just a little nod to the person who made me want to work in this industry 20 years ago. Thank you to Nobuo Uematsu for all the fantastic and inspiring music.

                         Here's how Nobuo Uematsu changed the course of classical music with his  Final... - Classic FM

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like