We were all taught Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection in High School, but what if, through the same process, we were able to write new and appealing songs? Bob MacCallum and his colleagues at the Imperial College London are developing a system for doing just that.
Their music engine DarwinTunes starts with a population of short audio loops to be voted on by users. The favored loops go on to sexually reproduce and their mutated children return to the population to be voted on in the next cycle. Utilizing almost 7,000 user’s tastes for selection MacCallum’s team discovered that after only 500 generations, the random noise begins to evolve into aesthetically pleasing chords and rhythms.
In the future, the team hopes to scale DarwinTunes to support millions of users. “We may see a leap to a new plateau,” says MacCallum, “Done properly, we reckon the quality of the music would be pretty much comparable to current man-made electronic and dance music, but a lot more democratic.”