Google honours Bach with first AI powered Doodle

Alfred Osborne
March 22, 2019

Ever dreamed of creating a musical masterpiece that would be remembered for centuries but don't even know how to play an instrument? Now, more than 1,000 of his works are performed all over the world.

Google Doodle on Friday celebrated the birth anniversary of renowned German composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach with its first ever AI-powered doodle. It's the first artificial-intelligence powered Google Doodle.

With the press of a button that is located at the bottom right corner, the doodle uses machine learning to harmonise the custom melody into Johann Christian Bach's signature music style. It is made with the help of machine learning, a technique by which the the computer is taught to come up with its own answers with the help of various examples given, rather than the conventional method of following a set of rules.

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Want to create your own music? The AI model used in this Google Doodle was trained on 306 of Bach's compositions. They then fed that model 306 Bach chorale harmonizations, which are ideal for training since they always feature four voices that have their own melodic line.

Thursday's animated Google Doodle shows the composer playing an organ in celebration of his March 21, 1685, birthday under the old Julian calendar. Bach's music was even "revived" recently and given an 80s rock flair, which you can also try out with an Easter egg hiding somewhere in the screen. Magenta also worked with Pair to use TensorFlow.js (or Google's Tensor Processing Units if your device isn't powerful enough) to allow machine learning to happen entirely within your browser.

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