Georgia Tech student Mason Bretan is attracting curious interest and attention for his impressive PhD research in Music Technology – specifically, robot musicianship.
Bretan’s latest YouTube post demonstrating his work shows him “jamming” with one large robot named Shimon (on the marimba) while three smaller robots “dance” based on an analysis of the music and create their own complimentary sounds. As Bretan moves from drums to guitar and, finally, keyboards, Shimon generates an improvised accompaniment on the marimba based on a preconceived chord progression and generative algorithm. Explains Bretan in his notes accompanying the video, “Through the power of artificial intelligence, signal processing, and engineering I firmly believe it is possible for machines to be artistic, creative, and inspirational.”
Watch Bretan and his mechanical creations play “What You Say,” an instrumental jazz piece based on Miles Davis’ “What I Say,” here: