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German composer Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday celebrated with AI-powered Google Doodle

Google is using AI to power its Doodle for the first time as it marks German composer Johann Sebastian Bach's birthday.

  • Published: March 22, 2019 8:48 AM IST
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After marking the festival of colors, Holi, with a colorful doodle, Google is today celebrating the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach is a world renowned German composer and musician and in order to mark his contribution, Google is introducing its first ever AI-powered Doodle. The doodle on Google’s homepage today, is an interactive experience unlike any that has come before it. It encourages players to compose a two measure melody of their choice. The doodle then uses machine learning to harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style with the press of a button.

Google, in its blog post, says that the AI-powered doodle is made in partnership with the Google Magenta and Google PAIR teams. The search giant has also hidden a special Easter Egg in the doodle, which will result in a custom melody that matches Bach’s 80 rock style hybrid composition. The company says that the first step in developing the doodle was to create a machine learning model to power it. The model used in the doodle today was developed by Magenta Team AI Resident Anna Huang, who developed Coconet, used in wide range of musical tasks.

Google notes that Bach’s chorales always have four voices and each of them carry their own melodic line. So, the Coconet was trained on 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonization and Google says the structure of Bach’s music made for good training data for the machine learning model. Google PAIR teams then used TensorFlow.js to allow machine learning to work entirely within the web browser. “For cases where someone’s computer or device might not be fast enough to run the Doodle using TensorFlow.js, the Doodle is also served with Google’s new Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), a way of quickly handling machine learning tasks in data centers— yet another Doodle first,” Google said.

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The doodle, while interactive, also depicts Bach’s ability to build and repair the complex inner mechanisms of pipe organs. His reputation soared following the 19h century with Bach revival, where the music world came to appreciate his innovative use of four-part harmony, modulations of key, and mastery of counterpoint and fugue.

  • Published Date: March 22, 2019 8:48 AM IST