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An Algorithm to Turn Melodies Into Songs

New software creates chord progressions to accompany singers of all abilities

4 min read

11 July 2008--We all occasionally catch ourselves humming a tune, or singing along to the radio. What separates most of us from real musicians is the knowledge and skill to turn a hummed melody into a complete song. Three researchers in Washington state, however, aim to bridge at least some of that gap.

They've created a program called MySong that can generate a chord progression to fit any vocal melody. You simply sing into a computer microphone to the beat of a digitized metronome, and MySong comes up with an accompaniment of chords that sounds good with it. ”Lots of songs have only three chords,” says Sumit Basu of Microsoft Research, a cocreator of MySong. ”If you have the melody, it seems like you ought to be able to predict what the chords are.” Basu and his collaborators--Dan Morris, a Microsoft Research colleague, and Ian Simon, a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, Seattle--will show off some of their program's features at The Twenty-Third AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence next week.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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