Do the Evolution!

It randomly occurred to me while walking home the other night that genetic algorithms may be particularly suited to searching for solutions to some of the more difficult audio processing problems.

The basic idea is to take a reproducible population with some minor variation between generations and apply a form of natural selection to shape the outcome towards a ‘better’ solution. This is the basis of Conway’s Game of Life which applies these simple principles to a simple 2D grid and is a great demonstration of emergent behaviour.

Audio and Music can be incredibly complex systems governed by a few relatively simple properties and/or rules, so evolutionary principles may be applied. For example here is some music created based on evolutionary principles explained here.

This project examines the use of genetic algorithms to resynthesize sounds by comparing each generation to a target sound and converging towards the target with what appears to have been modest success.

For a much deeper dive I also discovered the book Evolutionary Computer Music which covers in depth the applications of evolutionary computing principles in music. (It does have a hefty price tag though!)

There’s  also the historical evolution of music (here demonstrated by The Pentatonix)

Then of course there’s music inspired by evolution itself. (This is for those of you who were actually looking for Pearl Jam)


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