News / 12 February 2019

AI-finished Symphony

"Complete Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with our AI." A simple brief. A monumental task. A multiple-award winner.

This week we were thrilled to find out that Huawei’s Unfinished Symphony won three PRCA Awards – International Campaign, Consumer Technology and the big one – Campaign of the Year. Here’s the story behind the project.

In 1822, Schubert began writing what has become perhaps his most famous piece: Symphony No. 8 in B Minor. He never completed it, leading to the piece becoming known as the Unfinished Symphony. Huawei, in their search to push the boundaries of what is humanly possible, decided to complete the Unfinished Symphony using the AI of their Mate 20 Pro smartphone. And they turned to us for help.

Teaming up with Goldsmiths University and music technologists Bronze, we created a learning model based on the works of Schubert. We compiled this model into an app to run on the Mate 20 Pro’s NPU, then fed in audio of Symphony No.8’s first and second movements. The app analysed the timbre, pitch and meter of the existing movements and generated a melody for the third and fourth missing movements.

The final part of the challenge was to convert the AI output into an orchestral performance. For this, Emmy award-winning composer Lucas Cantor was asked to create a score from the outputted melodies. On Monday 4th February 2019, The English Session Orchestra performed the symphony in full, at London’s Cadogan Hall. Schubert’s masterpiece was complete.

“The result of this collaboration with AI proves that technology offers incredible possibilities and the significant and positive impact it can have on modern culture” (Lucas Cantor)