Computers create musical

  • March 4, 2016
Computers create musical

Alex Davies worked on the world's first computer-generated musical.

A Gates Cambridge alumnus has worked on the world’s first computer-generated musical.

The musical, Beyond the Fence, opened in London’s West End on 22nd February and runs until 5th March.

Commissioned by SkyArts, it is based on a big data statistical study of what makes a Broadway hit.

Alex Davies [2010] and colleagues in the Machine Learning Group at Cambridge University analysed the data, which included the emotional structure of a work, the number of actors involved and whether or not romance was important. Alex and a colleague worked on generating lyrics. About 15% of the lyrics in the musical were computer generated.

They used this data to develop a model of what was most likely to result in a successful musical. Researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Complutense University of Madrid, took this model and generated characters and a plot, again using computers. The score was also written by computers under the aegis of Dr Nick Collins of Durham University and others.

Beyond the Fence is set in 1982 at the Greenham Common peace camp and involves a soldier finding true love through learning how to understand a child. Alex is currently a Machine Learning Specialist at ‎Google.

Latest News

Tracing the origins of our political beliefs

What makes some people more vulnerable to extremism than others? How do we build cognitive resilience against extreme ideologies? And how does the brain react to misinformation on social media? These are some of the key political questions that political neuroscientist Leor Zmigrod [2016] is exploring, putting the science into our understanding of radicalisation.   Leor […]

A leading woman in STEAM

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been selected as one of the 75 leading women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in India. Yama Dixit will feature in the second edition of the book She Is, published by the Red Dot Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India to mark 75 […]

Tackling the obesity epidemic in Africa

When she left school, Paula-Peace James-Okoro [2022] intended to become a medical doctor, but after starting a degree in Biochemistry she discovered a passion for the subject and for using it to address one of the major health challenges facing Africa – obesity. She says: “In Africa, the rates of metabolic diseases, like obesity and […]

Triple win for Bill Gates Sr. Prize

For the first time three Gates Cambridge Scholars are sharing this year’s Bill Gates Sr. Prize in recognition of their outstanding research and social leadership. Kim van Daalen, Reetika Subramanian and Cynthia Okoye have been selected for the prize which was established by the Gates Cambridge Trustees in June 2012 in recognition of the late […]