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Music generator gives you Radiohead for, er, free

You hum 'In Rainbows' and your computer will play along
You hum 'In Rainbows' and your computer will play along

Can't wait another five minutes for another Radiohead album, EP, collaboration or soundtrack?

Then you need ASSA (Automatic Style Specific Accompaniment), a music software system created by two University of Southern California researchers that creates an accompaniment in the style of any chosen artist.

Professor and pianist Elaine Chew and PhD rock guitarist Ching-Hua Chuan have used the harmonic progression theories of 19th century German academic Hugo Riemann to decode the underlying structure of songs by Radiohead, Green Day and Keane.

Neo-Riemannian chord transformations

After analysing just three or four songs from the artists, ASSA is able to generate an accompaniment that can fool human listeners between 70-80 per cent of the time.

Chuan and Chew plan to continue their research work. Among the possibilities is building an interactive prototype in C++ or Java that will listen to people humming input, create the accompaniment, and render it with the appropriate instruments.