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Volume 1, Issue 1, September 2016


Steven Jan, Eduardo Miranda, Valerio Velardo

We are delighted to launch the Journal of Creative Music Systems (JCMS) with this, the Inaugural Issue. The journal is motivated by the need to offer a forum for the dissemination of research which applies insights from the enormous growth of artificial intelligence over recent decades to answer questions of musical structure, genesis and creativity.

There are many rubrics under which this research is currently conducted, a number of distinct research traditions and groupings, and a variety of generative music systems which have been developed. The latter have produced a range of different types of music in style ranging from popular to “classical”, and some of these outputs have been evaluated as convincing by some human observers

However work in this field is framed, what is clear is that it is necessarily multidisciplinary, integrating theories and methodologies from a number of academic traditions. Key among these are computer science, cognitive science (neuroscience and psychology), mathematics and music theory; but a number of other disciplines are also implicated, including evolutionary theory (and with it memetics), anthropology, sociology, music information retrieval and (given the known overlaps between music and language) linguistics and semiotics.

As our Scope and Aims hopefully make clear, JCMS takes a catholic stance, being intended to encompass all aspects of research on music-creative systems, from the philosophical and theoretical to the practical, from the analytical to the synthetic, and from systems which enhance human creativity to those which are intended as free-standing creative entities in their own right. The journal encourages discussion of a range of generative algorithms and consideration of the means by which their outputs might be evaluated. Starting as we mean to go on, this first issue offers six articles which draw on a diverse range of approaches.

While the challenges of this research are considerable, so are its promises. Not only does it offer opportunities for a deeper understanding of the human mind and the elusive nature of creativity, but the intrinsic complexity of music, and its embedding in many aspects of human biology and culture, affords a stimulus for the development of computer science and artificial intelligence. While the rise of machine consciousness and machine culture seems – for several AI researchers and cognitive scientists – some way in the future, it is not difficult to foresee that the outputs of the kinds of generative music systems with which JCMS is concerned may ultimately transcend human creativity.

We hope that JCMS will play a part in fostering the continuing development of this exciting research field, wherever it may lead, and we thank those – our Editorial Board, our production team, and our authors – who have made this journal possible.