Although the results from Tuesday’s Adaptistration Classical Music Challenge are unlikely to be the final word on the matter, it appears that it’s still pretty easy to tell the difference between an orchestra of human beings and one of computer generated sounds…
The challenge consisted of participants listening to two different recordings of Edvard Greig’s Holberg Suite, Mvt. #1. One version was created using the Vienna Symphonic Library and the other one with a human orchestra. Afterward, participants identified which recording was which or if they couldn’t tell the difference.
27 readers had the time to compare each recording and 25/27 (93%) were able to accurately identify each sample, 1/27 (4%) was incorrect, and one 1/27 (4%) could not tell the difference, as the chart below illustrates.
I think this was a worthwhile test because the Guardian Unlimited technology correspondent, David Smith, claimed that new Vienna Symphonic Library software package is capable of mimicking “human musicians in the performance of greats such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart so convincingly that a casual listener to Classic FM would be unable to tell the difference”.
Apparently, the casual listener that also reads this blog would beg to differ.
If you missed the challenge and didn’t vote, no worries, you can still feel free to compare the two recordings: