Shimon is a robotic marimba player, designed to create meaningful musical interactions with humans, leading to unusual musical experiences and outcomes. The robot has the capacity to produce melodic responses in physical and visual manners.
Shimon has performed with humans in several concerts and festivals. Now Shimon robot can also add film composers to his list of accomplishments. A few years ago he was also invited to compose for a film which he completed in the spring of 2018.
As Shimon can’t work alone, Richard Savery was tapped to join him. Savery is a Ph.D. student at the Center for Music Technology at Georgia Tech. To give Shimon the knowledge to compose Savery wrote the algorithms for the film. This film is part of a large-scale installation comprised of projected video images on large screens.
Savery is an experienced composer but writing the music and programming a robot to create music was a first-ever experience for him. He said he focuses on creating robots to show how artificial intelligence can help humans understand and create music.
Film’s director, American artist Janet Biggs invited Shimon to compose the score. To help them start, Biggs gave Savery an early version of the film for Shimon to view.
Savery first worked out how Shimon could watch the film before creating music. For this task, he programmed Shimon robot to identify colors and people. Then Shimon composed music based on emotions and the people.
Lastly Savery said he was “very happy with the way it came out and had a great experience working with Janet.”