American Pi: AI software writes a new song based on the Don McLean classic to mark Pi Day

In case you didn’t know, today is Pi Day, when we all take a moment to reflect on the importance of the mathematical constant that is π. Why today? Because 3, 1 and 4 are the first three significant digits of π, and we’re on the 14th day of the 3rd month of the year, but we’re guessing that you’d all worked that out anyway…

To mark this most most auspicious of days, the machine learning boffins behind Amadeus Code - the AI songwriting assistant that uses data from centuries’ worth of music to generate new material -  have instructed their slightly sinister music-making machine to come up with a new song based on - you guessed it - Don McLean’s classic American Pie, feeding their beast with said 1972 hit and letting it go to work.

Just as π is an infinitely expanding number, we’re told that Amadeus Code’s AI is capable of creating 99,750^1,619,558 (exponent 1,619,558) combinations of melodies, thanks to its vast musical knowledge base.

It seems that human input into the creation of the new song, We Started Singing, was pretty minimal, though the producers - if that’s what they should be called - dropped the tempo from 140bpm to 136bpm in order to accommodate a half-time section at 68bpm, and also adjusted the note length settings to ensure that the melody wasn’t too busy.

You can find out more about the technology on the Amadeus Code website, or try it for yourself on iOS by downloading the Amadeus Code app from the Apple App Store.

You can listen to We Started Singing in the video above. Is it an improvement on American Pie? Possibly not, but it’s definitely better than Madonna’s cover.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.