Tim Tunes

4-10 Christmas of the FUTURE, Future, future...

December 16, 2023 Tim Rose Season 4 Episode 10
Tim Tunes
4-10 Christmas of the FUTURE, Future, future...
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine, if you will, sitting down to listen to some music and having a computer create, on the spot, a great song with meaningful, heartfelt lyrics. With melodies and harmonies that soar and lift us up. This is the promise of songs generated by Artificial Intelligence.  But I’m here to report, we aren’t there yet. 

I’m Tim Rose and this is the Tim Tunes Podcast. In this special Christmas episode we’ll attempt to write and record three original Christmas songs using Artificial Intelligence. So, relax, have a seat in our sleigh while we listen to Christmas of the FUTURE, Future, future...

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[Intro]
[Intro Theme – Motor]

Imagine, if you will, sitting down to listen to some music and having a computer create, on the spot, a great song with meaningful, heartfelt lyrics. With melodies and harmonies that soar and lift us up. This is the promise of songs generated by Artificial Intelligence.  But I’m here to report, we aren’t there yet.

I thought it would be fun to write some Christmas songs using Artificial Intelligence. So, I went to a website called Industry Hackerz, that’s hackers with a z instead of an s, and used it to generate lyrics for three Christmas songs. Then I went to a site called Aiva to generate the music. It’s spelled A I V A and I’m not sure if it’s pronounced AVA or A_IVA. Aiva required me to download an app that I could use to generate songs. I liked this approach because I could see and to a certain extent edit the parts of the song. Also, I could download the song in a MIDI format so that I could use my own sampled and synthesized instruments to generate the song.

Then, I had to fit the lyrics from the lyric generator, that’s the Industry Hackerz site, and work with them to get them to fit the music created by Aiva. Then, I sang the song, to the best of my ability. In some instances, I changed the order of the lyrics to fit the music and in some cases I changed the order of the music to fit the lyrics. I tried to stay as true to the original as I could.

[Pod Lick]

Hi. I’m Tim Rose and this is the Tim Tunes pod cast. In this special Christmas episode, we’ll attempt to write and record three original Christmas songs using Artificial Intelligence. So, relax, have a seat in our sleigh while we listen to Christmas of the Future, future, future.

[Pod Lick – Big D]


[Happy Birthday, Jesus]

Growing up in a house as the second of six children was always a challenge. Each year my parents would single out one child to have a super Christmas and the rest would get to have an OK Christmas. So, that meant that every year, one kid would get what they wanted, and the others would get what Mom and Dad could afford.  Of course, as the second child there weren’t always five sibs around, but the situation got continually worse as I got older, and our family grew.

Christmas and birthdays were the only times that we got presents. As young children, we saw Christmas as this life-changing event where we got a magical gift from an elf who somehow knew what we wanted. If we had been good, then we would get the present that we wanted. Unless, either we hadn’t been good enough to deserve what we wanted or, and this is where it gets tricky, somehow the gift we wanted wasn’t the gift we needed. Santa had the perception to not only see what we wanted and deserved, but also to give us the gift that we really needed to become a better person. Magical!

Let me see if I can clarify with an example. One year for Christmas I asked for a bazooka. I know, nothing says celebrate the birth of Jesus like a weapon designed to destroy a tank filled with dirty commies. Of course, I wanted a toy bazooka. Even I knew better than to ask for a real bazooka, that’s just crazy. But there was this cool kid sized replica of the on the shoulder tube that fired a fairly large plastic projectile.

You know, looking back I can understand my parents’ reluctance to purchase a gift like this for me. I didn’t have the best record with projectile toy weapons. One year I got one of those bows and arrows with the suckers on the tip of the arrows. I don’t know if I was thinking of William Tell shooting the apple off of his son’s head or what, but I hit my grandma square in the face with an arrow that stuck to her forehead. I had discovered that if you lick the suction cup before you fired it it would stick much better on contact. I remember a red circle on her face once she removed the arrow. Or…, maybe not, maybe I made the whole thing up and that was just what I wanted to have happened, or maybe it happened to someone else, and I just manufactured this memory. Still, a good story, not to be wasted. But I digress, bazooka, remember?

Come Christmas morning, under the tree, was this bazooka sized present for me and I was really excited. Unfortunately, when I unwrapped the present, it wasn’t a bazooka at all, but rather this tube that could be loaded with colorful ping-pong ball sized plastic balls that shot out at a harmless twenty feet or so. I was so disappointed. I guess Santa had decided that I didn’t need a weapon of minor mass destruction and instead gave me colored balls.  Dissatisfied, I tried to understand why Santa had decided that this was the gift for me. I had been very good this year. It was a child’s philosophical conundrum that I just couldn’t resolve.

Perhaps it was my mother’s observation of my distress or maybe just an old tradition, that prompted her to bake a birthday cake for Jesus and help us remember why we celebrate the holiday at all. Each Christmas morning, we would all gather round Jesus’ birthday cake, decorated in red and green because I guess they were his favorite colors, light the candles, and sing happy birthday to Jesus. We’d then blow out the candles, I never understood why he didn’t do that himself, and help ourselves to birthday cake and ice cream.

[Podlick]

In creating this song I asked both the AI lyrics tool and the AI music tool to create a birthday song for Jesus. This is what I got.

[Play – Happy Birthday, Jesus]

Happy Birthday, Jesus!                                                                                                               CHORUS 1
Blow out the candles on your cosmic cake,
Radiant love shines brightly oh! for goodness sake!

Well, it's that time of year                                                                                                               VERSE 1
When Santa and his reindeer cheer
But let's not forget the joyous reason
For this festive holiday season

Happy Birthday, Jesus!                                                                                                              CHORUS 2
Blow out the candles with celestial flare—
Your Light guides us through every earthly care snare.

It's your birthday, Jesus, all eyes on you                                                                             VERSE 2
We gather 'round the world to celebrate anew

Happy Birthday, Jesus                                                                                                             CHORUS 3
With every gift we wrap and each every hymn we sing,
Paying tribute to our heavenly King

So let us raise a joyful noise today                                                                                        , BRIDGE
Dancing merrily in honor of Your day.
Though it ain't easy being born divine,
You're still humble enough to drink our wine!

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Happy Birthday Jesus                                                        CHORUS 4
Oh, it fills my heart with glee,
To celebrate Your birth so happily!

Every step and twirl is a thank-you note—                                           BRIDGE / VERSE RAP
Lord Jesus Christ, hope He brings & He creates.
Now I know my vocal skills may pale
But in this song, I won't fail or bail
Gonna sprinkle some love and laughter true,
Spreading joy like confetti just for You


In this timeless tale rewriting history books,
You gave mankind redemption wherever sin hooks.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. Happy Birthday



[Christmas Blues]

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I used to work the Christmas Tree lot with my dad for the Lion’s Club in Oxon Hill Maryland. Each year we unload all the Christmas trees onto the lot. Then we’d tag them and sell them according to size and type. We had to cut off the bottom of the tree when it was sold to help the tree absorb water. Usually, my job was to stay out of the way and help put the trees on the roofs or trunks of cars. We’d take all the ends of the trees that we cut off and burn them in the 50-gallon drum to stay warm. I remember hanging out with the guys and standing around the fire as some of the fondest Christmas memories of that time.

[Pod Lick]

Those old memories, of times and people and places that have vanished can be bittersweet. All of the old “I’m missing you at Christmas” songs are like that. Like Blue Christmas and I’ll Be Home for Christmas this next song shares that melancholy sort of Christmas

I told the AI lyrics tool that I wanted a sad Christmas song where I was missing someone. I told the AI music tool that I wanted a Christmas blues song, and this is what I got.

[Play song – Christmas Blues]

When the snowflakes fall, and the world turns white,                                     (Verse 1)
I can't help but feel these blues, in this lonely night.
Though we're miles apart, my love on Christmas day,
My heart aches in silence as memories start to sway.

Oh, Christmas blues, they grip my soul so tight,                                                (Chorus 1)
Yet I hold onto your love with all my might.
Through the distance and time that keep us at bay,
Our affection burns strong like a star's eternal ray.

The carols play softly on this chilly winter's eve,                                                (Verse 2)
But their cheerful tunes remind me of what I can't achieve.
Wrapped up in nostalgia, I close my weary eyes,
Whispering "I miss you" beneath vast December skies.

Oh, Christmas blues paint shadows upon the wall,                                          (Chorus)
Yet our love endures; it won\'t crumble nor will it fall.
From afar or nearby, forever you\'ll be mine to see,
In dreams of yuletide magic where true hearts roam free.

In every ornament that adorns this holiday tree,                                           (Bridge)
A reflection of your smile is ever-present for me.
Through twinkling lights and mistletoe above our heads,
We share an unbreakable bond despite paths led by threads.

Amidst bustling shoppers searching for perfect gifts anew,                    (Verse 3)
I nod politely yet long for just one glimpse of you.
For even if we're separated by space and circumstance wide
You remain etched within me—my companion by my side.

So let these melancholic notes drift away with time's embrace                (Outro)
As melodies of longing travel through each snowy trace.
With hope tucked deep inside 'neath this nostalgic hue;
Know that even apart -- dear one -- I'll always love you.



[Crazy Christmas]

When I was in college at Frostburg Maryland, my roommate and I decided to throw an end of the semester Christmas Party in December of 1976 at our off-campus house. Now, being a college student, by definition, I had very little money. But far be it for a little detail like that to prevent merry making.

Then, one day, while walking through the student union, I spied Santa Claus all decked out handing out candy canes or raising money for some charity or another. I went over to Santa and asked if he would come to our party. He replied he would. When I asked him how much he would charge, he impishly replied with a smile, “I’ll be there.” And off he went.

When the day of the party arrived, we scraped together what little we had for a keg of beer, a few little decorations, and a few small presents for those who attended the party. I took a few dollars and bought as many comic books as I could. Back in those days you could buy a bundle of four comics for 25 cents. You couldn’t tell what comics were in the bundle, so you just took your chances and hoped for the best. I wrapped each comic with a little ribbon and set them aside for the guests.

The party was in full swing when, at around 9:00pm, Santa arrived at the door. He was a marvelous Santa - full white beard, luxurious red robe with white fur trim, black leather boots. The real deal. He set up in a corner and asked if I had any gifts he could give out, he took the comics that I had put together, put them in his bag, and proceeded to hold court in one of the bedrooms.

One-by-one each of the college students sat on Santa’s lap. He asked if they had been good over the past year and what they wanted for Christmas. It was quite a sight to see all these normally cynical college students transformed into their child selves and the delight on their faces. Some were recently returned vets from the Vietnam war going to college on the GI Bill. It didn’t matter. We’re all children on Santa’s lap.

After a while I was distracted and didn’t see when Santa got up to leave. I rushed to the door to offer him some money just in time to see him get into his white Cadilac Brougham with a red interior and drive off into the night.

[Pod Lick]

I told the AI Lyrics tool that I wanted a song about a crazy Christmas morning in the style of Tom Leherer. I uploaded my song “I’m Mad” for the AI music tool to use as a template. I’m Mad is in a major key and what I got is in a minor key. Go figure.

So this is what I got.

[Play Song – Crazy Christmas]

On a crazy Christmas morning, what did I see?                                                          (VERSE1)
 A stack of oddball presents, laid under the tree.
 From Auntie Flo and Uncle Joe, they couldn't buy right,
 But these goofy gifts filled my heart with delight!
 
 Crazy Christmas morning, it's an oddball sensation,                                                (Chorus)
 With funky little treasures causing pure elation.
 No high-end gadgets or fancy designer wear,
 Just wacky surprises that show how much they care.
 
 First came a tie adorned with fluffy toy ducks,                                                            (Verse 2)
 You betcha that gift was all kinds of bucks!
 It seemed utterly absurd to wear around town,
 But who cares about fashion when you\'re this renowned?
 
 Oh Santa bless their hearts, they bring joy so rare                                                    (Bridge)
 Though wrapped up in silliness like underwear
 Unconventional presents make memories true
 For on this merry holiday, we love \'em through and through
 
 Next arrived a toaster shaped like Elvis Presley\'s head,                                        (Verse 3)
 Toasting rock 'n roll bread while snugly in its bed.
 I chuckled at the sight of burnt sideburn toast,
 Who knew kitchen appliances could be such a host?
 
 Crazy Christmas morning, it's an oddball sensation,                                             (Chorus)
 With funky little treasures causing pure elation.
 No high-end gadgets or fancy designer wear;
 Just wacky surprises that show how much they care.
 
 Then I opened a box marked "Singing Fishin' Pole",                                                  (Verse 4)
 It warbled jolly tunes as if straight from the North Pole.
 While casting lines into air instead of serene lakes,
 I danced merrily along—what lovely musical breaks! 

 Oh Santa bless their hearts; they bring joy so rare                                                  (Bridge)
 Though wrapped up in silliness like underwear
 Unconventional presents make memories true
 For on this merry holiday we love 'em through and through
 
 My last present was a hat with cowbells attached,                                                 (Verse 5)
 I wore it while dancing—a sight surely unmatched.
 Neighbors peeked from curtains, questioning my sanity,
 But laughter swept the block—an uproarious calamity!
 
 Crazy Christmas morning, it's an oddball sensation,                                              (Chorus)
 With funky little treasures causing pure elation.
 No high-end gadgets or fancy designer wear;
 Just wacky surprises that show how much they care.
 
 Oh Santa bless their hearts; they bring joy so rare                                              (Bridge)
 Though wrapped up in silliness like underwear
 Unconventional presents make memories true
 For on this merry holiday we love 'em through and through
 
 So embrace those goofy gifts with all of your might,                                          (Outro)
 Because crazy Christmas mornings offer endless delight!
 They remind us to chuckle and not take life too seriously;
 May your holidays be filled with oddballs most mysteriously!



[Outro]

Artificial Intelligence used to mean any application that could learn and change in ways that were not intended by the original programmer. Basically, an application could change its own program code based on feedback of some kind from the application. Nowadays Artificial Intelligence seems to apply to any program that uses large databases to follow sets of rules to do something that seems to mimic human behavior.

That first kind of artificial intelligence is the one that you have to watch out for. You know, Sky Net takes over the world, like in the Terminator. But I think the second kind of AI is what we are mainly seeing now. Programs that seem to be generating human behavior but aren’t. This sort of thing has been around for a long time. The old program Eliza is used to imitate a therapist. It is very cleverly programmed to as questions and provide feedback based on a few simple phrases. If this is the case then it looks like whoever programmed the music side of things for our AIs is very influenced by contemporary pop music, as the melodies and arrangements tend to be very simple. Like most of pop music today.

If on the other hand these AIs are using what I’ll refer to real, machine learning systems, then I feel pretty sad for the future of music. None of songs seem to have much joy in them. To me they all sound kind of sad and morose. I hope this isn’t a reflection of what people are feeling. I genuinely hope AI finds some way to feel happy… Without killing us all, of course. 

That’s all for this episode. I’ll be back next year with a brand-new season of podcasts featuring interviews with music and performance professionals. You won’t want to miss it.

Please feel free to send me comments on this episode via Facebook at the Tim Tunes Podcast group or email me at timtunespodcast@gmail.com or via twitter @rimtoes or if you are a Patreon subscriber you can send me messages via Patreon.

Patreon subscribers have add free access to all of my podcasts and loads of other goodies.

If you’d like to donate you can do so at my Patreon site at patreon.com/timtunes. Or you can send a donation via PayPal to @rimtoes. It’s an anagram of Tim Rose, you’ll figure it out.  

If you can’t donate, no problem You can also help out the podcast by writing a review on whatever podcast tool you use or by liking us on Facebook or iTunes. That will go a long way towards increasing my reach. Also, you can support the show just by listening to some of my songs on your favorite music streaming service.

However, you choose to support the show, I appreciate you. 

I’ll leave you now with my first ever computer-generated music. I recorded the music for this ad in 1977 on an Atari 800 using a program that I wrote from scratch. 

I hope you and yours have a safe and wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

[Outro Pod Lick,]

 [Play MathBox Commercial]

Intro
Happy Birthday, Jesus Story
Happy Birthday, Jesus Song
Christmas Blues Story
Christmas Blues Story
Crazy Christmas Story
Crazy Christmas Song
Outro