I decided to try something new: I will start a timer and then begin looking through and judging material generated by folk-rnn, recording my observations as I go, until I find something that is worth working with. How long will it take? How many transcriptions will I have to discard? How hard will it be to pick a good cherry? How much will I have to change the computer-generated material?
I open the folk-rnn v3 session book volume 4 of 4 and scroll randomly to transcription #8588:
M:4/4 K:Gmaj (3de^f|:g2d2 e2d2-|dBAG Bcde|a2^c2 ed^fe| d2gg -gede|g2d2 e2de-|edec dec2|dc2A Bded| c2BA G2G2:||:d2GA G2GG|G2AB Add2-|d2AA -dA^F2| AGBc BAG2|d2AG G2G2|d2A^G A2^F2|d2Ad edd2| ^f2ed gfe2:|
Looks like we have ourselves a reel. It has an AABB form. There are no counting errors. I like the held over note in the first bar, and some of the sycopation. But what’s the c# doing in bar 3? It is natural in bars 2, 6-8. And bar 14 has a G#. Pulling to A major? Do I even have that note on my D/G diatonic accordion? (Yes, under one of those top-most accidental buttons.)
After futzing around for 15 minutes, I don’t think #8588 is salvageable. It feels like incoherent noodling. It’s a failure. Let’s go to the next one, transcription #8589:
M:4/4 K:Emin d|BGG2 Bddc|BGG2 Bedc|BGG2 Bddg| aged B3c|BGG2 B^cd=c|BGG2 Bded|BGG2 Bdge| dBcB A2B/2c/2d|e3d e3^f|g2de ^fdd2|e2e2 dBB2| dcBA GABd|e3d egg2|^fdde dcBd|e2^fe dBB2| c2Bc ABcd|
The first 8 bars are in G, and the second are in Eminor. The transcription seems to be missing repeats though. Let’s remove the pickup and add repeats at the expected places, bars 8 and 16.
I have been futzing around with each section. The A melody is really boring. Can it be made more animated?
Wait a second. That boring three note figure in the A part can be in G or E minor. The alternation of G and Em sounds so cheesy. Like a Leonard Cohen song. Let’s use it. I make only a very minor change to bar 4, and add a simple chord progression. I play slowly to increase the cheese. The A part is finished.
The B part needs the most work I think. I keep the main idea of the melody, but change it’s ending in bar 10. That also changes bars 13-14. I compose bars 11-12 anew, and vary it in bars 15-16. Finally, I add a second ending to take us back to the A part. I add a chord progression, more complex than the A part.
We have arrived at a really sappy song (which I call “A Derp Deep Learning Ditty”) in an hour and a half, looking at only two folk-rnn v3 transcriptions. Let’s learn it, record it, and make a corny video to accompany (complete with a rap chorus).
Here it is without the rap: