A Derp Deep Learning Ditty

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:

(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:|

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 12.13.18

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:

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|

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 08.38.50.png
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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-08 at 08.42.40.png


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:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s