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Dr. Jeffrey Lupker

The Guide to The Future of Music Composition: AI, VR and Spatial Computing

July 17, 2023


Welcome to our guide (Part 1) on the future of music composition. In this guide, I will delve into the transformative technologies shaping and likely to shape the music industry, including artificial intelligence (AI), spatial computing, and virtual reality (VR).

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll go over each topic in depth and uncover how these innovations are revolutionizing the way music is composed, performed, and experienced. I'll also try to speculate as to what this might mean for future music creators as well.

Topic 1: The Evolution of Music Technology: From Analog to Digital to AI

The Analog Era: Instruments, Recording, and Production Techniques

In the analog era, music composition relied heavily on traditional instruments, such as pianos, guitars, and orchestral ensembles. Recording techniques involved capturing performances on tape and mastering the final product on vinyl records. Back then, composers faced limitations in terms of sound manipulation and editing, requiring meticulous planning during the recording process.

However, analog instruments and recording techniques possessed a unique warmth and organic quality that many artists still appreciate today. Classic albums like The Beatles' "Abbey Road" and Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" stand as enduring examples of the artistry and sonic character that analog recording techniques can offer. The follow-up blog will touch on some of the early editing techniques that shaped how analog recording affected digital editing techniques we're so familiar with today.

The Digital Revolution: MIDI, DAWs, and Computer-Based Composition

The introduction of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) in the 1980s revolutionized the way composers produced music. With MIDI, composers could create music without being confined to a specific set of sounds or instruments, opening up new avenues for creativity and experimentation. To learn more about MIDIs and what they are, check out our blog post on MIDIs.

The rise of digital audio workstations (DAWs), such as Logic Pro and Ableton Live, further empowered composers to create and manipulate music using computer software. The digital revolution brought unprecedented flexibility to music composition.

As a result of MIDI and digital technology, composers no longer needed expensive recording studios or large ensembles to realize their musical visions. With a computer, MIDI controller, and software, composers could create in any genre they desired.

Analog Composition

Digital Composition

Sound Quality




Limited Flexibility

High Flexibility

Sound Generation

Traditional/Analog Instruments

Analog Instruments & Virtual/Electronic Instruments



Digital Data

The Rise of AI: Redefining Music Composition and Creativity

AI-assisted composition tools, like Staccato, use sophisticated algorithms to understand patterns and structures in existing music. By studying a diverse range of musical genres and styles, these tools can generate original compositions based on specific parameters set by the composer. Moreover, AI can suggest harmonies and melodies that complement a composer's ideas or even provide inspiration for entirely new musical directions. To better understand how AI can help you compose music, check out our blog on how AI music generation can enhance your experience on Ableton Live.

Ethical Considerations and the Human Element in AI-Assisted Composition

The integration of AI in music composition raises important ethical considerations. While AI offers powerful tools for generating and assisting in composition, it challenges the notion of human creativity and the emotional expression associated with music. It is crucial to strike a balance between utilizing AI as a creative tool and preserving the unique human perspective and artistic intention in music composition. This will be addressed in a follow up blog in more depth.

Topic 2: Spatial Computing: Enhancing Musical Immersion and Experience

Spatial Audio: Creating Immersive Soundscapes

Spatial audio technologies allow composers to create music that feels like it's coming from different directions. It uses special recording techniques and advanced sound processing to make the music sound more realistic and immersive. This is done by placing sounds in specific spots and making them move around. Apple products are a prominent example of spatial audio usage which I will delve into in the coming weeks.

Augmented Reality (AR) in Music: Interactive Performances and Experiences

Augmented reality (AR) is revolutionizing music performances and experiences by overlaying digital elements onto the real world. Composers can leverage AR to create interactive performances where virtual elements, such as visualizations or virtual instruments, coexist with physical instruments and performers. AR-enhanced concerts blur the boundaries between the physical and virtual realms, offering audiences a unique and interactive music experience. Snapchat has recently announced its partnership with LiveNation to bring AR to music performances.

Concerts and festivals that will feature the AR experiences include:

  • Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas, NV) 

  • The Governors Ball (New York, NY)

  • Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN)

  • Rolling Loud Miami (Miami, FL)

  • Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL) 

  • Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Topic 3: Virtual Reality (VR) Composing: Unleashing New Creative Frontiers

The Intersection of VR and Music Composition

Virtual reality (VR) provides composers with an immersive and interactive medium for creative expression. VR enables composers to explore unique sonic landscapes, experiment with unconventional instrumentations, and craft compositions that transcend the limitations of physical space. Take a look at Patchworld, a multiplayer music maker on the Meta Quest VR headsets.

Additionally, VR allows for musicians to express their art in unique fashions. A popular use case of this is on YouTube, where artists create 360º music videos. Pop artist The Weekend’s The Hills remix feat. Eminem, is one of the most well-known examples of this.

Conclusion & Thoughts for the Future:

The future of music composition is being shaped by transformative technologies like AI, spatial computing, and VR. As you explore each topic in our subsequent blogs, remember to follow the links provided to access more detailed articles and resources.

And don't forget to regularly check back for updates and explore our blog, where we dive deeper into each topic, providing more in-depth articles and resources for your continued exploration. Together, let's embark on a journey into the future of music composition, where endless possibilities await.

Jeff Lupker Headshot

Dr. Jeffrey Lupker - Co-founder, Staccato

International Speaker & Published Author on Deep Learning & Music.

Dr. Lupker has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has given lectures internationally in the fields of deep learning, machine learning and music. Beyond Staccato and his own research, Dr. Lupker is an active performer on guitar and keyboards and has played across Canada and USA with award winning artists.

© Staccato AI Inc. 2023