Wednesday, 06 February 2019 18:42

VIDEOS: Huawei uses AI to finish Schubert's 'Unfinished Symphony' after 197 years


On 4 February, Huawei unveiled, in what it claims was a first, the final two movements of Schubert's famous Symphony No. 8 with the combined power of AI and human expertise.

In a live performance at the "iconic Cadogan Hall" in London on 4 February, Huawei's AI combined with human expertise finished Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" after 197 years.

Huawei said that "despite numerous attempts it remains one of the most intriguing pieces of unfinished symphonic music of all time".

The company also added that its "completed version of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 was created by running an AI model benefitting directly from the processing power of the dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit) in the Huawei Mate20 Pro smartphone - designed specifically with AI-based tasks in mind.

"Analysing the timbre, pitch and metre of the existing first and second movements of the symphony, the AI model then generated the melody for the final, missing third and fourth movements.

"Huawei then worked with Emmy award-winning composer Lucas Cantor, to arrange an orchestral score from the melody that stayed true to the style of Schubert’s Symphony No. 8."

Larking Huang, managing director of Huawei Australia Consumer Business Group, said: "At Huawei, we are always searching for ways in which technology can make the world a better place. So we taught our Mate20 Pro smartphone to analyse an unfinished, nearly 200 year old piece of music and to finish it in the style of the original composer.

“We used the power of AI, to extend the boundaries of what is humanly possible and see the positive role technology might have on modern culture. If our smartphone is intelligent enough to do this, what else could be possible?", Huang concluded.  

Cantor said, “My role was to draw out the AI’s good ideas and fill in the gaps to ensure the final output was ready to be played by a symphony orchestra. The result of this collaboration with AI proves that technology offers incredible possibilities and the significant and positive impact it can have on modern culture.”

You can download and listen to Huawei's finished version of Schubert's Symphony No. 8 here, in MP3 (90Mb) and WAV (800Mb) versions. 

Further information, photos and the same download links to the finished symphony can be found here

Here's a video that someone recorded of part of the event:

Here's a video interview of Giovanni Allevi and then another of Rudy Zerbi on the topic of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. While both are completely in Italian, it is possible to activate the closed captioning and then select that captioning to be automatically translated to English, so unless you speak Italian, that's how you can understand what is being said:

Note: the auto translations by Google aren't perfect, but you'll get the gist of what was being said – and if you don't speak Italian, they're better than nothing!

Here's that second video interview that will need the auto translating captions turned on so you can understand what is being said, unless you are a native speaker, of course:

Here's Huawei's official teaser video of the event which you can see above:


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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