NPR logo SongSmith: Brilliant And Awful

SongSmith: Brilliant And Awful

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a piece of software that's pretty unbelievable, both for its sheer genius and for its stomach-curdling execution. The program is called SongSmith, and it does what the musically challenged can't do: It writes songs.

If you can at least sing a melody of some kind, SongSmith can record your voice, at which point it will — get this — compose and perform a band's worth of music to accompany it, complete with drums, bass, guitars, pianos and so on. You can specify the tone (joyful, sad, et al) and style (jazz, pop and so on) you want.

The concept of the program, and the fact that it works at all, leaves me slack-jawed. But it will need endless development before it reaches a level that isn't painfully comical. Here's a commercial for SongSmith:

Microsoft offers a free, downloadable demo of SongSmith, which has led to a rash of inevitable spoofs. Users have begun adding famous vocal parts to the program to see what it spits out:

I mean, seriously. That's hilarious. But it is amazing that SongSmith can determine what key a person is singing in, as well as the tempo, chord progressions, and so on.

Give it a shot. Download SongSmith and send us your songs. You can post them somewhere, like Youtube, and send us a link, or email them to us.