Irish Tune names, invented by neural network
1 min read

Irish Tune names, invented by neural network

Irish Tune names, invented by neural network

So I play traditional Irish music (flute) and one thing about Irish music is that the tunes all have a distinctive kind of name. It’s hard to define what makes a tune name sound Irish, only that “Boil that Cabbage Down” doesn’t sound Irish, whereas “Whip the Mustard” (invented by the neural network as a recipe title) definitely does.

Here are some example Irish tune names, out of a list of 1300 that one of my friends kindly provided:

John Ryan’s
Apples in Winter
Drowsy Maggie’s
Maid Behind the Bar
Kid on the Mountain
Killavel Jig
Sailor’s Hornpipe

I gave the list to a neural network (based on this open-source neural network framework from Andrej Karpathy), and asked it to produce more. It most definitely delivered:

Here’s a sample output (notice how the list is roughly in alphabetical order, since the original list was too):

Ardenn Reel
Anny Compand
An the Bander
Turper’s Daughter
Tum Mountain
Tin the Connand the Wallop
Trap the Barry Durpers
Tarken Hand
Tam Hull Sain
Tom Road to Sligo

These particular ones are hilarious if you happen to know the Irish tune names it alllmost managed to replicate:

Tondertina Reel (Concertina Reel)
Sean Crancy’s (Sean Clancy’s)
Bolly Catey (Bobby Casey’s)
Sloom of Youth (Bloom of Youth)

And it came up with some that aren’t in the original dataset, but are quite plausible and definitely should be tune names:

Old Lady’s Reel
Tripping on the Rock
Rolling Old Man

And these are some of my favorites:

Sailin the Donkey
Lard of the Land
Blangy Maid
Dronk Mary
Seat of Slugs
Lare’s Piles
Dan’s Derpipe
Horn Potty’s Farhain
Trap the Barry Durpers
Thing Mop the Bog

Want more? Bob Sturm has produced not only Irish tune names, but entire Irish tunes using the same char-rnn neural network framework. You can even listen to midi versions!