Compose & Embellish: Well-Structured Piano Performance Generation via A Two-Stage Approach

Shih-Lun Wu, Yi-Hsuan Yang

Even with strong sequence models like Transformers, generating expressive piano performances with long-range musical structures remains challenging. Meanwhile, methods to compose well-structured melodies or lead sheets (melody + chords), i.e., simpler forms of music, gained more success. Observing the above, we devise a two-stage Transformer-based framework that Composes a lead sheet first, and then Embellishes it with accompaniment and expressive touches. Such a factorization also enables pretraining on non-piano data. Our objective and subjective experiments show that Compose & Embellish shrinks the gap in structureness between a current state of the art and real performances by half, and improves other musical aspects such as richness and coherence as well.

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