Chris Donahue


I am currently a research scientist at Google Magenta. Previously, I was a postdoc at Stanford CS advised by Percy Liang. Before that, I completed a PhD at UCSD under Miller Puckette (music) and Julian McAuley (CS).

My research goal is to build music technology that enables a broader set of users to engage with music on a deeper level. To this end, I improve machine learning methods for generative modeling of music, audio, and other sequential data, and build real-world interactive music systems which allow a broader audience to harness the power of resultant models.

Selected Publications (Full List)

Work Experience

Media Coverage

  • UploadVR Beat Sage Update Adds 90 Degree Levels, Walls And Single Saber Mode
  • UploadVR Get Rhythm: How Beat Sage Uses AI To Create Beat Saber Maps
  • Road to VR This 'Beat Saber' Project Uses AI to Generate Custom Beat Maps for Any Song
  • UploadVR New AI Tool Turns Any Song Into A Custom Beat Saber Map, And It Really Works

  • Stereogum Watch The Flaming Lips Play A Bowl Of Fruit At Google I/O

  • Business Insider A Google intern helped build an AI tool inspired by 'Guitar Hero' to let rookies play piano
  • The Verge Google’s AI-powered Piano Genie lets anyone improvise perfectly by bashing buttons
  • Evening Standard Piano Genie: Google's AI programme is like Guitar Hero for the piano world
  • Engadget Google’s Piano Genie lets anyone improvise classical music

  • MIT Tech Review Machine-Learning Algorithm Watches DDR, Then Creates Dances of Its Own
  • The Verge Scientists have taught a neural network to choreograph Dance Dance Revolution levels
  • The Register Yet another job menaced by AI! Uh, wait, it says here... Dance Dance Revolution designers
  • Vice This Machine Learned to Choreograph by Watching Dance Dance Revolution


  • (2020) Released Beat Sage, a web service for automatically creating Beat Saber levels (link)
  • (2020) Download files from Google Drive on the command line (link, code)
  • (2019) PhD dissertation on music, AI, and interaction (pdf)
  • (2018) Transcribe a batch of solo piano recordings to MIDI (link)
  • (2017) PhD qualifying examination (pdf)
  • (2016) Master's thesis on convolution-based cross-synthesis, (pdf, code, vst)
  • (2015) Prototype for MOOC on computer music fundamentals using Web Audio API (link)
  • (2015) Mobile-friendly, networked musical controller (demo)
  • (2014) Multichannel convolution reverb plugin (screenshot, code, windows vst)
  • (2013) Undergraduate thesis on musical instrument mimicry (pdf, examples, vst)
  • (2013) OpenGL 3D spectrogram (page, code)
  • (2012-2014) Played keyboard for Food Group

Last updated 2022/08/30