Researchers use quantum teleportation to perform live music

New research has been published in the Taylor and Francis Journal of New Music Research showcasing the use of quantum teleportation for creating and performing live music. Dr Alexis Kirke, Senior Research Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at the University of Plymouth has published new results that a human pianist can communicate with a quantum computer via teleportation.

Quantum teleportation involves transmitting quantum information over vast distances with immediate effect. Kirke makes use of a system known as MIq (Multi-Agent Interactive qgMuse), where the quantum computer carries out a quantum methodology called Grover’s Algorithm. This algorithm is significantly quicker than classical computer algorithms and is used to generate music in response.

A set of rules must be followed by the computer, though, which are stored as logical equations. Kirke explains that some of the rules dictate: “You can’t have too many of the same pitches in a row, or your pitches all have to be in the same key”.

Kirke’s research was tested on two of IBM’s quantum computers. “We did a jam between a human keyboard player and a quantum AI agent, based on the Game of Thrones theme tune!” says Kirke. “As far as we’re aware, it was the first performance between a human and a hardware quantum computer that actually used the quantum advantage.”

“We actually gave a live performance with this technology a while ago, and it was also streamed live online”, he continues. “But we’re now able to present the underlying technology in our journal paper.”

The quantum teleportation is needed because there is actually no other way to transmit quantum information. “If you tried to transmit it using tradition digital communications,” explains Kirke, “in general it would take an infinite amount of time!” By being able to transmit quantum information, Kirke’s system can Grover’s algorithm to the music-making problem while jamming.

It’s not immediately obvious how this can be applied to traditional music-making and production, but it is certainly interesting to know what’s possible in music technology at this time.

Read the full paper at

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