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Technology Can Name that Tune

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

Ever had that tune you just couldn’t get out of your head, but you couldn’t remember the darn title or which groups performed the song? Well the Internet is made for solving your musical dilemma.

There are many sites that claim to help you name that tune - but a good many of them are filled with spyware and adware to get you to buy the songs and ring tones and even download malware to your computer. However, there are also a number of great safe sites. 

If you have a webcam or mic on your computer, than Midomi is a musical search engine you should enjoy as it is powered by your voice. All you have to do is click the voice search tool and sing or hum the song that’s stuck in your head. Assuming you semi-faithfully can reproduce the sound, Midomi usually only takes a few seconds’ worth of recording (Midomi suggests 10) to get search results. You can then listen to a clip from what Midomi identifies as the original performance, as well as clips from other users who have sung in their own search queries from that track. 

Midomi also has an iPhone App, Midomi Ultra that provides the same functionality, for song recognition on the go. You can also simply hold it up to a speaker and base a query on the actual song itself. Check out a brief video demo of the app, which also integrates with Twitter and Facebook for socialized sharing of your found songs. 

Another mobile app, Shazam is similar to Midomi, but is available for more platforms (iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android) and features quick and accurate search results from simply holding your phone up to the source of a song. Shazam also features a number of social integrations including a Facebook app and other ways to share songs and “musical moments” with friends.

LyricRat is a new application attempting to make sure you always find that song you heard and liked.  The coolest feature is that LyricRat is on Twitter. You can send any lyrics snippet to @lyricrat, and you’ll get a reply back with the name of the song, as well as a link to more information about it.

There are also many sites dedicated to creating databases of song lyrics, so if you know some of the words but don’t feel comfortable trying to sing or hum the tune, try out one of these destinations. With you can search by lyrics within a song, browse lyrics by artist, or search by band or song name. Or try out Lyrster which sports a very simple Google-like search interface. Just type in the words you can remember from the tune and get matching results back.

Of course, in case you forget all these names like Midomi, Lyrster and Shazam, you still have Google to search for the string of words you know from the track. You can up your chances of finding the right song on the first try and avoiding the ad-filled lyrics sites by invoking the under advertised Google Music Search.  If you simply add the term “music:” to the front of your search you will invoke Google’s searchable database of artists, songs, albums and lyrics specifically.

We’re still waiting on the application that can actually banish that annoyingly catchy tune repeating over and over in your mind, but until then at least you can get help in remembering who sang the darn tune.

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