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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Song Identification - Methods, Tools & Tips

Sooner or later, every music lover encounters a situation in which a beautiful piece of melody, music or song is listened to or heard of but without knowing either its singer, song name or composer. For example, listening to some unknown song in a bar, club or a shop and then developing a liking for it only to find out that it cannot be found on the internet or bought off a shop because of lack of knowledge about the song name and/or artist.

Thanks to the modern technology, identifying a song from music, lyrics or tone is not difficult anymore. Here are a few steps to take, if it is required to identify a song from various options.

Identify a Song from Music or Sample
Tunatic is an extraordinary utility that works literally like a magic in identifying songs. It works by listening to the song, then sending bits of it to its server where they are matched against a gigantic database and then it returns the result if a match is found. Tunatic is unique in the way that it actually listens to the rhythm of the song and so factors such as different song quality, background noises etc, do not affect its working. What it means is that if the song to be identified is being played on some external audio player and it is fed into Tunatic from a microphone, the magical utility will still be able to identify the song. (Provided the song is in the server database). So if a sample of the song to be identified is available, the best option is to use Tunatic, because it is fast, friendly and best of all completely FREE.
To use Tunatic for a song playing on the computer, all that is needed is to download and run Tunatic, then from Volume Control, select Options->Properties and then Recording. Then select Stereo Mix as recording device and keep the Stereo Mix volume at 20-30%. Now play the song sample in any media player and press the magnifying glass on the Tunatic window. Thats it!!

Identify a Song from Lyrics
Identifying a song from lyrics is pretty easy. If part of lyrics of the song are known then the best option is to put them in the Google search engine surrounded by double quotes. Almost 99% of the time, the song name will pop-up as the top search result. Otherwise, many lyrics websites exists which also allow the functionality to search within song lyrics for specific words. A little bit of searching there can easily produce the desired song name. All The Lyrics is one of the biggest lyrics search engine, very helpful in identifying the song from lyrics. Other options include Lyrster, E-Lyrics and for HINDI Songs identification from Lyrics, the best sites are Hindi Lyrix and Giitaayan.

Identify a Song by Singing or Humming
NameMyTune is a site which offers song recognition based on singed tune or simply humming. Actually it works by recording a sample of the humming or singing and then other users of the site listen to that and respond if they recognize it. The best thing is, there are LOT of helpful users so 90% of time, the hummed tune will be recognized.
Midomi also offers similar service except that the recognition is based on computer voice matching rather than user based recognition. Predictably, the recognition success is less than NameMyTune.

Identify a Song by Tapping (on Keyboard)
SongTapper claims to recognize songs by tapping the rhythm on the keyboard. Sounds exciting but unfortunately, complex tunes cannot be tapped on the keyboard hence the service fails miserably in that case. Even for simpler tunes, the results are not satisfactory. But it is worth a try!

Identify a Song when Everything else Fails
There is no need to feel dis-hearted yet. A lot of forums exists where helpful users are plentiful who are more than eager to help in identifying a tune or song. RadioMute is a helpful community of music seeking users where most of the times a song will be identified. The best place is, however, Yahoo! Answers. Post music identification request in the form of a question in Music->Lyrics category. Even for rare unknown songs, consistent efforts will eventually get a positive indentification answers. The story from TrueVision of a very rare and unknown song which was correctly identified by Yahoo Answers is a proof. The story can be read here.

Comments and suggestions are welcomed!

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