Voice recognition has come a long way in recent years, but what about melody recognition? Just spent 10 minutes at Midomi, a new search engine that lets you sing, whistle, or hum a few bars into a Flash-based recording widget, runs a whole bunch of voodoo analysis on your input, and spits back results based on what song it thinks you must have intended. Potentially great for those times when you remember how a song goes but not what it’s called, or any of the lyrics. The goal is to sell you downloadable versions of the search results, but based on the miserable output it generated for me, it’s back to whistling for friends and co-workers – Midomi batted nearly zero.
Started with PiL’s “Track 8” – Midomi thought I was singing “The Rainbow Connection.” Whether that’s a limitation of the technology, or a matter of the song being too obscure, or that my rendition would have been unrecognizable even to humans, I don’t know. But when I couldn’t get it to recognize “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” my confidence in the technology’s ability to recognize common songs plummeted. My attempt to render Herb Alpert’s “Spanish Flea” fell flat as well (Midomi thought I was humming “A Spoonful of Sugar” — yipes. Tried whistling the same song rather than humming, but no dice — Midomi interpreted that attempt as “My Sharona.” Captain Beefheart’s “Orange Claw Hammer,” according to Midomi, must be a drunken version of “Edelweiss.”
Amy’s a better singer than me, so turned her loose. When Midomi guessed that her version of “Fly Me to the Moon” must have been one of “Like a Virgin,” “Rhiannon,” or “Ebony and Ivory,” she lost interest. Finally hit paydirt with “Happy Birthday,” but sheesh.