Name That Tune

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.

Music: Loudon Wainwright III :: Just A John

7 Replies to “Name That Tune”

  1. > Captain Beefheart’s “Orange Claw Hammer,” according to Midomi, must be a drunken version of “Edelweiss.”

    Well, just how sure are you that it isn’t? ;-)

    I know what, you should have tried it with “Daisy“.

  2. Considering that most people can’t hum or sing a melody well to begin with I would expect the results to be iffy at best.

    I remember playing Cranium once a few years ago and a card came up to hum first few bars of Lay Lady Lay. The results had us all in tears.

    I think maybe you understate what it is about it by saying the intent is just to sell you music.

    It seems to be an effort to build a library of user submitted covers, which makes it a bit more like a combo of social networking and karaoke. I suspect the real value in the site is likely to be the humor in mismatched results, and in listening to bad covers, but it seems that the push is more with the intent of uncovering great talent or a new way to buy music, or a way to build a library of music without using the original versions.

    But perhaps I’m wrong about the bad stuff being the most interesting aspect as it seems like the best rated results are dominated by a few performers who have reached an audience of over 100 people rating them well. Still, it reminds be a bit of American Idol and I think the bad covers will be more interesting than the good ones.

    I suspect it treads on some copyright or performance right issues by encouraging the publishing and sharing of other’s works.

  3. > Why don’t you try Daisy, and let us know if it gets it?

    Scot, if I do, it’ll be through someone else’s computer. (Or a VM. Hmm, now there’s an idea…)

    “In order to experience midomi.com as it was intended, please use a Javascript enabled browser and ensure that Javascript is turned on.

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