Do you know that song that goes, “da daaaa da da daaaa na naa naa ooohh yeah”? Or the one that starts with the guitar chords going, “mm na na naa”? We all know how frustrating it is when you can’t remember the name of a song or any of the words but the tune is stuck in your head.
Using their virtual assistant Google can now help you figure it out—no lyrics, artist name or perfect pitch required.
You can hum, whistle, or sing a melody to Google assistant to solve your earworm. On your mobile device, open the Google Assistant by saying the trigger keyword “Hey/Okay Google”, tapping on the dedicated assistant button, holding the home button or just opening the Google Assistant app from the app drawer and ask “what’s this song?”
Say “Hey Google, what’s this song?” and hum
You can then start humming for a few seconds. This feature is currently available in English on iOS, and in more than 20 languages on Android and Google hopes to expand this to more languages in the future.
After you’re finished humming, Google using machine learning algorithm helps identify potential song matches. And don’t worry, you don’t need a perfect pitch to use this feature. We’ll show you the most likely options based on the tune. Then you can select the best match and explore information on the song and artist, view any accompanying music videos or listen to the song on your favorite music app, find the lyrics, read analysis and even check out other recordings of the song when available.
How machines learn melodies
So how does it work? An easy way to explain it is that a song’s melody is like its fingerprint: They each have their own unique identity. We’ve built machine learning models that can match your hum, whistle, or singing to the right “fingerprint.”
When you hum a melody into Google Assistant, the machine learning models transform the audio into a number-based sequence representing the song’s melody. “Our models are trained to identify songs based on a variety of sources, including humans singing, whistling, or humming, as well as studio recordings. The algorithms also take away all the other details, like accompanying instruments and the voice’s timbre and tone. What we’re left with is the song’s number-based sequence or the fingerprint.” Google states in a blog post
Google then compares these sequences to thousands of songs from around the world and identifies potential matches in real-time. For example, if you have ever listened to Tones and I’s “Dance Monkey,” you’ll recognize the song whether it was sung, whistled, or hummed. Similarly, the machine learning models recognize the melody of the studio-recorded version of the song, which we can use to match it with a person’s hummed audio.
So next time you can’t remember the name of some catchy song you heard on the radio or that classic jam your parents love, just start humming. You’ll have your answer in record time.