August 10, 2007

Hey google, are you listening?

What someone needs to write is a search engine that can search on basic melodies. Even short ones. Optionally with lyrics.

A little while ago, I somehow managed to get stuck in my head a little six-note riff. I couldn't place it, I couldn't have said what lyrics came before it, and actually, I mostly just wanted to know what the first word of the line was. The part I knew was: "___ is better than good." I could tell you the melody, in solfege: Sol mi fa mi re do. And the rhythm, in takadimi: Ta, mi ta ka di, ta. I could even hear the voice of the person singing it: a kind of brassy mid-range female voice. But try searching for any of that!

The lyric was the only searchable thing I had to go on. It turned up? Nothing. Then, I had a sudden brainstorm: this line was from one of the songs in "Into the woods". Aha! Should be easy now.

Except, still nothing, even with my mad google skillz. I was by this point quite certain that's where it was from, but nothing seemed to be turning up. Reflecting on the show also gave me the identity of the singer: this line, at least, was sung by Red Riding Hood.

Fortunately, I knew enough lines from other ITW songs that I was able to rustle up an ITW lyrics site. And reading through several, I finally happened on the line, and I immediately knew it was the line I was looking for, answering two questions: what was the damn word, and why was google not turning this up? The word: "nice". Why wasn't google turning it up? Because nice isn't better than good... just different.

And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.
And though scary is exciting,
Nice is different than good.


"Nobody likes us independents. All we do is swing elections." --Jack Mabley

Posted by blahedo at 5:54pm on 10 Aug 2007
Is this a feature now offered by a mobile phone company? I'm trying to recall a recent TV commercial where a person walking down the street can "capture" a song. Theirs may only work with a limited number of songs-for-sale, but in principle the same algorithm could work with a bigger database. There's also that site where you "tap" the rhythm of the song (though not the melody). Posted by Sendhil at 7:00am on 11 Aug 2007
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