How to Identify Any Song Just by Singing It

How to Identify Any Song Just by Singing It
Photo: fizkes, Shutterstock

You know that song. You know the chorus, the beat, that solo, even that insane drum fill. You know that song, but you have no idea what it’s called. It happens all the time: Whether it’s a track you heard on the radio, or one a friend introduced you to years ago, there is music stuck in your head that you cannot identify. Modern tech has solutions — but usually only if you have the actual song on hand.

As it turns out, the Google app is your new musical best friend. If you use the app, you might know it as a one-stop shop for search, news, and other Google-related activities. However, maybe the best feature nobody knows about is its ability identify songs. Sure, you can use it as you do with Shazam or the like: You can hold your phone up to a song in your area, and the Google app will analyse and identify it. But Google goes one step further — when you activate the song search, it’ll listen for any type of music, including your own voice. That means, whether you know all the words, or just a vague melody, you can sing or hum to the app to try and identify that song.

It works surprisingly well. For some reason, the first tune that came to my mind to test was “Seven Nation Army” by Jack White. So, I gave it a hum. Lo and behold, Google turned around with the correct answer with a 63% match (I felt my humming was more accurate than that). It was also able to identify Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down,” The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” (although MonaLisa Twins’ version was apparently a closer match to my singing), and Weezer’s “Buddy Holly.”

I was introduced to this feature by TikTok creator Fentydrone, whose video showed success identifying “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette, and “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman. It really works, and it’s really cool.

Each result is assigned a percentage match based on your sample, and it seems to vary without much reason (singing with the correct words versus humming a tune didn’t seem to have a distinct impact on the match). You also see other possible matches: While these additional matches are often covers of different versions of the same song, occasionally they’re completely different tracks. It’s fun to tap on one of these options to see how similar or different they are from the song you were thinking of. It might be a good resource for finding the inspiration for your favourite melodies, or newer songs that were clearly inspired by your music.

To try it out for yourself, make sure you have the Google app on your iPhone or Android. Open the app, then tap the mic icon in the search field. From here, tap “Search a song,” then get singing.

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