It's true: I got an earworm while bicycling...
I know, I know--an earworm is typically a short, catchy piece of music. But perhaps my brain (or ear) is wired a little differently and my earworm is a little longer than most. Whatever the cause, my mind latched onto this tune, playing repeatedly in my head. The problem was, I could NOT remember the name of the tune.
Of course, this immediately activated my SearchResearch instinct--how can I figure this one out? The only thing worse than an earworm is an earworm you can't name!
Here's a recording of me whistling the tune:
playable m4a file of the mysterious tune
FWIW, I could play it on the piano as well, but I realize that's kind of an odd skill to have, and not everyone has a piano at home. But (almost) everyone can whistle.
Now that you've heard it (albeit my tentative whistling), here's our Challenge:
1. What's the name of this song?
2. If you can't recognize it... how on Earth would you search for this tune?
As I've said many times before, when you've got a problem to solve, try searching for a tool to help you solve the problem.
What would I need to search for a song by whistling? Here's my query:
[ whistling search engine ]
which gave me the following SERP:
I tried Musipedia, but it requires a Flash plug-in to access my microphone. Since that's a bit wonky and slightly unsafe, I kept looking.
Many of the later articles (e.g. GuidingTech or Mashable) all pointed to the Midomi musical search engine, giving it high marks as a good discovery service. (To be fair, the #7 result for this query is a link to Midomi.com )
This is my video recording of my using Midomi and finding the tune. I'm not doing anything fancy here--I just recording myself whistling the tune (as you heard above), then launched Midomi, and clicked "playback" on the m4a file in a different tab.
YouTube video link: https://youtu.be/6x-4Zhx0sY0
As you can see, it found that my whistling matches the song "Wave," by Antônio Carlos Jobim.
I was initially a little surprised when I listened to Wave on YouTube.
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6KDpB6skA4
For the first few seconds it doesn't sound ANYTHING like what I was whistling. But I persisted in listening, and 10 seconds into the music, my melody magically appeared.
Mind you, this doesn't work for absolutely every possible melody, it seems to work mostly with fairly popular and well-known melodies. I was surprised, for instance, that I could not get it to recognize the popular Japanese folk tune Sakura (at least not with my whistling).
1. There are more search engines than you might imagine. In a future post, I'll talk about some of the variety of search engines out there. But as a general practice, when you find yourself searching for something, but just can't figure out how to do it, try searching for a speciality search engine. (These are sometimes called "vertical search engines" because they focus on a particular market, aka a vertical.)
P.S. Caution: Thanks (kind of) to Regular Reader Remmij who gave us a link to the Top 50 Earworms of All Time. Careful... you might not want to open that page! If you do, any earworms you get are not my fault!