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article imageSing to Your Computer, Download a Song

By geozone     Jul 26, 2007 in Technology
An Australian computer scientist believes we will soon be able to search for and download music off the internet simply by singing to our computers. You will not even need to recall the song title you are looking for.
Dr Sandra Uitdenbogerd of RMIT University told ABC Science Online the storage and retrieval of music by singing will be implemented in the next generation of web search engines.
A user could, for example, call up a specific web site and submit a search by singing lyrics or a tune into a microphone. Then the computer searches the site's database for matches to the "search tune" and presents the user with a menu of digital files from which to choose from for downloading.
Uitdenbogerd admits the search time would be affected by the quality of a user's voice. The computer interprets what is sung to it as an audio waveform which, as a graphical representation, is essentially a series of up and down lines. How well you sing determines how quickly the computer will recognize the notes. The less accurate and off tune you are, the longer you have to sing to your computer before it knows what song you are searching for.
Another issue affecting the search is background or environmental noise. If it is sufficiently loud, it will be picked up by the microphone and alter the frequency input. Theoretically, environmental noise could turn a search for Amazing Grace into a search for Sexy Back. Such a confusion would probably be avoided by singing the lyrics rather than the tune. Dr. Uitdenbogerd thinks confusion can also be avoided by focussing the retrieval on just one genre of music.
Though there are still a number of hurdles yet to be overcome before this technology is a practical reality, a number of commercial companies are actively pursuing it.
"In the next three or four years it should be on the computer of everyone who is a music fanatic," said Uitdenbogerd.
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