Every piece of music is different – some are soft with violins, some are loud with guitars. Some have noisy choruses, others may have gaps. These different sounds are created by differently-shaped sound waves.
Computers can take all the soundwaves in a song, and make a pattern from them, called a spectrograph – it’s like a musical fingerprint. Say you’re in a café and the radio plays this cool tune you’ve never heard before.
You click the app and it begins to listen. The app captures the sound waves and creates a spectrograph – another musical fingerprint – for the clip. Then it runs this through its enormous catalogue of spectrographs, comparing the sample until it finds a match.
The information is displayed on the phone – often in a matter of seconds. Spectrographs can be very clever… they can sometimes can even find a match if you sing or hum the track! Why not give it a try?