I’ve never been a top 40 kind of guy. I like music much more obscure that than what you’d find in Billboard magazine or the checkout line at Starbucks.
And so I am continually amazed by how much music Shazam–the smartphone app– can identify. I’ve already written on how Shazam—available as a free app on iPhones and probably on Samsung and other platforms–can help failing memories identify cuts you hear on the radio that you know but have forgotten the name of, as well as new and unfamiliar songs, even obscure world music imports.
But what about classical music? There are hundreds of recordings of Mozart, Bach, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and other composers. Performed by a huge myriad of soloists, chamber groups, conductors and orchestras. The other day I wanted to know which version of a Ravel classic I was hearing on the radio. Shazam correctly identified the recording of Charles Dutoit doing Debussy’s La Mer, on London Records.
Now it’s one thing to identify a reggae version of a Beatles’ song; quite another to distinguish a particular conductor’s recording of a classic work. Yet Shazam gets it.