What is Chordify?
Chordify is a free online music service – made for and by music enthusiasts – that transforms music, from YouTube, SoundCloud or your private collection, into chords. Our service automatically recognises chords from the audio signal, and aligns them to the music in a simple and intuitive player. Chordify is a cutting edge service that helps both novice and trained musicians to play the music they want to play, making state-of-the-art music technology available to the public at large.
How do you use Chordify?
Get your chords!
If you visit the Chordify webpage, you will be greeted with the dialogue shown above. This dialogue allows you to do two things: either upload a music file from your computer, or paste a SoundCloud or YouTube link in the URL field. Chordify will then automatically transcribe the chords from the supplied audio source and display them to you.
Get your beats!
When you press play the song will start playing, with the cursor pointing out the current chord. If YouTube is used as audio source, the video is played simultaneously. Every beat is represented by a square, and chord changes are denoted with chord labels. When the song is played, the cursor (a dark square) highlights the current beat position, telling you which chord to play at that position in the song. When a square does not contain a chord label the previous chord is still sounding. The dark bars point out the bar lines of the song.
The chord interface is designed to be intuitive, but we assume that you know what chord labels are. However, if you are learning to play guitar and you aren’t yet familiar with chord labels, you can press the guitar diagram button. Chordify will then show you how to play the chord labels of the song on the guitar.
Get your loops!
You can navigate through the song by clicking on any of the squares. The music player will then jump to that position in the song, and start or continue playback from that beat on. Similarly, you can select a sequence of chords, and the selection will loop until you click the “ignore loop” button (the lemniscate next to the playback controls).
Next to the mouse, a keyboard can also be used to control playback: hitting the spacebar will start or stop playback, and the arrow keys can be used to move the cursor.
It is easy to share a choridified track with other users: just copy the URL in the address bar, and provide it to someone else. Personal music files cannot be shared with other users, and are locked to the browser session of the uploader. Hence, Chordify cannot be used to redistribute music, other than through streaming services like YouTube and SoundCloud.
The Chordify team is continuously improving your Chordify experience. If something doesn’t work as you would expect it to, please contact us! We are working actively to make Chordify as good as possible, and we are always interested in user feedback.
The Chordify team
Bas de Haas
After/during his PhD research on music information retrieval, Bas didn’t want his work to get lost in a dusty closet with other PhD theses. He decided his chord recognition algorithm was almost good enough for public use, so he brought together a group of other music enthusiasts to create Chordify.
Dion ten Heggeler
Dion is a communication designer living and working in Groningen. Together with Gijs, he is responsible for all the design and communication for Chordify. Dion is dying to learn how to play the guitar.
Gijs is the second half of the Chordify design team. Ten years of his life he spend playing in a band together with Bas. Together with Dion, Gijs is responsible for all the design and communication for Chordify.
José Pedro Magalhães
Pedro is a research assistant at the University of Oxford. He works mostly in programming language design and implementation, especially in Haskell. He’s responsible for the backend of Chordify, together with Bas.
Tijmen is front-end developer at Distimo and plays drums in the band Bwax (together with Bas) and We Love People in Bearsuits. He’s responsible for the frontend of Chordify and works tightly with both the backend guys and the designers.
Technology behind Chordify
We’ve made our best to make our website look simple and easy to use, even though there is some complex technology behind Chordify. Our website is built with state-of-the-art web development techniques, like HTML5 audio etc.
Behind the scenes, we use the sonic annotator for extraction of audio features. These features consist of the downbeat positions and the tonal content of a piece of music. Next, a Haskell program HarmTrace then takes these features and computes the chords. For this to happen HarmTrace uses a model of Western tonal harmony to aid in the chord selection. At beat positions where the audio matches a particular chord well, this chord is used in final transcription. However, in case there is uncertainty about the sounding chords at a specific position in the song, the HarmTrace harmony model will select the correct chords based on the rules of tonal harmony.
Chordify fosters open-source software. Not only do we use open-source software packages like GHC, PHP, SoX, sonic annotator, MongoDB, but we also give back a large share of the in-house developed technology to the music information retrieval research community via open-source software projects like HarmTrace and scientific publications.
Chordify could not have been realised without the support of Utrecht University.
Frequently asked questions
Chordify just left beta stage. We will be filling this space with answers to the most common questions we receive. To ask a question, contact us!