What is Chordify?
Chordify is an online music education service – made for and by music enthusiasts – that transforms music from YouTube, Deezer, SoundCloud, or your private collection into chords. Our service automatically recognizes chords from an audio signal and aligns them to the music in a simple and intuitive player. Chordify uses cutting-edge technology to help both novice and trained musicians play the music they want to play.
Technology behind Chordify
Since Chordify launched we’ve done our best to safeguard the simplicity and usability of the website and the app, but there is some complex technology behind Chordify. To make it comprehensible we can break it down into two processes: we need to know the chords of a song, and we want to know the position of the chords on the beat of the song, i.e. chord recognition and beat tracking. How does that work? We start off with a song’s audio – a digitized waveform that describes deviations in air pressure over time that we as humans, in the end, perceive as sound. It is close to impossible to observe any meaningful information about chords or beats in a song’s waveform directly. Therefore, we convert the audio into a representation that reveals some insights into its musical content: a spectrogram. A spectrogram is a time-frequency representation that already gives us a better idea of the musical content in the given audio. Still, both chord recognition and beat tracking are challenging tasks, even on this representation. To solve them, we use deep neural networks. You can think of a deep neural network as a robot that you program to have a certain input-output behavior. For example, you ‘feed’ it a spectrogram and ‘ask’ it to return chords, or you feed it a spectrogram and ask it to return beat positions to you. Initially the robot really has no clue how to recognize a chord or how to detect a beat and therefore just gives you random outputs. So, you start to train the robot by showing it vast amounts of spectrograms of songs along with the chord labels that you would expect it to recognize. And of course, you can do the same for beats. This way, the robot will eventually learn how to recognize a chord or how to detect a beat – i.e. find its way from input to output. After showing the robot enough examples (thousands and thousands of songs), it will know how to perform its task on audio that it has never seen before, and that’s when we release it on our website and app, to show off its newly learned skills to all of you! Now you know the gist of the process. There’s a little more going on under the hood, but explaining that will make this story needlessly complicated. Read on to meet our team.
The Chordify team
Bas de Haas CEO \\ Co-Founder \\ Computer Music Research Bas wrote the first version of Chordify’s algorithm and after finishing his doctoral thesis in computer science in 2012 he didn’t want his work to get lost in a dusty closet with other dissertations, so he put together a team of music enthusiasts to create Chordify. Bas is passionate about music, playing guitar, new technologies and entrepreneurship.
Dion ten Heggeler CBDO \\ Co-Founder Dion is one of Chordify’s co-founders. Admittedly, he’s not the best guitar player, but he can orchestrate a business strategy like Beethoven composes a symphony. As a skillful communication designer with over a decade of business experience and a passion for discovering emerging music and musicians, he’s the right guy at the right place.
Gijs Bekenkamp CMO \\ Co-Founder Head of marketing and co-founder Gijs spent ten years of his life playing drums in a band with Bas. He doesn’t play anymore, but he still loves the beat of regular A/B testing and KPI crunching in the morning. When he’s not mastering scalable plans, you can find Gijs running half marathons or sipping a beloved sauna flip.
Tijmen Ruizendaal CTO \\ Co-Founder Tijmen implements his passion for music and technology at Chordify, where he’s CTO and co-founder. He plays drums in two bands, DJHAGY and Car Pets, and also played in a band with Bas during the early days of Chordify (that’s how they met!). Whenever he’s not coding or jamming, he solves physical puzzles at the boulder gym.
Jeroen Bransen Back-End Developer Jeroen is responsible for the back end of Chordify and codes mostly in Haskell. He holds a doctorate in functional programming and is a fan of the Dutch band Golden Earring. He’s always up for hackathons, bouldering, hiking, solving logical puzzles and spending time with his kids.
Matúš Tejiščák Back-End Developer A true computer whiz kid, Matúš did a Ph.D. in compilers and before working at Chordify he wrote software for embedded devices. Like many of us at Chordify Matúš plays an instrument, so when he’s not at the office cracking code, he kicks back with his bass to play some jazzy tunes.
Jacco Krijnen Back-End Developer After finishing his master in computer science, Jacco flew off to London to work as a functional programmer in finance. Now he’s back in the Netherlands. He enjoys road cycling in the mountains and playing guitar in the Dutch Student Guitar Ensemble. In his spare time, he works on other programming projects using Haskell.
Ilse Niessen Online Marketeer Ilse studied international communication and did a major in marketing. She’s a skilled marketeer who knows what our users want and how to approach them. At night she caters to the techno-minded as DJ ELIZA. She has a chronic candy addiction and loves French art-house cinema.
Hendrik Vincent Koops Music Information Retrieval Researcher Vincent studied composition and music technology, followed by a study in artificial intelligence. At the moment he’s busy doing research on the computational modeling of variation in harmony, for his doctorate degree. To satisfy his creative side he composes music, he’s now working on a piece for a string quartet.
Jonathan Driedger Head of Research Jonathan, a.k.a. ‘the man behind the algorithm’. He holds a doctorate in music information retrieval and is skilled in the computer-aided analysis of music. He doesn’t have to leave the house for a jam session, because he and his wife love playing music together.
Bart Laan Front-End Developer Like many at Chordify, Bart combines his passion for music with his tech savviness. He studied artificial intelligence and in his spare time he shreds the guitar in the progressive rock band Skylake. On weekends and holidays, he practices his fingers and grip with rock climbing and bouldering.
Jorine Witte Head of Content Her on-top-of-things attitude makes Jorine a skilled marketer. Besides Chordify she also works for music festival Eurosonic and has initiated multiple cinema events in Groningen. With her campy synthesizer jams, Jorine proves that being in a band is not necessarily reserved for the ‘talented few’.
Teo Lazarov Copywriting & Public Relations Yes, Teo creates content, which means he writes, a lot, about music, and all things interesting. He’s been a journalist since 2006, working for different magazines, newspapers and online media. He also founded his own magazine, DATmag, for creative entrepreneurs. In music, his weapon of choice is a bass guitar.
Robert Nabbe Customer Support We say customer support, but Robert’s activities transcend this title. He’s also a translator, editor, proofreader, bug reporter, and off-the-cuff Slack troller. Besides, he holds a master’s degree in sound and music technology and is a musician who knows Chordify like the back of his hand, so he can readily answer all your questions
Pierre van de Velde Front-End Developer He is Pierre, our French front-end developer at Chordify. After studying in Paris he took off to the low countries and began working in Amsterdam. He loves climbing and playing guitar, science and science fiction, books and video games, food, and beers. But most of all, he likes to share those hobbies with his homies!
Pieter Nomden Financial Allrounder Pieter manages our administration, bookkeeping, and all financial things with the indispensable support of Maaike, our office manager. He’s also a beer aficionado, a frequent visitor of basketball games, and his pinball machine only needs a few extra nuts and bolts before being operational again.
Jaap Jumulet Front-End Developer Jaap is our trusted front-end developer and has a background in artificial intelligence. He likes to visit obscure music festivals with weird artists and even weirder music. He’s an aspiring musician and is trying to land some gigs with his own funky jazz band. This is an excerpt of one of his solos: ‘doot doot-a loot doo’.
Ewan Scholte Advertising Solutions ‘Ain’t no business like the advertising business, cause the advertising business don’t stop.’ And Ewan knows all about it. With his marketing insights, he safeguards the Chordify experience and makes sure our advertisements are unobtrusive and interesting. Besides that, he likes the good life, playing football and watching movies at the cinema.
Rob Wegter Copy Editing & Translations This is the only autobiography in this list, but it’s still written in the third person, to safeguard the writing style. Rob takes care of translating and proofreading the writing output of Chordify’s content team. In his free time, he likes bouldering, watching films and series, and cycling. He’s also an amateur guitarist, so he knows a chord or two.
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