Contrary to popular belief, there are only two kinds of guitarists out there – those who can listen to a song and know instantly what chords to play, and those who can’t.
Chordify caters for the latter, letting you upload songs, or copy/paste URLs from YouTube or SoundCloud, to show you what chords to play.
How it works
In terms of uploading a track, this could be one of your own songs, or an mp3 from one of your favorite bands stored on your machine.
It’s worth noting here there is a 10Mb file-size limit, so this will preclude many tracks. And a little annoyingly, it doesn’t inform you of this fact until the upload is almost complete, at which point it just tells you, well, it’s not going to happen.
Anyway, I did find a suitably small track to test it on and it was pretty accurate. The relevant chord is highlighted on screen and moves in-line as the song progresses.
You can click any chord, and it automatically takes you to that part of the song, which is good if you’re just trying to learn a specific part, be it the chorus, bridge or coda.
To upload songs, you’ll need to create an account, otherwise you can just paste a link to a YouTube or SoundCloud track. This is particularly useful for more obscure tunes, ones that may not have an existing tablature/chord guide on the Web already.
But, the fact that it shows you the chord as the song is playing, makes this a particularly usable Web app for any song, even if it has been transcribed a million times online already.
In terms of accuracy, however, this app is better suited to simpler, strummy-type songs rather than riff-laden, solo-centric tunes. The transcription, as you’d expect, is fully automated and it can’t quite figure out the underlying chord structure to more complex songs – so for the intro to Sweet Child o’ Mine, for example, it served up chord labels that best matched the notes it played, which isn’t particularly useful for those looking to go busking.
“The development of automatic chord transcription algorithms is an active research area within the Music Information Retrieval and Signal Processing communities,” explains Dion Ten Heggeler, co-founder of Chordify. “We are constantly improving our transcription algorithm.”
He also added that it’s difficult to quantify the accuracy, but reckons that Chordify is about 70% to 95% correct when it comes to chords. Though this does, of course, depend on the type of music you give it.
Chordify is the handiwork of 5 guys from the Netherlands and the UK. They started work on the Web app in October 2012, and launched it out of beta in January this year. The startup claims 16,000 visitors each day, with an average of 25% returning visitors.
Chordify will be expanded with additional premium features, which will enable users to build a library of songs, as well as download, print and adjust chord sequences. While Chordify can already be used on tablets and smartphones via a mobile browser, a paid-for app is in the works too.
You can access Chordify for free now.