How do music professionals identify the title of a song when all they know is the melody of that song?

For example, I'm having great difficulty identifying the title of the melody played during this movie scene:

If you can determine the name of this melody, or direct me on how to do it, please share.

  • 2
    I know someone's going to vote to close this without reading it, so let me point out that this question asks for how to identify songs, not simply "what song is this". I therefore think this is a valid question on this site. +1 – user45266 Nov 26 '19 at 5:42
  • there are websites that allow you to whistle the melody to identify songs but they never worked well for me. in this case you could look at the movie credits. but to me it sounds like a trivial improvisation in g major someone wrote to get a lighthearted effect for the scene. – foreyez Nov 26 '19 at 5:53
  • @foreyez : Interesting. If one was capable of converting this melody to sheet music, would that be a more sure way of finding its title. Are there such things as databases that can search for song titles based on note spacings? Please forgive my terminology. When I say spacing, I'm just aware that the same melody could be in different keys, but the "space" between the notes has something in common when that's the case. – Lonnie Best Nov 26 '19 at 6:08
  • 1
    you can even ask people to do transcriptions or your homework, as long as you remember to add "and by the way explain how you did it" ;) it's all about finding clever ways to say things to trick around rules, like lawyers do – piiperi Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '19 at 7:12
  • 1
    @LonnieBest - so, basically, you are asking for the title of this piece in particular? – Tim Nov 26 '19 at 13:42

First of all, you have to understand that ID-ing a theme/motif and Aural/Ear training are different things.

ID-ing is about how much you listen to music. Sometimes it's about memory. Ear Training is being able to pick the Tonic (Relatively) of the Music played and arrange the heard notes by perceiving the intervals between notes correctly.

If you want to ID a song's Title, you just have to listen to music. Yours friends are able to do it because they've heard that melody before. Listening to music is the only way to know their titles, there's no other way as the Title has nothing derivative from the Music/Melody line.

Identifying for a example a piece from Mozart is not the same as Shazam-ing a supermarket song though. Whatever you are looking for is Active Listening, I guess. More of like when you listen to some music, You Really Really pay attention to whats going on in that (Melody Line in this case).

Actively listen to the melody line of a piece of music next time you here any. You have to read the title before you actually listen to the song (Read the title atleast once). Pay enough attention it such that if it's played you'd be able to identify it.

I hope this answers it.


  • 2
    I record albums so I can listen to the tracks conveniently. I've listened to many hundreds of times. I couldn't tell you the names of any of the tracks, although I recognise them and do play along with some. What have I missed from your answer that prevents me from knowing the titles? – Tim Nov 26 '19 at 13:12
  • 1
    To know the title you obviously gotta read the title atleast once, Listening to Metallica in shuffle is not going to get you the titles. I think I missed to mention this in the answer. Thanks. – RishiNandha Vanchi Nov 26 '19 at 13:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.