Shazam: Amazing on Classical Music Too

Written by
The amazing Shazam App (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

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.

I am amazed and totally impressed. For curious music lovers, this app is a true godsend.

Tom Schnabel's Rhythm Planet