A pleasant discovery called ChordU

Thanks to an article in GuitarTalk I became aware of ChordU, a new site developed and managed by Bitan Sardar. In his words, it is a powerful engine that ‘automatically recognizes chords for any song using cutting edge technology.’

More specifically, ChordU ‘uses a complex music analysis algorithm which is mainly based on waveform analysis, beat tracking, spectrogram analysis and machine learning’.

In essence, ChordU consists of a powerful search engine that accesses the YouTube database, fetches the music video in question, and then accurately analyses the chords played. So, all one needs to do is enter the YouTube URL of a particular video, or search criteria such as title, composer, musician, and so on.

At first glance it looks like it is geared to pop or jazz music and the like, but it is just as good at taking classical guitar (CG) performances and analysing them in just a few seconds. Sometimes I need to work out the chords for a piece of CG music either because I don’t have access to the score or to TABS, or because it’s hard to determine what chords the composer has employed in the piece. Once I know what chords are in play then I can develop the melody, harmony and base lines. When I am working with a score, then a knowledge of the chords helps me to decide on fingering and the flow and movement of the piece. ChordU is very helpful in both these applications.

The site layout is simple and clean and the functionality largely intuitive, so the best way to learn about it is just to play with it. However, just as a brief introduction, here are some of the things you can do with ChordU:

Once you enter your search words or URL, the programme immediately presents a list of results. It either displays a line of the chords used, or a button designated ‘Extract Chords’ next to each entry on the list. Simply click on your choice and if the system already knows the chords then a new screen immediately appears . A confirmation popup appears if it needs to analyse the chords used for the first time. Within a few seconds, it’s done the job and the full screen presents.

On this main screen, you see the video playing, the chord chart diagrams (synced to the music), and a whole bunch of options. These options enable you to change the tempo, the key, the screen layout, whether you want to display simple or advanced chords, and a download facility (and other features to save, share, and so on).

I enjoy playing ‘Evocation’ so I typed ‘Jose Luis Merlin’ into the search box. Here are the first five results displayed.

I then clicked on the performance by Soren Madsen (5th on the list), clicked ‘Okay’ on the popup, and the main screen displayed. I selected the option (middle right) to change the layout and here is what I got:

I will leave the rest for you to discover, but I am delighted with it. Have fun!

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