When I was a teenager, radio stations would often have “Name That Tune” contests – they would play a series of ten short song excerpts, and encourage their listeners to call the station and identify as many titles (and artists) as they could, in order to win concert tickets or some other prize. Although I listened to the radio as much as any other teenager, I found these sound clips to be frustratingly short – often less than a second each – and I had great difficulty identifying even one or two songs, much less the ten required to win a prize.
Recently, I started thinking about those contests and what exactly was triggering our memory. The sound clips were far too brief for us to recognize a melody, so we must have been memorizing the raw audio itself. If this is true, then I should be able to assemble a montage of drumbeats (from well-known pop songs), and an avid music fan should be able to identify them as easily as the snippets of music. This is why the Internet is so wonderful – I can now do this experiment right here on my blog; I don’t need my own radio station.
There are two audio clips for each drumbeat montage. Each one contains ten drumbeat samples from ten different well-known popular songs from the 1960s to the 1990s. The drumbeat samples are exactly the same, except that there are no gaps between the samples in the first montage, which makes it more challenging. The second montage has one second of silence inserted between each sample, so they should be easier to identify.
Please enter your guesses in the comments section below, and let me know how easy or difficult you found this experiment. When I receive enough replies, I’ll update this article with some statistics (and maybe add another drum montage).
Drumbeat Montage #1:
Drumbeat Montage #1 (with gaps):
Drumbeat Montage #2:
Drumbeat Montage #2 (with gaps):
Drumbeat Montage #3:
Drumbeat Montage #3 (with gaps):