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.
Last year, I wrote a blog post called Name That Drumbeat. It was an experiment to determine what exactly was triggering our audio memory. The radio contest sound clips were far too brief for us to recognize a melody, so we must have been memorizing the raw audio itself. Therefore, we should be able to identify a song from a couple of bars of drumbeats as easily as we could after hearing a sequence of notes.
This is a continuation of that musical memory experiment. How well do you remember the popular songs of your youth? Can you identify a tune after hearing only a single note? The following musical montages consist of a single note from ten different popular songs from the 1960s to the 1980s – try to guess as many titles as you can, and then list your guesses in the Comments section, below. This is actually easier than it sounds – although there is only a single note from each song, that note is repeated between one and five times (in the song itself), and that alone should be enough trigger your memory.
There are two versions of the montage: the second one contains one second of silence between each audio sample, and the first version doesn’t, which makes it a little more challenging, but a lot more fun!
Repeated Note Montage:
Repeated Note Montage (with gaps):