The phone giant’s Hum On! app was presented at the 2016 South by Southwest Festival.

Have you ever thought of a brilliant tune but been caught without a pen and manuscript paper? This week, phone company Samsung unveiled a new smartphone app that converts hummed or sung melodies into sheet music. The new technology was showcased at the 2016 South by Southwest tech and music festival in Austin, Texas.

The app called Hum On! records and analyses the user’s humming and displays it as musical notation. The notation can then be edited using the touch screen, and the app even generates accompaniments and arrangements in styles such as ‘Ballad’, ‘R&B’, ‘Rock’ and ‘Orchestra’ – which can be shared via social media.

Hum On!, which is still in its beta testing stage, was unveiled as one of three projects from C-Lab, an innovation programme that encourages Samsung employees to nurture their own creative business ideas. David Choi, the leader of the project, said, “For hundreds of years, music has only been created by a select few, but that will no longer be the case. With Hum On!, we aim to provide a platform where anyone can turn their inspiration into great music.” The app has yet to be released commercially – the team is still tweaking the recognition accuracy – but Samsung is even considering working with musicians to provide a more diverse range of accompaniments.

Samsung has a good reputation for supporting the arts – they are the Presenting Partner for the Australian Ballet’s in schools programme, Out There, which is currently touring Lucas Jervies’ The Sleeping Beauty to rural areas of the country. This app could eventually be a useful tool for music teachers as a way of engaging students who are learning to read music. 

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