Classical Music ID
April 12, 2005 2:38 PM   Subscribe

For several weeks I've had a snippet of classical music, really nothing more than what I think is a cello, running around my head. I feel confident that the clip is from a fairly popular piece of music, but don't know where to go from there. Any thoughts about how I can ID this music?
posted by boombot to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Record yourself humming it and put a link to the mp3 in this thread.
posted by aspo at 2:44 PM on April 12, 2005

My first guess would be Bach's solo cello music. Side note: best performance (in my opinion) is the early BBC recordings of Jaqueline Du Pre.
posted by Specklet at 3:09 PM on April 12, 2005

Also knowing the major musical era it came from would help a lot. Roughly (really roughly) Baroque (pre-1750), Classical (1750-1800ish), Romantic and beyond (1800-)

Baroque: think Bach, not tuneful (ie couldn't a person easily sing it), highly structured

Classical: think Mozart, very tuneful but still structured

Romantic/Modern: think Beethoven, much more emotional/less structured, may not be tuneful, may have ethnic musical roots
posted by turbodog at 3:11 PM on April 12, 2005

If the mp3 route presents technological hurdles, I seem to recall several previous posters having good luck with written melodies of the "Dee de dee de de dee-deeeh" variety.
posted by box at 3:22 PM on April 12, 2005

Is it a solo cello or a cello backed by other instruments?

Magnatunes has three different performances of Bach's cello suites (Antonio Meneses; Phoebe Carrai; Vito Paternoster) which can be streamed for free, or downloaded for a price. The beginning of the first suite is particularly well-known, and was used fairly recently in a TV commercial for something or other.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:24 PM on April 12, 2005

ThemeFinder. It's a little weird from time to time (for example, it treats grace notes as part of the melody), but generally very helpful. And even if you're not familiar with musical notation, the "Gross Contour" tool can probably still help you out.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:54 PM on April 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

It was the beginning of the first suite by Bach as linked off of Magnatunes. Thanks for everyone's help!
posted by boombot at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2005

There is a book, and a website, that identify music based on whether notes are the same, higher, or lower than the previous note. So you don't even need to hum on key, and it takes only about ten notes to find your tune. I don't know if they do classical. Can anybody ID these?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:59 PM on April 12, 2005

weapons-grade, the site you're thinking of is probably musipedia which allows you to search according to the melody's Parsons Code. There is a book by Barlow & Morgenstern called A Dictionary of Musical Themes which is limited to instrumental classical music.
posted by cbrody at 6:38 PM on April 12, 2005

Right, cb.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:57 AM on April 13, 2005

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