Are you the king (or queen) of karaoke? If not, you likely know someone who is. You know the type – someone who can turn anything into a microphone and love showing off their vocal abilities (even when they are non-existent). Well, there is one thing for sure – even if their pitch, tone and compete sound is somewhat off, they got the word’s down-pact.
Have you ever wondered why this may be? According to some, there is a human element involved with listening to and singing music. Your brain is able to fill in words, phrases and even syllables that the ears may miss in a song. Need proof? Consider the information included here, where two professional transcriptions took on Watson – IBM’s super computer.
Each of the transcriptionists and Watson were asked to transcribe the lyrics to songs they had never heard. There were a number of contenders and one thing was clear –
Watson needs to brush up on its modern music knowledge!
In every instance of the song, the transcriptionists were able to get the lyrics perfect, while Watson made quite a mess of a few. For example, in the Van Halen tune “Runnin’ With the Devil,” the transcriptionist perfectly transcribed the line “beg or borrow,” and Watson had a slightly different version, “live n.n.. Please start.” In this version the meaning of the song is, well…lost.
Another example, was with Elton John’s classic “Tiny Dancer.” While the transcriptionist typed, “Seamstress for the band,” with no mistakes, missing words or errors, Watson heard, “Seamstress for the man.” In this lyric alone, Watson omitted three words and made eight errors total.
This helps to illustrate the power of the human brain. Even though the transcriptionists swore to have never heard the songs before, they still managed to get every, single word right. This is quite a feat considering a few bands, such as Van Halen, can be somewhat difficult to understand. However, due to the ability to think about what would logically come next, the human’s out-lyriced Watson – by a significant margin.
The fact is, the entire study was done to develop a few mondegreens, you know the funny misheard song lyrics that are floating around the internet. However, thanks to the skills of the transcriptionists, this simply wasn’t in the cards. Watson, well, he was a bit too random with his renditions, which was more confusing than funny.