Ear vs. robot, music vs. statistics, commonsense vs. nonsense
I generally try to limit my comments here to the positive or informative, and keep my gripes to myself. But there is something I have been seeing here recently that repeatedly raises my hackles.
Perhaps unike some members here, I consider tune ID threads with accompanying sound or video clip very welcome and a wholly appropriate use of this forum - if I can identify the tune, I enjoy being able to help and if I do not, I enjoy hearing a new tune (and often some great playing). What gets me, however, is resposes of the type, “It could be this one http://[insert tune link here]” - and more often than not, the tune linked to is *not* the tune in the clip.
Seemingly, the contributor has played the recording into Tunepal (or some similar app) and simply posted the result, without first checking the sheet music (or abc) to see if it is the same tune. Naturally, such apps are going to have a hard time with Irish Traditional Music, since so many tunes have so much in common and there are so many possible variations and variants to any tune. Don’t get me wrong, Tunepal is a clever invention - and perhaps has its uses (although I have never used it myself) inasmuch as it sometimes gets it right and, when it doesn’t, you at least get to eliminate the incorrect results. But Tunepal has *no idea* what a tune sounds like - all it can do is identify what notes are in it and in what order, match it with tunes with similar *statistics*. (Statisics and music are about as far removed from one another as two disciplines could be, are they not?)
Quite apart from the fact that saying what a tune “could be” is not a particularly useful contribution (and unnecessary - if you have managed to find the sheet music or abc, just playing or reading through it would comfirm whether it *is* or *is not* the same tune), this is an appeal against trusting technology over the ear. Let us not lose sight of the fact that what music *sounds like* is the most (if not only) important thing about music.