Chordify Automatically Extracts Chords from Your Favorite Songs

Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 2.11.28 PM
  • Save

Chordify takes music from YouTube, SoundCloud, Deezer, or a track you’ve uploaded and extracts the chords from it.

Chordify’s Deezer integration just went live, with that they’ve also launched an app in Deezer’s App Studio.  The service shows you the chords as the track is playing, letting you play along.  If you want to know the technicals behind the automated service, Chordify has a detailed explanation.

I tested Chordify with a couple different songs and it was fairly accurate.  I was impressed, considering it is a free and automated service.  There are also premium features you can pay for, such as transposition and tempo change.

Like me, you may be wondering if this is copyright infringement.  After all, lyrics sites have to work out licensing deals with labels.  This is what Chordify has to say:

“Unlike lyrics or melody, chord progressions are not innovative and sufficiently unique to be copyrighted on their own. In fact, some chord progressions are particularly popular, and are used in exactly the same shape by hundreds of popular songs!”

However, they will remove individual songs if the copyright owner requests they do so.


Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 2.48.28 PM
  • Save

34 Responses

  1. Aderra

    Neat idea but doesn’t work very well. I tried it on a few Soundcloud tracks and it got about 70% of the chords wrong.

  2. Minneapolis Musician

    I suppose it is fine for simple, regular pop or blues chord progressions. But it failed on the more complex stuff of mine I fed into it. I was disappointed. I hope they improve it.

  3. River Waters

    An AWFUL idea! You can NOT learn to play if you don’t train the ear to understand what’s being played. No computer will ever EVER train you in the skills you must have to master the instrument. I spent many years ripping songs off records decades ago — the result is that I can master the progression in most songs I hear within a few minutes of hearing them. And how that training helps playing — immeasurably! STAY AWAY from this hogwash. Do it the hard way — the right way — and you WILL benefit more than you can ever know.

    • Victor

      It’s not an awful idea! Having new tools in front of you to learn is very important. You don’t have to have a good ear to learn a song! In the old days we had song books to learn, but if you or I had this technology in the old days when we couldn’t find a song in a songbook, we would have used it, and it would have saved us countless hours. And NOT every song is in a songbook. If you can see the chords in front of you and you can learn to play them NOW, you’ll be successful. Some people are visual and it helps to see the chords and that progression. If you’re learning by ear, and you don’t know theory, you’re screwed. Can you imagine how good you’d be if you could hear & SEE what you were playing when you were learning? Don’t be so closed minded to new ideas. Nothing takes the place of hands on learning and practice, but new tools are always helpful to get the job done! Now, maybe this technology/software does suck, but it’s NOT a bad idea, it just needs to be refined.

      • steve

        you are absolutely correct Victor…I am tone deaf, so tools like this help me immensely…not everyone has the perfect ear for music…

    • Slobslapper

      Been playing for over 30 years but sometimes I just want a quick way to grab the chords of a great song I just found. Sorry if that doesn’t mean I have suffered enough for you to justify it but I want to play, not research for hours.

  4. Walter Gross

    This is becoming a trend these days. There is another one called but sadly none of these tools get the chords right.

    My go to track to test is Deacon Blues by Steely Dan and neither youtab or Chordify are even close to being accurate.

    They also limit the voicings to triads. No 7ths or upper extensions.

    This technology has a long way to go and these companies are way too premature in rolling it out with so many warts.

    • josh

      youtab lets you fix the results, I think they are aware of the shortcomings of the technology

    • Slobslapper

      That is the beauty of the tech right now. You get a head start on the chords but still have to tweak it. Like writing code for websites. No one still uses notepad exclusively. Clean it up afterwards. Great way to accelerate the process and still develop the ear.

    • steve

      I think a lot of people are missing the point..the fact that people like myself enjoy pulling chords in to the chordify software and then make corrections to it’s erroneous extractions is partly what makes chordify intuitive…these edits we users perform add corrections to the overall data base, resulting in making chodify get more accurate as we users perform more and more corrections to it’s original errors…i have actually noticed improvemtn in the accuracy of chordify the last couple of months…if you’re lookin’ for something perfect, you’re not gonna be frustrated forever…been playin’ guitar for over 50 years and i enjoy editing chord extractions on chordify…and i am tone deaf…

  5. James Edgar

    River is correct. Stupid Idea .I think you have to learn to transcribe to progress as a guitar player . This kind of app is not helpful really. there are no short cuts.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Why not BOTH? Yeah, when I was learning bass when I was 15, yeah, I learned chords by playing along with my favorite songs. And then I checked it all with a books I could find, an instructor, etc. Maybe I got the tabs sheet, and played along.

      But what if I had had this? I would have sucked a lot less!

      • River Waters

        It sucks only because you haven’t yet learned to do it. Education is not necessarily fun or easy. Stop taking the low road. Do it right.

        • Matt

          I agree with Rivers. Playing music isn’t supposed to be enjoyable. If it doesn’t bum you out a little you’re not doing it right. This product should be banned and people should require a license to play guitar.

      • steve

        that’s right paul…damn, i was giggin’ when i was 15 years old way way back in ’65 and would love to have had a tool like this…the problem with some guitar players, is they get the “big ego” thing goin’ on, and become guitar hitler’s…seen ’em all…they’re just so damn good and so ready to criticize…humility would not be bad idea to practice kinds of guys because that other attitude,”talking down” to other players and especially new ones, will quickly destroy a young players motivation ..whatever is the easiest way to learn how to play for each person is the best way for that person…i’ve taught many players and found encouragement is the greatest tool…damn, one player in particular, was so damn good in a couple of months, he was a natural…i gladly stepped behind him in a band i was playing in, he was so much better than i was…a natural lead guitar player…me, mediocre rhythm player….just enough to get me by…the point is, stop criticizin’ and start encouraging and helpin’ other players learn…that’s really what chordify is all about anyway least that’s the way i approach it…it isn’t really all about “you” all the time…

  6. David

    It is a common misconception that chord progressions are not subject to copyright. It is true that in modern commercial pop and rock genres, the chord progressions are usually so simple that it would be difficult to prove that any similarity is due to copying. But where chord progressions are more complex and original – as they often were in the 60s and 70s – a complaint of copyright infringement would have a better chance of success. E.g. anyone who tried copying a chord progression as distinct as that of Strawberry Fields would be running a risk.

    • Minneapolis Musician


      Are you certain about that?

      I think it’s more about the “sound” — which is a production choice and what instruments are used, with what timbe — rather than the chords. Not to mention the tempo.

      One could play the chords behind Strawberry fields at a fast tempo on Irish whistle and kazoo, in a march rhythm, and I doubt if anyone is going to think that’s infringement.

      One enjoyable exercise I occasionally like to do is grab a karaoke backing track from a song I have never heard of, and sing a new melody and lyric over it, just for fun. Then I go look up the original song and listen to what is was. I defy people to tell me what the underlying original song was, particularly when I add other instruments on top of it.

      • David

        I don’t know of any actual court case that has decided the issue one way or the other. It probably wouldn’t be worth even trying to sue unless the similarity was very blatant and the ‘copier’ was making a lot of money from the song. I just think it is a bit of an urban myth among musicians that chord progressions can be copied with impunity. I don’t know of anything in either statute or case law to say that – but I’m not a lawyer , and if anyone can give me a definite precedent I will happily give way!

        This article by a lawyer seems pretty firm that a chord progression could in principle be protected by copyright: But it is an Australian site and the law may be different in the US. I just can’t find any reliable source for the opposite view. Likewise, there is a common assumption that a rhythm cannot be copyright, but I don’t know of any source for that either.

        • Minneapolis Musician

          Yeah, I’d be convinced if I saw even one case where a plaintiff actually won a judgement for copyright infringement due to the chord progression alone.

          Sounded like that lawyer from Australia was speaking theoretically, not from actual case law precedence.

  7. GGG

    Or people could stop being lazy “musicians” and figure this stuff out on their own.

  8. Waiting for TuneHunter

    I`m waiting for TuneHunter`s money spam…..

  9. Willis

    And in other news, if musicians today actually understood music they could extract chords themselves.

  10. PDMusicComposer

    Sounds very similar to Songle from Japan, which I tried out almost 18 months ago and worked well for what I threw at it. Take a look

  11. Jimbo

    This is an interesting debate…On one hand, I believe there is less people playing guitar. The “popular” music of today is so electronic and beat based ( other than Country…the “New Rock”) there’s hardly any chords to extract. So that leaves the classics, which have been tabbed 10 different ways already, so it’s true, most musicians can learn a song “by ear” in a short time, why do we need this app? Matter of fact, this technology/ mentality has been around for decades…ever see a Player Piano!

  12. CharlesS

    Seriously? People can’t identify basic pop music chord progressions and need software to figure it out?
    How sad.

  13. mike

    I’m having a good time with it. I have only been playing the bass for about a month, I learned all the notes on the fret board within a week, and can actually play many songs, I just add what ever notes sound good between the chords on the bass.

  14. Tone deaf

    I’m just amazed how snobbish you musicians are. This is great fun for crap guitarists like me who are never going to be any good but just love messing about . If you are that good ..what are you even doing looking at this site. Be joyous but remember Grace Slick sang on Manhole….” You know it’s only music…don’t hang on too tight ..don’t try to read too much into it.. ” now where’s my out of tune old guitar..just got to try Boz Scaggs Corrina Corrina…

    • Slobslapper

      Amen, brother. Whatever works for you! Just keep playing.

  15. Barry

    All of you have valid arguments, but it is quite ridiculous to try to sue over chord progressions anyway. Think of how many songs use the Wild Thing 1-4-5. Also if that were the case, there would only be one blues song because 99% of them are 1-4-5. Then you have the Sweet Home Alabama 1-7-4. Progressions are just road maps. The same progression can be used 10 times and between extensions, arpeggios, mutes, different instruments, tempo changes and transpositions, one would have 10 different songs, Chordify is a good idea and will get you relatively close, but as one of you stated, it is no substitute for hard work, practice, and study. I have studied theory for years and do ear training, so it is up to you how good you want to be. This approach allows me to recognize suspended chords, sevenths, & etc. I tell people think of it as arming yourself to add different tools to your toolbox. Some have the basic screwdriver, hammer, and saw. Others have a basement full of tools such as crescent wrenches, vice grips, allen wrenches, well you get the picture. Have fun

  16. Pierre Boucher

    Those chord finder softwares are far from accuracy. For example, Blues for Mama from Nina Simone, have not the same chord progression.
    For my DB teacher who can find chords by ear, those are BS.