There is nothing more frustrating than having a song in your head that you can't remember the name of or that keeps repeating itself in your head. However, if you can remember a few sentences or hum part of the song, there are still options. Use search engines or music recognition sites to find the song again. Once you've heard the song on the radio, see if you can find it on the charts.
Method 1 of 3: Search online
Step #1. Look for lyrics you can remember
Close your eyes and focus on any words you can remember from the song. You may remember the words "destiny is calling me" or "wish we could turn back time." Use quotation marks around the words to narrow your search. When you can remember a larger portion of the lyrics, the more likely you will be able to find the song.
Be careful not to search too much for words like 'the', 'and', 'or', 'but', etc. These will give too many results to make a search meaningful
Step 2. Add context to your search terms
You may have heard the song on a particular TV series or movie. Then search under terms such as: 'music end credits Grey's Anatomy season 6' or 'music The Voice February 2017'. Listen to movie soundtracks or find instrumental sheet music.
Step 3. Try alternate spellings
The song you're looking for may be repeating a specific name. If the way you spell it doesn't give the correct results, repeat your search with less and less general spelling. You can search for "Kjiersten" instead of "Kiersten" or "Zach" instead of "Zack."
- Make sure none of your keywords are misspelled.
- Sometimes in pop songs words are intentionally misspelled/abbreviated, such as 'tonite' instead of 'tonight' or '2' instead of 'to'.
Step 4. Use advanced search options
Most search engines offer advanced settings if a general search does not yield useful results. You can limit your search to a specific year, or just results that must contain all the words you entered. You can also omit certain words or phrases from the song, if the top results aren't what you're looking for.
Method 2 of 3: Using apps and websites
Step 1. Ask around on music forums
Enlist the help of music lovers to find a song. Search music forums for specific genres, such as metal or instrumental. Post a message with as much detail about the song as you can remember. Try adding parts of the lyrics, relevant context, and whatever comes to mind.
- WatZatSong and Name My Tune are both common music discovery websites.
- A popular social news site, Reddit, has a forum called "r/tipofmytongue," where users can ask for help identifying forgotten or unknown numbers.
Step 2. Download music recognition apps
If the song can be heard in a restaurant or bookstore, some apps allow you to record and upload it. The app then tries to find the recorded song in its database and will show the closest match. Some well-known music recognition apps are Shazam and MusicID.
Step 3. Enter the melody into a music site where you can search
Music recognition apps may not help your search if the song has already ended. If you have a microphone, some music websites let you sing the melody or tap the rhythm and upload that recording. Sing or tap the melody into your microphone. The website will then compare the recording to their music database and return some possible matches.
Midomi, Tunebot, and Musipedia all offer users the option to upload a recording
Step 4. Go to artist websites
You may know the artist of the song, but not the song. Check the artist or band's official website and browse through the albums lists. Enter any song title into a music website such as Spotify or iTunes until you find what you were looking for.
Method 3 of 3: Searching the charts
Step #1. Look for the most recent charts when it comes to new songs
If you heard the song through the 'Top 40' or 'Arbeidsvitamins', you may be lucky enough to hit the charts. Check your country's for best results. Popular charts include Billboard, Official Charts and BBC Radio 1.
Step 2. Check genre-specific charts
Some songs are popular within a certain subculture, but unknown outside of it. If you haven't had success with the 'Top 100' sites, try the charts that are more focused on a particular genre of music. Examples are: country, rap, Latin and other genres.
Step 3. Search the charts of previous decades
You may have a "golden oldie" that was popular a decade or so ago that is no longer on the newer lists. If you know approximately when the song was released, search the charts of previous generations.
Billboard allows users to view the Top 100 from 1953 onwards. Other websites have catalogs of Top 100 lists dating back to 1940
Step 4. Contact a local radio station
Call or email the radio station where you heard the song and ask if they know what songs they played on a given date or time. Include relevant information that you can remember. Some radio stations post lists of songs they are going to play online for you to peruse yourself.
When traveling, you can also use a radio finder to find more information about a specific radio station
- If you can't find the song through a search engine, you may have misremembered some of the lyrics or details. Try to simplify your search terms. Leave out any details you're unsure about.
- If you found the lyrics but don't recognize the specific song, you may have heard a cover. Search for covers until you find the version you can remember.