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Samsung is building an app that makes music from your humming

Hum on, feel the noise

Since the dawn of music, mankind has wished to turn their laziest vocal expressions into song. And since roughly 2011, when Smule introduced the Songify app, that's been totally possible. But what if you just wanted to hum? That was the ambitious question that Samsung began to ask itself last year inside its secretive C-Lab, an "innovation program that helps its employees to nurture their own creative business ideas." The result is Hum On!, an app now in beta that takes your most minimal vocalizations and turns them into something resembling music.

The app, which was shown off today at South By Southwest, is currently in development on Android. Tap the record button and hum a few bars, and the app will convert your vocals into musical notation, and play them back as a MIDI-like recording. You can edit the track if you hit a bum note or two, and you can also change the genre of the song by tapping "R&B," "rock," "orchestra" or so on.

hum on

In a short demo at SXSW, a developer hummed a few notes into a Samsung smartphone and they were perfectly reproduced on the screen. I took a stab at humming "Happy Birthday," though, and the results were kind of brutal — by the time I converted my humming into a rock track, "Happy Birthday" sounded like a terrifying military processional. But then, I'm a terrible singer and indifferent hummer. Hum On! is early enough in development that it lacks so much as a share sheet — I really wanted to embed my opus here — and there's no word when it will be released. It's not the least explicable thing that Samsung has ever exhibited — it wasn't even the least explicable thing the C-Lab exhibited at SXSW — but it's definitely in the running. Hmmm.