It happens all the time. You are sitting in a restaurant with friends or driving to work and there’s some beautiful music playing on the FM radio station. You would love to buy a copy of that music album for yourself but the problem is that you didn’t get the lyrics so how do you find out the name of that song.

“What’s the name of that song ? I don’t remember the lyrics”

Search engines like Google or Bing won’t be of much help unless you know a couple of words from the song lyrics or have some clue about the name of the artist or the band. How do you then identify the name of that lovely song?

Also see: Find Song Name in YouTube Videos

Well, here are some of the best music recognition services that can help you discover song names without having to know the lyrics. You may use them to identify music playing from the radio, TV, Internet or that CD playing in the bar.

1. Find Music with your Mobile Phone

1a. Shazam – Shazam is a mobile application that you may use to find song names from your iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android or your Nokia S60 phone. You may also use Shazam on an iPod Touch provided you have an external microphone.

Simply install the Shazam application, hold your phone towards the audio source and hit the Tag button to let Shazam identify the playing music. Shazam works only with pre-recorded music and not with live performances.

The free version of Shazam will help you identify up to 5 different track per month while Shazam Encore, the paid version, offers unlimited tracking for $4.99. If the tune cannot be recognized, there’s no charge. If you are in the UK, you can use just about any mobile phone to recognize music with Shazam – just dial 2580 and hold your phone to the music.

1b. MusicID – Hold your iPhone up to some music and MusicID will tell you what song is playing. It’s a $3 iPhone App available worldwide but if you are on AT&T, you may also use your Blackberry, Windows Mobile or any Java phone to identify music with MusicID.

Like Shazam, MusicID works only with pre-recorded music and they also have an SMS based service for people in the US that doesn’t require any downloads – just dial a short code, hold your phone up to some music and you’ll get a text message with the result.

2. Find song names using your own voice

2a. Midomi – If you have a tune that’s stuck in your head, just grab a microphone, hum that tune yourself and Midomi will be able tell you what that song is. Alternatively, you may play a short recording of that “unknown” track for Midomi to identify its name.

Unlike Shazam which is a mobile app, Midomi offers a web interface where you can can hum or sing for about 10 seconds and the service will then show you a list of matching songs. For best results, keep the volume bar in the green and avoid background noise.

Midomi is free to use online, but it also offers mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Nokia Ovi and Windows Mobile phones. You can identify songs by holding your phone up to a speaker or by singing / humming the melody into the phone itself.

3. Record a short clip to identify the music

3a. AudioTag – If you have a short recording of a song on your computer or your mobile phone, you may use the online music recognition service at AudioTag to figure out the exact name of that song.

You can upload a short audio snippet (or even a whole song) and Audio will try to identify the track title by comparing the audio to its own music database. For best results, you should either take a slice from the middle of the song or upload the whole song and the recognition engine will choose slices randomly by itself.

This can be especially useful if you can record a portion of the song on your mobile device, and then check out the song’s information whenever you go online.

4. Identify Music with help of humans

4a. WatZatSong – When computers fail to identify the song that you are looking for, you can take the help of human being who may have an idea about that song.

WatZatSong (“What’s that song?”) is a social site where you can upload a short MP3 audio recording of the song (or record yourself by humming) and other members of the site can then help you guess the exact song name. The suggestions won’t come instantly but you can make their task a bit easier by proving more details about the song like the language in which it is sung or the music style.

You can cross-post the same WatZatSong   request to other social sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. so your entire network can help you in the search.

4b. Name My Tune – Sing or hum a short clip of the song you are trying to find the name of. Once you are done recording and enter the Genre and Era that you think the song most likely fits in. They’ll send you an email when other people on that site are able to recognize your tune.

5. Use a virtual keyboard to find the song name

5a. Musipedia – With Musipedia, you can search for a song by either playing it on a virtual piano keyboard or by whistling it to the computer using any microphone.

Musipedia is styled after Wikipedia and works best at finding classical music. Unlike Shazam which can will only find songs that exactly match the recording, Musipedia can identify all music that contain a particular melody that you just recorded by humming or through the computer keyboard.

5b. MelodyCatcher – If you can play the tune on a virtual keyboard, MelodyCatcher can help you find the name of the song tune you’re looking for.

With a simple Java-based onscreen keyboard, simply use your mouse to enter the melody, click search, and MelodyCatcher will show you a list of matching songs from across the web. You do not need to enter the full melody: the first 5-7 notes will usually be sufficient to identify a melody.

Related Guide: Find new music based on music you already like