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How to navigate Best Classical Tunes with Voice Commands.
General Introduction.

The speech recognition page, within the Best Classical Tunes website, allows you to select any page from the site, or to play any music in the site, merely by using your voice. Currently this feature only works with Google's Chrome browser, and is only supported on desktop PCs.  It features a dialogue in which a 'UK Male' voice will respond to your requests.  In addition, you can listen to any part of this help page spoken by that same voice.  Just click any 'Listen to voice' button.  To stop the talking voice, click the 'stop voice' button,  or simply press the 'X' key.

The speech page itself contains a brief summary chart of the main keywords and examples of how to use them. This help and instruction page goes into more detail.

For an able-bodied person, using voice recognition to control navigation can still be a lot quicker than using the fly out menu.For example, to use the menu to listen to the 1st movement of Beethoven's 5th symphony you would actually have to have to use 2 mouse-clicks, about 3 or 4 page-down key-strokes, then another 2 mouse clicks.  You would go through 2 or 3 different tiers of the menu hierarchy.  Whereas, if you say this sentence reasonably quickly but clearly into the microphone, you can hear the music almost instantly:-  the first movement of Symphony number 5 by Beethoven

For people with a physical handicap to their arm, wrist, hand or fingers, this system allows them to use their voice to control navigation, with an absolute minimum use of the mouse or the keyboard.The page can be accessed from the third item in the fly-out menu on the left 'Voice Commands".  Or click  Open the speech recognition page here.

Choosing a piece of music.

The key word to use if you wish to hear some music is play, or perform.  This will usually be the first word of your request, although this is not essential. Perform should be used if you want an entire work with multiple movements.

If the music you desire is a folk tune, an easy-listening tune, a nursery rhyme or any other type of music for which there is no specific composer, then all you need to do is say play, and then sufficient words from the title of the music to allow it to be uniquely identified.  For example, if you wish to hear The Old Folks at Home  (sometimes known as Way Down upon the Swanee River),  then all you need to say is play old folks because this uniquely identifies the title within the Best Classical Tunes database. However, it will still work if you are a bit long-winded but polite, and say  please can you play the old folks at home.  Or you can  say play Michael row the boat  and it will play a jazz arrangement of the spiritual "Michael row the boat ashore".

If you want to hear a piece of classical music, it is most likely that you will need to name the composer, although not always. To hear a single movement of Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony you will need to say  play Tchaikovsky symphony No.6 3rd movement     or    play  symphony No.6 3rd movement by Tchaikovsky.   To hear all movements of this work, say perform Tchaikovsky symphony No.6.  If you only say  play symphony No.6 3rd movement this will result in lots of matches, because heaps of composers all wrote a "Symphony No.6 3rd movement".In fact this is the message you will hear spoken, and shown in the 'action taken' box:-
I found 4 tunes or works which match, play symphony Number 6 3rd movement. Please state the row number of your desired tune out of this list, by saying 'number 1', or 'number 2', and so on. Otherwise try again giving more detail.

Symphony No.6 in B minor Pathetique - 3rd movement by Tchaikovsky.
Symphony No.6 in C D589 3rd movement by Schubert.
Symphony No.6 in D 'Le Matin' Hob 1:6. 3rd movement by Haydn.
Symphony No.6 in F Op 68 (Pastoral) 3rd movement by Beethoven.

In the above scenario you will notice that the piece of music you really wanted came up as first in the list. You will see a green play icon to the left of each item in the list.  To hear your Tchaikovsky symphony (3rd movement), either say 'number 1', or just click the green icon to the left of the this item in the list.

However, if the piece of classical music you want has a unique word or two in the title,  and also particularly if it has only one movement (basically  if it's a single piece of music)  then it is much easier and quicker to get the piece of music you want. For example, if you say:- play Coriolan Overture you will hear straight away the Coriolan Overture opus 62 by Beethoven. This title is unique, because no other major composer has written a 'Coriolan Overture'. Another fairly easy one is play Farewell symphony 1st movement.   This will play Symphony No.45 in F# minor by Haydn "Farewell" - 1st movement. No other major composer has written a "Farewell Symphony"

At any time whilst music is playing, you can say 'stop', to stop it.

Finding the score, the themes, or a description of a piece of music.

The key word to use if you wish to find out all about a piece of music is describe. This will usually be the first word of your request, although this is not essential. Once you have identified a specific piece of music (or 'tune' the term used mostly by this site), the system will immediately open a 'TuneDetails' page for that tune.

The rules for identifying a tune name are the same as those for playing music (as above), except that the results will be shown in a new web page.

This 'Tune Details' page has a brief description of the piece, its key and time signature, its ensemble, category and featured instruments. It displays the musical notation for each theme in the piece. And for many works, it shows the score in the form of a PDF file.

For example. if you say describe chopin waltz in d flat    the tune details page for this waltz will open, with a brief description, musical notation for the theme, and the piano score.

Listening to a random selection of music from this collection.

There are two pages in the site for listening to a selection of randomly chosen music. Once you have opened the page with your voice command, the music will start straight away.

  • One is called Six of the Best.  This page randomly chooses six pieces of music from a short list of about 150 of the world's very best classical music. There is no obscure music here, only the best music in the world!
  • The other is the playlist. This page will immediately play 10 tunes chosen at random from the entire Best Classical Tunes database. The three alternative keywords for this page are:-   playlist,     play tunes,     listen to music.   This page also provides options for creating a playlist of pieces individually chosen by you.
Trying to name that tune that's stuck in your head.

This site has an effective way to identify a piece of music when you can sing its tune inside your head, but can't think of its name. This page is called 'VirtualPiano'. It embodies a dictionary of musical themes,  accessed via a virtual piano keyboard on the screen. You just click up to the first 10 notes of the tune that is in your head. It will come up with a list of matching tunes if more than one. Or else it'll come up with the single tune that matches your notes.

Obviously, once you are on this page, you will need to use the mouse, or touch a touch-screen, in order to play the notes.

To open this page, the key-words are:-  dictionary or virtual or lookup, or search tune, or search song.

Getting information about a composer and his/her music.

To view a page about a specific composer, showing a brief biography, a photograph, and a list of works by him/her, all you need to do is state the name of the composer. This page also has buttons to play all the works in sequence, by creating a 'playlist'.  For example, if you say tell me all about Berlioz, this will show Berlioz's page. You could get here much more easily by simply saying Berlioz. This page contains a list of music by this composer, in the form of hyperlinks on which you can click to get to the details page for each piece of music. This list is sequentially numbered in the left column, so you may simply say this number, to hear the music played.

Obtaining a thematic index of music written by a specific composer.

The key word for a thematic index is index.  It is very simple, all you need to say is index folowed by the name of the composer. For example,  if you say index beethoven you will get a complete thematic index of all the works by Ludwig van Beethoven which are featured in the Best Classical Tunes database. These are listed in alphabetical order by tune title. Within that, all the themes for a particular piece of music are shown in musical notation. If the work has more than one movement, these are obviously listed in numerical order, with all their themes.

Finding out about a specific instrument, and music written for it.

To find out about a specific instrument, simply state the name of that instrument. For example, if you say french horn it will go to the 'Opus by Instrument' page for the French Horn. At the top of this page there is a green play button, which when clicked will play a sample of french horn music, illustrating the sound of this magnificent instrument. Then there is a keyboard diagram indicating the range of notes for the French Horn. As well as being useful for players, this will help composers and arrangers wishing to write music for this instrument. It then has a picture of a French Horn and a description of the instrument. Then there are too big red buttons. The first, when clicked, will  play all the music for the french horn that is in this database. The other big red button, when clicked, will go to the thematic index of music for the french horn.  Last, but not least, there is a list of music written for the french horn. This is in the form of hyperlinks to the details page for each piece of music, together with its composer and its category. This list is sequentially numbered in the left column, so you may simply say this number, to hear the music played.

Accessing other features of this site with your voice.

As well as naming composers or instruments to get where you want, you can navigate by:-

  • the country of origin of the music or of its composer. For example, just say france  to see a page with musically relevant information about France, followed by a list of French music. This is in the form of hyperlinks to the details page for each piece of music, together with its composer, ensemble and its category.
  • the category of music, e.g. symphony, sonata, march, waltz, song etc. For example, say ballet music to see a description of ballet music, and then a list of all the ballet music in this database.
  • the period in which the music was written, e.g.  early music, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic etc. For example, just say renaissance  to see a page describing this period and listing music written during this time.
  • the ensemble playing the music, e.g. orchestra, string quartet, big band, military band, etc. Just say orchestra or trad jazz band or rhythm combo to see information about that grouping of instruments and music written for it.
  • a list of all countries.  Just say countries. This takes you to a page which contains a list of countries in the form of hyperlinks.  When you click on a hyperlink you get to the page about that country and all its music.
  • a list of ensembles.  Just say ensembles. This takes you to a page which contains a list of ensembles in the form of hyperlinks.  When you click on a hyperlink you get to the page about that type of ensemble,  and music written for it.
  • a list of categories. Just say categories. You will arrive at a page which contains a list of categories in the form of hyperlinks.  >When you click on a hyperlink you get to the page about that category of music,  and the music belonging to it.
  • a list of periods. Just say periods, or you can say styles. This takes you to a page with a list of periods/styles, such as impressionist,  classical, early music and so on, all as hyperlinks
Other pages in this site.

To access the following pages, simply say the keyword or words shown in bold and italics below:-

  • Home page.   This is the home page of the Best Classical Tunes web site.
  • FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions.  This page has answers to many typical questions about the Best Classical Tunes web site
  • About this site.   This page contains an overview of the aims and objectives of this web-site.
  • Contacts.  This page has a form that you can fill in,  if you wish to send an email with comments or suggestions to Victor Gomersall, the web-master of this site.
  • Help   This is the general help page for the entire site.  This is distinct from this current page, which has instructions for using the speech recognition facility.
  • Quiz.  This opens a quiz page which  tests your tune recognition capabilities. It will play a tune at random. There are buttons for revealing if you correctly identified the tune. At the top there are selection boxes to filter the tunes played, such as easy listening, classical, well-known, folk, and so on.
  • PDF scores.   This page lists all the pieces of music for which this site has the score.  The list shows hyperlinks to the tune details pages containing the scores. These are all displayed as PDF (Portable Document Format).
Just for fun.

There are several command and response dialogues on this page just for amusement. They have nothing to do with music, and they are a bit mischevious! See what happens if you insert these words into your command:-

  • Hello.   This may receive a polite reply, or maybe not!
  • Silly, stupid, idiot You may not get a terribly polite reply!
  • Very nice.  
  • Most enjoyable
  • Thank you.    Politeness usually pays off.
  • Bonjour.  This is a multi-lingual site, so your reply will be in French.
  • Guten Tag.   This will receive a response in German.
  • Buongiorno.   This will receive a response in Italian.
Information Just Listen to Music Search for music Help Thematic Indexes Look then listen
Contact Play Full Works Virtual Piano Tune Search Help Composers Composers
About Six of the Best Text Tune Search Frequently Asked Questions Instruments Instruments
Home Quiz Search by speech recognition About this Site Ensembles Ensembles
Links Playlist   Instructions for speech recognition Categories Categories
      Periods Periods
  Countries Countries