It’s the Christmas Wordle pop quiz!

On the questions sheet (click on the image on the right to download pdf) you will find the lyrics for 12 Christmas UK number 1 hits, displayed as a Wordle. I’m looking for artist, year and title. No Googling allowed! I’ll post the answers here soon.

Merry Christmas!

It’s… the ukulele quiz

As you may have read previously, I occasionally put together the audio rounds for pub quizzes (see the Quiz metatag to look at previous quizzes).

And if anyone hasn’t yet filled in the 6-note-melody poll, please click here to submit your answer.

Here’s a brand new quiz. You’ll hear 10 excerpts from the ukulele part of a well-known hit (and in cases where there was no ukulele part, I’ve added one. Oh all right, I’ve added one to all of them. And some tambourine and other stuff). You have to identify the song and artist from the uke part alone. The tracks are at the correct key and tempo – I’ve played along to the original recording in each case.

20 marks available – one point each for song and artist. Examples, as always, are selected from the last five decades of popular music to avoid anyone having an age-related advantage. Post your answers here, or via Facebook/Twitter/YouTube etc.

Girls and Boys

Any regular readers of this blog will know about the pub quiz audio rounds I put together occasionally for a quiz in London (see the quiz category). This week’s concept is entitled ‘Boy Meets Girl’ – we’ve created 10 boy/girl ‘couples’ represented by an audio excerpt from a well-known song. No points for the names (obviously), but one point for getting the artist. 10 couples – 20 questions. All the names are edited together without a gap (and I try to match key/barline where possible) so you need to concentrate!

Average score on this one is around 15 out of 20. Let me know how you did – either by commenting on this post or on Facebook/email.

Boy Meets Girl Quiz – 1MB MP3

There are places I’ll remember…

Route 66

Well done for those who’ve completed the MJ quiz. Highest score so far is 14 out of 19. If you’re new to the blog and want to catch up, here’s a download link to all the quizzes I’ve posted so far; the latest one is at the bottom of this post.

Post answers on my Facebook page, or via the contact form below. So here’s a new one. This has already run at the pub in London, so it’s OK for general release now.

Copyright note; given that all these quizzes contain tiny excerpts of copyright audio, I would love to do these legally and pay a small PRS royalty for use of this material in the (online non-profit-making) context of this blog. But if PRS can’t reach agreement with Google about YouTube, I can’t believe that their various licensing schemes will be flexible enough to support downloadable MP3 major-label content in mangled 1-second excerpt form! So here’s a disclaimer for any (major label or artist) copyright owners who might be reading this. I want to get all these excerpts licensed legally for the 100 or so people that will download these quizzes (which technically infringe both copyrights – recording and publishing), but can’t find a mechanism. So these non-profit-making excerpts are used without permission, and I will take them offline (or pay the going rate) on request – OK?

So, to business! This quiz is entitled ‘There’s a Place’ and each example is a song lyric with the place names bleeped out (the bleeps are diatonically correct, naturally). No Googling the lyrics, now – you’ve got to promise!

There’s a Place MP3 download
(place names lyric quiz – name the bleeped-out places)

Technical note for audio geeks. Most of these quizzes are done using Logic Pro, with some limiting and multibanding applied using Waves Gold plugins (L1 and C4). In some cases the examples are re-gained in Logic’s audio editor or automixed, and many of them (e.g. the MJ quiz) use very quick/subtle crossfades. The ‘There’s a Place’ quiz was done when the studio was being built, so had to be compiled on a Macbook Pro laptop using Garageband while all my studio kit was temporarily mothballed. The reason I’m explaining this is that the ‘bleeps’ masking the place names here are provided by a Garageband soft synth on a square wave preset. As such they don’t quite have the ‘classic bleep’ sound, which is of course a sine wave. Now the studio is back online I have access to the blank EXS24 no-audio patch setting, which defaults to a sine wave. Future bleeps will be more authentic.

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The Michael Jackson quiz – your turn!

Here it is at last – sorry for the delay, but I had to be sure the Hampsteaders had experienced the full pain of this quiz before putting it on general release. I should apologise in advance that a lot of the repertoire in this quiz bunches around the 1970s – I normally make a point of ensuring an even balance of popular music from 1950s-present. In this case, this is partly deliberate, because the demographic of this particular pub quiz is people in their 40s and 50s. And as everybody knows, all the best songs in the entire history of pop music were released in the year that you were 17.

Anyway, on to the quiz. This is another ‘high concept’ one, so it takes a bit of explaining; it’s an unusual quiz because you start with a list of all the answers!

Michael Jackson Tribute Quiz

Our covers set includes seven Michael Jackson songs, performed a few words at a time by various artists (using excerpts from original recordings by those artists). Name the (19) artists in our ‘tribute concert’.
Each song title is played three times, with a 5-second pause (approx) between each one, and a 10-second pause before the next example.
Song 1 – Billie – Jean (2 artists)
Song 2 – Rockin’ – Robin (2 artists)
Song 3 – Blame – it on – the – Boogie (4 artists)
Song 4 – Don’t – Stop – Till You – Get Enough (4 artists)
Song 5 – Man – In The – Mirror (3 artists)
Song 6 – Earth – Song (2 artists)
Song 7 – The Way – You Make Me Feel (2 artists)

Download the audio file – MJ Quiz questions.mp3 (10MB)

Post the answers on my Facebook page. And you should admit to the world how many listens it took you!

How well did you do?

  • 19/19 – you are clearly using audio analysis algorithms, or you work for Shazam.
  • 14-18/19 – excellent pop music knowledge. You must be a songwriter or a Commercial Music student – or both!
  • 9-13/19 – You’re in the great homogeny of averageness. But at least you listen to Radio 2.
  • 5-8/19 – Do you really care about popular song at all?
  • 0-4/19 – there’s a straightforward treatment available to you.

Michael Jackson Quiz

Some past and present Bath Spa students will know that I occasionally compile the ‘audio round’ for a pub quiz in London. My quiz-making partner prides himself on setting particularly tortuous questions, and the audio rounds have to conform to the same brief. This has the added benefit of creating some quickfire pop song knowledge quizzes to entertain/annoy  Commercial Music students.

When we started putting these together, we used simple audio quiz tricks such as playing excerpts backwards.

2004 – backwards audio quiz MP3 download.

Then we started getting more adventurous. Here’s one we did in 2005 that was purely based on drum intros (MP3 download). Give you a clue. The first one isn’t a Motown hit. Subsequent quizzes have become ever more cryptic and high-concept. You’ll see what I mean soon.

So what has all this to do with the late great Michael Jackson? Well, we felt that we couldn’t let his passing go unacknowledged by a tribute in quiz form. The quiz runs tomorrow night (Monday) so I can’t release the audio file for the Jacko quiz just yet – but I’ll post it up here early next week after it’s had its public debut. If readers of the blog start getting into these, I’m happy to post up other past audio rounds. Use the comments option on this post, or send a message using the contact form. I do try to set up the quizzes so they can’t be Shazammed. This is not a problem when the quizzes play live (mobile phones are banned of course) but if you’re going to download these and have a go, I’ll just have to trust you!

In the meantime, use the box below to give your answers to the backwards and drum quizzes. This is the quiz version of ‘market testing’ so this feedback does actually help us in compiling future quizzes.

Answers…