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Guess That Tune with Heardle, the Wordle for Music Nerds

The first clue is one second, the sixth clue is 16 seconds, and the goal is to guess the tune of the day in as few clues as possible

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Photo by Erika Goldring/FilmMagic, photoshop by Consequence
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    Music nerds who’ve curdled on Wordle can try Heardle, a new game that offers six guesses to name that tune.

    The general format will be familiar to anyone who’s tested their vocabulary against Wordle’s colorful blocks, though Heardle offers several twists to accommodate an audio format. Each day, the intro to a different song is uploaded to the app. Players can hear the first second of the tune on their initial guess, and a wrong answer — or a skip — unlocks more of the song. The clues top out at the first 16 seconds of the track, after which the only thing remaining for unsuccessful players is shame.

    Heardle launched February 26th, with The XX’s song “Intro” as the first answer. It was created by a London app designer who is attempting to stay anonymous, and so is going by the name Nigel Heardle.

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    “It’s gone massive really quickly, so I’m still figuring out how to stay anonymous,” Nigel Heardle told Variety, adding that the app is averaging over a million plays per day. “I was working for a start-up until December 2021, when they ran out of money, and I was out of a gig,” he said. “I’m still between jobs at the moment, and like everyone in January, I began playing Wordle and posting my scores on a group chat site where my friends would also talk about their scores.”

    He first pitched Heardle as a joke, but the group chat took the idea seriously. “My friend had been a music journalist, and reminded me that I had nothing else going on, so why not,” he said. He remains Heardle’s sole programmer. “It’s effectively just me creating, curating and running it all.”

    Of course, not every song has been uploaded into the library of potential guesses, and so far Heardle shows a bias towards pop and indie rock, with a little bit of classic rock, R&B, and hip-hop sprinkled in. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of heavy metal at all. But for music generalists, or anyone sick of Wordle, it remains an entertaining diversion. Check it out over at the official Heardle website.

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    In January, Wordle creator Josh Wardle sold his creation to The New York Times for a smidge over $1 million. The game has spawned imitators such as Nerdle (for math), Lewdle (for bad words), and even Weezle, an app created by Rivers Cuomo for Weezer fans.

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