Technology 3 min read

Researchers Use Dominant Notes to Store Data In Music

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Two doctoral students, from ETH Zurich’s Computer Engineering and Networks Laboratory, Simon Tanner and Manuel Eichelberger have figured out a way to store data in music.

That means, you can store access data for a local Wi-FI network in background music, and the in-built microphone in smartphones can receive the data.

To store the data, the researchers made small adjustments to the music. Unlike previous attempts at storing data in music, this new approach enables a high data transfer rate without affecting the music.

How fast are we talking?

Tests conducted by the researcher show a transfer rate of up to 400 bits per seconds under ideal conditions. However, realistic conditions often involve redundancies to guarantee transmission quality. So, that means the transfer rate should be around 200 bits – or 25 letters – per seconds

Of course, the listener wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the source music and the modified version.

In a statement, co-author of the study Simon Tanner said:

“In theory, it would be possible to transmit data much faster. But the higher the transfer rate, the sooner the data becomes perceptible as interfering sound, or data quality suffers.”

So, how does the data transmission work?

Using Dominant Notes to Hide Information

For the transmission, the researchers used the dominant notes in a piece of music. They overplayed each of them with two marginally deeper and two slightly higher notes that are not as loud as the dominant note.

They also inserted slightly deeper and higher notes in the harmonics of the strongest note. With all these additional notes carrying the data, the human ear should be able to pick up a difference, right?


According to the researchers, we can’t pick up the quiet note with a slightly higher or lower frequency when we hear a loud note.

Eichelberger further explained:

“That means we can use the dominant, loud notes in a piece of music to hide the acoustic data transfer.”

Based on this logic, the best music for this kind of data transfer must contain tons of dominant notes. Example of such are pop songs.

In this instance, you can’t use quiet music to store and transfer data.

Collecting the Data

A smartphone’s microphone listens and analyses the data which the music transmits.

Using very high notes that are barely audible to the human ear, the scientists created a decoder algorithm. That way, the smartphone would know where to look for data.

They replaced the music in the frequency range 9.8-10 kHz with an acoustic data stream. In turn, the data stream transmits information on where and when to find the data on the music’s frequency spectrum.

“What we’re doing is embedding the data in the music itself -transmitting data from the loudspeaker to the mic,” Tanner concluded.

Read More: New Study: Listening To Music Significantly Impairs Creativity

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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    Hamidul Islam July 12 at 6:17 am GMT


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    Hamidul Islam July 12 at 6:16 am GMT

    Thanks…ahref= retouching servicesphotoretouchingservices/a

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