The best musical Google Doodles

Click, play, record, share

Get those headphones out: we’ve curated a selection of Google’s most tuneful interactive Doodles.

Shred guitar for Les Paul’s 96th birthday

Les Paul 96th birthday Google Doodle screenshot crop

It’s hard to believe this Google classic will be five years old in June. This early interactive Doodle let users strum an animated electric guitar, record tunes and play them back; it proved immensely popular, with users in the US alone recording 5.1 years worth of music in the Doodle’s first 48 hours online.

Get in the Moog with an awesome animated synthesizer

Robert Moog Google Doodle screenshot crop

This Moogle, sorry, Doodle, was unleashed in May 2012 to celebrate the birthday of Dr Robert Moog, inventor of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. If you were frustrated by the simplicity of the Les Paul Doodle above, then prepare to be bamboozled by the phenomenal range of customisation that this animation affords.

Related story: The Well-Sequenced Synthesizer

You can use your mouse or keyboard to press keys, turn knobs or flick switches, resulting in a huge variety of sounds. What’s more, the keyboard is patched to a ‘four tape recorder’, allowing you not only to record but to share your experiments via a link.

Sail through 19th-century Paris with Debussy

Debussy Google Doodle screenshot 2

This strikingly beautiful Doodle from 2013 isn’t one of Google’s most interactive, but it is unashamedly lovely and richly deserving of a few minutes of your time. The animation was created by Doodler Leon Hong, with the recording of Debussy’s Clair de Lune provided by his sister, Sabrina.

Get into keyboard music with the inventor of the pianoforte

Cristofori birthday google Doodle crop

This 2015 Doodle was launched in homage to Bartolomeo Cristofiori di Francesco, the 17th-century instrument maker credited with inventing the first pianoforte. Those with sensitive ears might get slightly irritated by the repetitive bashing (which gets slightly out of sync towards the end), but that’s sort of the point.

The slider on the right doesn’t just alter the dynamics; it makes the animated Cristofiori hit the keys softer or harder (or much, much harder). The point being, of course, is that it was this functionality that made the pianoforte stand out.

Piece together Beethoven’s most famous works

Beethoven Google Doodle screenshot crop

This is a cracker of a Doodle. Poor old Beethoven is beset by a variety of calamities on his way to the concert hall, from falling into the river to a horse chewing up his manuscript (we’ve all been there).

Your job is to help rearrange the scattered snippets of his most famous works, using either your sight-reading skills, knowledge of the tunes, or both. It’s absolute genius and well worth the (not insignificant) time investment.

Play theremin for Clara Rockmore’s 105th birthday

Clara Rockmore Theremin Google Doodle screenshot

The most recent of Google’s interactive musical Doodles, we reported on this lovely Doodle last month as part of our coverage of Google’s Chrome Music Lab launch. We love it: both for its excellent functionality and classy graphics and for the astonishing delicacy of the recording that follows the initial game.

Cover image: Sergiu Celibdache’s 100th birthday Doodle

Classical Music Reimagined is a blog about music and technology from Amphio.
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