"Hey, what's the name of that tune ... uh, the one that goes da Da dee deedle dum, da Dee dee Dada diddle Dum?"
There exist search engines for melodies; you enter, by various means, a bit of music, and the search engine tries to find a known tune that contains that phrase. This came up in conversation sometime in the last couple of weekends, and I don't remember whom I was talking to that seemed surprised and/or skeptical that such a thing exists; so, in the hope that it was someone who reads this, and also with the idea that there are some folks here who missed it the last time folks were saying "oh cool, lookit this" or had simply forgotten about it since then (or forgotten the location anyhow) ... I figured it was time to mention such things again. It's pretty cool, though I expect that ten years from now we'll have better tools and a more complete index and this will look clunky in comparison.
Here's the thing: when I say "enter a bit of music", you have a bunch of ways to do so:
- clicking on a drawing of a piano keyboard (or here)
- typing in Parsons code (or here)
- singing, whistling, or humming into a microphone -- requires Java -- (or here)
- tapping out a rhythm on your keyboard (or here)
Note that Parsons Code only requires that you be able to give a series of "it goes higher / it goes lower / the note is repeated" indications; you don't need to actually know the intervals or a starting pitch or be able to notate the rhythm.
I think Melodyhound and Musipedia only search Musipedia's own music database, not every notation site on the web. I'm not sure whether there exists a whole-web (or even "registered with the big-name tune index sites" portion of the web) search engine optimized for finding tunes based on ABC notation JC's ABC Tune Match seems pretty effective at searching the web for ABC files based on titles -- it found The Armigerous Goose on my own site -- and it looks like it's supposed to also search on tune-fragments, but I haven't been able to make it do so), but I have noticed a bunch of ABC applications that'll search your own locally-stored ABC archive. If anyone knows of more general melody search tools than these, please link to them in a comment!
But as long as I'm posting links to musical tools on the web that I may have last mentioned long enough ago to warrant a re-mention, I'll also point out a couple of ABC resources on the web:
- If you haven't gotten around to installing any ABC programs and find yourself holding a chunk of ABC notation, ABC Convert-A-Matic is a web site that lets you paste an ABC tune into an input box, and generates GIF and PDF sheet music for you in standard notation, plus MIDI.
- Similarly, if you don't already have a program that transposes ABC files for you, Jens Wollschläger's ABC Transposer transposes an ABC tune up or down via a web interface.
(So, is it late enough in the day for those of you at work to start whistling into your computers yet?)