On Monday 9th January 2011, version 4 of FolkTuneFinder.com went public. It was a bit of a journey getting to this point.
I run FolkTuneFinder in my spare time. Mostly it runs itself without intervention. I keep an eye on things, monitor spam (except for a recent occasion when it got out of hand) and answer mail. There is a fair amount of programming behind it, and I’ve re-written the search engine a few times over the years. The melody search is the main point of the site and the bulk of the programming, but recently the extra bits, such as comments, favourites, blogs etc have become more significant.
By day I am a software developer, and I can only work on FolkTuneFinder in stolen minutes in the evenings after work. Since around 2010 I was trying to work on a new search engine. It was written in C, and anyone who’s done something similar knows that an hour a week doesn’t get you very far. You spend most of the time remembering how things work. At the same time, my life has spontaneously become more interesting (I have changed jobs twice, employers once and moved onto a boat) and spare time has been hard to come by. I had a large chunk of time off work over Christmas, and I sat down and re-wrote the entire thing from scratch, scrapping the code that had been limping along, but not really going anywhere, for years. Voila, version 4.
The notable features of version 4, over previous versions:
- The melody search keyboard has sound [this feature still in development], and the search query has playback so you can hear what you’re about to search. It also has slightly better music theory principles.
- The music search results are highlighted. This helps explain search queries that might otherwise baffle you (hopefully).
- Tunes transcribed in FolkTuneFinder blogs now appear in the search index automatically. If you transcribe or compose a tune and put it in a blog (and many have), other people can find it, comment on it and add it to their favourite lists.
- Your favourites are now sorted into as many favourite lists as you want. One for tunes you can play, one for tunes you can’t, one for your favourite French tunes
- Group Tunelists allow you to build up a tune list for a group of people, such as associations, sessions etc. All members of the group can select tunes to put in the tunebook.
- You can view recent searches and recently viewed tunes.
Hopefully there won’t be another re-write, and I can build on version 4 and add new features. I get plenty of requests. Features I anticipate adding soon:
- limit by key signature
- limit by rhythm
- limit by key
- limit by ability to play on a given instrument
Please drop me a mail if you have anything to say, positive or negative. I receive a constant stream of correspondence, and without it I wouldn’t have put so much effort into the latest version.