New Year, new Folk Tune Finder!

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Happy new year! Happy new Folk Tune Finder! Why not try it out?

Those of you following along at home will know that this is version 7, and that I release approximately one new version per year. This one’s a big one, with lots of changes. I’ll concentrate on four.

Tunes vs Transcriptions

If you searched for ‘the butterfly’ in an older version of Folk Tune Finder, you’d find about a hundred transcriptions. This was because there were a hundred transcriptions out there, all subtly different. This is interesting, but seeing page after page of identical, or near-identical search results are no use to anyone.

The new version recognises the difference between tunes and transcriptions. If there are five very similar transcriptions of a tune, they will show up as one result. Hopefully your search results will be less repetitive.



Sometimes there will be large differences in the transcription of a tune (for example, an extra repeat) and these will count as different ‘tunes’. So your search results won’t be completely free of duplicates. But if you see the same tune twice, it’s for a reason.

You can browse through the different transcriptions of a tune and compare them.


This has the effect of reducing the number of ‘tunes in folktunefinder’ somewhat. More on that in a future blog post.


A feature is ‘something about a tune’. It might be its key signature, or time signature, or how many titles it has, or whether it has guitar chords.


The new version classifies a number of types of features, which you can browse by and narrow down your search results.


It also identifies these features in tunes, which means you can find other tunes with similar features.


Melody Search

The melody search algorithm takes a completely new approach, and been the largest amount of effort. It’s much better at being flexible in matching results. It still works if your input is in any key signature, but it’s now more tolerant of getting wrong notes.


How do you spell ‘contredanse’? ‘Contradance’, ‘contradanse’, ‘contredance’, ‘contredanse’? With people all over the world transcribing tunes, using sources from various points in history there are all kinds of variations in spelling.

The new title search is more flexible in matching these spelling variations.

Some things have gone

The comments feature had some use, but was more hassle than it was worth. Most of the things it was used for would have been better emailed to me. Therefore I decided to retire the comments.

Likewise, random tune of the day was a nice idea, but not worth keeping.

Folk Tune Finder blogs are gone for now but certainly will return! The blogs are still here, waiting to take on another form. Watch this space!

‘Group tune lists’ were created to serve a specific purpose (to allow a group of people to manage a favourites list) but didn’t end up getting used for exactly this purpose. They have been wrapped into the ‘favourites’ functionality. You can see these on the public ‘favourite lists’ page.

More information

You can read the full release notes for more information on all the features that have gone into this version.

I’m hoping to transform Folk Tune Finder into more of a research tool. It’s always going to be a melody search engine first, but by analysing tunes for features, grouping and connecting tunes, I hope that it will be possible to get more use out of the tune database.


I’ve had some great feedback during development. I’d like to thank Aidrian O’Domhnaill and Karen Myers for their very useful suggestions and feedback.

It’s been a lot of hard work and I’m glad to finally get this out of the door. But I’m sure you’ll find some room for improvement. Please do write to me at if you have anything to say. It’s all useful and always nice to hear from people who use the site.


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