John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index
I discovered ABCs a couple of years ago, and I think the system stands alone as the single greatest justification for the existence of computers and the internet.
I was given a web address early on for John Chambers’ ABC index. This was the raw index, not the neatly presented ‘Tunefinder’ address. I use the raw index by choice all the time now, and I’d like to explain why.
When I was at school, my old latin master told us he loved the older versions of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, since in the index, it only specified the page number where you could find the quotation you were seeking. So on the way to finding your quotation, you would trip over another half dozen that would take your fancy, and sometimes you’d even end up forgetting which quotation you were after in the first place, but you’d had a great ten minutes. At the time we told him he should get out more.
Well, I’ve found the same with JC’s raw index, in that on my way to finding the ‘Roscommon Jig’ for example, I found several other tunes I just couldn’t resist exploring, so I thought I’d pass this feature on to anyone who’s interested to try it out. In the address line, you must insert, in UPPER CASE, the first two letters for the tune title (Roscommon Jig = RO for example). When you hit the ‘Enter’ button, you get a huge page of every version of every tune that begins with RO. It’s a little piece of magic, repeatable with any two letters. Once the page has loaded, clicking on the left hand number of a tune title downloads you the ABC file which contains that tune, which is yet another potential treasure trove.
So here’s the address, set up as if for the Roscommon Jig:
I just thought I’d share this with you, as it might improve the quality of some people’s lives, in some marginal way, for a minute or two.