John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

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:

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/ndx/RO.html

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.

Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

So thats where you get em’! Those two you gave me, McCarthy’s no 3 and Andy McGann’s are a great couple of tunes.

Dave.

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Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

Ooh, this is a good one, pete. It’s like the good old days of thumbing through the library card catalogue and finding interesting stuff. I can waste great wads of time here….
Michele

Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

Yes Dave! Considering we see each other every Wednesday, it’s ironic you wait for me to post this thread before discovering my secret! Actually, McCarthy’s and Andy McGann’s are both my own transcription.

May I publicly here also register my thanks to Paul (Slater) who gave me JC’s general index address. He’s also a Wednesday session stalwart which adds further irony.

Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

You’re very welcome Pete.
Irony is like bronzy and goldy isn’t it?
The abc index is a really great resource though. You need to sift through some awful transcriptions to find the good versions. There also the wwwabc from Chris Walshaw which is the first index I used - http://staffweb.cms.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/#index.

Now if I can only learn all the damn tunes I find …….

Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

I enjoy browsing JC’s as well - it has heaps of tunes, but I don’t think the abc search feature works as well as it should. And sometimes the name fragment search feature doesn’t either. I find Richard Moon’s tune database to be more user friendly in that department. In fact, all the db’s have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s probably most effective to use them all in combination, depending on what you’re after.

Re: John Chambers’ ABC Tune Index

Hey, I just discovered this discussion of my Tune Finder’s index files. I’ll just add that I agree with the comments, and it’s exactly this sort of thing that encouraged me to make (and keep) the raw index files public over the years. Part of the idea of the Web is that various web sites are supposed to build on each others’ capabilities, and making the raw data available to anyone interested is part of what makes such things possible. I’ve been disappointed about how much of this actually goes on, but it does happen. A few sites also make direct calls on my Tune Finder code, to do things like file conversion (ABC -> MIDI, etc.). That’s the way it’s supposed to work. And just exposing data to eyeballs is a simple but useful part of all this.

I also agree with Dr. Dow’s comment. There are too damned many tunes that need to be learned. It can seriously interfere with writing more interesting Web software. Or vice-versa.

— John Chambers (no, not that one over at Cisco 😉

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