Can anyone steer me to a book or website or smartphone app that will help me find out where a tune is from? I've got an imperfect memory of a tune that I heard years ago and I would love to listen to it again, but I simply don't know what it was. I've looked on Google for phrases like "What is that tune" and "find that tune" etc., but can't find any resource for tracking down pieces of music.

Back in the 1970s there was a book in my public library that would identify any classical tune you could think of. You simply wrote it out in C (C major or minor depending), ignoring the lengths of the notes, and then used the index to find the same sequence of notes. For example, Beethoven's Eroica, 1st tune, would become C E C G C E G G. The book would then tell you where that tune was from. Even though it ignored ryhthm, the mere ups and downs of the tune were enough to identify nearly every tune you could think of. In fact if I remember correctly the same book had an index that made it even simpler: you just wrote out which way each note went, Up or Down or Same compared to the previous note, and that could also identify most tunes. I can't remember the title of that book, and can't find any resource for identifying tunes like that now.

Thanks so much if anyone can help!

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    Is this any use lifewire.com/… – JimM Aug 9 '19 at 21:57
  • Thank you very much, JimM, for that link to lots of promising resources. – Stephen F Aug 10 '19 at 23:18

The book you are thinking of is "A Dictionary of Musical Themes" by Harold Barlow and Sam Morgenstern. https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Musical-Themes-Music-More/dp/0517524465

  • That's wonderful, Mark Lutton, that's the very book I used to borrow from my local library back in the 1970s! How amazing the internet is, to lead one to such information. Thank you so much for your prompt answer. – Stephen F Aug 10 '19 at 23:21

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