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Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns

Leslie Butler 30 Sep 11 - 08:05 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Sep 11 - 08:32 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Sep 11 - 11:56 AM
Jack Campin 30 Sep 11 - 12:51 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Sep 11 - 12:59 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 30 Sep 11 - 01:26 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 11 - 09:37 PM
Padre 01 Oct 11 - 12:06 AM
Jack Campin 01 Oct 11 - 03:54 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 01 Oct 11 - 08:48 AM
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Subject: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Leslie Butler
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 08:05 AM

I'd like to find a trad-ish tune to fit some lyrics that a friend wrote, but I can't find any search sites that do that. What I have in mind is something like the meter indicators that you get in hymn books, ie note the rhythm and line length, and then search for tunes that match.
Anyone know of such a tool?
Thanks in advance!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 08:32 AM

Why not just use a hymn tune?
A lot of the good ones are long out of copyright!


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 11:56 AM

WE've long considered adding this featur to DIgiTrad. Any volunteers?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:51 PM

People thinking of doing this: try to find a copy of the French song tune thesaurus "Le Clé du Caveau", from the early 19th century. It did exactly what you're after, on a huge scale (it took a large committee about 25 years). It's very easy to use and all round a remarkable achievement. Well worth nicking their ideas about how to organize such a project.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 12:59 PM

I have done lots of browsing in old songbooks, and I have never run across such a thing, except in hymnbooks.

Hey, I agree, it would be a good idea. There are lots of great old lyrics in old books?broadsides, and so on?for which no tune is given. It would be great if these old songs were made singable again by matching them to appropriate tunes.

As far as volunteering?well, I've already got my hands full, just doing more of what I've been doing, finding lyrics, transcribing recordings?stuff I enjoy and am good at. I'd be reluctant to take on a new project.

All it needs is for someone to count the syllables in each lyric line?which should correspond to the number of notes in the melody line.

That alone is a challenge for some people. Lord knows I've seen lots of lyrics where the person who posted them didn't have a clue where to insert line breaks, and they end up with 5 lines in one verse and 6 lines in the next one. (The rhyme scheme often provides a clue, though.)

Then, too, folk songs aren't always consistent, especially those that have been folk-processed a lot. The number of syllables doesn't always correspond to the number of notes. In one verse, there might be two syllables and two notes, and in the next verse, the singer will spread one syllable over those same two notes. Or a quarter-note might be split into two eighth-notes so a singer can squeeze an extra syllable in.

Hymns and old songs by known writers tend to be more consistent, at least in their original, non-folk-processed forms.

You wouldn't have to be a musician to do this; you'd just have to have an ear for rhythm. And a bit of anal-retentive attention to detail wouldn't hurt.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 01:26 PM

The basic techniques are fairly straightforward - there are algorithms for constructing syllables from English words which are accurate most of the time. I used one in a Prolog song browser I wrote, which give an initial syllable breakdown of the lines for matching to abc notes. Initial because, as Jim points out, the syllables and notes don't always match up as neatly as hymns and their tunes tend to, But it gives you a starting point for manual verification/check/edit. (I just had a quick look at a hymn and even there the word spelled heaven sometimes need to pronounces as one syllable rather than two).

It would be equally easy to count the number of sounding notes on a line as an alternative to the syllables. (If you have abc files for the songs neatly arranges by lines both of these are straightforward).

If I understood the niceties of hymn metrical specification a bit better I might give it a go from my DT abc files.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 09:37 PM

Ummm MICK



THANK YOU - a MOST Hearty THANK YOU

2/4

4/4

3/4

3/8

6/8

7/8



Take care of those first ... and then move on to the less than 00.01% obscure 4/3 or the 9/8


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Padre
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 12:06 AM

The meters of hymn tunes can be found on the CyberHymnal website

www.hymntime.com/tch/

go to the section labeled Tunes by meter

Padre


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 03:54 AM

I went looking for Le Clé du Caveau on the web. Found one on archive.org, but's an early edition (1811) where the index isn't fully worked out. The later edition I've seen before (1838?) has the index as volume 1 and the tunes as an appendix, this earlier one has it the other way round. The classified index starts at p71 of volume 2 in the earlier edition; the later edition references tunes by number from the classified index, the early one does it by name.

Their classification scheme (also including verse form, masculine/feminine line ending, and rhyme scheme) is more detailed than the usual hymn indexes.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Finding tunes by meter, like hymns
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 08:48 AM

Not quite what I meant GUEST; I understand that eg 8888 implies not just 8 syllables per line but that they are 4 iambs. To do it properly you should also check that the lines are iambic. Not insurmountable - there are stress dictionaries available (I have a 20k word one on my machine). It's whether to ignore things like this that I meant by niceties!

Mick


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