A shiny new feature has just been added to Hymnary's search capabilities: a new tool for searching tunes by their melody. If you've ever tried searching by incipit, you know that it is far from easy - you have to convert notes to numbers in your head, and if you drop a note or misremember a pitch, nothing comes up. This new tool aims to take the pain out of the process by letting you input your search melody directly in musical notation, with no mental gymnastics required! (Read all about how to use it here). Plus, it's an approximate search, so even if you miss a pitch here or a rhythm there, it will still find plenty of results (though you can always restrict it to exact matches, if you like). More details about the search engine's inner workings can be found here.
But being in its infancy, there still remains a lot of things to be done. Currently, there are around 2800 tunes that are searchable by melody, extracted from the MusicXML and MIDI files we have on hand. Some of them are different hymnal instances of the same tune, and some of them don't look that great on the search results page (many MIDI files don't contain enough information to format them nicely). As a result, we're working hard on some of our own ideas to improve both the interface and search results, but we're also anxious to get some user feedback. We're open to any kind of comment, question, or idea, so if you use the tool and have something to say, then let us know!