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A novel field programmable gate array (FPGA) implementation of content-based music retrieval system is presented in this paper. The system adopts a novel hardware architecture for approximate string matching. The architecture is based on a simple shift-and-or algorithm. It has the advantages of low area cost and high throughput. Numerical results show that the proposed architecture has significantly lower CPU time over its software counterpart running on Pentium IV for large database and/or edit distances.