Editorial Policy:

Musical Traditions Internet Magazine is likely to be archived by the UK Web Archiving Consortium, consisting of the British Library, JISC, the National Archives, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales and the Wellcome Library at some time in the future.  The Consortium is undertaking a two-year pilot project to explore the long-term feasibility of archiving selected websites.  Authors are advised that, by contributing to this magazine they are agreeing to such archiving.

The copyright and intellectual property right of everything appearing in this magazine remains with the person who wrote it.  Nothing may be reproduced without prior written permission of the author, and the citation of MT as the source.

I will consider almost any kind of contribution, though I am particularly looking for articles, reviews, news and comment of the sort covered by the paper version of MT and followed up by this virtual version over the last twenty years.  Broadly: journalism dealing with traditional activities having some sort of musical content.

Views expressed in MT will be considered to be those of the author, not of the editor.  Decisions as to what items fall within the remit of the magazine will be made solely by the editor, but I am always open to reasoned argument from potential contributors.  I will endeavour to maintain a reasonable standard of literacy within published text and will certainly spell-check it, but I cannot be held responsible for factual inaccuracies or misunderstandings on the part of the authors.  I reserve the right to comment upon these, where I am aware of them.


Format of Contributions:

Given that the magazine generates no income for the editor, I would like to keep my work to a reasonable level.  Consequently, text contributions can only be considered if they are presented via e-mail, either in the body of the message or as an attachment in PC file format, or as printed text, in the following ways - in order of preference:

  1. .htm files
  2. 'Rich text' .rtf files
  3. ASCII or ANSI text files
  4. high quality printed text on paper
However - most modern e-mail programs can send messages containing formatted text (sometimes called 'styled' text - this means text in bold or italics for our purposes).  They do this by sending your message as an HTML file as well as plain text (although they rarely tell you so) and so this is the ideal medium for sending me articles, reviews, etc, as most of my work is already done for me!  You can tell if yours will or not by Copying and Pasting a piece of text from your wordprocessor containing bold and italic text into the e-mail message box.  If it remains as bold and italic, then your e-mail program supports formatted text.

If not, please just send 'rich' text.  If you have composed your article or review in a wordprocessor, use the 'Save As' option and save it as an .rtf text file.  Then attach this file to your e-mail message.  This will save me hours of work trying to figure out which sort of word processor file you've sent me and converting it into readable text.

Graphics

JPEG files would be preferred for graphics - but I can convert most types.  100dpi resolution is plenty fine enough.  I can also scan your photos and artwork up to A4 in size.

Sound

A writer can specify that short sound clips (up to about one minute) should be included within his/her pieces.  If you'd like sound clips in your next piece(s), you would need to:

House Style:


Reviews:

Wishing to work in harmony with the pleasingly anarchic nature of all Internet activity, I welcome reviews of records, tapes, books etc. volunteered by interested parties.

Record labels, book publishers etc, wishing to have a publication of theirs reviewed should send the CD, cassette, book, etc, directly to me and I will pass it on to a reviewer of my choice.

MT reviews - two points worth making:

1   MT reviews publications dealing with music, story, dance, etc, which is performed by traditional performers.  In addition I sometimes include traditional material from those performers who seem, to me, to have found their own way of continuing the tradition in a present-day context.  I can't define exactly what I mean by this, but I know by 'gut feeling' when is is right.

Publications whose contents fall outside these criteria will not be reviewed in the magazine, except when the reviewer has something of importance (usually critical) to say about that particular publication or performer.

It is pointless for publishers to send me 'folk' records - they will not be reviewed!

Frequently, I receive messages like this one:

In late April I sent a review copy of X's new album, "Paradox of Grace."  Although much of the album is contemporary in feel, X uses some very traditional instruments and/or presents unusual versions of traditional songs such as Woody Guthrie's "Vigilante Man."  I am following up to ascertain that you received the CD and to see if you will be able to review X's music.
The CD in question went in the bin in late April!

2   An MT review has two purposes; it should alert the potential purchaser to both positive and negative aspects of the publication which might not be immediately apparent upon cursory inspection, and it should also raise related issues which are likely to be of interest to readers.  In simple terms, it's an 'enabling' exercise, the aim of which is to help our readers enjoy and appeciate more of the huge amount of music which is available to them today - and that more fully.

It is something of a paradox that, as the audience for real traditional music appears to be dwindling, the quantity and quality of what is being published is increasing.  In the last decade an unprecedented number of extremely important publications have appeared which have dealt with traditional music in a fuller, deeper, wider ... a 'better' way than almost any in the past.

What's more, instant global communications via the Internet have allowed the small number of people actually interested in such things to keep abreast of these developments and in touch with each other.  Most of us understand that new standards are constantly being set - and realise that any new publications must live up to these standards.  MT reviews should attempt to reflect these developments, since we are now addressing what has become an extremely educated audience.

Like the reviews in any other music magazine, ours tend to fall into a few broad categories:

  1. The 'ordinary' review - "I listened to this CD/read this book; it was good/average/poor of its type; these were its outstanding features; I do/don't recommend it to this or that interest group."  There are lots of these.

  2. The 'enthusiastic' review - "I knew nothing about this music before I heard this CD but now I can't live without hearing lots more of it.  Every sentient being on the planet needs this for Christmas!"   There are rather fewer of these.

  3. The 'informed' review - "This is an extremely important/disappointing publication for the following list of reasons; this is the background information you need to know about this music; this is how it compares with previous publications; these are the ways in which it succeeds in broadening our knowledge of the subject; these are its failings; and here are some peripheral ideas it's got me thinking about."   There are rather fewer of these, too - although they are really what MT should be about, in my opinion.

  4. The 'fan' review - "This is the very latest fantastic album from the wonderful ....... augmented in this instance by ethereal vocals of ....... and the groovy synth work of ....... and so, of course, it is absolutely brilliant!"   I hope there are almost none of these.
As Editor, I am regularly called to account for examples of type 3 which are described as being negative, cruel, harsh, destructive, over-detailed and - almost always - academic!  (Any real academic would roar with laughter at this description)  Many of these correspondents appear to cling firmly to that old adage "If you can't find something good to say - say nothing" - and a substatial proportion of them seem to live in the USA.

Personally, I would far rather hear about the possible failings of a CD before I encounter it as an enticing looking, shrink-wrapped (and thus unexaminable) object in my local record shop.  I would rather know that the glossily produced booklet actually tells me very little about the music or the performer before I shell out £13 of my hard-earnt!

Rather more difficult to answer is the charge that, since the publication in question really is very good and well worth buying, "Why did your reviewed have to go picking holes in it?"  Here, I can only refer back to the point about the constantly improving quality of publications and the standards they inevitably set.  Also worth remembering is the way in which small flaws in an extremely good piece of work stand out far more annoyingly than they would in a mediocre one.

Anyway - I will continue to publish, indeed to encourage, critical reviews (in the best sense of the word) - though I will try to exercise rather more editorial control over those I consider to be needlessly so ... and attempt to do the same with my own contributions as well!  But MT, although an e-zine, is not a fan-zine - and has no intentions of becoming one.

Notes for Reviewers:

Important:  Please include the full title, performer's name (unless 'Various') and the record publisher's name and catalogue number.  For publications unlikely to be available from major distributors, an indication of where to obtain it would be helpful to our readers.

Track List:  The track listing from the CD would be a welcome addition to your review.

Number of Words:  I leave it to you to decide how many words - you will have seen that some of our reviews are quite short and others are very long indeed.  I prefer the reviewer to have the freedom to say whatever needs to be said in his/her own way.

Photos:  I usually scan the cover picture from the booklet before sending you the CD, so I have the graphic to go with your words.

Sound Clips:  See above - You might ask me to add a few short sound clips.  You'll need to either send me the CD for this (but I promise to return it immediately), or send MP3s of the tracks you want used, or send me a CD-R of these tracks.

Sending the Review:  The best way to send the review is as good, simple, hand-coded HTML (see my HTML Coding article).  But for most people, formatted e-mail text, Rich Text Format or straight ASCII or ANSI text will do just as well (see above).  In fact, I prefer this to the monstrous stuff Microsoft FrontPage and its like produces.  Please send the text either included in the body of an e-mail or as an attachment - but not both!


Feedback:

Please let me know your views on the magazine and any further questions you may have.  Particularly, please give me an indication of whether you might consider contributing further reviews, news, comment, or an article at some point.

Rod Stradling - 5.8.16


Correspondence:

Rod Stradling - e-mail: rod@mustrad.org.uk    Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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