The 1908-11 collections
Digital book with embedded MIDI files, by Alan Helsdon
Musical Traditions Records CD-ROM MTCD255
You have completed an enormous amount of detailed research on a rather specialised subject. You want to share it in a way that brings together and presents all the elements - text, music, photos, maps, lists etc. A book would meet the need but this is a specialised subject and would not create the sales that would justify the cost. Anyway, there is a frequent need for cross-referencing … Eureka! You produce it on an HTML CD-ROM.
Alan Helsden and Rod Stradling have arrived at an ideal way of presenting the material. The tune for each of the 93 items collected by RVW in the south of Norfolk on his visits between 1908 and 1911 is presented in a clear manner and an accompanying MIDI tune file is provided for each. We know that this collector, while fascinated by the tunes and how versions changed, paid fairly scant attention to the words, so Alan provides these from other sources - recordings of other East Anglian singers, from broadsides and from books, all carefully sourced. The result is some very pleasing lyrics being suggested for fine melodies, some of which are unique.
In addition Alan examines the date and sequence of RVW's collecting trips in 1908, 1910 and 1911 to come up with suggested itineraries for each trip as well as maps, vintage photos and postcards that show the locations he visited and the flat lands he cycled through.
The last of the categories is 'Thanks' and therein lies the only disappointment, in that after such meticulous work, Helsdon does not share with us something headed with a title such as 'Findings', 'Impressions' or 'Conclusions'.
Maybe he thought that, having given you all the information, you could come to your own? Ed.
Vic Smith - 7.3.18
writing in .
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