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Editor's Message

  1. Awards for MTO

  2. Reader Survey

  3. Co-editorial Board Changes

  4. MTO Database: Browser Delivery!


[Contents of vol. 3.1]


1. Awards for MTO

In December, MTO received a LookSmart Editor's Choice Award. LookSmart (http://www.looksmart.com), a division of Reader's Digest, is a Web directory service. It reviews over one million sites in selecting recipients for its awards. Additionally, MTO was selected by the World Wide Web Associates (http://wwwa.com) as a Top Ten winner in the category of music. The citation places our site in the top 1/10th of 1% in that category. SMT and MTO are most pleased with the recognition.

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2. Reader Survey

Thanks to all who took the time to return the MTO Reader Survey distributed in the past two issues (see MTO 2.6 and 2.7, September and November 1996, Editor's comments). The reason we solicited feedback is that producing MTO in four formats (email, gopher, ftp, and Web) is increasingly an onerous job, and the editors would like to see if and how that could be made a little less burdensome. The readership, however, seems to feel strongly that all formats be retained. About 110 people responded to the survey (roughly ten percent of the readership); the results are set out below. 1. There is a sizable segment of the MTO readership that is without convenient Web access and that prefers to read the journal via email, gopher, or ftp. The latter two methods are far outnumbered by email and Web, however. Fifty-five used email for access, fifty-one used the Web, two identified gopher and seven ftp. All four categories elicited responses strongly supportive of each format, and all but the Web-votes were aware of the implicit threat of the survey, that is, that one or more format may be withdrawn in favor of Web format.

We want to reassure readers that, at this point, given the results of the survey we do not plan to eliminate email access. From the start, we were committed to making MTO accessible to as wide an audience as possible. This is especially important because the readership for the kind of music-theoretical discourse published in MTO is relatively small to begin with. Until a clear majority of readers can access MTO via the Web, at least with the text-only browser, Lynx, MTO will continue to be available in both ASCII and HTML formats, and will be delivered through email, gopher, ftp, and the Web.

2. Most respondents did not feel that the elimination of ASCII-only MTO material would be much inconvenience, but at least seven strongly opposed such a move.

3. A number of people were confused by the section of the survey on Lynx (rightly so, be it said; the survey was not worded clearly). Lynx is a software package for Web browsing for use with terminals without graphics capabilities (i.e., the typical email terminal, "VT-100"). It delivers documents relatively clearly, and in the opinion of a number of respondents has been used satisfactorily, if not ideally, for their Web needs. It delivers a document that looks similar to an email message. Graphics and sound files may be saved for eventual downloading to a machine capable of displaying them.

The reason we asked about Lynx is that it may prove useful for those who like email format and are unable to obtain the TCP/IP or SLIP/PPP connections required for Netscape or other graphical browsers. We were not suggesting withdrawal of graphical designs compatible with Netscape, as some Web users feared. Rather, we were exploring the possibility of moving to HTML only, and servicing with Lynx those who were reluctant to abandon email delivery.

The number of respondents unfamiliar with Lynx suggests that an information message about that software should be prepared and distributed. We'll see to that in the near future.

4. Respondents were kind and enthusiastic about MTO services. Many people identified favorite parts of MTO, including articles, dissertation listings, mto-talk discussion, online indices and the SMT database, the recent books section, and so on.

Little was suggested for elimination. Predictably, one or two who did not use gopher or ftp suggested their removal, and there was one suggestion to improve the masthead.

Suggestions for additions included a music theory links page; a music software info/faq link page; provision of full-text search capabilities for the archives; adding a section on conference reviews (e.g. ATMI or CMS); a section oriented specifically to composition; a version of Music Theory Spectrum online; and requests for more help on printing examples and figures. A few of these suggestions are already under consideration, e.g. the info/faq page (including help on printing musical examples), and a full-text search service for the MTO archive. Subscription to Music Theory Spectrum, SMT's print journal, is coupled with membership in the Society. Thus an online version of the journal, if ever implemented, must be by paid membership only. Spectrum is overseen by the SMT Publications Committee, and is now published by the Journals Division of the University of California Press. Any decision about a fee-based, online version must be reached by the Publications Committee and UC Press, and would have to be approved by the SMT Executive Board. The Publications Committee has discussed introducing a page of links to music theory resources on the Web but is concerned about the quality of the linked sites. The sites would need to be reviewed before being linked, and would require periodic monitoring to be sure they continue to meet SMT's standards of quality and relevance.

5. Most comments on the mechanics and content of MTO and mto-talk were favorable. Some suggestions proffered included: more biographical information on MTO authors; providing space in MTO to reply to articles appearing in other journals; presenting graphics within articles more smoothly (in-line images); and adding links to the discussion archives at the bottom of articles (if appropriate). Criticisms included a certain lack of discussion of twentieth-century music; a bias toward word-based articles due to the problem with presenting large and complex graphical images; and frustration at not being able to see and hear examples at the same time. Each of these comments, suggestions, and criticisms will be brought to the MTO Co-editorial Board for discussion and action.

mto-talk comments included consideration of limiting material by any individual author sent to mto-talk within a certain period; watching out for "subject header creep" and monitoring it more closely; and calls for participation from a broader readership.


Thanks again for your feedback. The number of enthusiastic and kind comments we received was heartening indeed! We're pleased that the readership is generally happy with MTO, and will continue to do our best to provide a top-quality journal. For the editors,

Bob Judd
MTO Manager
mto-manager@societymusictheory.org

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3. Co-editorial Board Changes

The SMT Publications Committee, which oversees MTO, established a rotation for our Co-editorial Board last year, and put it into effect as of November, 1996. The first to rotate off of the Board is Ann McNamee (Swarthmore College). Ann has been a great help and inspiration ever since MTO began, and even before that, during planning stages. She published an article in an early issue of the journal (0.4, September 1993), "Ann K. Grazyna Bacewicz's Second Piano Sonata (1953): Octave Expansion and Sonata Form," for which she won a Wilk Prize, awarded by the Polish Music Reference Center and the School of Music at the University of Southern California, for outstanding original research on aspects of Polish music. She is now involved in exploring the multimedia potential of the Web and has produced an amazing multimedia version of her Bacewicz article (actually three versions, to accomodate varying WWW browser capabilities). She presented her work recently at a symposium held at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. We have benefitted in prestige and otherwise from Ann's association with MTO, and are indebted to her for her contributions over the past three years. We wish her continued success in her future activities.

Replacing Ann as a Co-editorial Board member is Catherine Nolan (Ph.D., Yale University 1990). Cathy taught at the University of Alberta from 1988-90, and since then at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario, Canada). She has published articles on the music of Webern and on the relationship of analysis and performance in *Canadian University Music Review*, *College Music Symposium*, and *Journal of Music Theory*. Her principal research interest is the twelve-tone music of Webern, and she is working on a large-scale study of that repertoire. She is also preparing a study of early twentieth-century harmonic theory with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We welcome Cathy to the Board and look forward to working with her.

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4. MTO Database: Browser Delivery!

The MTO Database was conceived in pre-Web days as an email-searchable index of all articles, reviews, and commentaries. When MTO began appearing on the Web, I created a page through which subscribers could search the database by filling out a form. Due to constraints of time and the design of the original search software I was unfortunately unable to have the search results delivered directly to the WWW browser. As an interim solution, the results were forwarded to users via email. Tom Heft, the author of the original software, and I have modified the search routines so that now search results are delivered to the browser. The URL for the Web form is the same (http://societymusictheory.org/mto/mto-search.html), and the form is nearly identical. Results appear in the browser instantaneously or, if Net traffic is heavy, within a few seconds. We hope subscribers will use and benefit from the new service. Please report problems to the General Editor.

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[Contents of vol. 3.1]

Lee A. Rothfarb, General Editor Music Theory Online
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6070
U.S.A.

mto-editor@societymusictheory.org
voice: (805) 893-7527 (with voice mail)
fax: (805) 893-7194

Updated 03 July 2013
Brent Yorgason

SMT