Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flirting with the Big Time

I never have particularly high expectations for the articles I file on  I figure that there are not many readers out there in cyberspace who are interested in the sort of research-oriented analysis I give to the composition and performance of music, primarily classical with occasional thoughts about jazz.  One thing I like to do, however, is provide my own perspective on what other sites have reported as news.

Thus, when BBC News ran a report that the Codex Calixtinus had gone missing from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and said nothing about its musical significance in the background material they provided, I figured I had better fill in the missing information.  Writing the piece that I eventually submitted to my national site turned out to be a bit of an adventure, which is just the sort of thing I like my research activities to be.  It turned out that I was able to find an image of the “three-voice” conductus (scare quotes because not all musicologists believe that this is actually notation of polyphony) that made the Codex such a distinguished document;  and through YouTube I was able to find a performance.  I felt that the result provided a relatively straightforward complement to the BBC account that might amuse some of the people I have come to know through my interest in early music.

I was certainly not prepared for what Google Analytics would tell me about my page views.  This one article has bumped up my usual figures by two (decimal) orders of magnitude, reducing everything else to a burble of noise on my Pageview graph.  It turns out that two Facebook groups have been created to facilitate the recovery of the Codex, there are four Codex Calixtinus pages, and one People listing for Códice Calixtino.  Interest is heavy in Europe (with Segovia and Utrecht at the top of the list ordered by average time on site);  but there has also been a fair amount of activity in the United States, particularly along the East Coast.

Apparently the Codex has been receiving far more attention than I anticipated.  Perhaps this is one of those cases where “long tail” logic has been beneficent.  Those who know about the Codex are probably a relatively feeble minority, but the Internet has facilitated their coming together over a sad event that passed unnoticed by just about all of the media.  Personally, I find “friending” the Codex to be a bit extreme;  but I take comfort in having done my part by highlighting the musical side of this story.

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