Welcome to Wikipedia
Hi Guidewell, and welcome to Wikipedia. Your userpage and credentials fascinate me. I am very interested in music but due to problems relating to being born premature, I cannot sing or play piano to anywhere near a professional standard. However I am very interested in the history of music, and have tried to find audio samples to accompany articles. I found your article on Americus Backers after hearing his name mentioned in a QI episode. I've tried to make the article conform more closely with Wikipedia's Manual of Style and I have commented on it at Talk:Americus Backers. You can sign your name on talk pages with four tildes like this: "~~~~" . Also you might be interested in some WikiProjects, which are places where Wikipedia users coordinate improvement of articles. WikiProject Classical music is the project for all classical music works. Happy editing, Graham87 15:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
...and here's my reply to Graham07 Administrator whose sympathetic interventions and welcome to Wikipedia I gratefully acknowledge.
I've just returned from holiday (not to see pianos for once although I did do a little singing) and found your letter in my mailbox.
I see you're a Wikipedia administrator so I must thank you for accepting so much of my first contribution and for overlooking and correcting my mistakes in style. Dealing with a subject like this can be difficult sometimes because a lot of professional personal opinion is involved in authenticating an artefact and in the assessment of its design, technology and performance. As I'm sure you know from your experience of music, it's not a quantifiable medium as its intent and power lies in accessing the most basic of human instincts and emotions. If it doesn't do that, it's not music or a musical instrument of any value.
While I see the necessity for impartiality, what for example what might I write for Wikipedia after, say, being let loose for an afternoon on an original Cristofori (though that might not be such an epiphany since the remaining three are late models and much altered)? The experience would be, in large part, subjective since my estimations of the instrument and its qualities, though I daresay fairly definitive, might not appeal to the rigid pianofile who believes that there are aspects of the piano and its art that are set in stone? I'm very lucky in being able to take a wide view of my subject although it's not in the strict classical view "correct". But I'm also aware that I'm not by any means what if I'm right used to be called a polymath whose knowledge and experience might qualify them to take a truly holistic view. Hmm, Wikipedia isn't the right vehicle for that sort of thing is it? Maybe there's some other Internet site that specializes in what one can learn from reading about the (informed) personal experiences of others.
Incidentally, should I be copying this onto my talk page? I can't remember now whether I have worked out how to get one going. I haven't had any help from a Wikipedia expert or contributor so I'm having to work everything out from first principles, hence I'm guilty of reinventing the wheel and maybe my signt problems are causing me to make mistakes because there's a limit to the amount of research and background reading I can physically manage on Wikipedia - I have to parcel out my abilities efficiently and so I concentrage on such things as tracking original sources and doing a lot of face to face and hands on research instead of getting my scraps of knowledge from books.
I don't know what your physical and motor capabilities are like but if you're anxious to make music under limitations, one of the easiest instruments to get going on is a £d3.50 penny whistle, a basic primer that shows you how to finger it and a good collection of music on disc or whatever medium you listen to that you can emulate and simplify or rearrange (English and Scottish folk tunes are a rich source of satisfying repertoire).
I'm not necessarily a classical music aficionado being bred up from school in rock bands, running a disco and singing in folk clubs alongside my classical training in singing. The two groups I'm currently singing with go for modern choral music, some of which we commission, so I've done what a lot of post-classical players do which is to unlearn the rules of harmony according to Back and tear up my scores since it's virtually impossible to represent some modern musical idioms in a language that has been fairly static since it was invented around 400 years ago. Singing teachers nowadays prefer to use the "call and response" method of teaching repertoire and as a prospective workshop leader myself I am having to learn this technique which involves a lot of interpretation, expecially when you're working with composers who are constantly telling you, "Well yes, that may be what I wrote but what I actually want it to sound like is this...".
Now I'd really be most happy if someone came across my Backers piece and found that they had information to add that the rest of us don't know. After all, that's the main reason I put the article up to Wikipedia - I wanted to get more information than I or any of my circle cam find by conventional methods of research (that for instance don't involve a holiday in Holland and the acquisition of expertise in tracking down birth records). How can I write a novel full of amazing revelations without making them all up and forever muddying the accuracy of real information in the way that most historical novels do because impressionable readers believe that your interpolations are factual?
Thanks once again for your sympathetic intervention and welcome to Wikipedia and happy Ney Year. 17.40 12 January 2008 End message.