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HIP Specifications

Content |  Tone |  Length

Computer Format |  Review Format |  Example
 

Content

HIP readers are harmonica players, so this will always be the focus of the review. What harmonicas are being played, and through what microphones, effects, amplifiers and speakers? What techniques are being used? How does the harmonica interact with the musical materials, the arrangements, and the other instruments? Are there particular challenges to the harmonica player in the material, and does the performer engage in noteworthy or unusual use of the instrument? Is there enough harmonica on the record to interest harmonica players? Is it well played?

The non-harmonica aspects of the work should never be ignored, but they should be examined as much as possible through the prism of the harmonica.

The harmonica player's background, general character, and accomplishments should be noted briefly where known. Does the player have an unusual approach or story that can briefly be told? Can the review serve as a springboard for an introductory essay to a style and period? Consult with the editor if this seems appropriate.

Songs that contain no harmonica may be mentioned if noteworthy, but undue space should not devoted to them.

Tone

As noted earlier, the reader comes first. The tone of the piece should always be respectful of the reader and strive to be engaging and interesting, even colorful and clever. But this should never come at the expense of the artist.

The artist, in most instances, deserves respect. The only reason to be disrespectful is if an artist has been promoted falsely or in an exaggerated manner, has made untrue claims or otherwise done something that readers should know about and defend themselves against. Ridicule and satire may be appropriate tools in these circumstances. But savaging an artist just for a thrill (the reviewer's and/or the readers') will not be tolerated. Neither will unfair attacks, ad hominem attacks, or anything slanderous or libelous - these will be rejected out of hand.

Review Length

This will vary with the importance of the subject, available space, and the treatment.

Some minor but worthwhile works can be grouped into mini-reviews of a few paragraphs each.

Occasionally a major artist may have one record deserving of full treatment and another deserving brief mention, or even two full-treatment works. These can be grouped together under the artist's name, with the header information (title, personnel, songs with harp keys) all at the beginning, followed by both reviews together. This format can also be used for summary retrospectives of several albums by the same artist.
 

Computer Format

  • Computer files are strongly preferred to paper text.
  • All computer documents should be in pure ASCII format (your word processor should be able to export your file to ASCII, the most basic of all text formats).
  • If delivered on diskette, it should be a 3.5 inch 1.44 megabyte disk in IBM or Windows format.
  • If sent via internet, it should be addressed to 76450.3230@compuserve.com, and sent as a text file. NOT binary. Please disable HTML, as this will introduce unusable formatting codes that will have to be removed.

Review Format

Reviews should be formatted as follows. Text in quotes represents actual words or punctuation to use. Leave blank lines as shown below.

Name of artist

TITLE OF WORK (in capital letters) - Label and issue number

"PERSONNEL:" (in capitals) Name, comma, instrument(s), semicolon, period at end of list)

Note: two or more musicians playing the same instrument can be grouped thus: Player 1, Player 2, instrument;

Name of first cut"<9>"type and key of harmonica used"<9>"position"<9>"(key of song)
Name of second cut"<9>"harmonica used"<9>"position"<9>"(key of song)
etc.

Note: Diatonic harmonicas should be written like this: A-harp

Chromatics should be written: C-chromatic

Tremolo: D-tremolo

Bass: Bass hca

Chord harmonica: Chord hca

Sometimes it may be necessary to use an abbreviated term for a special tuning or model. Details can always be supplied in the body of the review.

Text of the review:

  • Do not indent paragraphs.
  • Use only one space between sentences - not two.
  • Separate paragraphs with a blank line.

After the main review, give sources to buy the product (mailing address, email address, website, telephone no. fax no., etc.), price and shipping charge if known, and contact information.

End with "Reviewed on" (media - CD, VHS video, whatever) "by" (name of reviewer) (period)

Example

Big Joe Buttermouth

FIGHTING SHARKS WITH A TOOTHPICK - Heffalump HR666

Personnel: Joe Buttermouth, voc, hca; Lumpy Gravy, Enos Quagmire, el gtr; Bill "Mammoth" Ivory, pno; Calgary Slim, bs (Billie June); Bill Stuyvesant, bs; Onda Money, dm.

My, My, My<9>D-harp<9>2nd pos (A)

Lawdy, Lawd<9>Bb-Chromatic<9>3rd pos(C)

Whoa There!<9>F-SBS<9>1st pos(F)

Billie June<9>G-Melody Maker<9>2nd pos(G)

This is the first new recording from Big Joe Buttermouth in seventeen and a half years. His new dentures blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah catfish blah blah blah broken-down truck blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah with two elephants!

These bizarre regional customs notwithstanding, Big Joe and crew blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah 23-inch speakers. His unusual microphone choice blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah crystal doped with sardine juice. Eschewing the recent trend towards custom-built blah blah blah blah blah blah blah throws his new Marine Bands in a fire of persimmon twigs blah blah blah blah blah blah claims this gives a superior tone blah blah blah blah blah blah are otherwise stock.

This is a fine addition to the blah blah blah blah blah blah despite the occasional shrieks of "Leeches! Get 'em off me!" blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Available in some of the more adventurous alternative blues record emporiums, or by mail from

Heffalump Records
PO BOX 666
Okeefenokee LA 74666-0666

tel: 555-555-5666
fax: 555-555-1313
email: heff666@heffalump666.com
website: www.heffalump666.com

Reviewed on 8-inch floppy disk by Tammuz Buzzworthy.