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site structure

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 11 years, 7 months ago

This site doesn't have a lot of structure

and hopefully you don't need to know even much of what it does have. We're interested in content, content and content; Accurate, relevant, legal content. If you're the same, then you're in the right place. If not, maybe not.


Even the page names aren't all that logical, see page names. And the layout is pretty basic, vanilla pbWiki with one user sidebar and a minimum of graphic decoration.


Tunings pages

are the whole reason the site exists. They're the pages that actually list tunings!


Generally, a tunings page lists all the tunings for a particular instrument.


Is it really that simple? No way. For example, the guitar is an instrument, but the guitar tunings page doesn't list all the guitar tunings. Or is the guitar a family of instruments?


Who cares? We just try to be sensible about this.


But for the sake of definitions:

(and in them by page we mean the text unique to the page, not the sidebar etc..)


  • A tunings page is a page that lists tunings and/or other tunings pages, for a particular instrument or group of instruments or a group of tunings. These other tunings pages, if they exist, then cover particular varieties of the instrument or group or tunings concerned.
  • The tunings hierarchy apex page is a page that lists other tunings pages and isn't itself listed on any other tunings page. It's the only tunings page that isn't listed elsewhere in the tunings hierarchy, and it's just called tunings hierarchy (largely for historical reasons).
  • The tunings hierarchy is just all the tunings pages. It's called that because there are some rules about how these pages link to each other, see below.
  • Many tunings pages don't list any actual tunings (this terminology has changed a little as the site grew), just other tunings pages.
  • No tuning page should list itself or any tunings page that lists it or any page that lists any page that lists it or any page that lists any page that lists... etc.... That is, there are no loops. If you start at the apex page and follow links down, eventually you'll get to a page that lists only tunings and no other tunings pages, no matter which path you follow. And you'll never get back to a page you've already seen (if you do that's a loop, and not what you want).
  • There may be several paths down to that page from the apex (and nearly always are). So the tree branches in both directions, but there's no central point at the bottom; The top is the apex, the bottom is the tunings.
  • And there may be actual tunings listed on the intermediate pages, and commonly are. Particularly as you near the bottom, many tunings pages list both actual tunings and other tunings pages.


And going down through the tree from the apex, you'll normally get to the more common instruments and tunings first, and less common ones as you get further and further from the apex. But not always; If a tuning or instrument is particularly exciting, there may well be a short cut.


There are other terms that were used in earlier versions of the site and aren't any more: A tunings hierarchy page now just means the same as a tunings page, and tunings overview page, base-level tunings page and top-level tunings hierarchy page aren't used at all. If you see them it's just that that piece of the writeup is old.


So what we're building is a tree struture, with the apex page on top. This is the basic way of finding tunings here.


To take a step back, the word instrument can mean lots of things, obviously. It's a very flexible word. To take a topical example, is the Yepes-tuned ten-string guitar a dfifferent instrument to the same guitar, strung and tuned in non-reentrant fashion?


It's the policy of this site not to care. All we want to do is provide accurate, accessible, useable information. Niceties of terminology must be dealt with on occasions, but where we can avoid them we will.


Index pages


We're also building several index pages as we go. So far there are two:

  • Tunings by name is just an alphabetical list of every tuning we know, each with a list of the tunings pages on which a tuning by this name is listed. It contains some strange bedfellows...! The names of people and even songs and other pieces associated with particular tunings are also listed here.
  • The instrument names index is similar, but lists (wait for it) instrument names.


We may one day split the tunings by name page and give the songs or people or both a page of their own. Maybe. Or more likely, leave it as it is and spend the time instead trying to devise a way of indexing tunings by the notes they contain, or by their structure, so if you know a tuning you can easily find it. Now there's a challenge!


Both of these two pages are messy in some ways and neat in others, and differently so. The tunings by name page contains all sorts of things, but the pages it links to should all be there. On the other hand, the instrument names index is focussed on instrument names, but it may sometimes link to non-existent pages here.


We don't normally think of the apex page as an index. Arguably it is but here it isn't.


Or of course people can also search using the local search box, or external search engines such as Google.



Waffle pages


Pages like theorboed strings and reentrant tuning that explain a term or a concept that the expert knows very well but the novice might easily trip over badly. Maybe it would be better to call these explanation pages or going deeper or something scholarly or groovy like that. But they have two important purposes, and we want everyone to be aware of both of them. Firstly, they explore interesting and important footnote-like marginal topics. And secondly, they help to  minimise the waffle on the tunings pages, where not everyone wants it.


Sometimes this works better than others...! Some of the intro sections on tunings pages are still rather waffly.


Waffle pages, and the waffle sections etc. that we do choose to have in the tunings pages, are an important part of the site content. Otherwise they shouldn't be here.


Project pages


Project pages support the site in miscellaneous ways. They include the FrontPage and the SideBar, and of course this page itself. Basically, anything that's not a tunings hierarchy page, a waffle page or an index is a project page.


The most important one is undoubtedly Standards and Conventions.


While they're important, the fewer of them we can get away with, and the shorter we can make them, the better. They support the site content, but they don't actually add anything to it, and they're a maintenance overhead.


But... there are lots of them! Well, yes. And more to come. And we hope they're all helpful. But they're not the main game. Whenever we can remove or shorten them without reducing the ability of site users to find the tuning they want, we will.


todo pages

These are technically project pages, but they're an exception to the rule that the fewer and shorter the better. They're temporary, except for the main todo page which should list all the others. From time to time there may be lots, other times there may be none.


Page names


We try to make them helpful, but it's the links that are more important. Anyone getting here by using a search engine is going to be more interested in the content than the URL anyway. And our ideas have changed from time to time on page naming, and will again, but we're in no hurry to clean up the old page names, and probably never will. See also page names.


Higher-level tunings hierarchy pages tend to be called xxx tunings, lower down they tend to be just called xxx, where xxx is an instrument name. Some pages have capital letters, others don't. There are some patterns, but no rules worth listing here.


Tags and subdirectories    


These look useful, but so far we haven't used them or needed to, and maybe we never will. Watch this space if curious, but don't hold your breath.




These are just to look pretty. We may one day include tunings in music notation as well as MHN,  but again don't hold your breath. This site should work well with the graphics turned off completely, and hopefully it always will.




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