06 April 2008

Death Spirals in Musicology

Ficta Spiral of Death: when making an edition of a Renaissance piece, you add ficta, and some of the additions require more ficta, and some of those additions make further ficta necessary to avoid discord....

Footnote Spiral of Death: when writing a paper, you read articles and books to get information. Each of those articles and books has footnotes to other books and articles that have information pertinent to your topic. They also have footnotes to books and articles that have nothing to do with your topic but sound interesting; with great self-discipline you bookmark or download these articles for later and go back to reading the pertinent ones. Each of these new pertinent articles has still more footnotes leading you to further interesting and/or important reading, some of which will take you ages to dig up online, others of which will be frustratingly unavailable or written in languages you don't read, so you seek still more books and articles that contain passages from or translations of the books you can't get or read in the original version...and so on.