Written by Allan W. Atlas
Exhilaration/trepidation! Excitement/anxiety! These are some of the binary oppositions that we feel as we launch a new journal: Papers of the International Concertina Association (or PICA, to use its acronym), a joint publication of the International Concertina Association and The Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York.
No doubt, there are those who will ask—and some skeptics have already asked—why? Why launch PICA in the first place, what need does it fill? The simple answer is this: PICA will provide a forum for the new wave of concertina-related research that seems to be welling up on both sides of the Atlantic. And unlike the ICA’s Concertina World, which, as a Newsletter should be, is quite properly chatty, or the always-lively http://www.concertina.net, where the shouting sometimes drowns out the unedited substance, submissions to PICA will be peer-reviewed and serious (though not ivory-towerish) in tone.
To a large extent, this inaugural issue of PICA gives a good idea of what future volumes will look like. We hope always to include two or three articles, one of which will usually be a bit brief and on the ‘light’ side; reviews of recent books and notable CDs; a section called ‘Historical Document’, which will present important documents relating to the history of the concertina in their entirety with a short introductory note that places the document into a wider historical context; a section called the ‘Picture Gallery’ (it could just as well have been called ‘Algar’s Corner’), which, obviously, will be devoted to photographs and other illustrated material; and, when the occasion calls for it, a ‘Briefly Noted’ section, where we can tuck important announcements and the like. In addition, we hope to add a music supplement beginning with volume 2.
In terms of content, PICA will cast its net widely. It will include articles about all types of concertinas, and it will welcome articles that deal with the history and development of the instrument itself, as well as its sociology, repertory, styles of playing, etc. In all PICA’s contents will be as diverse as the interests of those who read and write for it.
As noted on the inside of the front cover, PICA will appear once each year in two almost-simultaneous formats: a hardcopy version that will go to members of the ICA (membership has its perks) and an electronic version that will be posted on the websites of both the ICA and the CSFRI as soon as members of the ICA have their hard copies in hand. And rather than simply duplicating the hardcopy version by posting each issue as a separate, integral volume, the electronic version will take the form of a ‘cumulative archive’ in which items are continually added and indexed under ‘Articles’, ‘Reviews’, etc. (with cross-references to authors, subjects, key words, and original volume, year, and page numbers of the hardcopy version for purposes of citation). In all, readers should be able to navigate through the contents with ease.
Finally, PICA can only be as good and as interesting as the submissions it receives. Thus we welcome those who are participating in the new wave of concertina-related research to think of us in connection with their work.
And now a toast: to a healthy, long-lived, on-schedule, and intellectually stimulating PICA!
And now a POSTSCRIPT: as a journal with homes on both sides of the ocean, we have used what we hope is a flavorful—if somewhat idiosyncratic—mixture of British and American style: single quotation marks, punctuation outside the quotation marks, and the occasional guidance of Fowler’s English Usage (UK); the comma after the penultimate item of a series and the equally occasional reliance on the University of Chicago’s A Manual of Style (USA). On the other hand, spelling and such formulations as ‘the government is/are’ reflect the patriotic fervor of the individual contributors.