Ravenna Flamenco Redesign
posted in practice on april 4th, 2008
As I promised I would do in March (and it is really only now just barely April, so I’m not feeling too bad about the time line here), I’ve finally given Ravenna Flamenco a bit of a makeover. The "outside" of the site, I know, looks like what you’re used to, but on the inside (in the code, as it were), you’ll find better navigation, more complete tab and music explanations, better search functions, and just generally more efficient web-worthiness. You can of course see all of this just by browsing the site. For those of you into explanations, however, (or who just can’t stop reading an article when it goes on too long—poor soul!) here’s a little rundown of the recent changes.
To begin with, the site sidebars have been revamped to be more up to date all the time. No matter where you are in the site (except this blog page, ironically) you’ll be able to go directly to the most recent tabs, articles and blog posts via the left sidebar. The right sidebar now (instead of merely promising global search functions) actually has global search functions. It also had occurred to me that there weren’t any really visible email or contact links anywhere on the site—this, too, has been fixed.
You’ll also notice that the main "articles" page is now indexed with a brief description of the articles. For now this list is in alphabetical order, but as the article collection grows, my diabolical plan is to subdivide this list into topic categories and the like.
Ravenna Flamenco’s biggest change, though—and the one I’m happiest with—is the change to the "tabs" page. Here again, the main page is an index of the tabs available (already divided into categories by palo). There is a brief description of the tab in question—and above it a series of icons:
These will take you to either the tab directly (in blissfully universal PDF), or, if you click on the song title or video icon, you will be sent to a page with access to the tab, a video of the tab in question (played by yours truly), and a detailed description of why this particular tab is useful from a flamenco guitarists perspective:
The descriptions (or performance notes, if you like) focus on what I take the be the salient elements of the tab in question. Maybe there’s an odd timing issue or a particularly tricky syncopation relative to the compás. Sometimes I’ll address a distinctively flamenco chord form, or an unusual fingering that creates unexpected melodic possibilities. Whatever the case, the purpose of posting tabs here is to go beyond the great mass of marginal and ill-annotated tabs on the internet. My thinking is that the ratio of quantity to quality out there is at the moment heavily skewed in the direction of the former—this is my attempt to even things out a bit (and provide an alternative for those of you who want to do more than just "scratch the surface" of flamenco).
As I’ve mentioned before, however (and I really can’t say this enough): I’m not trying to come off as an expert on flamenco. In terms of this project, I think of myself more as a fellow explorer. This is one reason why I’m so adamant about the "comments" sections. If you think my notes on a particular tab are crackpot—or if you have something to add—please do speak up. One of the reasons I’ve given each of these pages a dedicated "comments" function is so that all of you can build on the performance notes and commentary I’ve started. So by all means: comment away!
[Speaking of comments, a number of site visitors (all dancers, oddly enough) have told me that they like the compás metronomes. As a result, I’ll be posting another one shortly. If you’ve never created or been involved with a project like Ravenna Flamenco before, you may not be privy to this, but let me tell you: my motivation for putting all this up on the web is the hope that someone somewhere will find it useful. If you like something, say so and I’ll build on it. Otherwise, it looks (from my point of view, anyway) like nobody’s using this stuff!]
Another new addition (this one by special request!) is a "donations" button. Fear not—it has always been (and still is) my intention to keep all of this material freely available. But what am I to do? when you tell me you want something, I’m compelled to accommodate!
So that’s about it for now. For anyone who’s still curious (and has actually read this far), some of the next changes in the works include building out the "video" section of the site and generally fleshing out the articles, tabs, and metronome collections. As always, if you like something or have a suggestion, please do let me know.
Now go play!