Please send calendar listings (including, date, time presenter contact information and full program) as plain text to info(at) classical-scene.com, noting that the submissions will be moderated and edited before posting. Please also note that BMInt only accepts listings for concerts within Rt. 128 during the regular concert season.
Reviews and Articles
BMInt encourages the submission of sample reviews and articles for consideration, though in general, reviewers and writers are assigned concerts and article subjects by the editor. Concert reviews should contain 600 to 1,000 words, as longer reviews may lose the interest of the readers. Articles may be considerably longer if the subjects warrant. Reviews should be submitted withing 48 hours, or sooner in the case of important concerts which have subsequent performances.
Clear and interesting photographs are welcome with the understanding that they may be edited or cropped. Please include captions and photographers’ credits.
Please submit by email to info (at) classical-scene.com.
Text of the article. Please do not format; simply separate paragraphs by a double space. Discussion should include a critique of the performance and the artists as well as information on the pieces performed and the concert venue, when appropriate.
We do not require the concert program listing at the beginning of the review, though the presenter and the date and location of the program should be included within the first two paragraphs. Reference should be made to subsequent performances.
BMInt Style Notes. . . long version
Without contributors, there would be no Boston Musical Intelligencer. You attend the events and do the research, thinking, and writing, and the readership enjoys and learns from your labors. We editors attempt to impose consistency, best practices, and quality control. To that end, we include some guidelines. Our apologies if we sound schoolmarmish.
Always endeavor to submit copy that is fresh and entertaining to read as well as informative.
You may know your music history and musicology, but remember that there are performers and conductors, not just composers involved. Don’t simply write program notes. Try to evoke what you have experienced.
Submit your copy to email@example.com
Reviews generally should range 700-1,500 words. Exceptional events can be as long as you like, almost.
Strive for under 24-hour turnaround for repeating events like BSO or operas, 36-48 hours for others.
Submit as docx if possible, preferably Times Roman, 12 pt, with no paragraph indents.
Numbers 11 and over are numerals.
Ensure that diacriticals are correct.
Learn to embed links in Word if possible, not spelling out urls.
Use curly quotes and smart apostrophes. Do not be casual about open and close quotes. Indent long quotes.
Use the American date system, superscript when appropriate, as in March 3rd.
Always BMInt or the Intelligencer, never BMI. No periods in abbreviations: US, UK, D664, K536, S542, using S for Bach (poor ignored Schmieder).
Please feel free to suggest a hed, no longer than 48 characters, and as snappy as feasible.
Please feel free to draft your own teaser, not exceeding 50 words, including brief who/what/when/where. See the site for examples.
If you wish to include pictures in your submissions, please include them as individual jpegs rather than pasting them into your doc.
Nomenclature and Usage
Very generally, we follow widely accepted practices as given in the Chicago Manual of Style and similar authorities (various newspaper style standards). Preferred dictionaries are American Heritage and Merriam-Webster’s, although we may favor some progressive practices that some dictionaries do not always observe (just one example: -making as a closed-up suffix, musicmaking like homemaking and filmmaking. Also numerals, above).
Generic or form titles are not italicized, original titles are; very short works should be put in quotation marks, as should be constituents of larger works. Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2 or Second Symphony; the Eroica; Adagio for Strings; The Rite of Spring; Toccata in E Minor; Rondo and Fugue on “Please Please Me”; Die Schöne Müllerin.; “Gute Nacht”. Write sharp and flat, not abbreviations; major and minor keys in titles are both capitalized when in titles. Pieces that are uniquely and well-known do not normally need the opus or any other ID number. Do not italicize familiar movement names even in other languages. You may selectively italicize score markings, using judgment and avoiding ridiculousness: the Andante is marked andante.
Except for complete-sentence parentheses, punctuation goes inside quotation marks.
Emdashes are to be closed up, and not overused for fake drama or any other purpose.
Single-space after punctuation; before submittal, globally replace all double-spaces.
Accomplish several goals. Make them lively and engaging. Include who/what/when/where, or do so soon, avoiding flat openings like “Last Thursday night the Rundfunk Gewandhaus Staatoper played….” Include thesis or novel thoughts if you have such, without forcing it. Do not start with ‘I’ unless overwhelmingly compelled (“I have never in 50 years sat through anything so awful as …”), and even then think thrice. Avoid weather reports in ledes. “It has been raining for days until the conductor lifted his baton and the sun came forth.”
Sound sophisticated and knowing, and assume the same savviness of readers, within limits. Do not write ‘Viennese composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828)….’
You may omit firstnames of the well-known most of the time; obviously this entails judgment, but generally there is no need to overidentify composers and works for our knowledgeable readership. Again, try to sound knowing.
Generally avoid “in a sense”, and overuse of “I think” and “in my opinion”; be selective where they are necessary, for emphasis.
And look zealously for echoes and overused words. This app can help: Duplicate Word Finder
Proofing, Professionalism, Self-Revision
Nothing—nothing—is more important than your own quality control before submission. Be a pro, taking pride in your work. Do not ever submit articles with Koussevitzsky and Goethe-Institut misspelled, or minuscule, or Borromeo. Do not fail to close paired punctuation. Do not turn in typos. If you know that your proofing is weak or sloppy, read your work backward, word for word, letter for letter. And/or have someone else proof it. We editors are helpless in the face of arcane error, and while we often do considerable fact-checking, our first tasks cannot, and ought not to, involve checking your basic facts. Be assured that readers will advise of errors!
Listen to what you just typed, its meaning as words per se: Some will read “most of which are sadly underperformed” with a laugh, but “most of which are, sadly, underperformed” is all good.
Diction, Usage, Sentence Construction
Aim for variety and freshness in your language; find synonyms; do not repeat yourself, pay attention to echos and repetitions. Evening, program, ensemble, performance, piece, concert, work, play, present a concert of: some repetition may be unavoidable, but do try and mix it up. Use the find tool—in one case we found the word “piece” 32 times in a 700 word review.
Use strong verbs often, Some writers lean too much on the verb “to be” and give us too many constructions such as “The Dover Quartet was very vigorous.” Give us instead, “The Dover Quartet played very vigorously,” or, “The Dover Quartet sang out with tremendous vigor.
Do not generally and lazily use such words as incredible and interesting, beautiful, terrific, and brilliant. If you must, try to have them connected to their meaning: “The speed at which she took the coda was incredible”; “I could hardly believe what I was hearing”; “Her tone shone brilliantly”; “The deep interest of this piece lies in the hidden dialogs of …”. Your writing is to some extent a kind of performance for the reader. Subjects plus was/were/are plus adjectives can get tedious: the music was fast, the piece is long, he was plodding, the conductor was irked.
Take care and precision with ‘most’ and the common, not very meaningful “one of the most beloved sopranos in Boston”. Be alert to redundancy: “We have read and studied the literature”; “originally created”; constructions like “suddenly flared up”, “general public”, “basic gist”, “unexpected revelation”. Adverb-adjective gets tedious, brilliantly incredible and incredibly brilliant. Be alert to overuse of variety/various and wide range / wide-ranging.
Be precise about the basics of grammar: different takes from; because is not a reason; no opening danglers (‘Buried in a pauper’s grave, Mozart’s Requiem nonetheless….’; ‘Written in 1966, Shostakovich felt great pressure to revise the piece….’); proper parallelisms, as with both/and and neither/nor; put all ‘only’s in their correct place; follow ‘not only / but also’ and ‘both/and’ with the same parts of speech. Be careful about subject-verb agreement: ‘Surprisingly, there were an allegro, rondo, fugue, and finale before the actual finale’. Singular verb with subordinate clause: ‘She here, along with him, sings softly, to convey misery’. ‘As well as’ is subordinating.
Do not write silly math like ‘From 1944-1949’.
Know what your words mean, for example enormity, minimize, crescendo.
Be consistent with first, second, or third person, not “one hardly knew what to make of it when you heard that the organ came in pleno”. Mix tenses, if you do, intentionally and precisely: “Hummel was an unhappy dude that summer, but a performance like this one points out how sorrow in 1800 wasn’t the same as it is today …”. An artful ear for this sort of thing goes a long way.
Go ahead and do the Brit plural, rarely, if your ear is competent (artful and a good sense of idiom): the pair have been together for decades. The quartet strutted its stuff or the players showed their individuality.
We do not have a fixed policy on Oxford commas. Use them by ear and sense. When in doubt, deploy. Be alert to sounding comical, as in the apocryphal book dedication, ‘To my parents, Ayn Rand and God’, or strangely misleading (red, white and blue).
Pluralize without apostrophe, using -s and –es.
Possessify with apostrophe, even historical figures ending in –s (Jesus’s, Aristophanes’s).
Close up almost all prefixes and suffixes: nonprofit, flutelike, rerecord, preordained, standup, followup, shakedown, antisocial, standalone, flushmount, aboveground, dropout, pickup, shoutout, etc. Ditto for modern compounds: mindboggling. We are a progressive publication in this regard.
Do not italicize formerly foreign words in common English use: defacto, ad nauseam, et alia. Be alert to overuse of such in any case.
Don’t split infinitives.
The “one of those” construction takes a plural verb when it is not referring to a singular clause: “She is one of those conductors who do not care for a baton.” Usage expert Bryan Garner, with dozens of others, is persuasive about this if it is hard to fathom.
Hyphenation and compound adjectives: The purpose of compound-adjective hyphenation is to help disambiguate and prevent misreadability. It speeds up the prose and aids the reader. Little-used car is a famous example. Do not omit the hyphen when the compound is after the verb: ‘this peanut butter is kid-tested and mother-approved and cruelty-free’, and ‘that piece sounded nail-biting’. Solid and experienced judgment concerning misreadability is called for, however, so that not every compound needs to be so hyphenated. Even the New Yorker usually permits constructions like ‘network management system’ to stand, that is, terms of art or craft or idiom, and/or widely encountered.
So: high school teacher no, rare-books dealer yes.
If two are called for, be brave and do it; do not chicken out, Globe-style, resulting in ‘day-old bread store’ or ‘I’m just your basic Chinese food-loving Jewish kid’.
Never employ a hyphen with an -ly construction, as it cannot be misread. Widely acknowledged applause, publicly held company, wholly owned subsidiary, strikingly percussive attach, highly motivated performance, slightly effortful reading.
Lowercase all non-proper nouns written out: He is professor of history, she has her master’s in musicology plus PhDs in astrophysics and in chemistry, they were all doctoral students at Tufts. (This includes in your brief bio.) Do not initial-cap based abbreviations, and do not let them govern either ulc or word-space behaviors. It is not Tele Vision.
You do not have to deeply study the many good classical reviewers in the Globe and elsewhere, current and past, their sins and virtues of omission and commission alike. But you will really benefit if you do.
Let us know when we err, and if you think we have strangled your voice or misunderstood your meaning. If we did, then a reader is also likely to do so. Please always do a comparison after publication with what you turned in, so that you can see all that was done. We happily consult with new contributors about editing. We also, being human and opinionated from varying editorial experiences, sometimes are inconsistent; differ; and err.
Everyone is a volunteer, in service to music and music journalism. Thank you always for your best efforts.