What Changed on the Music Poll?

RECEIVED Sat., Jan. 3, 2009

Dear Editor,
    I'm not sure if the exclusions in the online version of the Music Poll were intentional, but there is no "strings" section, no "album art" section, and there is no "write-in" area for the Hall of Fame. There may even be more areas I didn't notice at first glance, but is this how you wanted it? It's sad that such a dependable publication could drop the ball, particularly on the Hall of Fame area, since the choices offered are quite limited. Also, there is no area that addresses classical musicians, composers, or musical theatre. Is Austin music becoming narrower in scope, or does the Chronicle think it ought to use its great influence toward this end by eliminating certain categories instead of expanding the poll to reflect the variety of Austin's music scene? Curious.
Roberto Riggio
   [Austin Music Poll ballot administrator Margaret Moser replies: There has been no album/CD cover art category for several years, and it is always a difficult decision to drop categories. The bottom line is that a fair balance between the number of votes and number of nominees determines the category's inclusion. Both the strings and horns categories have been depressingly undervoted in recent years. Does that reflect people's lack of interest – or lack of knowledge and/or understanding? In the end, we hope that umbrella categories such as Best None of the Above and Best Miscellaneous Instrument honor a tremendous scope of diverse musicians and performers. And naturally, we also hope that Austin's theatre and classical community does justice to its participants, though we have yet to see them honor musicians the way the Chronicle's rock-based poll does. Finally, you're correct about the glitch in the write-in Hall of Fame category, and that's now fixed, yet your assertion that a list which includes a groundbreaking folksinger, two cutting-edge punk acts, several country singers, a beloved sideman, rock bands from across three decades, and local bluesmen is "limited" defies explanation. With 45 categories and 13 Hall of Fame nominees, Austin's musicians and bands are remarkably well represented in a wide variety of genres that most music communities can't match.]
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