To enable effective querying of the ballad databases I have had to assign each ballad a unique, arbitrarily "standardized" title and a totally arbitrary, but unique number, because only in this way can all the versions of any particular ballad be identified.

These conventions are not meant to suggest that the numbers and titles used herein are in any way more valid or constitute any sort of improvement over numerous other conventions developed by others to identify and catalog the poetic materials of the Pan-Hispanic Ballad tradition.

Because of my years of collaboration with the Seminary Menédez Pidal, where I designed the first electronic databases for the ballad projects of the eighties and early nineties, it has been convenient for me in the current project to use--where available--the same numbers, keys and titles as those in use at the SMP since 1980.

Unfortunately those projects did not manage to encompass either the old or the modern tradition in its entirety. In fact, many romances documented only in old tradition as well as many, many others from all areas of the modern oral tradition have yet to be added to the General Index of the Romancero (IGR). If the current project is to offer to all a balanced and accurate view of the entire Pan-Hispanic Ballad tradition, these deficiencies must be overcome.

To begin with, each and every ballad known to exist or to have existed in the modern tradition should be identified and adequately represented in the textual database housed on this site. But I can not achieve this goal without the collaboration of my colleagues, each of whom knows better than I what is perhaps still sung or until recently was sung in the traditions and geographic areas of which s/he has first-hand knowledge.

If on querying the textual database you find that it does not include a traditional song in ballad meter that you know to exist or to have existed, I ask that you send me one version (or more, if desired), the title most commonly used or that you consider most appropriate (in whichever language you prefer), and, if possible, an indication of its areas of diffusion, the assonances in which it is sung, other titles by which it is known and any other information you consider relevant.

It makes no difference if at a later point the title needs to be modified; title has no direct bearing on how queries to the database are undertaken. The only restriction is that there can not be two or more ballads with exactly the same title and assonance.

Other than that, I have only two suggestions: it is preferrable not to have to resort to the assonance to diferentiate between two identical titles and searching is easier if unnecessary articles are avoided.

For my part, I agree to post the texts submitted to me within a week (duly identified and attributed to their contributors, and assigned a permanent, unique IGR number with which they will thereafter be identified) and, if provided the information, to update entries to the ballad bibliography as needed.

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