Most of the anecdotes are translated in their entirety. Some are partially translated, because the passage is too long, or it contains information not specifically needed to illustrate the point of the anecdote. In such cases, a short summary precedes the anecdote. The poems are translated only if their themes are crucial to the anecdotes, otherwise, only the incipit of the poem is given in transliterations. The chains of transmission are given fully, but rarely commented upon because a thorough commentary is outside the scope of the present volume, and because many narrators cannot be found in the biographical sources. Transliterated verbs appear in the infinitive case for easy retrieval, and nouns are left in the masculine singular case for the same reason.2 The death dates of singers, poets, and patrons do not appear in the anecdotes, but are cited in the index to people and places.
Dividing the anecdotes into chapters was a difficult and delicate balance to achieve: one anecdote can easily belong to more than one chapter. For this reason, I placed each anecdote in the most appropriate chapter and included cross references to it in other chapters where it could belong.
The transliterations are placed in brackets for the benefit of Arabic musicologists and philologists who would definitely want to know the Arabic terms, whether they are of a musicological, or socio-cultural nature. While there are many Arabic editions of the Book of Songs and the Arabic reader can consult them to find the appropriate terms, to my knowledge, the various editions do not have the required paginations to refer to the Dār al-Kutub edition. As a result, the task of finding the anecdote is complicated. In addition, few people have at their disposal the Dār al-Kutub edition, and those close to a university library that has the edition would, unfortunately, have to travel to that library every time they need to check on an Arabic term.