But there was a time when tourists would send their "wish you were here" greetings on cards that doubled as records, complete with grooves and a hole in the middle, and extolled the virtues of their holiday location in song.
Duncan Chisholm, below, may just have revived the trend, but with a difference. The Inverness-based fiddler, whom many regard as Scotland's leading exponent of the instrument, has just released the final instalment of his Strathglass trilogy of albums that portray, in music, the glens of Farrar, Cannich and Affric – the wild, beautiful country in the Highlands to the west of Beauly, where his family's roots lie.
It represents six years' work and although Chisholm says he's unlikely to create something of this magnitude ever again, it's been an exciting project for him that has resulted in three of the truly great albums in the Scottish traditional music canon. Indeed, rather than showing signs of flagging or running out of ideas, the third album, Affric, would stand alone as a masterpiece with its gorgeous, aching slow airs and joyful, grooving dance tunes.
"I realised when I was half-way through putting the music together for the first album, Farrar, that I was going to have to make a trilogy," he says. "I'd never worked this way before; I was trying to imagine a journey down Strathfarrar and I wanted to create a soundtrack to that journey. Along the way there would be particular parts of the landscape or maybe just a change in the weather that I'd want to capture and the idea of moulding music to fit those scenes became very interesting to me."
Chisholm's confidence to go ahead with a plan to create three albums, each with its own character and instrumentation, partly came through working on his 2007 commission for the Blas festival, Kin, for which he picked up a Bank of Scotland Herald Angel award following its performance on the Edinburgh Fringe this August. Not what he'd describe as a prolific composer previously, with Kin he was thrust into the position of producing an hour's worth of live music to accompany film of his own homeland as well as those of other traditional musicians and singers. After brief fearful thoughts about what he'd taken on, he found that he loved the whole process and couldn't understand why he hadn't composed more music sooner.
"Another factor that helped was that I felt, as I was approaching my forties at the time of Farrar, that I'd never played better," he says. "I was aware that, with these three albums, I was going to have to present a strong musical personality and I felt I was ready to do this. I also knew more about the recording process, having worked on quite a few albums with the folk-rock band Wolfstone and my previous solo album, Red Point, and I was able to envisage each album, track list, running order, personnel, everything, from an early stage of preparation."
In an age when listeners can cherry-pick favourite tracks for their iPods, Chisholm remains a huge fan of the album.
"I've always seen albums as 40 minutes of escapism," he says. "Music, for me, isn't about three-minute soundbites. It's about telling a story, and some of my favourite albums, such as The Storm by Moving Hearts and The Brendan Voyage by Shaun Davey, can really take you somewhere else in your imagination. I'm pretty sure that everyone who listens to The Brendan Voyage has similar images in their mind as the album unfolds, and that's the sort of thing I wanted to do with all the albums in the trilogy. The first two I regard as like novels and Affric's more like a collection of short stories but I think – well, I hope – I achieved the coherence that keeps the listener listening to the end."
In one sense Chisholm has targeted the listener who will act on the message that individual tracks send out. In capturing the sense of place that runs all the way through the Strathglass trilogy, he was aware that certain tunes might be like postcards. In this case there are no pictures on the front, so the music becomes the picture and the vocal quality he strives for in his fiddle playing, the sense that the notes are communicating as directly with the listener as would words, brought us to the singing postcard idea.
For Chisholm, the whole of the Scottish traditional music scene is a major selling point for Scotland abroad. And it's entirely possible that someone hearing the music inspired by the countryside of Strathglass would want to visit these same landscapes.
"I think you could say that about a lot of music and songs in the tradition," says Chisholm, who begins touring the music from Affric throughout Scotland next week.
"Wherever I go to play, I always tell audiences about where the music comes from and I know from speaking with them after the concerts that they're genuinely interested in the stories behind the tunes and the places I've mentioned.
"We should be doing more to export our traditional music and have our traditional musicians playing all over the world because our music goes hand in hand with the landscapes, the architecture, the history, all the things that tourists want to see.
"The more we get out there and share our musical impressions of Scotland, the more successful our tourist industry will be."
Affric is released on Copperfish Records. Duncan Chisholm plays at An Tobar, Tobermory, on Tuesday October 2; The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, on Friday 5; Woodend Barn, Banchory, on Saturday 6; Eden Court, Inverness, on Sunday 7; Aros, Portree, on Wednesday 10; Kirkcudbright Parish Church on Thursday 11; Saint Andrew's in the Square, Glasgow, on Friday 12; and Dalmeny Kirk on Sunday 28.