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Which Classical Music Newsgroup? (FAQ)

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Archive-name: music/classical/newsgroups
Posting-frequency: fortnightly
Last-modified: 2 January 1999
Version: 0.12b

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           W H I C H   C L A S S I C A L   N E W S G R O U P ?

  This fortnightly posting is intended to guide those wishing to post to
  the various Usenet newsgroups dealing with classical music. It aims to
  help the potential poster select the right newsgroup(s) as well as
  alerting them to various aspects of general Usenet etiquette (commonly
  referred to as `netiquette'). I hope that it will also prove helpful
  to newcomers to Usenet in selecting appropriate newsgroups to read.

  So - you have an article which you suppose would be of interest to
  people who enjoy listening to classical music or to performers of
  classical music or to composers of classical music, or perhaps you
  have a question which you would like to put to one of these groups of
  people. Which newsgroup or newsgroups should you post to?

          Start here!
    +--------------------+          +-----------------------------+
    | Is your article    |   YES    | You should probably post to |
    | strictly concerned |--------->| Note that |
    | with music theory? |          | it is not solely oriented   |
    +--------------------+          | to classical music theory.  |
               |                    +-----------------------------+
            NO |
    +---------------------+          +-----------------------+
    | Is your article     |          | You should probably   |
    | strictly concerned  |          | consider posting to   |
    | with composition,   |   YES    |,    |
    | e.g., writing of    |--------->| a newsgroup specially |
    | music, harmony,     |          | for composers, though |
    | orchestration etc.? |          | not only classical.   |
    +---------------------+          +-----------------------+
            NO |
    | Is your article     |          +---------------------------------+
    | strictly concerned  |          | You should probably consider    |
    | with performance    |   YES    | posting to the newsgroup        |
    | issues, e.g., vocal |--------->|, |
    | or instrumental     |          | a newsgroup dedicated to        |
    | technique, hire of  |          | performing issues.*             |
    | sheet music etc.?   |          +---------------------------------+
               |     * and like-named newsgroups
               |       may also be worth consideration by players of
            NO |       these instruments, though they are not classical
               |       newsgroups as such. Guitarists also have the
               |       choice of
    | Is your article     |          +---------------------------------+
    | strictly concerned  |          | You should probably post to     |
    | with recordings of  |   YES    |, |
    | pieces of classical |--------->| a newsgroup dedicated to        |
    | music and/or their  |          | reviews, recommendations and    |
    | relative merits?    |          | other recording-related issues. |
    +---------------------+          +---------------------------------+
            NO |
    +----------------------+          +-----------------------+
    | Is your article      |          | You should probably   |
    | largely concerned    |   YES    | consider posting to   |
    | with historical      |--------->|, a    |
    | performance practice |          | newsgroup devoted to  |
    | and/or with music of |          | discussion of so-     |
    | Baroque or earlier   |          | `early music'.*       |
    | periods?             |          +-----------------------+
               |     * `Early music' is as much to do with an approach to
               |       performance as it is do with a particular period.
            NO |       Nevertheless, there tends to be a concentration
               |       (among its proponents) on Renaissance, Baroque
               |       and early Classical music.[2]
      +------------------+          +------------------------------+
      | Is your article  |   YES    | You should probably post to  |
      | mainly concerned |--------->|, a newsgroup |
      | with opera?      |          | dedicated to discussion of   |
      +------------------+          | all things operatic.         |
               |                    +------------------------------+
            NO |
    +----------------------+          +-----------------------------------+
    | Is your article      |          | You should probably post to       |
    | largely concerned    |   YES    |, |
    | with music written   |--------->| a newsgroup devoted to discussion |
    | after about 1950,    |          | of modern classical music.        |
    | i.e., contemporary?* |          +-----------------------------------+
               |     * The `contemporary' period is defined in the Charter
            NO |       as being `the most recent 50 years.' It should not
               |       be regarded as absolute.
    | Is your article      |          +-----------------------+
    | strictly concerned   |          | You should probably   |
    | with listening to    |          | consider posting to   |
    | classical music in   |   YES    |,  |
    | the concert hall, or |--------->| the general-purpose   |
    | music history, or is |          | classical newsgroup.* |
    | it, in some sense,   |          +-----------------------+
    | of general interest? |
    +----------------------+        * If your article is concerned with
               |                      music for film or television, you
               |                      may wish to consider the group
               |             instead.
            NO |                      If you are particularly interested
               |                      in Indian classical music, you may
               |                      wish to try the more specialised
               |                      group
    +---------------------------+         +---------------------------+
    | Does your article fall    |   NO    | You probably need to look |
    | into more than one of     |-------->| elsewhere on Usenet. You  |
    | the preceding categories? |         | may even have to start    |
    +---------------------------+         | your own newsgroup! :o)   |
               |                          +---------------------------+
           YES |
    | Can you split your article |
    | into separate articles,    |   YES    +--------+
    | each fitting into one of   |--------->| Do it! |
    | the above categories?      |          +--------+
            NO |
    | You may need to consider   |
    | cross-posting your article |
    | (see below).               |

  Now that you know where your article should go, it is worth making
  sure before you actually go ahead and post it that you do so in
  accordance with Usenet `netiquette', a loose body of rules which have
  been developed over the years to prevent posters wasting readers'
  time, causing undue offence or abusing the network resources.

  First of all, you should make sure that your article is clearly
  written and pitched at the right level for the intended audience.
  This can be a tricky exercise as Usenet newsgroups are read by a
  diverse group of several hundred thousand people worldwide. It is,
  however, worthwhile taking the time to read through your article and
  check at the very least for spelling mistakes, simple grammatical
  errors and ambiguous or difficult-to-read sentences. In particular,
  try to avoid the use of local idiom and colloquialisms as these may
  be misunderstood by people in other parts of the world and may even
  cause offence where they have different meanings to different people.
  Do take the time to capitalise the initial letters of sentences and
  proper names but do not write your entire article in block capitals!

  Choose an appropriate title for your article, to be included in the
  `Subject' line. This is the first point of contact readers have with
  your article and should be sufficiently informative that they can
  decide whether or not it will be worth reading, on that basis alone.
  If your article is a reply to an existing `thread' of articles, make
  sure that you change the subject line appropriately if the thread
  has strayed from the original topic, as often happens. Also, when
  replying to articles, make sure readers can understand your article
  without having seen preceding articles; on the other hand, do not
  quote excessively from other articles.

  Do not post the same article to more than one newsgroup. In the event
  that your article crosses newsgroup boundaries in its scope but there
  is no way of dividing it to eliminate this problem, you should
  cross-post the article by including two (or very rarely more than
  two) newsgroup names in the newsgroups line. They should be separated
  by commas (and no spaces), e.g.,


  This way, use of network resources will be lessened and readers of
  more than one of the newsgroups to which you cross-post will only see
  your article once, in the first newsgroup they happen to read.[3]

  If your article puts a question to the readership of a newsgroup,
  make sure first of all that your question is not one of the group's
  frequently-asked questions. To do this you should refer to the FAQ
  (frequently-asked questions file) for the newsgroup, where it exists.
  There are general FAQs for the newsgroups and All FAQs are posted periodically
  (usually monthly) to the newsgroups in question. If your system does
  not retain periodic postings during that time, you can also obtain
  FAQs by anonymous FTP from a number of sites around the world. Ask
  a local system administrator how to do this. The article you are
  reading just now can be obtained in the same way.

  Of course, not all frequently-asked questions appear in formal lists
  and another way of finding out whether your question/topic has been
  answered/addressed previously is to consult archives of postings to
  the newsgroup in question. These are maintained in various places,
  notably on the World-Wide Web at (The WWW
  also houses numerous useful repositories of musical information; a
  good starting point is

  Finally, the best guide to netiquette is simply to read newsgroups
  for a while before attempting to post at all. Six months is probably
  a reasonable time to become suitably familiar with Usenet procedure.[1]
  I would also strongly recommend reading articles in the newsgroup
  news.announce.newusers. These cover far more of netiquette than I
  have sketched here and a lot more besides.


  [1] Two or three people have commented that six months is a
      ridiculously long time to wait before posting to Usenet. This
      period is based on what seemed to be widely accepted as
      reasonable a few years ago. Since then, with the proliferation
      of public access to the Internet, there has been a noticeable
      decline in the average quality of postings, strongly suggesting
      to me that this sensible guideline is no longer being followed
      by more than a small minority. This does not make it any less
      valid, in my opinion. While the basic mechanics of posting can
      be easily discovered within hours, there is much to be said for
      observing over an extended period of time to see which topics
      recur frequently and to learn from the mistakes made by more
      impatient novice (and some seasoned) posters.

  [2] After a number of suggestions and much head-scratching, I have
      amended my definition of early music to include the music of
      Bach, and even later music, noting that the central tenet of
      early music in this sense is essentially historical performance
      accuracy and that a particular period is not strictly implied.

  [3] I used to include a note to the effect that you should also
      appropriately limit the geographical distribution of your
      article. However, at present, the Usenet method of restricting
      distribution is almost completely broken, for various reasons.
      Until such time as a meaningful replacement for this once-useful
      facility is found, I will omit such a recommendation.
Sandy Nicholson * <new web site URL to be announced>

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