HPSCHD-L's Purpose and Scope

Guidelines for Contributors

HPSCHD-L is an electronic mailing list whose members discuss musical, technical and historical aspects of stringed keyboard instruments of all kinds: harpsichords, clavichords, fortepianos, virginals, and all similar instruments except the modern piano. The list is an open forum for all topics related to these instruments, including their theory and principles of construction, decoration, and history and evolution from their earliest beginnings through modern times. Other topics for discussion include performers on these instruments, performance practice, literature, pedagogy, care and ownership. We may also stray to include ads of instruments/music/recordings for sale or wanted, discussion of performances or recordings, and musical editions. Requests for advice or information are encouraged, and stories of your experiences and knowledge are eagerly consumed. In short, if it is interesting and about early keyboard instruments or music, this group would like to hear about it.

That said, contributors are reminded that the list is not intended as a vehicle for casual chatter -- other more suitable venues for this exist elsewhere. In this same vein, contributors must be willing to stand behind their postings. Just as we require subscribers to provide their real names when subscribing, so must all postings be properly identified as to their authors. Signing a posting with a sobriquet or nom de plume is unacceptable. If you are so uncertain of the merit if a posting as to be unwilling to attach your name to it, then it probably isn't worth submitting. There is no room in this forum for unidentified messages tossed over the transom.

Since its establishment, the list has had a tradition of friendliness, civility and professionalism in our discussions. While we disagree occasionally — sometimes vehemently — our exchanges are expected to be free of "flames" and personal insult.

Topics Suitable for List Discussion:

  1. 1. Harpsichords, clavichords, or fortepianos as musical instrument. This includes all forms of these instruments: virginals, spinets, clavicytheria, tangent pianos, muselars, ottavinos, etc., etc. Within this general topic would appear discussions on

  2. Keyboard music.

  3. Narrative. Stories and anecdotes whose central topic is early keyboard instruments or music. Contributions here must show some evident effort in their writing and be reasonably expected to be of interest to a clear majority of the membership. Topical humor is not excluded but it must have some substance beyond a one-line quip.

  4. Announcements of meetings, workshops, master classes, and the like, and employment announcements (wanted/available). Such announcements should be brief, inviting interested readers to correspond privately for more information.

  5. Commercial announcements and gift offers. Here is where good judgment is essential. The list must not be used as a replacement for the Want Ad Digest or craigslist. On the other hand, there are readers who do want to hear about the availability of new CD's or instruments for sale.

    Restraint must be the guiding principle and brevity the keyword. Include only enough in the announcement to make clear what it is you are offering and provide further information through private inquiry or the poster's web site. While there are instances where repeating the announcement once is appropriate, anything more amounts to spam and must be avoided.

Topics aside, the overriding criterion for acceptability of a posting is that it be of general interest.

Topics Unsuitable for List Discussion

  1. Replies consisting of merely a "me-too" or which otherwise do not significantly advance the content of the thread. In any event, quoting a previous post must be held to an absolute minimum.

  2. Replies containing unnecessary quotation of previously posted material. Quote only enough to provide a context for your reply, or the point(s) your reply addresses. It should seldom be necessary to quote an entire posting, much less (heaven forbid) the entire previous day's digest! If you don't know how to edit the quoted material in your response, learn how to do so before posting.

  3. Complaints about other people's postings. Address your complaints to the list owners at HPSCHD-L-request@list.uiowa.edu if you want them to be heard.

  4. Private messages to other list subscribers. Don't post such messages to the list because you don't know the subscriber's address.

  5. Forwards of private correspondence. Network etiquette requires that private email never be reposted in a public forum without explicit consent of the original author.

  6. Use of bizarre formats and encoded files. Don't post encoded files to the list (base64, uuencode, zip, tar, or otherwise). If you have an encoded picture you think others might like to see, announce this to the list and invite people to ask you directly for it. Graphically encoded text should never be posted to any list unless there is a very special reason for doing so. Run your scanned text through an OCR program or type it in, assuming that you have any right to distribute it at all. (See next item.)

    In the same vein, don't post MIME attachments.

  7. Copyrighted material. Unless you own the rights or have explicit permission from the owner, give a citation and let those who are interested look it up for themselves. Note that brief quotations—a paragraph or two—are ok, but anything much beyond that gets sticky.)

  8. General chat activity. HPSCHD-L is not a "chat" list.

  9. Virus alerts and the like. While these postings are undoubtedly well-meant, they are off-topic, and almost certainly hoaxes.

    If you are the recipient of such a message from somewhere and think it might possibly have some validity, check it out at http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/index.html or at http://www.ncsa.com/services/consortia/anti-virus/alerthoax.html . General information concerning virus hoaxes and myths can be found at http://www.kumite.com/myths/ or http://www.snopes.com/ .

  10. Gone/back notices ("I'm going on vacation until ..."). The list owners reserve for themselves an exemption from this rule since subscribers often need to write to them about subscription-related problems.

  11. List-mechanics questions ("How do I unsubscribe?"). Write the list owners at HPSCHD-L-request@list.uiowa.edu .

  12. And, finally, flames, responses to flames, rants, name-calling and other ad hominem attacks, strings-vs-electronic food fights and the like.
Subscribers who feel a need for discussion of these excluded topics should seek a forum elsewhere. See what's available in the alt.music and rec.music newsgroups hierarchies. Or form your own discussion list. We will be happy to direct you to service providers who can host such lists at modest cost.


With the volume of traffic having grown to what it is at present, the list owners are not able to read every posting that is submitted. They will, however, be attentive to complaints written to them privately about postings that do not meet these criteria. Subscribers who cannot find a way to stay within them will be set to NOPOST.

The list owners have an overriding responsibility to manage the roster in a way that maintains the overall well-being of the list and its membership as a whole as opposed to the needs and desires of any individual member. How that responsibility is to be carried out is determined solely by the owners; subscribers who disagree with the way the list is managed must vote with their feet.

Last modified April 12, 2009.

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