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MUP 390/490/495 Recital - Writing Program Notes: Citation + ILL

Chief Citation Style for Music

The main style used for music is as follows: 

Modern Language Association (MLA) - used in the language arts, cultural studies, music, and other humanities 

  • Recommended - Purdue OWL MLA Style - Includes a tutorial for citing in MLA style as well as sample papers and bibliographies.
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 8th edition - (Call number: Ready Reference @ Information Desk LB 2389 .G53 2016.)

Citation Examples

How to Cite a Musical Score or Libretto (MLA)


Composer Last, First name M. Title As It Appears On the Title Page*. Date of Composition.** Place of Publication: Publisher, Date Published. Medium of Publication.***


* Abbreviate no. and op. in title.

** If year in unknown, use N.d.

*** If part of a series, include series information after publication medium.


Schwartz, Stephen. Defying Gravity. 2000. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 2003. Print.



Same as score, but librettist is listed before the title, and the composer after.


Oakes, Meredith. The Tempest: An Opera in Three Acts. Composed by Thomas Adès. London: Faber Music, 2004. Print.

1.  How do you cite a music score out of an anthology?

(Hint: The date after the title is the date the composition was written.)

Lully, Jean-Baptiste. "Armide, Tragedie en 5 Actes et un Prologue." 1686. Norton Anthology of Western Music.

         Ed. Claude V. Palisca. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1988. 385-394. Print.


2.  How do you cite program notes?

(Hint: if there is no "title" of the program notes, skip it and go directly to "Program notes.")

Pedersen, Keith. "Handel's Messiah." Program notes. The Messiah. Brown Chapel, Point Loma

         Nazarene University., San Diego. 4 Dec. 2011. Print.


3.  How do you cite an article found in full-text in a database such as International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP)?

(Hint: If there is no issue number, just leave that out and only show the volume number.)

Wollston, Silas. "New Light on Purcell's Early Overtures." Early Music 37.4  (Nov.2009):

         647-55. International Index to Music Periodicals. Web. 23 Jan. 2012.


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