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September 29, 2011

How to Cite a Musical Score

by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

JeffSheet music may not be the first thing you think of citing in APA Style. However, there is a large body of research on the topic of music and emotion, not to mention the specialty of music therapy. And where there is research, there must be citation!

Basically, a musical score is analogous to a book. The underlying format is as follows:

Composer, A. A. (Date). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

However, you may need to include a little more information in square brackets to identify for the reader which score you used (e.g., the vocal vs. the orchestral score):

Picker, T. (Composer), & McClatchy, J. D. (Librettist). (1995). 
Emmeline:
An opera in two acts [Score and parts]. Mainz,
Germany: Schott Helicon.

Text citation: (Picker & McClatchy, 1995)

If you're using something like a Dover reprint of an old score, there’s no need to include the information about the original publishing company, but do include the original publication date:

Haydn, F. J. (2001). The creation. Mineola, NY: Dover. (Original work 
published 1798)

Text citation: (Haydn, 1798/2001)

Your reference should contain only the information needed to help your reader find the source you used. Aside from composer, date, title, and location, most of the necessary information can be included in square brackets after the title. However, some classical composers’ works are known by unique catalogue numbers, and these should be included as part of the title:

Mozart, W. A. (1970). Die Zauberflöte [The magic flute], K. 620 [Vocal 
score]. Munich, Germany: Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung. (Original
work published 1791)

Text citation: (Mozart, 1791/1970)

Do you have a baffling reference that you’re not sure how to cite? Take a look at our series on creating your own reference, or e-mail us at [email protected]

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