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Department style guide

There are certain scholarly standards which you are expected to meet in presenting your essays. These professional requirements are a courtesy to your reader and demonstrate the intellectual rigour of your work: that is why failure to meet these standards in terms of presentation may be penalized.

This short guide will help you to format bibliographies and footnotes correctly.


When you type your essays, use double-spacing and do not leave a line between paragraphs: indent the first line of each paragraph instead. Number the pages (if writing double-sided, each side has a number). Make sure you submit your essay with all the pages in the correct order.


Every essay should be provided with a bibliography which guides your reader to the sources you have used. There are several styles for presenting a bibliography; the one below is often called the Oxford Author-Title system (see R. M. Ritter, New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), for more extensive information on formatting).


Remember that the key feature of a bibliography should be the provision of complete bibliographical information for all your sources, and that this information should be presented in a consistent manner.

Books require author (Last name, First name in full), title, place of publication, publisher, date and other information as appropriate (e.g. if the book is in several volumes, is a second (etc.) edition, a translation, part of a series, a compilation edited by one or more people, etc.). Always place a full stop at the end of each reference in a bibliography.

The generic format for books, articles, etc. is as follows ('x' stands for page number and 'n' for journal volume number; NB it is generally unnecessary to include the issue number as well as the volume number for journals, as they tend to be numbered consecutively across issues in a given volume):

Author, Book Title (Place: Publisher, year).
Author, ‘Article Title’, Journal Title, n (year), xx–xx.
Author, ‘Chapter Title’, in Book Title, ed. Editor (Place: Publisher, year), xx–xx.
Author, ‘Article Title’, Online Resource Title <simplest URL>. [NB if you use JSTOR, you must give the details of the original publication, i.e. as a journal article using the format for the line above.]
Author, Book Title, trans. Translator (Place: Publisher, year).
Editor [and co-editor(s)], Book Title (Place: Publisher, year).
Composer, Work, ed. Editor (Place: Publisher, year).

In practice this system works in the following way:

Rosen, Charles, Sonata Forms (New York: Norton, 1980).
Tyson, Alan, 'Le nozze di Figaro: Lessons from the Autograph Score', The Musical Times, 122 (1981), 456-61.
Bent, Ian, 'Analysis', in Stanley Sadie (ed.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 1980), i, 340-88.
Brett, Philip, 'Britten, Benjamin', Grove Music Online <http://www.grovemusic.com>.
Ingarden, Roman, The Work of Music and the Problem of Its Identity, ed. Jean G. Harrell, trans. Adam Czerniawski (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press). [You should generally give the name of the state, in two letters, for US publications.]
Abbate, Carolyn and Parker, Roger, Analyzing Opera: Verdi and Wagner (Berkeley, CA and London: University of California Press, 1989).

In all these cases, note the use of italics (for titles of books, editions, and journals), single inverted commas (for titles of articles and essays), colons (to separate titles from subtitles, and publication places from publishers' names), punctuation and parenthesis to separate off the various parts of the entry, and upper- and lower-case letters. Capitalize the main words in English-language titles; for French and Italian, capitalize the first word and then give lower-case except for proper nouns; for German, capitalize the first word then give all but nouns in lower-case.

Bibliographies should be laid out in alphabetical order of author/composer. If you have two or more entries for a single author, list them in alphabetical order by title.



Notes can be placed at the foot of each page (footnotes) or gathered together at the end of the essay before the bibliography (endnotes). They are used to cite the source of quotations given in the essay, and sometimes to acknowledge the derivation of substantive opinions which you are following or with which you are disagreeing. Reference is made to them by way of superscript numbers in the text, as in the following example. You will see that footnotes follow the same rules as bibliographies, except that author's names are now given in the format <First name Last name>.


Claudio Monteverdi, according to his brother Giulio Cesare, was anxious that in his compositions rhythm and harmony should follow the words and 'the manner of diction and the words follow and conform to the disposition of the soul'.1 Gary Tomlinson uses this to demonstrate Monteverdi's reliance on Plato and thus his humanist tendencies, although one might just as well argue that Monteverdi was simply responding to the conventional aesthetics of his own time.2
1 Giulio Cesare Monteverdi, Dichiaratione, in Giulio Cesare Monteverdi, Scherzi musicali (Venice, Amadino, 1607), trans. in Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History (London: Faber, 1952), 203.
2 Gary Tomlinson, Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987), 25; compare Denis Arnold, Monteverdi, 2nd edn (London: Dent, 1975), 93.

Note the position of the superscript numbers in the text (after any punctuation mark). The numbering should run continuously through the essay (i.e. not a new set of numbers for each page).

Second and subsequent references to a given work can use the author's surname and an abbreviated form of the title, so that

Lewis Lockwood, Music in Renaissance Ferrara, 1400-1505: The Creation of a Musical Centre in the Fifteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984), 32.


Lockwood, Music in Renaissance Ferrara, 58.

The same applies for articles, book chapters, etc.

Do not use old-fashioned conventions such as 'loc. cit' ('the place cited') or 'op. cit.' ('the work cited'). Use a short form of the title instead. It is permitted to use 'ibid.' ('the same') in a footnote which follows immediately after one in which you have given a short form of the title, so that two footnotes may read:

Lockwood, Music in Renaissance Ferrara, 58.
ibid., 68.

Avoid over-noting things, and never use notes to expand on points raised in the text. If you have forgotten to include something, that's the fault of your bad planning!

Clearly, these requirements in terms of bibliography and notes require some modification to the way you research your essays, since you will need to ensure that you have full bibliographical information and page references as appropriate of anything you consult. Get into the habit of doing this as you take notes for an essay: it is much more time-efficient than having to go back and discover a lost page reference when you are writing it up.




a) Titles of named works should be given in italics:


Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro; Purcell's Dido and Aeneas; Josquin's Missa De beata virgine; Orff's Carmina burana; Delius, Brigg Fair ('An English Rhapsody').

As with bibliographies, apply the capitalization convention in use in foreign languages. So, Le nozze di Figaro rather than Le Nozze di Figaro; La mer, etc.), but remember that German requires upper-case for nouns (Die glückliche Hand; Das Lied von der Erde).

First lines or incipits of single songs, etc., or parts of large-scale works, should be in single inverted commas:

Monteverdi's 'Oimé, se tanto amate'; Mozart's 'Non più andrai farfallone amoroso' in Le nozze di Figaro; Schubert's 'Das Wandern'.

Titles which are just genre names or tempo marks should be just in upper-case. Subtitles or nicknames should be in single inverted commas and (if at the end of the title) in parenthesis:

Brahms's Symphony no. 4 in E minor; Mozart, Piano Quartet in G minor, K478; Mozart's Adagio and Fugue in C minor; Bach's 'St Anne' Fugue; Haydn, Symphony no. 55 in E flat major ('The Schoolmaster'); the Kyrie from Machaut's Messe de Notre Dame (NB not notre dame because it refers to a particular woman); Te Deum (but Nunc dimittis).

b) Foreign words should be in italics unless they are now common English usage:

canzone, ottava rima, Mensurstrich, mélodie; but canzonetta, cantus firmus, chanson, scherzo.

c) Pitch references are probably best made via the Helmholtz system:

C (D, etc.), c (d...), c' (d'...), c'' (d''...), etc., where c' is middle C.

d) Short quotations should be presented within the text, either integrated into the syntax of the sentence or following a colon:

Monteverdi's belief that 'the words should be the mistress of the harmony' reflects a view commonly held in the late sixteenth century. For example, Antonio Mazzone said precisely the same thing in 1564: 'I believe that in any composition, the words are more important than the music.'

Note the use of single inverted commas and the position of the final punctuation mark: within the quotation if you are quoting a complete sentence (and your own sentence is closed); otherwise outside the quotation. The rule is 'punctuate according to sense'. If inserting a comma or full stop inside the quotation mark makes a mess of the punctuation of your complete sentence, it is wrong. Americans, and some UK newspapers, operate a different system. Do not use it.

Longer quotations (roughly 60 words or more) should be presented in a separate indented paragraph (and with no inverted commas). Put a footnote at the end of your indented quotation to give the source.

e) Music examples should either be inserted at appropriate places into the text or gathered together at the end of the essay. Whatever the case, reference is made to them in the text as '(Ex. 1)' (NOT 'E.g. 1'; 'Quote 1', etc.; NOR '(see example 1)', etc.). Thus:

Monteverdi's use of dissonance at the beginning of 'Oimé, se tanto amate' (Ex. 3) is quite unusual for its time.

Wherever examples are placed, they need a caption giving the example number, the composer, the title of the piece, and the location of the example within the piece:

Ex. 3. Monteverdi, 'Oimé, se tanto amate', bars 1-3.

f) Spell out numbers from one to a hundred(except in lists) but use numerals from 101 onwards.

Act 2, scene iv; Luke iv. 5; op. 20 no. 2.

Dates: 26 January 1964; 1950s; 1961-5 (NOT 'from 1961-5': a hyphen is not the word 'to'); the 1960s and '70s.

Use hyphens for adjectival combinations: the sixteenth-century madrigal (but the madrigal in the sixteenth century), except when a word ends -ly (so 'a highly sought-after degree'); a long-term effect.



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