Music department style guide

Music department specific help and guidelines

Department style guide


Citing/Referencing Sources

There are two main ways of citing work in essays. Click each heading for more.

Every essay should be provided with a bibliography which guides your reader to the sources you have used.

Approach 1: Author-Date Referencing System

            References in the text in brackets, not in footnotes.


Approach 2: Footnotes

            References in footnotes, not in the main text.


General Style Conventions


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.



Footnotes are indicated in the text with superscript number.They should be placed after a punctuation mark, e.g. a comma or full stop. 



No full points in abbreviations, e.g. UK, USA


Numerals and Dates

Use elided numbers for pages and dates, e.g. 25–8, 136–42; but 12–16, 1980–81, 1914–18. Use numerals for percentages, measurement and for ages, e.g. 25%, 12km, 5m, 10 years old. For other numbers in text, write out in full between one and ten; thereafter use numerals (e.g. 11 and up).



In the nineteenth century

Nineteenth-century music


Non-English words in the main text

Use *italics* every time a non-English term/word appears.


Proper nouns (e.g. names of people, places, etc) in non-English languages are not italicised.



Titles of compositions should be in ‘single quotation marks’, whatever the language. Titles of compilations (of compositions) should be in italics. 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.

Titles of songs should be in ‘single quotation marks’. Titles of albums should be in italics.


Titles of book chapters should be in ‘single quotation marks’. Titles of books should be in italics. This includes book titles in ANY language, including English.


Titles of journal articles and chapters should be in single quotation marks but NOT italicised. This also applies to the references section.


Generally, it is uncommon to use both quotation marks AND italics. The only possible exception is when a title of a book is quoted in the title of an article, for example:
‘References to music in A Midsummer Night's Dream


Highlighting English words

‘Quotation marks’ or italics may occasionally be used for English words for emphasis. If your meaning is not clear without these embellishments, you may wish to try rewriting the sentence.



Images and Captions

Use “Figure” for pictures, diagrams, and line drawings, “Table” for tabulated information, and “Example” for musical excerpts. Please ensure that the reader is directed to these materials in the body of the text. Number your Figures, Tables, and Examples in the order they are mentioned in the text.



Use “[ ]” for editorial interventions in quotations, “ . . . ” for omissions, and “[sic]” if necessary to indicate accurate transcriptions. Any original ellipses or emphases should be indicated as such. Set out long quotations in the text.