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Music Research: Citing Music Sources

Research Guide for Music

Common Questions on Citing Music Sources in MLA


a. MLA formatting requires that citations are double spaced and that the second and subsequent lines of each citation are indented. The formatting options on this guide prevents that aspect of formatting here.

b. When citing a url, MLA 8th edition does not require the http:// portion of the url, but does require the www.

c. How you cite a song or album depends on how you accessed it. See the OWL Purdue MLA page on Citing Other Common Sources.

d. MLA identifies musical compositions by form, number and key. For example (MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016, pp. 69.): 

Beethoven's Symphony no. 7 in A, op. 92

Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Trumpets and Strings in C, RV539

1.  How do you cite an entry from Grove's Online

Anthony Hicks. "Handel, George Frideric." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music

(Hint: The Grove's Database's "Cite" button does not give correct MLA information.)

2.  How do you cite a recording of a performance found in Naxos Music Library?

Handel, George Frederic. “Part II: Hallelujah (Chorus)” Handel: Messiah (Highlights), Warner Classics - Parlophone, Naxos Music Library, 

(Hint: Once in the album in Naxos, choose "Show static url." on the left, then copy the url for the specific section of the piece you're citing.)

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

Lully, Jean-Baptiste. "Armide, Tragedie en 5 Actes et un Prologue." 1686. Norton Anthology of Western Music, edited by Claude V. Palisca, Norton, 1988, pp. 385-394.

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

4.  How do you cite program notes?

Pedersen, Keith. "Handel's Messiah." The Messiah. 4 Dec. 2011, Brown Chapel, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA. Program Notes. 

5.  How do you cite an article found in full-text in a database such as JSTOR?

Wollston, Silas. “New Light on Purcell's Early Overtures.” Early Music, vol. 37, no. 4, 2009, pp. 647–655. JSTOR,

6. How do you cite a music score?

Vivaldi, Antonio. Concerto in D, adapted for guitar solo by Charlie Byrd, Columbia Music, 1970. Musical Score.

Chopin, FrédéricComplete Ballades, Impromtus and Sonatas, Dover Music Publications, 1 Sept. 1981. Musical Score.

(Hint: If there is no issue number, just leave that out and only show the volume number. Use the Cite fuction to get started; edits may be needed.  If there is a DOI, use that instead of the url.)


What is Endnote Web?

EndNote Web is a web-based reference management software that allows you to collect references into your personal account. You can use EndNote Web to organize your references for citing in papers.

Endnote Web enables you to:

  • Collect references from a wide variety of online sources via online search, importing from research databases,or typing the references manually
  • Stores up to 10,000 references in your library
  • Share references from other Endnote Web users for collaboration
  • Cite While You Write in Microsoft Word to insert references and format papers instantly

Want to know more?  Click here.

MLA Style Resources

See the OWL Purdue MLA Style website.

The book below is available in the Reference Area of Ryan Library.

Subject Guide

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