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How to Cite a Music Score in APA Format


A music score consists of a page or pages of sheet music. When students and scholars refer to a particular musical composition in an essay or academic journal article, they usually have to cite it in the body of their paper and reference it in their references page.

In-Text Citation

Rules for citing music scores in APA format are similar to those for citing books. Any mention of a music score within the body of your text requires a citation at the end of the sentence, including a bracket containing the last name of the composer, followed by a comma and then the year of publication, such as (Twain and Lange, 1997). You keep the bracket inside the sentence.

References Page

References for musical scores in APA also follow the format for books. Like book references, they begin with the last name of the composer, followed by her first name, the date of composition in brackets, followed by a period, the title of the work in italics, period, the location of the publisher, and then the publisher’s name. Add other clarifying details as necessary, such as the medium of the score, or an English translation of the title, if written in a foreign language. You may need to identify that one author is a composer while the other is a librettist, or that this piece is part of a larger series of music.

About the Author

Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

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