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How to Cite a Song Within a Paper


Both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA) require that you use in-text citation whenever you quote or paraphrase from a source. This can become tricky when you are citing a song, simply because both formats require page numbers, and songs don't have them. Luckily, both formats provide clear guidelines for the proper parenthetical citation of song lyrics.

Citing a Song in APA Style

List the last name of the songwriter, followed by a comma. For example: Callahan,

List the copyright year of the song, followed by a comma. For example: 2003,

List the track number of the song. For example: track 7

Enclose the citation in parentheses. For example: (Callahan, 2003, track 7)

Position your citation directly after the quoted passage. For example: Of all the lines written for Drag City albums, "we are far from flowers, cut and dried" (Callahan, 2003, track 7) is the most poignant.

Citing a Song in MLA Style

List the last name of the songwriter. For example: Callahan

Enclose the last name of the songwriter in parentheses. For example: (Callahan)

Position your citation directly after the quoted passage. For example: Of all the lines written for Drag City albums, "we are far from flowers, cut and dried" (Callahan) is the most poignant.

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