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Citation Style Guides: Chicago Style for Music

How to structure a bibliographic entry

A bibliography is the complete list of all the resources used in a paper. In a bibliographic entry the elements (author, title, publication information, etc.) are separated by period and a single space. The first-listed author’s name is usually inverted (last name first).

Titles in English are capitalized headline-style unless they are in a foreign language (Chicago 14.95 - 14.96). Titles of larger works (e.g., books and journals) are italicized; and titles of smaller works (e.g., chapters, articles) or unpublished works are enclosed in quotation marks. The spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation in the original title found on the item should be preserved, with some exceptions (Chicago 14.96).

Commas and periods go inside the quotation marks. Noun forms such as editor, translator, volume, and edition are abbreviated, but verb forms such as edited by and translated by are spelled out in a bibliography (Chicago 14.16). If no date or place of publication can be determined, the abbreviations “n.d.” and “n.p.” may be substituted. Estimates of dates and places of publication may be placed in square brackets and followed by a question mark.

e.g.      Boston: Oliver Ditson, n.d.

n.p.: Insel-Verlag, [1949?]

Bibliographic entries are indented after the first line, called a “hanging indent.” HINT: To create a hanging indent in Microsoft Word, select the entries and press CTRL-T. The entries should be alphabetized by author. Some bibliographic information may be difficult to determine from a document. To clarify these details, check the information provided in the Library Catalogue record for the item you are citing.

More resources

This style sheet is intended to give musical examples and some variations on the standard examples shown in the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (SMC). This guide is based on the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. and Citing Music Resources Using Chicago Style (McGill University Library). 

For further information about composing bibliographies and writing about music, users are encouraged to consult the sources below.