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How to Cite Music in MLA Style

Music is a significant source in various academic disciplines. Citing music in MLA style requires specific elements: artist’s name, song title, album name, record label, release year, and format. These details apply to both in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Proper citation of music ensures credit to artists and maintains academic integrity when referencing audio sources in research papers.

Different Types of Music Sources

Albums and Songs

Albums and individual songs are the most common music sources you’ll cite. These can come in various formats, including physical CDs, vinyl records, and digital downloads.

Live Performances

Citing live performances requires specific details such as the performer, date, and venue. This category includes concerts, recitals, and other live music events.

Streaming Services

In today’s digital age, streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube are prevalent. Citing these sources involves unique considerations, such as the URL and the date you accessed the content.

Sheet Music and Scores

Sheet music and scores are crucial for musicologists and performers. These citations include information about the composer, publisher, and publication date.

Citing Music Albums

Format for Citing Entire Albums

When citing an entire album in MLA style, the general format is as follows:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Album Title. Record Label, Year of Release.

Example Citations for Albums

For instance, to cite The Beatles’ iconic album, you would write:

The Beatles. Abbey Road. Apple Records, 1969.

Citing Individual Songs

Format for Citing a Single Song

Citing an individual song requires a slightly different format:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. “Song Title.” Album Title, Record Label, Year of Release.

Example Citations for Songs

For example, citing a song from The Beatles’ album mentioned earlier:

The Beatles. “Come Together.” Abbey Road, Apple Records, 1969.

How to Handle Multiple Performers

If a song features multiple performers, include the primary artist and then note the others:

Lamar, Kendrick. “Alright.” To Pimp a Butterfly, featuring Pharrell Williams, Interscope Records, 2015.

Citing Live Performances

Format for Live Performances

To cite a live performance, use this format:

Performer’s Last Name, First Name. Description of Performance. Venue, City, Date of Performance.

Example Citations for Concerts and Shows

An example would be:

Springsteen, Bruce. Concert. Madison Square Garden, New York, 23 Nov. 2016.

Including Venue and Date Information

Including the venue and date helps pinpoint the exact performance, which is crucial for readers who may want to verify the source.

Citing Music from Streaming Services

Specifics of Citing from Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music

When citing music from streaming services, the format includes the URL and access date:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name. “Song Title.” Album Title, Record Label, Year of Release. Name of Streaming Service, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Example Citations for Streaming Tracks

For example, citing a song from Spotify:

Beyoncé. “Formation.” Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016. Spotify, open.spotify.com/track/7jN4UZXjCuFpPJlf2U9F18. Accessed 24 June 2024.

Citing Sheet Music and Scores

Format for Citing Printed Music

Citing printed music follows this structure:

Composer’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Publisher, Year of Publication.

Example Citations for Sheet Music

For example:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Dover Publications, 1992.

Including Composer and Publisher Information

Including detailed information about the composer and publisher ensures that your citation is thorough and accurate.

Tips for Accurate Music Citations

Always cross-reference your sources with reliable databases or the original source material. Verification tools and databases like MusicBrainz or AllMusic can be invaluable. WriterBuddy can simplify the citation process for those who need a bit of extra help. Using keywords like WriterBuddy MLA Music Citation Generator can produce accurate citations quickly, though always double-check for errors.

FAQs

What is the proper format for citing an entire music album in MLA style?

To cite an entire music album in MLA style, use the following format: Artist’s Last Name, First Name. Album Title. Record Label, Year of Release.

How do you cite a song from a streaming service like Spotify in MLA style?

For citing a song from a streaming service, format it as follows: Artist’s Last Name, First Name. “Song Title.” Album Title, Record Label, Year of Release. Name of Streaming Service, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Can you include multiple performers in an MLA citation for a song?

Yes, if a song features multiple performers, you include the primary artist and then note the additional performers, like this: Lamar, Kendrick. “Alright.” To Pimp a Butterfly, featuring Pharrell Williams, Interscope Records, 2015.

What details are necessary when citing a live music performance in MLA style?

When citing a live performance, include the performer’s name, a description of the performance, the venue, city, and the date of the performance, formatted as: Performer’s Last Name, First Name. Description of Performance. Venue, City, Date of Performance.

Conclusion

Accurate citation of music in MLA format is crucial for academic credibility. The process involves including artist information, song and album details, and publication information. Following these guidelines helps properly attribute musical works and provides readers with the necessary information to locate the original source.

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