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Citing a song is similar to citing any other type of source. All you have to do is follow the right format, and voila! You can get the citations done on your own hassle-free. Song citations are crucial for students pursuing a degree in music theory or media studies. Read on to know how to cite a song in MLA, APA, and Chicago using the updated rules and guidelines.
You can cite songs or, rather, music in multiple ways. It mainly depends on the source you accessed the music from. Citations usually begin with the artist's name. You can also include the composer's or performer's name. Use quotation marks within individual song titles. Italicize the album names.
If you do not have certain pieces of information, such as the name of the album or record label, do not include that information at all.
Different citation formats require you to follow different guidelines. You may end up losing grades if there’s even a petty error in the citations. So, it is important to start with the basics first, followed by looking at a set of relevant examples. Let’s begin then.
Read more: How To Cite A Poem?
MLA song citation structure looks like this:
Last, First M. “Track Name.” Album Name, written/performed/conducted by First Name Last Name, album’s ed. (if applicable), Publisher, year of publication, track number. CD/MP3/MIDI/Cassette/Vinyl.
MLA citation of an online song
Group Name or Performer’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Song.” Title of the Album, edition if applicable, Publisher, Year of publication. URL or App Name app.
Pink Floyd. “Breathe” The Dark Side of the Moon, 1983. Spotify app.
How to cite an album in MLA?
Group Name or Performer’s Last Name, First Name. Title of the Album. Edition if applicable, Publisher, Year of publication.
Pink Floyd. The Dark Side of the Moon, 1983.
How to quote song lyrics in an essay in MLA?
The name of the performer or band, the name of the album, the publisher, and the date.
You can refer to the song in your essay like this:
“Don’t be afraid to care,” Pink Floyd sings in “The Dark Side of the Moon.”
Read more: How To Write Essay In APA Format
Citing a song in APA means you need to learn rules related to in-text citations and reference lists.
The basic format includes:
Artist last name, F. M. (Copyright year). Song title. On Album title [Medium of recording]. Record label name.
You can leave the bracketed data if the songwriter and performer are the same people.
Example for Reference List Entry
Mayer, J. (2006). Gravity. On Continuum[Album]. Aware and Columbia Records.
Example for in-text citation
How to cite an album in APA style?
Recording Artist or Group. (Date). Album title in sentence case [Album]. Record label name.
Mayer, J. (2006). /Continuum[Album]. Aware and Columbia Records.
(Recording artist last name, Year)
How to cite a song lyric in APA style?
Songwriter F.M. (Copyright year). Song title. On Album title [Medium of recording]. City, State of the label: Record label name.
Mayer, J. (2006). Gravity. Continuum[Album]. Los Angeles, CA: Parkwood; Aware and Columbia Records.
(Composer’s Surname, Publication Year, timestamp)
(Mayer, 2006, 5.35)
Read more: Cite An E-Book In Oxford Referencing
There are two key forms involved in Chicago citations. The first one is used to cite songs on CDs, cassettes, vinyl, etc. The second one is for songs on streaming platforms or online.
Citing songs sourced from a medium in Chicago style:
The elements you need:
The format for reference list entry is:
Artist name. “Title of the song.” Track number Title of the album. Publisher, Year of publication, Song format.
Example of a reference list:
John Mayer. “Gravity.” Track 2 on Continuum. Aware and Columbia Records, 2006, CD.
Citing songs sourced online in Chicago style
Artist name. “Title of the song.” The recorded date at Location. Song format, Length of the song. URL.
John Mayer. “Gravity.” Recorded July 2006 at Music Festival, Los Angeles. YouTube video. 7.22. URL of the video
Citing an album in Chicago style
You can follow either of the formats mentioned below to cite a music album in Chicago style.
Notes & Bibliography
Composer, Title of Album, with Performer/Ensemble, conducted by Conductor, recorded date, Label Label number, year of release, medium.
Maurice Ravel, Ravel: Volume Two, with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Geoffrey Simon, Cala Records CACD 1005, 1991, compact disc.
Name of Composer, Conductor, or Performer (depends on who you emphasize in your paper). Year of Original Release/Recording. Title of Album. Name of Composer, Conductor, and/or Performer (if they are not listed at the beginning of the Reference List entry). Label number, Year of Release (if different), medium.
Ravel, Maurice. 1991. Ravel: Volume Two. The Philharmonia Orchestra. Geoffrey Simon. Cala Records CACD 1005, compact disc.
Universities often instruct students to follow APA style to cite songs in their documents. The formats and examples have already been discussed above. Now let’s have a look at the key rules for citing a song in APA style. Keep these tips in mind the next time you need to cite a song in APA style.
You can also get help from academic writing services if you want to know how to quote a song in different formats.
Read more: How to Cite A Website MLA
Whether you are writing about John Mayer’s live performance in Los Angeles or you are discussing the impact of “Cherry Wine” by Hozier in your paper, citations are mandatory. Your paper will be considered plagiarised if you don't cite the songs, albums, or even lyrics used in your academic writing. Don't you cite other sources while using them in your paper? Use the same approach while mentioning songs in writing. Songs, movies, and books are intellectual properties. Not giving the original artist their due credit will lead to plagiarism.
Whether you need to cite songs, lyrics, or any other type of source, our citation specialists are here at your disposal. Our team is well-versed in all types of formats such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Oxford, Harvard, and many more. We follow the updated guidelines to cite the sources accurately.
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12 Mar, 2022
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