Footnotes and Citations

Footnotes or endnotes are used to provide additional information that supplements the main text. (Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page, while endnotes appear at the end of the text or document.) Music history and theory (which follow the Chicago Manual of Style) normally use footnotes in research papers. Music education normally follows APA style, where “Author, Date” citations are integrated into the text (see below) and there are no footnotes except as additional information.

Footnotes may be used:

  1. (in Chicago style) to inform the reader of the writer’s source;
  2. to amplify the text, provide additional information, or make comments which, because of their subsidiary importance, do not belong in the main text (be certain that the information or comment really is subsidiary);
  3. for both (a) and (b) together.

Footnotes or Author, Date citations must be used to give sources for quotations or paraphrases, except for:

  1. very familiar quotations such as “To be or not to be;”
  2. self-evident or commonly known facts (“True opera first appeared at the beginning of the Baroque era.”).


Music history and theory – Chicago style

Here are some examples of footnote citations as they are normally used in the fields of music history and theory (for other examples of references see the Chicago Manual of Style):

The first reference from a given book:

1Barbara Russano Hanning, Concise History of Western Music, 2nd ed. (New York: W.W. Norton, 2002), pp. 145-50.

A reference from an article in a book:

2Josť A Bowen, “Finding the Music in Musicology: Performance History and Musical Works,” in Rethinking Music, eds. Nicholas Cook and Mark Everist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 427.

A citation from a journal article:

3Walter Frisch, “Brahms, Developing Variation, and the Schoenberg Critical Tradition,” 19th-Century Music 5 (1982): p. 220.

Many aspects of Chicago citation style are fairly standard, especially for research papers. However graduate students in particular should be aware that others may vary. For example, some books and journals precede the citation of the pagination of a source with “p.” or “pp.” as in the examples above, while others cite just the pages alone. Also, Author, Date citation style is used (either integrated in the text or as footnotes) in some journals, such as Music Theory Spectrum (for more about Author, Date citation style, see APA, below). If you are submitting an article to a journal you should also look at sample articles in recently published issues to see what citation method is currently being used by the journal. When in doubt consult the Chicago Manual of Style (which has an excellent index), which will explain the options available (there may be more than one); also, ask your instructor for an in-class assignment, or consult sample articles in the journal that you are submitting to. The Music Librarian is also very willing to offer helpful information.


Music education – APA style

In the field of Music Education most journals use APA format, in which there are no footnotes except as additional information. Citations are in the Author, Date format, integrated into the text. Here is an example:

Helping students to develop as composers is a task that benefits from research that identifies the structures that assist that process. Structure issues are of concern to teachers who nurture young creators. Too much task structure can inhibit creativity and personal expression (Wiggins, 2002). However, too little task structure can cause students difficulty because of too many choices (Folkestad, 2004; Regelski, 1981, 2004).

In Author, Date citation style, the references are listed at the end of the paper.

Here is a book reference:

Regelski, T. (2004). Teaching general music in grades 4-8: A musicianship approach. New York: Oxford University Press.

Here is a reference to a chapter in a book:

Wiggins, J. H. (2002). Creative process as meaningful music thinking. In T. Sullivan & L. Willingham (Eds.). Creativity and music education (pp. 78-88). Edmonton, CA: Canadian Music Educators Association.

Here are two journal article citations:

Folkestad, G. (2004). A meta-analytic approach to qualitative studies in music education: A new model applied to creativity and composition. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 161/162, 83-90.

Kennedy, M. A. (2002). Listening to the music: Compositional processes of high school composers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 50 (2), 94-110.
  • Source: E. Eugene Helm and Albert T. Luper, Words & Music: Form and Procedure in Theses, Dissertations, Research Papers, Book Reports, Programs, Theses in Composition (Clifton, NJ: European American Music, 1971. This is one of a number of books concerning writing in music that are available in the Music Library, and listed on the Music Library Website.