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Music: APA - Referencing Music Resources

LibGuide Conservatorium Maastricht (Academy of Music)


Please note that the information on these pages is based on the APA 6th edition.
Edition 7 has now been published. We will update this LibGuide shortly. 
Take a look at this pdf for the 10 most important changes in APA 7th edition

Citing musical scores (sheet music)

Basically, a musical score is analogous to a book. One major difference between a book and sheet music is that sheet music is written by a composer, not an author. When referencing sheet music in APA style the following format is used for the reference list entry:

End-text reference format:
Composer, A. A. (Date). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

You may need to include more information in square brackets to identify which score you used (e.g., the vocal vs. the orchestral score). You may also need to outline the roles of contributors such as composer or librettist in regular brackets.

End-text reference:
Rossini, G. (Composer), & Sterbini, C. (Librettist). (1956). Il Barbiere di Siviglia a comic opera in two acts [Vocal score]. Lynbrook, NY: Boosey & Hawkes.
In-text citation:
(Rossini & Sterbini, 1956)

Reprint of an old score

When citing a modern reprint of an old score, include the publication date of the reprint and the original work. Classical works may have a unique catalogue number, include this as part of the title: 

End-text reference:
Mozart, W. A. (1970). Die Zauberflöte [The magic flute], K. 620 [Vocal score]. Munich, Germany: Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung. (Original work published 1791)
In-text citation:
(Mozart, 1791/1970)

Online Score from a Subscribed Database

When referencing an online score from a subscribed database, provide the homepage URL of the database, and the database name if this information is not part of the homepage.

Harvey, J. (1989). Bhakti. Faber Music. Retrieved from Music Online: Classical Scores Library, Volume I.

Online Score Freely Available on the internet

If the online score is freely available on the internet, include the date retrieved and the URL of the website from which the score was retrieved:

Vaughan Williams, R. (Composer), & Stevenson, R. L. (Librettist). (1960). I have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope. Boosey & Hawkes. Retrieved March 30, 2009, from,_Ralph)#

Audio recording - CD

End-text reference:
Mahler, G. (1984). Symphony no. 1 in D Major [Recorded by Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti; CD]. London: Decca.
In-text citation:
(Mahler, 1984)

Music liner notes

If you wish to refer to the liner notes rather than a recording then use the following form. Use country of origin if city is not known.

End-text reference:
Obiera, P. (1998). Lyricism and exotic colour. In The pearl fishers [CD liner notes]. Germany: Philips Classics.
In-text citation:
(Obiera, 1998) | Disclaimer | Over Zuyd Bibliotheek