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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Writing Citations in Music

Format for MLA Citations

Citations in the MLA style follow a general structure that is consistent for all formats:

Author’s Last name, Author’s First name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, Names of other contributors along with their specific roles, Version of the source (if it differs from the original or is unique), Any numbers associated with the source that aren’t dates (i.e. volume, journal number, or issue number), Name of the Publisher, Publication date, Location (page number, URL, or DOI)


What is a container?

Containers are what contain or hold the source. If you are citing a chapter in a book, the chapter title is the "Title of Source" and the book title is the Title of Container. If you are citing a journal article, the article is the source and the journal is the container. If you are citing a CD track, the title of the track is the source and the CD title is the container.

In-text Citations

MLA uses in-text citations to help the reader understand where content in your writing comes from originally. Generally, the citation lists who the author of the source is, and where in that source the information comes from.

For any book or written text, use this style:

(Last Name of Author, Pages)


If the citation comes from only one page, list only that page. If it comes from multiple pages, write it as a page range, do not list each individual page.

(Cook, 37-42)


If the work has two authors, list both authors with the word "and" between them

(Last Name of First Author and Last Name of Second Author, Pages)


If the work has three or more authors, list only the first author and then follow it with "et al." (an abbreviation for et alli, latin for "and others").

(Last Name of First Author et al., Pages)


Other sources, such as works found online, or music or video recordings follow the same idea, but use different information.

For electronic sources or works found online, include the name of the author and the name of the article or web page.

(Last Name of Author, "Title of Web Page")


For audio and video recordings, first describe the source in your text. In the citation you then include the time stamp for the excerpt being discussed.

(hh:mm:ss - hh:mm:ss)
Example: (00:12:35 - 00:13:22)


If you have multiple works in your Works Cited written by the same author, also include the title of the work within quotation marks in your in-text citation.

(Nettl, "Excursions in World Music", 30-32)


If there are multiple works by the same author with the same title, also include the publication date.

(Burkholder, "A History of Western Music," 2019, 86)