Music Citation Guide (Chicago Style)

Avoiding plagiarism and citing your sources is key

A very basic definition of plagiarism is to take someone else's work or ideas and pass them off as your own. Plagiarism can be intentional (like buying a paper from someone else or purposefully using another person’s ideas without giving them credit) or unintentional (accidentally forgetting that an idea in your notes isn’t your own and not citing it when you include it in a paper or project). It’s important to take detailed notes so you’ll always remember when and where to give credit to your sources!

By citing the sources you use for your research, you’ll be accomplishing three things:

  • You’ll avoid plagiarizing and give proper credit to your sources, thereby demonstrating academic integrity.

  • You’ll demonstrate the scope of your research and establish your credibility on your topic.

  • You’ll provide your reader with a trail to follow to locate the sources you used so they can read more about your topic.


The two most important parts of citing your sources are

1) To provide your reader with all of the information they need to find the source you're referencing; and

2) To be consistent in your formatting of citations in both footnotes, which appear within the text, or in bibliography entries, found at the end of your paper.


Important note:

This guide will help you to format citations in Chicago Style (sometimes called Turabian Style, in reference to the handy guide listed below). Writing a paper for an education class and need to format citations using APA style? See the the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) Guide to APA Style!

Getting started

How to use this guide:

  • Start with the "Books" tab - this section has information that will help you to become familiar with the different parts of a basic citation, and includes a number of examples that may be useful for other types of sources (e.g. you can use the example of a book with an authors and an editor to cite a score that lists a composer and an editor, etc.).
  • The other tabs on the menu are alphabetized by material types like journal articles, scores, etc. Once you click on a tab, scroll down for more nuanced help for different situations involving a resource of that type (e.g. the Scores tab includes examples of print scores by one composer, vocal scores, reprint scores, digital scores, etc.).
  • In each tab, you'll find examples of how to format both footnotes and bibliography entries for that material type; you'll see a template you can follow that lists each element of the citation, as well as an example of a citation for a real item. 
  • You may need to cite materials that don't fit the templates presented here! Remember that music materials can sometimes be unusual, so if you have any questions or problems, please contact Jessica Abbazio, UMN's Music Librarian, at for personalized help!


For further guidance on Chicago Style see the following resources:


Turabian, Kate L., Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald.  A
        Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. 
        ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.

        Available in the Twin Cities Music Library Reference Section, LB2369 .T8 2018  


Follow the link above or type “Chicago Manual” into the search box on the main UMN Libraries homepage (   Use the search box in the Chicago Manual to search for keywords, or click “Citation Quick Guide” and select “Go to Notes and Bibliography Style” for a great list of examples. [Under these notes are images of the Chicago Manual of Style Online homepage with arrows showing where to click to get to the "Citation Quick Guide" and the "Notes-Bibliography Style" examples.]


Questions? Need help? Contact Jessica Abbazio, Music Librarian (

Some things to know about citation formatting tools

  • Many databases (and even the Libraries catalog) include a “Cite This” button, but these automatic citation generators often make mistakes. Be sure to double-check the formatting of the citations they create using the examples in this guide!

  • This guide is for Chicago Style citations - but do you need to use APA or MLA style instead? Visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab – use the tabs to see examples of citations for books, articles, websites, and more.

  • If you’re using a reference management program like Zotero, EndNote, or Mendeley to keep track of your sources and create citations, double-check the formatting – these programs often make formatting mistakes when generating citations.

    • New to citation/reference management software and not sure how to get started? The Libraries offers free workshops to help you get started! Visit and use the filter to limit to "Citation Managers" to see when they're happening and sign up:

      A screenshot of the filter tool built into to help with filtering to just Citation Manager sessions.

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2022 1:03 PM