Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music

Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music

This Manual of Style (MOS) for Wikipedia music articles encourages editors to follow consistent usage and formatting. Other MOS subpages are linked in the menu to the right. If the MOS does not specify a preferred usage, please discuss the issue on the talk page.

Music articles vary in their intended readership: some articles are written for the widest audience of general readers; others, especially those on technical subjects (e.g., Metric modulation) are for readers with specialized knowledge. Whenever possible, aim for a broad readership.

See WikiProject Music terminology for details of terminology.



Use either the {{music}} template flat {{music|flat}} () and sharp {{music|sharp}} () symbols or the words flat and sharp. According to The Unicode Standard 5.0, chapter 15.11, these are distinct from b (the lowercase letter b) or # (the number sign), hence b and # should not be used to indicate "flat" or "sharp". This template has the advantage of working in Microsoft Internet Explorer; see Template:Music for details. Examples:

  • Key signature:
    • Right: "E-flat major"[1]
    • Right: "E major"
    • Wrong: "Eb major"
  • D major triad:
    • Right: "D, F, A"
    • Right: "D, F-sharp, A"
    • Wrong: "D, F#, A"
  • D major triad:
    • Right: "D, Fdouble sharp, A"
    • Right: "D-sharp, F-double-sharp, A-sharp"
    • Wrong: "D#, FX, A#"
    • Wrong: "D#, F##, A#"
    • Wrong: "D, F, A"

The {{music}} template is recommended for the natural sign, {{music|natural}} produces , and for double sharps and flats, {{music|doublesharp}} and {{music|doubleflat}} produce double sharp and double flat. Either {{music|flat stroke}} flat stroke or {{music|halfflat}} half flat may be used instead of for a half flat, while {{music|halfsharp}} half sharp may be used for a half sharp. Double sharps, double flats and quarter-tone accidentals use Scalable Vector Graphics in order to display correctly.


  1. The vast majority of music genres are not proper nouns, and thus should not be capitalized.
  2. The first letter in the first and last words in English song, album and other titles is capitalized. The first letter in the other words is also capitalized, except for short coordinating conjunctions, prepositions, and articles ("short" meaning those with fewer than five letters), as well as the word to in infinitives. More specifically:
    1. Capitalize the first and last word.
    2. Capitalize every noun, verb, adjective, and adverb. This includes all forms of the verb to be (e.g., be, been, am, is, was, were).
    3. Capitalize a short preposition if and only if it is the first or last word of the title; part of a phrasal verb (e.g., "Call Off the Search", "Give Up the Ghost"); or the first word in a compound preposition (e.g., "Time Out of Mind", "Get Off of My Cloud").
    4. With compound hyphenated terms, capitalize each word-part separately, according to the applicable rule.
    5. Titles that include parentheses should be capitalized as follows: the part outside the parentheses should be capitalized as if the parenthetical words are not present; the part inside the parentheses should be capitalized as if there were no parentheses at all.
  3. Standard English text formatting and capitalization rules apply to the names of bands and individual artists (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (trademarks) and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (proper names)).

Chords, progressions, and figured bass

Conventional chords are indicated through the use of upper and lowercase roman numerals, or letters with a key signature provided, indicating root and quality, separated by en dash (– = "–") without spaces on either side. For example:

Numbers (Nashville notation) and letters (diatonic function) indicating function should be avoided:

  • 2–5–1
  • SpDT

When part of a chord progression, chords should be spaced equally if they take an equal portion of the progression's duration. Vertical lines may indicate bar divisions:

iii7–VI7 | ii7–V7 | I   ||

or, in C:

e7–A7 | d7–G7 | C   ||

Rather than lowercase letters to indicate minor, uppercase letters followed by a lowercase "m" may be used:

  • in C: Dm–G–C

The degree symbol ("°") indicates a diminished chord. It can be produced by typing &deg;, &#176, or (on Windows PCs) Alt+0176 on the numeric pad / (Mac) Option+Shift+8. A superscript lower case "o" (<sup>o</sup>) may be used instead. The slashed o, "ø", which may not display correctly for all readers, is produced by superscripting the character produced by typing &oslash;, &#248;, or Alt+0248. For both of these there is an application of {{music}}: {{music|dim}} becomes o and {{music|dimslash}} becomes ø (eg Co and Cø).

For inversions and the degree sign superscript and subscript may be done thus:

  • vii<sup>o</sup> , I<sub>6</sub> .

which looks like:

  • viio, I6.

Superscript and subscript may be combined, as in figured bass, in math markup, <math>C_4^6</math> = C_4^6, see Help:Displaying a formula or m:Help:Displaying a formula.

Classical music titles

Generic titles are those that are not specific to one musical work, e.g., the names of musical forms such as concerto, overture, quartet, sonata, suite, symphony. Titles of liturgical works (such as agnus dei, kyrie, mass, requiem, etc.) are considered generic titles, as well. Generic titles are in roman face.[2]

  • Piano Concerto No. 5
  • Sixth Symphony
  • Requiem

True titles are titles specific to a single work. These are titles given by the composer, much as an author would title a novel. True titles are italicized, irrespective of which language they are in.

  • From me flows what you call time
  • Pelléas et Mélisande

When true titles are mixed with generic titles, as is often the case in overtures and suites, only the true title is italicized. The generic portion of the title remains in roman type, and should always be in English even if the true portion of the title is in a foreign language.

  • Overture to The Bartered Bride
  • L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1

There are a few rare instances where a work has what appears to be a generic title but is actually a true title. Generally, if a symphony is referred to by name and not also numbered, the title is actually a true title given by the composer. These should be in italics as well.

  • Symphonie fantastique
  • Copland's Dance Symphony
  • Beethoven's Battle Symphony

Often, works whose official title is generic are also known by a nickname or common title. There are five acceptable methods for specifying the nickname after the generic title:

  1. In parentheses and quotation marks. For example: Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World")
  2. In parentheses and italics. For example: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)
  3. In parentheses. For example: Symphony No. 9 (From the New World)
  4. In quotation marks set off by a comma. For example: Symphony No. 9, "From the New World"
  5. In italics set off by a comma. For example: Symphony No. 9, From the New World

There are three acceptable methods for referring to a work by nickname alone:

  1. In quotation marks. For example: "New World" Symphony
  2. In italics. For example: New World Symphony (note that Symphony remains in roman type)
  3. In roman type. For example: New World Symphony

Any of these methods may be used; however, usage should be consistent within an article.

Song titles are enclosed in quotes. True titles of song cycles are italicized. Foreign language song titles remain in roman type.

  • "Wenn ich in deine Augen seh' " from Dichterliebe

Generic movement titles (such as tempo markings or terms like minuet and trio) are capitalized with a single initial capital—that is, only the first word is capitalized—and in roman type. Often, movements are described by multiple tempo markings. In this case, the tempo markings should be separated by en dashes set off by spaces, and the first letter of each tempo marking should be capitalized. True movement titles are enclosed in quotation marks. Once again, foreign language titles remain in roman type.

  • Un poco sostenuto – Allegro from Brahms's First Symphony
  • "Von der Wissenschaft" from Also sprach Zarathustra
  • Kyrie from Mozart's Requiem

The formal title of a work from the classical repertoire includes its genre or performing force, key, and index number. For modern works, the key and/or index number may not exist, but the genre or performing force should always be specified. There is no requirement to use formal titles on Wikipedia. However, in an article about a single composition of classical music, all the information one would get from a formal title should be included in the lead. Often, using the formal title to introduce the work is the most elegant way to convey this information.

Opus, work, and measure numbers

Opus and work numbers are used to identify specific compositions within the catalogue of specific composers. Measure numbers are used to identify specific parts of compositions. If used on Wikipedia the terms should not be italicized and not capitalized (Chicago 15, 8.204)[3]. If the number specifies a particular work (is used restrictively rather than simply providing additional information) it should not be set off by a commas[3] (thus measure numbers should be set off by commas since they provide additional information about a work). The following three examples all convey the same information:

The en dash rather than the hyphen must be used for ranges of numbers (measures 1–4 rather than measures 1-4). While "Op." may remain unlinked, specific catalogue designations should be linked, e.g. to "BWV 1079".


Some abbreviations are always used in music articles. These forms are standard:

  • Op.<space><number> for opus (e.g. Op. 31)
  • No.<space><number> for number (e.g. Op. 31, No. 2)
  • Opp.<space><numbers separated by commas and spaces> for the plural of Opus (e.g. Opp. 51, 82 and 93)
  • Op. posth.<space>, or Op. posth.<space><number> for opus posthumous
  • Note: , and signs should not be used in article titles or headings.


  1. Pages on artists, groups or works should have recording and discography sections as appropriate. These should be subdivided into albums and singles, audio and video recordings, or other simple systems as required.
  2. If the discography of an artist, group or work becomes disproportionately large in relation to the rest of the article, it should be split into a subpage list (preferably titled "<Name> discography").
  3. Do not use album, record or DVD covers in discographies, as this is an unnecessary use of images and is not compatible with Wikipedia's fair use policy.

Equivalent terms in different varieties of English

An article in Wikipedia should use one national variety of English consistently. This principle applies to music terminology: use musical terms from the variety of English in which the article is written. Consider showing alternative terms from other English varieties in parentheses on their first appearance. Example: "The first crotchet (quarter note) in the bar is loudest." See Manual of Style: National varieties of English.

Images and notation

  1. Wikipedia needs to use free images. Fair use is usable only in certain circumstances. Copyrighted images, such as album covers, can be used in an article only if a fair use rationale, specific to that article, appears on the image page.
    1. The {{Non-free album cover}} template establishes fair use only in an article about the album in question.
    2. Fair use images cannot be used purely for decoration.
    3. Fair use images cannot be used in discography sections.
    4. Fair use images should be used sparingly. Each image must contribute specifically, uniquely and irreplaceably to the article.
  2. Images should be laid out in an unobtrusive manner.
    1. Start the article with a right-aligned image.
    2. When using multiple images in the same article, they can be staggered left-and-right (Example: Platypus).
    3. Avoid sandwiching text between two images facing each other.
  3. Music-related images on Wikipedia include icons, examples, and illustrations. Icons include File:Musical note nicu bucule 01.svg Musical note nicu bucule 01.svg as displayed on Portal:Music. Small images giving examples should be displayed in text, without framing. For example, an image accompanying the mention of "bass clef" in a different article is displayed well this way. Medium images giving examples should be displayed in thumbnails to the right (or stagger right and left if frequent). For example, most images of chords should be displayed this way, while their motivic elaborations should be displayed as illustrations. Large images giving segments of music or depicting features of music should be displayed in thumbnails on the left or center of the page at 550px for visibility. For example, most melodies and scales should be displayed this way, while chords and simultaneities should be displayed to the right as small as reasonably visible. Images of chords should generally not include octave repetitions. Images of scales must include the repetition of the octave to indicate octave equivalency. Sections of music should follow Wikipedia:Uploading images including the use of Wikipedia:File copyright tags and copyrights. See also: Wikipedia:No original research. Images and the display of musical notation should follow the following guidelines:
    1. Graphics of musical examples should be large enough to be legible but not so large that they overwhelm the text of an article. They also should not contain inordinate space between the notes.
    2. When creating a graphic in a musical notation program keep the score as large as possible (through the layout or display setting in your notation program). If your example is short, three measure or less, you may increase its size on the page and decrease the page margins. That way the example will be as large as possible, but will not contain large spaces between the notes. Example of large image size with little space between notes: D'Indy Tristan chord IV6-V small.PNG
    3. Save the file as type or extension .PNG. If .PNG is not an option in your notation program then save the score as another type of image file and convert that to .PNG (with Paint, for instance). Trim the image so that it only contains the example (no blank space or large margins!) and upload it to Wikipedia.
    4. When you display that image in an article, then you specify the desired size between pipes ("|"s) as follows: [[File:Example.png|550px|Example image]] Images larger than 550 pixels wide may not be conveniently displayed on 800×600 monitors, so keep images below that size where possible.
  4. Use {{Commons}} to link to images on Commons wherever possible.
  5. Use an informative and concise caption or alternative text for each image.
  6. The sharp (♯) and flat (♭) signs are &#9839; and &#9837;, respectively. A natural (♮) can be entered with &#9838;.
  7. Superscript and subscript may be combined, as in figured bass, in math markup, <math>C_6^4</math> = C_6^4, see Wikipedia:TeX markup or m:Help:Formula.
  8. A superscript circle, or degree sign, which indicates a diminished chord, that may not display correctly for everyone, "°", can be produced by typing &deg;, &#176, or (on Windows PCs) Alt+0176. A superscript lower case "o" (<sup>o</sup>) may be used instead. The slashed o, "ø", which may not display correctly for all readers, is produced by superscripting the character produced by typing &oslash; or &#248;, or by keying Alt+0248.
  9. For inversions and the degree sign superscript and subscript may be done thus: vii<sup>o</sup>, I<sub>6</sub>. This looks like: viio, I6.

Italian music terms

Many musical terms that are commonly used in English are Italian in origin. These terms should not be italicized. For example:

  • attacca
  • aria
  • divisi

However, bear in mind that not all readers will understand the terms. If in doubt, provide a hyperlink to Italian musical terms used in English. For example:

The second section is marked as Adagio

There is no hard rule on plurals of Italian terms being anglicized.

  • cellos
  • concertos or concerti
  • tempi or tempos
  • timpani

However, use a consistent scheme within a single article.


  1. Short lists (of compositions, recordings etc.) may be useful in biographies and articles about works of music, however when they become disproportionately long in relation to the main article they should be split into dedicated subpages.
  2. Music genre articles should not contain lists of performers. A separate list page may be created.
  3. Lists should not generally include musicians who do not have an article.


  1. Copyrighted lyrics can only be used under the WP:Non-free content provision. Thus, they should only be used to illustrate specific points, documented by relevant sources.
  2. Lists of quotes from songs or other compositions or recordings are inappropriate, as are any sections consisting entirely or primarily of quotes.
  3. Uncopyrighted lyrics can be used freely. However, they should be incorporated into an article only to illustrate specific points, and documented by relevant sources.

Major and minor

Treat "major" and "minor" as regular words; i.e., the first letter should be lowercase, unless it starts a sentence. Abbreviated key signatures and chord spellings (such as "Cm" and "BM", or "c" and "B") should be avoided in prose.

In prose, rather than analysis, always use the capital letter adding the words major or minor if necessary[4] for example, "the piece is in D minor" or "the piece is in B major".

Names (definite article)

An authoritative source will determine whether the word "the" is part of a band's name. For example, in the case of the Velvet Underground, it must be included, while in that of Black Sabbath, it must not. For articles named after a band, a redirect (or disambiguation) should be created with the alternative name (with or without "the").

Mid-sentence, per the MoS, the word "the" should in general not be capitalized in continuous prose. Specific cases where "the" should be capitalized mid-sentence are:

  • when quoted, e.g.
... and according to BBC journalist Julie Glassman, “they can boast almost as many tribute bands as The Beatles”.
  • when beginning a phrase in italics or bold, e.g.
example(s) needed here

Capitalized "The" may be preferred when listing bands, e.g.

In mid-1962 The Rolling Stones started as one of a number of groups increasingly showing blues influence, along with bands such as The Animals and The Yardbirds.

Capitalized "The" is optional in wikilinks.

Names (foreign language)

The letters, accents and diacritics in the original language should be preserved when referring to works by their original language title (provided that language uses the Latin alphabet), e.g. Schöpfungsmesse not Schopfungsmesse nor Schoepfungsmesse, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune not Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune.

The names of works, and other terms, should be marked up with the {{lang}} template, using the appropriate two-letter language code. For example, to link to the article for the work Deutschlandlied, use ''{{lang|de|[[Deutschlandlied]]}}'' which will appear as Deutschlandlied.

Nationality (biographies)

The nationality of composers, historic singers etc. has sometimes been controversial. Here are three guidelines:

  1. Nationality should refer to national identity, in other words the national group with which the person identified, not the state of which the person was a citizen or subject.
  2. Nationality should not be anachronistic/retrospective, i.e. for historic figures it should not be defined by present-day borders and states, but by contemporary ones.
  3. If there is any doubt about the nationality of an individual, we should be inclusive and use a double designation (e.g. Anglo-German etc.) both in the introduction and in the categories.

Popular music

In popular music, album and EP titles should be in italics, and song and single titles should be in quotes: The Beatles' song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", comes from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Avoid referring to an artist's second album or single as "sophomore", as this term is not widely understood outside North America.

Stringed instrument tunings

For details, examples, and rationale, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (stringed instrument tunings)

In articles on stringed instruments and related topics, information on the tuning of the strings is very often included. The formatting of this information needs careful thought as the conventions used by major critics, encylopedias, and journals are not consistent with each other on all points.

When describing the tuning of a stringed instrument:

  • Always list the closest (normally bass) string first, so a guitar is E–A–D–G–B–E.
  • Always number the furthest (normally treble) string as "one", so the second string of a guitar is the B string.
  • In other matters, be consistent within the article.


Tables are appropriate for lists with three or more fields. Sortable tables are appropriate for longer lists, that may be reordered according to title, genre, date, or place etc. Sorting should always ignore definite and indefinite articles, so sorting tags will usually be required.

Types of music articles

Types of music articles include biographical articles about musicians, articles about compositions, songs, or albums, and informative or documentary articles about theory or practice.

For example, articles about musical intervals on Wikipedia currently feature an interval infobox on the top left listing information such as name and size, followed by a picture of music notation of the interval on C. At some point in between cited well known examples of songs or pieces beginning with the interval are given. Articles conclude with the interval template listing other intervals. Most articles describe the names, ratios, cents, and uses in fairly standard order, and if not it would be preferable that they do so.


Some musical terms have multiple possible meanings. Unless a different meaning is obvious from the context (e.g., in a quote), use the same terminology as Wikipedia titles.

  1. Popular music is a broad category that is frequently compared to "classical music" or folk music; it need not be particularly popular. Pop music is mainstream, commercial, chart-topping music.
  2. "Classical music" is a broad term for mainstream Western tradition music dating from the Medieval period onwards. The term "classical music" did not exist before about 1836, when it was used to refer to the music of the Classical era (of roughly 1750–1820). Many editors feel that it is inappropriate for music written since the end of the 19th century, hence the quotation marks (inverted commas) which are commonly used as a short-hand for "so-called". (Unless it is clear from the context, do not refer to "classical music" without qualifying it as "Western", "Indian", etc.)
  3. Folk music is orally transmitted and generally informal and non-commercial. Traditional music and roots music are assumed synonyms.
    1. Music such as that of Bob Dylan should be described as and linked to something more specific, such as roots revival.
  4. Hip hop music is a music genre. The act of rapping is performed by rappers. When referring to a genre, "hip hop" should be used, except in circumstances such as "gangsta rap". The word "hip hop" is, like most music genres, not capitalized; it is also not hyphenated.
  5. The use of titles within articles should follow the same conventions as for titles; see #Titles and section headings.

See also

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style (titles)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style (record charts)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style (music samples)
  • Help:Musical symbols
  • Glossary of musical terminology


  1. ^ Wingell (2009), p. 93–94.
  2. ^ Wingell, Richard J. (2009). Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, p. 91. Fourth edition. ISBN 0-13-615778-5.
  3. ^ a b Wingell (2009), p. 92.
  4. ^ Wingell (2009), p. 93.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style — This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits to this page reflect consensus. Shortcuts …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Latter Day Saints — Manual of Style …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages — This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits to this page reflect consensus. Shortcuts: WP:MOSDAB MOS …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers — Shortcuts: WP:MOSNUM WP:DATE MOS:NUM This page is part of the Ma …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Japan-related articles — WP:MJ redirects here. You may also be looking for WikiProject Michael Jackson. This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits… …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics — This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits to this page reflect consensus. Shortcuts: WP:MSM MO …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Medicine-related articles — For advice on choosing and using reliable sources, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources (medicine related articles). This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional… …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking — For technical information about link formatting, see Help:Link. For information on adding external links to articles, see Wikipedia:External links. Wikilinks redirects here. For the IRC script, see WP:Scripts/Wikilinks. This guideline is a part… …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters — MOS:CAPS redirects here. For the style guideline on capitalization in article titles, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization). For the guideline on caption construction, see Wikipedia:Captions. This guideline is a part of the English… …   Wikipedia

  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations — This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia s Manual of Style. Use common sense in applying it; it will have occasional exceptions. Please ensure that any edits to this page reflect consensus. Shortcuts: MOS:ABBR WP:ABBR WP:MOSA …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”