Musical examples

You may need to consult more than one section to accurately represent the source used (eg. number of authors and source descriptions)

Musical examples may be included to support a point in your essay. They must be incorporated into the text and include:

  1. An example number,
  2. A caption identifying where it is from, and
  3. An accompanying footnote and bibliography entry indicating where the excerpt has been taken from.

All examples must also include clefs, key and time signatures, instrumentation and bar numbers.

Format for caption

Captions are generally placed above the example rather than below. See Figure 3.5 in the Chicago Manual for an example.

Example number. Composer Surname, “Title of individual piece or section”, from Title of Work, Bar numbers of excerpt. [Footnote marker]

Caption examples

Example 5. Debussy, “Prelude III”, from Preludes for Piano: Book 1, Bars 1-4.2


Example 8. Lim, Anactoria: For Six Percussionists, Bars 7-8.7

Examples as they would appear in the text

Musical example with caption

Musical example with a caption

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

Each example and caption must have an accompanying footnote.

22. Composer's full name, "Title of Individual Work or Section" in Title of work or volume, ed. Editor name (Place of publication: Publisher, year), page number(s).

Footnote examples

First entry:

2. Claude Debussy, "Prelude III" in Preludes for Piano: Book 1, ed. Roy Shepherd (Melbourne: Allans Music Australia, 1969), 7.


7. Liza Lim, Anactoria: For Six Percussionists (Milan, Italy: Ricordi, 1998), 2.

Second and subsequent entries:

36. Debussy, "Prelude III", 7.

9. Lim, Anactoria, 2.

Format for bibliography

Elements, punctuation & capitalisation

Each musical example must have an accompanying bibliography entry indicating where the example was taken from.

Composer Surname, First name. Title of volume or work, edited by Editor name. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Bibliography entry examples

Debussy, Claude. Preludes for Piano: Book 1, edited by Roy Shepherd. Melbourne: Allans Music Australia, 1969.


Lim, Liza. Anactoria: For Six Percussionists. Milan, Italy: Ricordi, 1998.

Style notes for this reference type

  • Published musical scores are treated in the same way you would treat a book. See Manual 14.255.
  • Where possible, you should take examples from the complete scores or collected editions. If you use an example from a secondary source (ie. from another article or book), you should include the secondary source in your footnote and bibliography.
  • Captions should be placed above the musical example and include an example or figure number.
  • Examples should be discussed within the text and be referred to by their number.
  • Examples should be placed as closely as possible to the paragraph in which they are discussed.
  • More information on how to incorporate music examples into your writing can be found in the Incorporating Music Examples resource form Academic Skills.

Explore resources to help with reference management and enable you to effectively integrate and cite sources into your writing and assessment tasks.

View Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Access all referencing FAQs Access further help