This guideline is a part of the English Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
|Manual of Style (MoS)|
This page of the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (MoS) for music-related articles and writing about music 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.
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; .
((music)) template is recommended for the natural sign,
((music|natural)) produces ♮, and for double sharps and flats,
Further information: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Titles § Capital letters
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 (
–, renders as "–") without spaces on either side. For example:
Arabic numerals (Nashville notation) and letters (diatonic function) indicating function should be avoided:
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:
or, in C:
Rather than lowercase letters to indicate minor, uppercase letters followed by a lowercase "m" may be used:
The degree symbol, "°", indicates a diminished chord. It can be copied and pasted or inserted from the menus above or below Wikipedia edit boxes on desktop web browsers. It can also be produced by typing
°, 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
ø, Alt+0248 (Windows), or Option+o (Mac). For both of these there is an application of the
((music|dim)) becomes o and
((music|dimslash)) becomes ø (e.g. 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:
Superscript and subscript may be combined, as in figured bass, in math markup,
<math>\mathrm C_4^6</math> renders as , or
<chem>C4^6</chem> renders as .
Generic titles are not specific to one musical work. These titles typically take the name of a musical form such as concerto, overture, quartet, sonata, suite, symphony, etc. Titles of liturgical works (such as agnus dei, kyrie, mass, requiem, etc.) are considered generic titles. Generic titles should not be italicized.
True titles are specific to a single work. These are titles given by the composer, much as an author titles a novel. True titles are always italicized:
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 is not italicized and should always be in English even if the true portion of the title is in a foreign language.
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.
Often, works with a generic title and / or a true title are also known by a common title or nickname. Avoid using the common title with the true title. Acceptable methods for specifying the nickname after the generic title are:
When referring to a work by nickname alone:
Note that the generic portion of the common name or nickname—"Symphony", in this case—is not italicized.
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 are not italicized.
(('"))template, to insert some spacing between the characters without using an unsemantic space character:
... Augen seh(('")) ...
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 are not italicized. Often, movements are described by multiple tempo markings. In this case, the tempo markings should be separated by en dashes set off by spaces (consider using the
((spaced en dash)) template), and the first letter of each tempo marking should be capitalized. True movement titles are enclosed in quotation marks. Once again, foreign language terms are not italicized.
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 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 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. If the number specifies a particular work (is used restrictively rather than simply providing additional information) it should not be set off by commas (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: "BWV 1079".
Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations
Some abbreviations are always used in music articles. These forms are standard:
Use a non-breaking space (
((nbsp)) between the abbreviation and number, instead of a regular space.
Note: ♭, ♯ and ♮ signs should not be used in article titles or headings; use the word equivalents (flat, sharp, natural, respectively).
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.
|symbols) as follows:
[[File:Example.png|550px|Example image]]. Images larger than 600 pixels may not be conveniently displayed on mobile devices.
((music|flat)), respectively. A natural (♮) can be entered with
((music|natural)). As noted above, these symbols should not be used in headings or articles titles.
<math>C_6^4</math>= . See Wikipedia:TeX markup and m:Help:Formula.
((music|dimdeg)). 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
I<sub>6</sub>. This looks like: viio, I6.
Many musical terms that are commonly used in English are Italian in origin. These terms should not be italicized. For example:
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:
There is no hard rule on plurals of Italian terms being anglicized.
However, use a consistent scheme within a single article.
Further information: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists of works
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 "B♭M", 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, for example, "the piece is in D minor" or "the B major concerto".
For whether to include "the" as the first word of a band's name, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (definite or indefinite article at beginning of name). For capitalization of "the" in other uses, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters § Capitalization of The.
When the word the is sometimes or consistently used at the beginning of a band's name, a redirect (or disambiguation) should be created with the alternative name (with or without "the").
Mid-sentence, per the MoS main page, the word the should in general not be capitalized in continuous prose, e.g.:
Similarly, for duos and individual musicians, a leading the is not capitalized mid-sentence in a nickname, pseudonym, stage name or other alias. Exceptions include articles from foreign languages, and stylized forms such as thee, tha and da. Examples:
However, the, a, or an should be capitalized mid-sentence when it begins the title (or subtitle) of an album or other artwork:
For more detail on titles of compositions, albums, and other works,.
Drop the where it is awkward, as when the band name is used as a modifier:
For classical music, 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. For non-classical foreign-language recordings, usage of capitalization found in English-language reliable sources is recommended, but when such sources use different capitalizations there is some leaning towards the capitalization rules valid for the language of the creator.
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".
Names of organizations and institutions (e.g. orchestras, musical ensembles and groups, concert halls, festivals, schools, etc.) should follow official usage (i.e. the spelling, punctuation, etc. used by the organization's own publications). In the case of non-English names, we use official English versions if and when they have been established by the organization itself. If not, we use the native name. Original English names, translated from other languages, should not be created.
The nationality of composers, historical singers, etc. has sometimes been controversial. Here are three guidelines:
In popular music, album, mixtape and EP titles should be italicized and song and single titles should be in quotes: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by the Beatles was included on their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The names of concert tours are not formatted beyond ordinary capitalization.
Per the overall MOS guidance to use logical quotation, punctuation should be placed outside the quotation marks (title formatting) of songs: Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album includes the songs "Like a Rolling Stone", "Ballad of a Thin Man", and "Desolation Row". Of course, if the song title itself contains punctuation, it goes inside: "Help!" by the Beatles was featured in both a film and an album.
For titles of works and releases, purely descriptive phrases in parentheses or after dashes, such as "remix", "acoustic version" and "remastered", should not be considered part of song titles and should be placed outside quotation marks. Particularly in prose, consider re-ordering these phrases to improve the sentence flow: the remix of "Despacito", rather than "Despacito" (remix).
Avoid referring to an artist's second album or single as "sophomore", as this term is not widely understood outside North America.
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, encyclopedias, and journals are not consistent with each other on all points.
When describing the tuning of a stringed instrument:
See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Tables
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, place, etc. Sorting should always ignore definite and indefinite articles, so sorting tags will usually be required.
It is not a standard practice to include track listings as a separate section in song articles when the song was released as a single with an A-side and B-side.
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 right, listing information such as name and size, followed by a picture of music notation of the interval on C. These 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.
Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style
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. The use of titles within articles should follow the same conventions as for titles. see Wikipedia:Naming conventions and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (headings).