LAB 51

Fall 2006

Some Basic and Boring (Yet Important!) Guidelines for Written Assignments (Version 1.0)

1. Formatting -

Font: 12-point. I prefer Times New Roman but will entertain reasonable substitutions.

Spacing: Double

Header info:

Your nameAaron Allen

The course name and your sectionLAB 51 (Mon2)

The date 3 October 2006

Please do not double-space your header. It’s an awful waste of space.

2. Citation style & References

In the rarefied world of music scholarship, we use the MLA format (= no in-text parenthesis).


Thomas Forrest Kelly, First Nights (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 24.

-subsequent references would be: Kelly, 78.

Bibliography (single-author book):

Kelly, Thomas Forrest. First Nights. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.


If you are making reference to a score other than one duplicated in the Source Books, you should create a full citation (use the models above). Otherwise, I’ll just assume you’re referring to something from the Source Book and all you need is an in-text reference to the work. In other words, no footnote is necessary.

Example of in-text citation and many other little things:

In Act III of Monteverdi’s Orfeo[EE1], the composer makes use of the regal to portray in musical sound the unpleasantness of the Underworld. An Italian rubric preceding Caronte’s delivery of “O tu ch’ innanzi” on p. 50[EE2] makes it clear that Monteverdi called for the timbre of this instrument specifically, whereas at many other moments, instrumentation is left up to the performers. This was an effective choice on the composer’s part, for as the regal’s part gets lower, the sound of the instrument becomes increasingly harsh. In m. 2[EE3] for example, both Caronte and the regal descend in pitch and the effect is one of musical snarling, which corresponds to the needs of the text. In this place, Caronte reports that no mortal may attempt to enter Plutone’s realm and the word that triggers the pitch descent is “morta”:[EE4] death. In mm. 5-6[EE5], Monteverdi again uses the low range of both voice and instrument to reinforce the seriousness of Caronte’s warning. This technique is known as tone painting.

N.B. – This paragraph also contains examples of punctuation and musical shorthand usage (highlighted), as well as a demonstration of how to use evidence from the score to support your observations about the music.

3. Little stuff that just annoys me –

a)Bass line vs. base line

A “bass line” describes the lowest pitches of a multi-voiced composition.

A “base line” is a white chalky-substance used to divide territory at

Fenway Park.

b) Its vs. It’s

it’s = it is

its = belonging to “it”

b)Semi-colon abuse.

Unless you simply must use one, it’s usually better to stick with commas or simply break a sentence in two. The Chicago Manual of Style will tell you everything you need to know about these little babies. When in doubt, leave them out. Misuse or simple overuse of semicolons will make your writing appear pretentious and possibly undermine your authority. Strange, but true. ( Fragment.)

This is not really a comprehensive guide to writing. It is just a quick overview of the kinds of details you should observe in order to write successful papers for this class – and beyond. You can refer also to the course writing guide which is comprehensive and available on both the website and in pamphlet form.

[EE1]This is one good way to orient your reader to the place, composer, and work you will write about. Notice that the title of the work is in italics.

[EE2]Text in a foreign language should be in italics, lyrics must be in quotation marks.

[EE3]A single “m.” is shorthand for a single measure, followed by its number.

[EE4]Again, foreign text in italics and quotation marks. In this case, the punctuation belongs outside.

[EE5]Double “mm”. is shorthand for two or more measures.