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Instructions for authors

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Style guide for contributors


Spelling options

Follow British usage: bar (not measure), catalogue (not catalog), colour (not color), connection (not connexion), disc (not disk, except in relation to computer disks), programme (not program, except in relation to software programs), semibreve (not whole note), theatre (not theater), 12-note composition (not 12-tone composition), etc. Use -ize rather than -ise endings wherever an alternative exists: characterize, extemporize, realize (but note that advise, analyse, comprise, surprise and improvise are always spelt thus). Italics/roman: allegro (meaning ‘quick(ly)’), etc. (tempo markings; but Allegro (roman), etc. as a movement title); crescendo; diminuendo; fin de siècle; legato, mise-en-pagepiano (meaning ‘soft(ly)’), etc. (dynamics), ritornello, staccato. Accents: début, décor, façade, première, regime, role. Apply accents to all capitals. Plurals: crescendos, glissandos, librettos.


Dashes: use spaced en-rules (not closed-up em-rules) in parenthetical contexts. Use a single ellipsis symbol (…) rather than three separate dots for a cut. There should be a space either side of the ellipsis. Place the ellipsis in square brackets if it occurs in the middle of a quotation but does not appear in the original source (that is, where it is added editorially in order to indicate an omission). Place footnote numbers (superscript) after the punctuation. Use a hyphen for adjectival combinations (e.g. eighteenth-century music = music written in the eighteenth century) and to avoid ambiguity (e.g. ‘early-music scholar’ refers to a scholar of early music; ‘early music scholar’ potentially to an early scholar of music). Partbook, folk song, cooperate, double bass, avant-garde.


Use capitals for kings, etc. only when giving a title (e.g. King George); otherwise lower case (‘the king and queen went hunting’). Periods/styles: Baroque, Classical, etc.; seasons: summer, winter, etc. Music examples and other illustrations: use capitals and do not abbreviate, either in captions or cross-references: Example 1, Figure 1, etc. Music forms: ABA (capital roman).


In general, spell out cardinal numbers from one to ten (except in lists), but use numerals from 11 onwards. Spell out ordinal numbers (‘sixteenth century’ rather than ‘16th century’), except in published titles where it appears as a numeral, e.g. 19th-Century Music. Use commas in thousands (1,600 etc.), except for page numbers. Elide pairs of numbers except where the last two digits of both are between 11 and 19 (230–6, 512–69, but 112–18). Intervals, chords: fifth, dominant-seventh chord. Opus numbers: op. 20 no. 2. Composer catalogue nos.: K.387, D.795, BWV 140, Hob. XVI 49. Time signatures: 4/4, 6/8, etc. Chords: 6–3, etc. Acts, scenes: Act 2, scene iv. Biblical references: 2 Corinthians 2, Luke 4:5. Dates: 26 January 1964, 1950s and 60s (not 1950’s and ’60s). AD and BC are in full capitals.


Use a superscript ‘r’ and ‘v’ for recto and verso respectively (e.g. fol. 63v). Use full stops after standard abbreviations (anon., cf., no., vol(s)., etc.), but not after contractions (Mr, Dr, St, edn, etc.). Initials are spaced: C. P. E. Bach John Smith, Jr

Music terms

Note values: breve, semibreve, minim, crotchet, quaver, semiquaver, demisemiquaver, hemidemisemiquaver (not whole note, half note, etc.). Music accidentals: use symbols (C♮, E♭, F♯; not C natural, E flat, F sharp). Pitches: For pitch classes, etc. use roman capitals. For precise identification of pitch use italics in conjunction with the system that represents middle C as c', with the next C up being c'', the next c''', and so on; the C below middle C is c, the one below that C, and the one below that C'.


Short quotations (up to about 60 words) are run on in the main text, using single quotation marks (double quotation marks are used only for quotations within quotations). At the end of a quotation the punctuation should normally be outside the quotation marks, except where the quotation concludes with a question mark or with a full stop at the end of a complete sentence. Long quotations (over about 60 words) are indented without quotation marks (except where the displayed quotation includes quoted matter, which should be in single quotation marks). Use square brackets for editorial interpolations (including ellipses) in quoted matter. Where italics are used for emphasis within a quotation, please state in the associated footnote whether the italics are present in the original, or are editorially added.


Notes will be printed as footnotes (at the bottom of the page). Acknowledgements etc. will be presented in a preliminary unnumbered footnote at the foot of the first page (above note 1 if it appears on that page). The remaining notes to the main text will be numbered in a single sequence (1–). Notes to each table will be lettered in separate alphabetical sequences (a–).


Real titles (of opera, oratorios, songs, extended vocal works, collections, etc.) in italics: Dido and Aeneas, Das Lied von der Erde, Das Veilchen, Il trionfo di Dori, La mer, Super flumina Babylonis. Titles which are just genre names or tempo marks should be roman: Symphony no. 5 (or Fifth Symphony), Adagio and Fugue. Likewise the canticles and sections of the Mass: Te Deum, Nunc dimittis, Kyrie, Agnus Dei. Titles of single songs which are first lines or incipits should be roman, in single quotes: ‘Occhi dolci e soavi’, ‘Il est bel et bon’, ‘I saw my lady weep’. (Some flexibility may be required in order to achieve consistency.) Place nicknames within quotation marks: ‘Emperor’ Quartet, etc. Masses: Mass in D, Missa Papae Marcelli, Mass Gloria tibi trinitas Words like scherzo, minuet, finale, etc. should have an initial capital only if used as a movement title. Capitalize the main words in English-language titles (including both parts of a hyphenated compound, e.g. Cross-Pollination). Follow standard practice in foreign languages: French and Italian, first words capitalized, then lower case except names; German, adjectives lower case. Examples: La demoiselle élue, Le nozze di Figaro, Die glückliche Hand.

Bibliographical references

Please follow the style of the following examples. Note that at least one full given name is required for all authors cited, and full page nos. of articles (followed, where appropriate, by the specific page no(s). referred to). Second and subsequent references to books, articles, etc. already cited in full should include only the author’s surname and a short title, as illustrated below. Do not use ‘vol(s).’ or ‘p(p).’ unless necessary to avoid ambiguity. Journal issue numbers: only include where issues are individually paginated.

Single-authored books Karen Henson, Opera Acts: Singers and Performance in the Late Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 7

  1. (subsequent references: Henson, Opera Acts, 7)

Books in multiple volumes Richard Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music, 6 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), i: The Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, 25

  1. (subsequent references: Taruskin, The Oxford History of Western Music, i, 25)

Books in series Anna Zayaruznaya, Upper-Voice Structures and Compositional Process in the Ars Nova Motet, Royal Musical Association Monographs, 32 (London: Routledge, 2018), 25

  1. (subsequent references: Zayaruznaya: Upper-Voice Structures, 25)

Works in collected editions Sigmund Freud, ‘Repetition, Remembering and Working Through’, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, 24 vols. (London: Hogarth Press and The Institute of Psycho-analysis, 1953–74), xii: The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique, and Other Works (1911–13) (1957), 145–57 (p. 146)

  1. (subsequent references: Freud, ‘Repetition, Remembering and Working Through’, 146)

Articles in journals Julian Johnson, ‘Present Absence: Debussy, Song, and the Art of (Dis)appearing’, 19th-Century Music, 40 (2016–17), 239–56 (p. 245)

  1. (subsequent references: Johnson, ‘Present Absence’, 245)

Books and articles with multiple authors Gerrit Meister, Timo Krings, Henrik Foltys, Babak Boroojerdi, Mareike C. Müller, Rudolf F. Töpper and Armin K. Thron, ‘Playing Piano in the Mind: An fMRI Study on Music Imagery and Performance in Pianists’, Cognitive Brain Research, 19 (2004), 219–28 (p. 220)

  1. (subsequent references: Meister et al., ‘Playing Piano in the Mind’, 220)

Articles in edited volumes Gary Tomlinson, ‘Musicology, Anthropology, History’, The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction, ed. Martin Clayton, Trevor Herbert and Richard Middleton, 2nd edn (New York: Routledge, 2012), 59–72 (p. 65)

  1. (subsequent references: Tomlinson, ‘Musicology, Anthropology, History’, 65)

Dissertations Carola Frances Darwin, ‘The “I” of the Other: Opera and Gender in Vienna, 1900–1918’ (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Sheffield, 2009), 122

  1. (subsequent references: Darwin, ‘The “I” of the Other’, 122)

Special issues Listening: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Nikolaus Bacht, special issue, Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 135 (2010)

  1. (subsequent references: Listening, ed. Bacht)

Newspaper articles Grenville Vernon, ‘Operas of the Coming Season’, New York Tribune, 29 June 1919

  1. (subsequent references: Vernon, ‘Operas of the Coming Season’)

Online publications Nicholas Cook, ‘Between Process and Product: Music and/as Performance’, Music Theory Online, 7 (2001), (accessed 8 March 2019)The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,


Bibliographical abbreviations (including RISM sigla, etc.) should not be used without explanation. They may be explained either at their first occurrence, or (if many are used) in a separate list or appendix. For publications cited frequently, it may be sometimes be convenient to use an abbreviation explained in the first citation: Georg Friedrich Händels Werke: Ausgabe der Deutschen Händelsgesellschaft, ed. Friedrich Chrysander, 96 vols. (Leipzig and Gerbedorf bei Hamburg: Breitkopf & Hārtel, 1858–94) plus supplement, 6 vols. (Leipzig, 1888–1902); henceforth HG.

Further information

New Hart’s Rules and New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors offer useful guidance. In case of doubt or if further assistance is required, please refer to the Assistant Editor of JRMA, Ian Rumbold, at

Publishing your article as Gold Open Access 

You will have the option to publish your article as Gold Open Access, enabling the final published version to be made freely available under a Creative Commons license. You might be required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for Gold Open Access. You may be eligible for a waiver or discount, for example if your institution is part of a Read and Publish sales agreement with Cambridge University Press. For more information about your Open Access options, please see here. For more information about the benefits of choosing to publish Open Access, see here.