University of Rochester Press Music Guidelines

This guide aims to help you to deliver a finished manuscript that will conform to our specifications and standards. We ask you to read this document before beginning any work on your book, and to keep it at hand for reference during the writing and revising processes.

Download PDF of Author Guidelines

I. Music Terminology


  • measure = m. (plural mm.): abbreviate only in parentheses and captions, not in running text and notes. “Bar” is acceptable if the author is consistent, not switching between “measure” and “bar.”
  • opus = op. (plural opp.): abbreviate except when used alone as a title, as in, for example, “the beginning of opus 50”
  • Generally, in titles lowercase op., opp., and no.
  • Examples of titles:

Piano Sonata in F Major, op. 10, no. 1

Sonata no. 3

Symphony no. 3 in F Minor

Piano Sonata no. 23 in F Minor, op. 57 (“Appassionata”) [Treat nicknames this way whether they are reasonably authentic or acquired, e.g., “Moonlight” (for the Beethoven sonata) or “Raindrop” (for the Chopin prelude). This is practical because determining just how authentic a standard nickname is can be too difficult or even impossible.]

  • In text: “the Trio op. 87”—but use a comma before op. and after the number if the key is there: “the Symphony in G Major, op. 88, . . .”  [“op.” here is a case of a word being “in apposition,” much like the mention of a state: “In Boston, Massachusetts, the clouds hung low that fateful day.”]
  • In captions: As in the list above of examples of titles
  • Thematic catalogs: In general, the abbreviation has a period and a space after it:

K. 320b

D. 628

Hob. III:6

But: No period after BWV: BWV 1041

  • Example, Figure = ex. (plural exx.), fig. Abbreviate these two words only in a brief parenthetical reference (containing nothing else except perhaps the word “see”). Do not abbreviate them in running text and notes:

(see fig. 2.3) (see exx. 4.2 and 4.3)

“As shown in figure 2, the first theme . . .”

But capitalize and spell them out in captions:

Example 1.2. Bach, Musical Offering, opening of the Trio Sonata, mm. 1–3.

  • recto and verso = r and v (do not use superscript, except following roman numerals, where the v would be confusing).
  • page = p. (pp.). Not used in notes except in running text or when otherwise confusing: part 2, chap. 3, p. 34.
  • circa = ca. (not c.)
  • folio = fol. (plural fols.). In text, spell out except when used in a short parenthetical reference.

Musical “notation” in text

  • To designate pitch, use capital letters (C, D, C-minor chord).
  • Pitch names in a series are separated by en dashes: C–D–E.
  • When mentioning an individual note or pitch-class, use the flat sign (♭) or sharp-sign (♯) as needed. When mentioning a chord or key, use the words “flat” and “sharp.”
  • Always use a hyphen before the written-out words “flat,” “sharp,” and “natural” (a high C-sharp; in Sonata in C-sharp Minor, op. 13).
  • Use a hyphen before “major” and “minor” when followed by a noun (C-minor chord, but modulation to C minor).
  • When in the title of a work, capitalize “major” and “minor,” but lowercase “flat,” “sharp,” and “natural” (Sonata in C Minor, Concerto in B-flat or Concerto in B-flat Major). Do not use lower-case pitches to indicate minor keys (as Sonata in c). But use lower-case “major” and “minor” when referring to keys in the text: “The modulation to C major comes after . . .”
  • Plurals of pitch names do not use apostrophe (Ds, Bs)
  • For pitch nomenclature, use superscripts as follows: CC, C, c1 [= middle C], c2, c3, c4. (Octave changes at C.) If you use a different system, please add a note in the Preface or Notes to the Reader indicating what system you are using.
  • Musical form uses upper case roman: ABAC.
  • Designations such as solfaut and lasolre are italic (G solfaut, d lasolre).
  • Tone row designations use hyphens, as in P-0, R-6, P-6, I-11, T-0.
  • Dynamics: use bold italics for fmp, etc. Use italics for fortemezzo piano, etc.
  • Meter: use a fraction—e.g., 6/8—and highlight it. Do not use MS Word symbols.
  • Figured bass notation: use a fraction—e.g., 6/4—and highlight it.
  • Code scale degrees as follows: 2 = ^2; 3 = ^3, etc.
  • There are two possibilities for indicating flats, sharps, and naturals (symbols) in the manuscript. In either case, please highlight the symbols in aqua.

1. Code the carats used in pitch-class symbols. The codes are as follows:




2. To use Word’s symbols:

Please use either the Lucida Sans Unicode or Bach font


  • Titles of entire works are in italics, also song cycles (CarmenLes nuits d’été – or Les Nuits d’été).
  • For French capitalization, follow the recommended style in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., para. 11.30, namely: capitalizing like a sentence. Nationality words are capitalized when nouns, not when adjectives: Les Troyens, but L’histoire de la guerre troyenne. Names of institutions and newspapers/journals do not always follow these rules. In a French title (and titles in any other language), the first word after a semicolon is capitalized in URP books.
  • A song title is generally in quotation marks, but can be italicized if it is being treated as a quasi-independent “work,” rather than as part of a larger cycle. For example, if an entire chapter is devoted to comparing Der Erlkönig with Der Lindenbaum, it would look better to italicize second title (as just shown). A discussion of the Winterreise cycle, though, would put “Der Lindenbaum” in quotation marks (as just shown). Ask if you are confused. Aria titles are in quotation marks.
  • Titled movement names are in quotation marks unless they are tempo markings or generic titles like Polonaise, Gigue, Lullaby, Kyrie, etc.
  • Tempo markings indicating movements are capitalized roman, no quotation marks: “The Andante begins . . .”

II. Music Examples

The Press wants to reproduce your music examples in the best and most professional manner. Please be aware that there is nothing we can do to improve upon the quality of the material you submit. Therefore it is imperative that you provide us with the highest quality images possible. We will refuse any files that do not conform to our guidelines. We strongly recommend hiring a professional music setter to create your examples in Sibelius or Finale, and to prepare high resolution PDF files usable by our printers. We can provide you with names of professional setters our authors have used with success in the past.

Please model your musical examples on the best examples in recent URP books. Please note relevant practices, such as:

1. Include a measure number at the beginning of each system, or else give the inclusive measure numbers in the caption. Whichever of these you choose should be done consistently throughout the book (or at least consistently throughout a chapter in a book with chapter contributions by different authors).

2. Do not put a double-bar at the end of the example, unless it’s actually the final measures of a piece. End the example with a single bar-line if the last measure is a complete measure; or with no barline at all if it’s an incomplete measure.

3. Standardize the captions, in a clear fashion, such as this:

Example 2.5. Mozart, Symphony no. 41 in C Major, K. 551, “Jupiter,” mvt. 1, mm. 136–42.

Example 2.6. Verdi, Rigoletto, act 1: “Caro nome.”

4. When preparing a music example, please remember to include all essential information, such as clefs, key signature, time signature, and tempo marking (e.g. Allegro moderato). Do this even if the music does not include the opening bar of a movement. One exception: if an immediately previous music example is from the same movement, the meter and tempo indications may be omitted.

5. For music with text, please make sure that syllables are separated by hyphens in the standard manner and elisions are marked.

Technology and style are constantly shifting, and these guidelines may change at any time. We will work with you as you go along.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.


We must receive your examples in one of the formats listed below:

A. Optimal Format—Original files created in Finale or Sibelius:

1. Please save files as PDF. JPEG and TIFF files are NOT acceptable.

2. Please include a set of working copies (printouts) along with your files.

3. All music examples must be carefully proofread before you supply them, as corrections at the proof stage can be very expensive. Authors may be invoiced for changes at this stage, if necessary.

B. Scanned images (musical examples; also relevant for figures—e.g., illustrations—and tables):

1. Please scan your files from an original source such as a book, original score, or glossy print provided by a professional. Do not scan images from photocopies.

2. Scan your originals at a minimum of 300 dpi as a TIFF file.

3. Please send a set of printouts for use as reference.

C. Camera-ready copy:

1. Please provide original sources to the University of Rochester Press for professional scanning. Do NOT submit photocopies or printouts of low resolution scans. Acceptable original sources include books, original scores, or glossy prints supplied by libraries, archives, and museums, etc.


Our standard page size is 6” x 9”—the print block is approximately 4.5” x 7”. When you engrave your examples, please size them to fit within the print block. Music examples can, if necessary, extend somewhat beyond the print block, to a maximum of 5” wide (but still 7” high). But the aim is that everything in the music example be easily readable. This means that you may need to include fewer measures “across” (i.e., in a single system) than would be normal on a page of printed music; having fewer measures per system allows the individual notes and other markings to be large enough to the eye. If your examples include song lyrics, the font size must be no smaller than 7.5 in point size when the examples are sized to 4.5” wide.

Also, please include adequate space between systems; the typesetter cannot “slice” your examples horizontally to create more space. What you send is what will appear in the book. If you have any questions or concerns, please send early versions of the examples in question to the Press for examination.


Please be certain to send us samples of your music examples at least 6 weeks prior to your contracted manuscript delivery date, so that we may resolve any problems together ahead of time.


Every example and every figure needs a “callout,” which is a remark to the copyeditor and typesetter. It is set on a separate line and indicates exactly where the musical example should ideally occur.

            <<example 9.1 about here>>

In reality, the musical examples may not always occur exactly at that point on the page. Therefore, please also give a verbal reference to the example in the text itself. If the reference is in parentheses, the abbreviation “ex.” or “fig.” can be used:

            . . . (see ex. 9.1).

Or, if the callout is a part of the narrative itself, the word “example” or “figure” should be written out:

            As can be seen in example 9.2, . . .

A chapter author writing for an essay collection in which each chapter has a different author may not yet know what number his or her chapter will be. Please use “example 1,” etc., and the volume editor will make the necessary adjustment before submitting the manuscript.


  • If you send electronic files, please send printouts for reference. Please name your files in a way that clearly matches your music examples, and label your printouts.
  • Please do NOT put the captions on your examples or in the files. The typesetter will add them.
  • Please number your examples using double numeration, where each example carries the number of the chapter followed by the example number, separated by a period. Thus, for example, music example 9.6 is the sixth example in chapter 9. If a chapter also includes figures (i.e., photographs, maps, etc.), please number these separately from the music examples, for example, if chapter 9 has music examples and figures, there will be both a music ex. 9.1 and fig. 9.1.
  • You must clearly indicate where each music example will appear in your text. For a more detailed explanation, see above, under “Callouts and Text References.”
  • All captions should be numbered accordingly and submitted as a separate Word file.
  • Please indicate any special wording required for permissions. If there are many examples from one publisher and the publisher’s permission allows it, credit can be given in the front matter. Please maintain a file of all permission letters and emails and submit it to the Press with the final revised manuscript.
  • Please submit a list of examples that can be used in the front matter. This listing can be less detailed than the captions published under the examples themselves. For instance, a copyright note that is required by the music’s publisher should not also appear in the list of music examples.
  • Identify your reference printouts on the front.
  • Identify your camera-ready copies on the back, lightly in pencil or with post-it notes.

In general, if you have questions, please ask Sonia Kane, Ryan Peterson, Julia Cook, or Ralph Locke.