How to Cite Sheet Music in MLA

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How to Cite a Musical Score or Libretto

Musical Score

Works Cited Structure:

Composer Last, First name M. Title as It Appears on the Title Page.* Date of original composition (if different than publication date).** Publisher, date published.

*If the song is a long musical composition identified by a name, the title should be italicized. If the song is a musical composition identified by form, number, or key, the title does not need any additional formatting. If the song is not an orchestral arrangement, the title should be in quotation marks.

**The original composition date is supplemental information and does not always need included. It may be helpful to include if the piece was composed much earlier than the sheet music you are citing or if the arrangement has significantly changed from the original.

Works Cited Example:

Schwartz, Stephen. “Defying Gravity.” 2000. Hal Leonard, 2003.

In-text Citation Structure:

(Composer Last Name)

In-text Citation Example: 



The citation for a libretto is similar to that of a score, but the librettist (the person who wrote the lyrics) is listed before the title, and the composer (the person who wrote the music) is listed after in the additional contributor field. You should also include the librettist’s role after their name, preceded by a comma.


Oakes, Meredith, librettist. The Tempest: An Opera in Three Acts. Composed by Thomas Adès, Faber Music, 2004.

In-text Citation Structure:

(Librettist Last Name)

In-text Citation Example: 


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