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American Choral Directors Association

Style Book



[Revised May 2014]

Reference Books
The Chicago Manual of Style,
16th Edition
A Manual for Writers,
8th Edition, Kate L. Turabian
Writing about Music,
3rd edition D. Kern Holoman


*For a PDF copy of this style guide, click here.

See the bottom of this page for an end notes style guide or click here to see a PDF.


Abbreviate a person’s name (space between initials)

·         T. S. Eliot  /  e. e. cummings

Abbreviate United States when used as an adjective; otherwise, spell out.

        The US army (no periods; Chicago 10.33)

        The United States and China concluded talks.

Abbreviate state names in lists; in running text or addresses not given in outline form, spell state names. No space between letters.

        N.J. or N.Y.

Abstract Pitches

Capitalized, without quotation marks; keys are always capitalized and are hyphenated only if the key precedes a generic title.

        Beethoven’s famous C-Major Symphony ends in C major.

        From this point, the basses maintain a D-pedal tone.

        The soprano part ascends twice to g2.

A cappella

        Lowercase, italicized. (Holoman)

        Try to avoid; use “unaccompanied” instead.

All of

Choral Journal style calls for dropping the “of” when it follows “all,” except when “of” is followed by a pronoun.

        From “all of the pieces” to “all the pieces.”

        All of us want to go camping.


Use “or” instead of “and/or.”

Boosey & Hawkes

All references to music published by Boosey & Hawkes in the United States should use the ampersand (&), not the word "and."


Avoid them.


1.       Academic Subjects/Designations (Chicago 8.84)

        Lowercased unless they form an official course name

o   They have introduced a course in gender studies.

o   Jones is chair of the Committee on Comparative Literature

o   He is majoring in comparative literature.

        Official names of courses of study are capitalized

o   A popular course at the school is Basic Manuscript Editing

        Names of degrees, fellowships, and the like are lowercased when referring to generically (Chicago 8.28)

o   A master’s degree, a fellowship, master of business administration

        Lowercase the arts (example: a mastery of core subjects, including the arts, leads to…) 

2.       Associations & Conferences (Chicago 8.65/8.69)

              Full official names of associations, societies, unions, meetings, and conferences are capitalized; "A" or "the" preceding a name is lowercase in textual matter, even when part of the official title.

·         Democratic National Convention

·         the national convention

·         the convention

·         ACDA national office

·         1993 San Antonio National Convention

·         San Antonio Conference

·         ACDA National Conference

·         our national conference

3.       Compound Words

·         Always capitalize the first element

·         Capitalize the second element if it is a noun or proper adjective or if it has equal force with the first element.

o   Twentieth-Century Literature

o   Risk-Taker

o   A Manual for Video-Game Lovers

        Do not capitalize the second element if it modifies the first element or if both elements constitute a single word.

o   English-speaking People

o   Medium-sized Library

4.      Choral ensembles

           Capitalize the following group names if they are shortened versions of formal titles:

·         Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, Festival Singers, etc.

·         the Chorale, Singers, etc.

·         lowercase “choir” or “chorus” as generic designations; treat as singular

5.     Civil, military, religious, and professional titles (and nobility) preceding a personal name (Chicago 8.18-8.32)

·         President Johnson

·         Emperor Maximilian (but, the emperor Maximilian)

Exception: some titles of a more generic nature that are not capitalized:

·         James J. Jones is in his sixth year as choral director.

6.       Eras

              Capitalize eras in music history, whether in noun or adjectival form.

        The Baroque era preceded the work of Romantic musicians.

But lowercase when it suggests an attitude (see Capitalization 8: Impressionism)

7.      Geographical areas

             Lowercase unless referring to political rather than geographical divisions.

·         Western Europe (political)

·         western Europe (geographical)

          Certain nouns and some adjectives designating parts of the world or regions of a continent are generally capitalized. Descriptive adjectives not part of an accepted appellation are lowercase.

        East, Middle Eastern, but eastern (direction or locality).

o   (Note: Middle Eastern is not hyphenated.)

        Central America; central Europe

        North Atlantic; northern Atlantic

8.       Impressionism

Capitalize when it appears as a noun. Lowercase when it suggests an attitude or philosophical orientation; i.e., impressionistic. This same rule applies to other periods of music history.

9.       Professional titles following a personal name

In promotional or ceremonial contexts such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book or list of corporate officers in an annual report, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. (Chicago 8.19)

·         Thomas Moore is Director of Choral Activities.

·         We thank C. R. Dodwell, Fellow and Librarian of Trinity College.

·         Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

A title used alone, in place of a personal name, is capitalized only in such contexts as a toast (Chicago 8.19)

        William Henry Seward, secretary of state

        Secretary (of State) Seward

        the secretary of state

        the secretary

Exceptions include: Named professorships and fellowships are usually capitalized where they appear, especially if they include a personal name; i.e., Ferdinand Schevill, Distinguished Service Professor, but Fulbright scholar.

10.   Regions (Chicago 8.46)

Certain nouns and some adjectives designating parts of the world or regions of a continent or a country are generally capitalized. Descriptive adjectives not part of an accepted appellation are lowercase:

·         Central America; central Europe

·         North Atlantic; northern Atlantic

·         southwestern United States; Southwestern desert 

11.   Words

        biblical (lowercase)

        choir (lowercase)

        chorus (lowercase)

        spiritual (lowercase)

        Mass (capitalize when referring to the service)

        Lieder (capitalize)


1.       As adjectives

Hyphenate such references only when they serve as adjectives, as in the first example below:

        seventeenth-century literature

        the eighteenth century

        the mid-twentieth century

        the twenty-first century 

2.       Capitalization of Centuries (see Capitalization 4: Centuries)


Treat as singular, lowercase (see also: chorus, singers)


Treat as singular, lowercase (see also: choir, singers)


Try to avoid using clichés like “singers and audience alike,” etc.


·         Use in introductory phrases (see Introductory Phrase) and introducing long quotes preceded by incomplete sentences (see Quotations).

·         Colons should be placed outside quotation marks or parentheses.

·         When the item quoted ends with a colon, the colon is dropped.

·         Italicize colon following an italicized word.


1.       After a date (Chicago 6.36, with adaptations by Choral Journal)

Do not use a comma after a date unless it is followed by a proper noun (or unless the lack of a comma creates confusion).

        In 1976 he…

        In 1976, Volkswagen built a new model…

        On October 6, 1966, Longo arrived in Bologna.

2.       After italicized words, italicize comma following an italicized word.

3.       In a series (Chicago 6.18)

In a series consisting of three or more elements, the elements are separated by commas. When a conjunction joins the last two elements in a series, a comma is used before the conjunction. (this is referred to as a serial comma)

·         Can lyrical, narrative, rhetorical, and expository conventions…

Common prayers

Choral Journal style lists the following as common prayers:

        Mass movements

        Anglican service movements; e.g., Te Deum, Magnificat

All common works listed in this category are kept in Roman type, not italicized. 

Compound Words in Titles

·         Always capitalize the first element

·         Capitalize the second element if it is a noun or proper adjective or if it has equal force with the first element.

o   Twentieth-Century Literature

o   Risk-Taker

        Do not capitalize the second element if it modifies the first element or if both elements constitute a single word.

o   English-speaking People

o   Medium-sized Library 

Computer Language




        e-mail and website addresses are preceded and followed by < > as in <e-mailaddress> or  <www.webaddress>

Convention/Conferences (see Capitalization for Associations & Conferences)


Any references to this company in the Choral Journal must include the full name: CPP/Belwin, Inc., Music Publishers.

di Lasso (Orlando)

Use di Lasso, not Lassus or Lasso.

Division names/spelling

        State Name ACDA (example: Illinois ACDA)

        Division Name ACDA (example: North Central ACDA)

        Northwest ACDA Conference

        Northwest ACDA Division Award/Chair/etc.

Dynamic nuances (see Italics: Dynamic Nuances)


        A continuous ellipsis should not be split between lines.

        In general, no ellipsis should be used:

o   before or after an obviously incomplete sentence

o   before or after a run-in quotation of a complete sentence

o   before a block quotation beginning with a complete sentence or an incomplete sentence that completes a sentence in the text

o   after a block quotation ending with a complete sentence

Em Dash

1.       To denote missing word (Chicago 6.90)

Use two em dashes (with space on each side) to denote a whole missing word in quoted material.

        A vessel that left the –– in July…

2.       In bibliographies

Use three em dashes in bibliographies to indicate same author as preceding entry.

En Dash

1.       In inclusive numbers (Chicago 6.78)

The principal use of the en dash is to indicate continuing, or inclusive, numbers: dates, time, or reference numbers. (en dash = command [Apple] or control [PC] + minus key from number pad)


        May–June 1967

2.       Exceptions:

        from 1968 to 1972 (never from 1968–72)

        from May to June 1967 (never from May–June 1967)

        during 1863 to 1864

        during 1863 and 1864 (never during 1863–64)

        between 1968 and 1970 (never between 1968–70)


Do not use. Instead, use titled.

• Hemingway’s new book, titled A Farewell to Arms, recounts…


Lowercase, not italicized.

folk song / folk-song (see Hyphenation)

Foreign words or titles (see also Italics)

 Brackets should be used when citing a translation of an expression or a title: [ ] Hvad est du dog skjøn [How Fair is Thy Face]


The hyphen is used in a compound adjective, one element of which consists of two words or of a hyphenated word.

·         twenty-four-voice choir

·         non-English-speaking countries

Choral Journal follows the hyphenation as listed in Merriam-Webster Dictionary. See below for a list of often-used terms.



        Folk song (hyphenate as folk-song only when used as an adjective)

o   Arrangements of folk songs BUT folk-song arrangements


        “multi” (compound words using “multi” are not hyphenated; i.e., multicultural)

        Music-making (hyphenated at adjective)

        Music making (two words as a noun)


        Past president


        "Re"-words—All words formed with the “re” prefix are spelled solid. (See Chicago, table p. 384)      




Introductory phrase

A formal introductory phrase concluding with “thus” or “the following” is usually followed by a colon.

        Henry Fielding, at the beginning of his History of Tom Jones, defines it thus: (then comes the quote).


1.       Dynamic nuances

        Italicize (e.g., crescendo, decrescendo, pianissimo) 

2.       Foreign words

        All foreign words, including Italian musical terms such as allegro, andante, dal capo, poco a poco, crescendo, p, mf, f, etc. should be in italics. 

3.       Italics and punctuation

·         Italicize the following punctuation marks when they follow italicized material: colons, commas, periods, semicolons.

·         Do not italicize parentheses enclosing italicized material.

·         When typing a word in italics, leave one space after the word if the last letter leans over onto the next un-italicized word (such as f’s & t’s) to avoid the italicized word running onto the next word and looking like there is no space between the words.

4.       Italics and titles of musical compositions

        Italicize all music that exists as a separate entity, no matter what the length of the piece, unless it is a Mass movement or common prayer, which are kept in Roman type (See common prayers).

        Use quotation marks for separate parts of works. (never use italics for movements or sections)

        Italicize translated titles (e.g., from Johannes Passion to St. John Passion ) 

5.       Recordings (Chicago 8.192)

        The official title of an album is italicized; that of the performer or ensemble is set in Roman.

Josquin des Prez

This is how it should appear in the Choral Journal. (Holoman)

Morten Lauridsen

Use this spelling for the composer.

Letters to the Editor

Use “Letters to the Editor” even when only one letter appears.


When dealing with the lyrics in a song, insert a slash with a space on either side between separate lines.

        Row, row, row your boat / Gently down the stream

Major and Minor

When a key is used preceding a genre, it becomes an adjectival construction and requires a hyphen. (Holoman)

        A-Major Sonata

        A-Minor Sonata

        Piano Concerto in A Minor

Mass (see Capitalization: Words)

Metronome markings

Use M.M. (small caps)

musica ficta

Two words, italicized.

Musical examples

Two words. Never “music examples”

notes inégales


Numbered streets

Spell the names of numbered streets under one hundred. Lowercase the second number in the address.

        Fifth Avenue

        Twenty-third Street


1.       Exact (Chicago 9.2)

In nonscientific text matter, numbers of less than one hundred should be spelled, and numbers of one hundred or more should be expressed in figures, except for round numbers (approximate figures in hundreds, thousands, or millions should be spelled).

        The first edition ran to 2,670 pages in three volumes, with 160 engravings.

        2,500 should be spelled twenty-five hundred

        Officials estimated that forty thousand were killed. 

2.       Exceptions:

Year numbers and numbers referring to parts of a book, which, except in rare circumstances, are expressed in figures.

        Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.

        For further data refer to figure 34 and table 8.

        In measures 4-8, the composer writes…

3.       In a series

When numbers above and below one hundred appear in a series or group of numbers (each of which applies to the same kind of thing), apply the same rule to all the numbers.

        Of the group surveyed, 186 students had studied French, 142 had studied Spanish, and 36 had studied Latin.

4.       Initial (Chicago 9.5)

At the beginning of a sentence, any number that would ordinarily be written in figures is spelled.

        One hundred ten men and 103 women will receive degrees.

5.       First Number/Second Number Examples

        Less than 100—Use all digits 3-10; 71-72

        100 or mult. of—Use all digits 100-104; 600-613 100

        101 through 109—Use changed part 107-8; 505-17; 100-2 (in mult. of 100) only, omitting unneeded zeros

        110 through 199—Use two digits, or 321-25; 415-432; 1536-38 (in mult. of 100) more as needed 11564-68; 13792-803

But if numbers are four digits long and three digits change, use all digits.

        These cities were discussed on pages 2-14, 45-46, 200-210, 308-309

        He lost everything in the years 1933-36 of the Great Depression

        This chapter covers the Napoleonic victories of 1800-1801


Do not italicize parentheses when they enclose italicized material.

Passive voice

Use active voice at all times except when unavoidable.

Passive: The piece is based on an old Russian folk song.

Active: The composer based the piece on an old Russian folk song.

Percentages (Chicago 9.18)

The figure preceding either percent or % is never spelled out.

        15 percent


Place names (see Capitalization 8)


1.       Changing

Direct quotations must reproduce exactly not only the wording but the spelling, capitalization, and the punctuation of the original. The initial letter, however, may be changed to a capital or a lowercase letter, and a final punctuation mark may be changed to make the quotation fit in the syntax of the text.

2.       From modern book, journal, or newspaper

An obvious typographical error may be silently corrected, but in a passage from an older work or from a manuscript source, any idiosyncrasy of spelling should be observed.

3.       From older works

An author may consider it desirable to modernize spelling and punctuation for the sake of clarity. When he does this, he should so inform the reader, either in a footnote or in a book containing such quotations, by a general statement in the preface or elsewhere.

4.       Introducing long quotes

A quotation consisting of more than one complete sentence is usually introduced by a colon if the text preceding the quotation is not a complete sentence.

        As the chairman of the committee suggested:

        And again:

5.       Introducing one-sentence quotes

If the quotation is only one sentence, a comma follows such a phrase instead of a colon. A colon is usually not used if the introductory text is a complete sentence:

        The chairman of the committee suggested an alternative.

6.       Colons and semicolons (Chicago 6.10)

The colon and semicolon should be placed outside the quotation marks or parentheses. When the quoted matter ends with a colon or semicolon, the colon or semicolon is dropped.

7.       Commas

When a comma is needed at the end of material enclosed in quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets, the commas should be placed inside the quotation marks but outside the parentheses or brackets.

8.       Periods (Chicago 6.9, 6.13)

Periods should be placed within the quotation marks.

When parentheses or brackets are used to enclose an independent sentence, the period belongs inside.

If the enclosed matter is part of an including sentence, the period should be placed outside the parentheses or brackets.

        He had not defined the term ‘categorical imperative.’

        “I have just read ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find.’”

        Forelli insisted on rewriting the paragraph. (I had encountered this intransigence on another occasion.)

        The driver glanced at his rear-view mirror to observe the passenger (the one in the derby hat).


Choral Journal style (not Rachmaninoff)


For records, broadcasts, etc., give a date if you can find it.

        D. Kern Holoman, jacket notes to Hector Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado (Deutsche Grammophon Digital Stereo 410 895-1, 1984).

Repertoire & Standards

        Capitalization: Repertoire and Standards Chair of Male Choirs            

        Spell out first time; use ampersand (&) not “and.”


        Should be placed outside the quotation marks or parentheses.

        When the matter quoted ends with a semicolon, the semicolon is dropped.

        Italicize semicolon following an italicized word.


Treat as singular (see also: choir, chorus)

State names (see Abbreviations)


The superscript numeral follows a punctuation mark, if any, except the dash, which it precedes.


Use "that" for restrictive clauses and "which" for non-restrictive clauses. Commas should separate non-restrictive clauses from the rest of the sentence.

        The painting that won first prize is hanging in the foyer.

        The use of seat belts, which can prevent serious injury, is now mandatory. 

Time of day

Except when A.M. or P.M. (small caps) are used, time of day should be spelled in text matter. Never add in the morning after A.M. or in the evening after P.M., and never use o’clock with either A.M. or P.M. or with figures. Midnight is written as 12:00 A.M. and noon is written 12:00 noon (meridian).

Titles of works (see Italics: Titles of Musical Compositions; Italics: Foreign Works or Titles)

1.       Musical compositions (Holoman)

        Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E-flat (“St. Anne”)

        Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

        Death and Transfiguration, Don Giovanni

        “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”

        Piano Concerto no. 5 (Emperor), or the Emperor Concerto, by Beethoven

        “Wohin” from Die Schöne Müllerin

        Famous prayers, such as Ave Maria, Te Deum, etc., are in Roman type with no quotes. 

2.       Titles of journals and newspapers (Chicago 8.168/14.210)

When newspapers and periodicals are mentioned in text, an initial the, even if part of the official title, is lowercased (unless it begins a sentence) and is not italicized.

        She reads the Chicago Tribune on the train.

        the Wall Street Journal.

Titled (see entry for Entitled)

Unaccompanied (see entry for a cappella)


Use “while” to introduce a clause if you are referring to time, otherwise use “though.”

• While the basses are intoning the main theme, the sopranos enter with a quiet Counterpoint.

• Though the basses carry the main theme, the harmony remains static.



[Revised May 2014]

The following is a Choral Journal style guide for end note citation.
NOTE: All footnotes need to be converted to end notes before submission.



Information to be included:

1.      Author first and last name

2.      Book title

3.      City of publication

4.      Publisher

5.      Year of publication

6.      pages quoted (if applicable)

1.      One author

First instance:

·         Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Boston: Little, Brown, 2000), 64–65.

              Second instance of the same book:

·         Gladwell, Tipping Point, 71.


2.      Two or three authors

Listed with full name of all authors in the order listed on the title page.

3.      Four or more authors

Only include the first name of the first author, followed by et al. with no intervening comma.

·         Jeri A. Sechzer et al., ed., Women and Mental Health (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1996), 243.


4.      Editor or translator in addition to the author

The edited, compiled, or translated work of one author is normally listed with the author’s name appearing first and the name(s) of the editor/compiler/translated appearing after the title, preceded by ed., comp., or trans.

·         Yves Bonnefoy, New and Selected Poems, ed. John Naughton and Anthony Rudolf (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).


5.      Chapter or other part of a book

Author’s name is followed by the title of the chapter in quotation marks, followed by in, followed by the title of the book.

·         John Samples, “The Origins of Modern Campaign Finance Law,” in The Fallacy of Campaign Finance Reform (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006).

When to specify state, province, or country (Chicago 14.136)

If the city of publication may be unknown to readers or may be confused with another city of the same name, the abbreviation of the state, province, or (sometimes) country is usually added. Washington is traditionally followed by DC, but other major cities, such as Los Angeles and Baltimore, need no state abbreviation. Two-letter postal codes are used in the case of state abbreviation (IL, MA, etc.). When the publisher’s name includes the state name, the abbreviation is not needed.

·         Cambridge: MA: Harvard University Press

But Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

·         Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press

·         Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press

Article in a Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper

Information to be included:

1.      Full name(s) of author or authors

2.      Title and subtitle of article or column

3.      Title of periodical

4.      Issue information (volume, issue number, date, etc.)

5.      Page reference (if any)

6.      For online periodicals, include a URL or DOI



·         Carroll L. Gonzo, “Metaphoric Behavior in Choral Conducting,” Choral Journal 17, no. 7 (1977): 8-12.

·         David Meban, “Temple Building and the Proem to Virgil’s Third Georgic,Classical Philology 103, no. 2 (2008): 153, doi: 10.1086/591611.



·         Wendy Cole and Janice Castro, “Scientology’s Largesse in Russia,” Time, April 13, 1992,



·         Mike Royko, “Next Time, Dan, Take Aim at Arnold,” Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1992.

·         Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker, “Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat,” New York Times, January 23, 2013, accessed January 24, 2013,


Interviews and Personal Communication

 The name of the person interviewed comes first; the name of the person from whom the communication was received comes second.

·         Constance Conlon, e-mail message to author, April 17, 2000.



 Titles of unpublished works appear in quotation marks, not in italics. If the document was consulted online, include a URL or give the name of the database and ID number.


·         Sandra Landis Gogel, “A Grammar of Old Hebrew” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1985), 46-50.

·         Ilya Vedrashko, “Advertising in Computer Games” (master’s thesis, MIT, 2006), 59,


Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

For well-known reference books Choral Journal style is to cite the author, if known, and the name of the article first, followed by the title of the encyclopedia or dictionary and the date of publication. Facts about publication are often omitted, but the edition (if not the first) must be specified.

         • J. W. Cosyns-Carr, "Blake, William," in Encyclopedia Britannica, 1980, 178.