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American Choral Directors Association


The following guidelines are designed to assist those interested in submitting articles for publication in Choral Journal, the official publication of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). 

Approximately 25% of submissions are accepted for publication as a feature article based on the original submission draft.
An additional 35% are recommended for revision and resubmission for a second review.

*Note: ALL accepted submissions will go through an editing and proofing process to align with Choral Journal style.

Articles not conforming to the guidelines may be returned for revision. Articles submitted for review should be concise and contain primarily new or original information or research relevant to the choral art. This is not meant to exclude a fresh and creative approach to standard materials. Lengthy articles should be divided into sections separated by subtitles to lead the reader through the article.

Approximate word count lengths are as follows, although a submission will not be rejected outright due to length:

Feature article: 4,000-6,000 | Column Article: 1,500-3,000
Reviews: 500-700 words with a maximum of 1,200 words

**Due to the nature of the anonymous vetting process, no article will be guaranteed publication by the editor until it passes through the editorial board. This is to ensure integrity of the submission process and the Choral Journal.

The author should use a writing style that is direct and easily understood. Extremes of academic stuffiness, research terminology, vague generalities, and overworked educational jargon should be avoided. The final draft should be carefully proofread and free of grammatical errors. Quotations should be brief and should not make up the majority of the material. Referenced material should be indicated by superscript and cited in endnotes, which should be numbered consecutively and formatted in the style of Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. For a quick citation guide, click here.

Please note: All footnotes should be converted to endnotes before submission and pages should be numbered.

For articles with musical examples/figures, placement of musical figures should be indicated within the body of the article (i.e., "Figure 1"). Permission of copyright owner should be given underneath each musical example (e.g., copyright year, publisher, and a reprint permission statement). The article is not complete until the author has obtained all necessary copyright permissions.

All articles submitted are subject to a blind review by at least 3-5 members of the editorial board. Articles are accepted for publication when board members determine that the article contains information that pertains directly to the general interests of the national ACDA membership. Some expanded criteria for acceptance are:

1. Topic is of national importance and/or will interest many readers. Editors of state or division newsletters welcome articles on topics of local or regional interest.

2. Article offers new knowledge of or insight into the topic. Articles that rely heavily on secondary sources are seldom judged to offer new knowledge. For example, extensive citations from New Grove articles are usually rejected. A compilation of widely scattered secondary sources, however, might effectively demonstrate a new hypothesis.

3. Article will challenge readers' thinking.

4. Material is timely. Anniversaries of composers or choral events offer timely opportunities for articles.

5. Premise is well defined, supported, and developed. The purpose of the article should be clear. The author should supply convincing evidence to support their thesis.

6. Scope is appropriate: neither too narrow nor too broad. An example of too broad a scope would be an article that introduced a composer, presented biographical information in detail, and then compared all the composer's cantatas point-for-point with the cantatas of Telemann and Bach. Such an article could be made appropriate in scope by reducing the biographical material to a paragraph or two that discussed aspects of the composer's life and works that were important to the present study. Works relevant to the thesis could then be selected for analysis.

7. Information is precise, accurate, and well documented. Sometimes writers use vague, subjective adjectives to describe musical elements (e.g., a "wonderful" melody or "beautiful" harmonies or "fine" orchestration). Precise, objective descriptions are more effective at convincing readers that the work is wonderful, beautiful, or fine.

8. Article is well written and material flows in an easily read narrative style.

9. Most of the ideas seem to be the author's, and quotes enhance the article. Secondary-source quotes offering analytical descriptions of scores are not as strong as original musical insights, unless the source of the citation has special significance. Analyses that take a "road-map" approach to the score by simply listing all musical events as they occur cause readers to lose interest.

10. Material is not readily available in other publications. If a topic has been covered in a recent book or journal that overlaps Choral Journal readership, it is assumed that readers who are interested in that topic will find that material. Material that may be considered common knowledge by some may be new to nascent conductors and, if originally presented in a new context, can prove valuable.

11. Article avoids promoting a company, person, product, or performing organization.

>Regarding Interviews

The Choral Journal receives many interview/discussion submissions. Preference is given to interviews with choral "greats" on a national stage, timely interviews (a relevant composer/conductor anniversary of some kind), or interviews discussing topics that will be of national interest. NOTE: state and division newsletters will publish articles on the local stage. Interview questions need to go beyond just personal references and include insight into the interviewee's thoughts on choral music that will be applicable for a wide range of readers.

**Note: The Choral Journal retains ownership and all copyright privileges of manuscripts and accompanying material published in the Journal. Authors wishing to reprint their manuscript in another publication must request reprint permission from the editor, which will be granted as long as the following statement appears in the reprint version: "Permission to reprint was granted by the American Choral Directors Association."**


Articles should be submitted via email to Amanda Bumgarner, Choral Journal editor:

Please submit the following:

1) your article in Microsoft Word format, 2) any pertinent figures/photographs/etc., and 3) a completed submissions form. Click here to download the submissions form.

For choral review submission information, click here